virtual racing…racing in 2020 is different

Last weekend I decided to drink the Kool-Aid and participate in my first Ironman Virtual Race. I was holding off because I figured it was just another way for Ironman to gain a profit, BUT the races are FREE! They definitely look different than racing in real life. Here are some of the differences:

  1. When you think of Ironman, you typically think swim/bike/run, but these races are duathlons instead of triathlons. That means NO SWIM! For those of you that don’t know how to swim or the swim scares you, these virtual races (VR) are for you! They follow a run/bike/run format.
  2. You create your own routes. You can do the entire race indoors on the treadmill and trainer. You can do the entire race outdoors running and biking on the trails/streets around you. You can do the entire race by combining indoor and outdoor experiences like I did.
  3. There are no competitors around you. You can’t rely on other athletes to push you. You have to push yourself.
  4. There are no spectators and fans cheering for you. I highly recommend telling your neighbors that you are racing. Maybe they will go outside and cheer you on from a safe distance. If they have kids, they can make signs, which gives them something to do at home.
  5. Your transition times are not added to your overall finish time. Only the times for each discipline of the race are added to your overall time for the race. In real life races, any time you spend changing, fueling, etc. between disciplines is added to your overall finish time.
  6. You have 2.5 days to complete all three disciplines, so they don’t have to be done back to back. If you are unsure about how your body will hold up to complete each discipline one right after the other, you can spread them out. Each discipline of the race must be completed between 6 pm GMT on Friday and 11:59 pm GMT on Sunday. If you want to do one discipline on Friday, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday, you can. If you want to do them all back to back like a race in real life, YOU CAN!
  7. You can do the disciplines in whatever order you prefer. In a real race, you have to do the disciplines in a specific order. With the VR, you can do them as it works for you. If you want to do all of the running disciplines first and then bike, you can. If you want to bike first and then run, you can. If you want to do it like a real life race (run/bike/run), YOU CAN! It is completely up to you!

I treated this as a real life race doing each discipline back to back in the run/bike/run format with as little transition time as possible. I did both of my runs outside and rode on the trainer indoors. I wanted to really push myself with this race and see where my fitness is.

1.5 K run – 7:05 (7:30/mile average pace)

1.5K run…flying home!

20 K bike – 35:47 (21.0 mph average speed)

20K bike…Leaving it all out there!

5K run – 24:47 (7:58/mile average pace)

5K run…pushing my limits and testing my fitness

Total 1:07:39 (Women 658/6245…top 10.5%; F40-44 127/1326…top 9.6%)

I’m grateful for the Ironman VR3 to push myself and wear my Coeur Sports race kit! I kept reminding myself to push hard, dig deep, be grateful that I GET to do this, and know that I’ll get to cross a real finish line again one day…even if it doesn’t look promising in 2020. Racing doesn’t define me, but it sure is FUN! 💛💙🤍

Who’s joining me for this weekend’s “Olympic distance” IMVR race?

9 thoughts on “virtual racing…racing in 2020 is different

  1. I’ve done 2 and 3. I have a Garmin but I am not set up for indoor racing (haven’t been able to get my bike computer to work on my trainer this winter among other small roadblocks), so this is forcing me outside. I only bike on paved trails and the park where I ride has been crazy crowded so I can’t safely go fast (so,I’ve been logging some VERY relaxed bike rides) so I haven’t been able to get my head into “competing” when I’m averaging 12 mph on my rides (and the paths were still partially snow covered for VR1…and it was way too early in my training cycle for a 70.3 distance!).

    I’m still signed up for Iowa 70.3 but will not attend even if it’s not canceled. It seems like IM is deferring these decisions to the host community/state to decide if these evens are on or not. From what I can see, your governor is reluctant to issue a stay at home order. So, this event may still have a green light from the state, but what about Des Moines? Have they been allowing large gatherings or have they been pulling/declining permits? It sounds like Madison 70.3 has no chance of happening, but Des Moines seems somewhat possible. Any predictions?

    Sorry about MT! I have also heard that they are just deferring the race until next year. I think all of my events will be cancelled except possibly Twin Cities Marathon Weekend…in October! Until then, one day at a time in training, work, home, life, and Netflix. Just gonna try and make it feel like a season for now…

    1. Glad you were able to participate in IMVR2 and IMVR3. Bummer on not being able to get your data from riding indoors.

      I personally don’t see how IMDSM 70.3 can happen in June. It is the North American Championship race. With the borders closed to Canada and Mexico, I don’t see it happening in June. I can see them postponing it until September sometime, but don’t know. I have heard the social distancing restrictions and guidelines won’t be lessened in Iowa until June 26 at the earliest, so in my opinion, there is no way they can have a race before then. IM has a lot of races to figure out what to do with globally. I personally don’t see any of them happening for all of 2020, but I hope I’m wrong! Because if I’m wrong, that means globally we are on a MUCH better track and hopefully have vaccines and more control over this pandemic.

      For now, I am training for life and having fun! When races are given a “go”, I’ll be ready for that first race back!

  2. Dang, those are some smoking fast splits! Nice work 🙂 I have wanted to join in on the IMVR races so badly with all the Collective Beat members doing it, but I’m running a solo half marathon “race” this weekend because I really want to test where that part of my fitness is. Hopefully I can really push myself without all the competition and supporters like you mentioned!

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