I ran a virtual 5K to support Wicomico’s frontline employees — and you can, too

I happened to finish my 5K by the Wicomico Civic Center, where I work (normally — for now, I’m working at home).

On Wednesday, April 8, I set out for my first 5K for speed since September. But the pace didn’t really matter — what mattered was logging the 3.1 miles that would help get a meal to a frontline employee in Wicomico County.

Wicomico County Recreation & Parks, where I work, partnered with Amerigroup and the Mizzle House Foundation for the 5K for Front Lines initiative. People were encouraged to run or walk a 5K — solo or with family they live with — from their homes. Then, they could share a photo or image on Facebook showing they logged the distance with the hashtag #5KforFrontLines.

Lots of runners and walkers participated in the free event — 172 5Ks were tracked for the first date. However, to meet the goal of 300 5Ks and 300 meals for frontline employees, there will be a second date for the virtual 5K — Wednesday, April 15. 5Ks can be completed at any time that day, and the rules are the same as the first event. There are 128 5Ks remaining to hit the goal of 300.

Learn more here and visit the Facebook event here. If you participate, be sure to practice social distancing and stay away from others you may see.

For my 5K on Wednesday, I set out in the afternoon. Even though I live by the City Park, I opted to run on roads. I’d mapped out a 5K course from my house, but I decided to change the course partway through so that I wouldn’t basically be looping around my house for the last bit.

After suffering from both shin issues and coughing in the past month, I was pleasantly surprised that the hardest part of my run was just trying to run fast in the heat. Particularly since I’d waited till the afternoon, it was warmer than what I’ve been used to recently. I also haven’t been doing much speed work.

I ran the first mile in 9:19 and the second one in 9:35. I took a short walk break after hitting that second mile, finishing out the third mile in 10:11. By the time I was nearing 3.11 miles, I could tell I’d be super close to the 30-minute mark, so I tried to pick it up, running the last 0.11 in 56 seconds, at an 8:47 pace.

It wasn’t quite fast enough to break 30 minutes, and my time was 30:03 — a 9:40 average pace. I haven’t seen a pace in the 9s in a while, so I’m happy with it.

I’ve read that it’s good to not focus on extreme athletic efforts, as we want to keep our immune systems strong (read more in this Driven Physiotherapy blog post).

I would like to see if I can run a sub-30 5K when I try this again Wednesday. I wouldn’t consider that too hard on my body, but if I feel it gets to be, I can back off.

Thank you to everyone who is on the front lines fighting COVID-19, and I’m keeping everyone who has to work, and those who are suffering from the disease, in my thoughts, too.

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