Racing is important to me. Not racing for the last year has left a big void in my days. A normal year I will be racing almost every weekend with some big events like an Ironman sprinkled in here and there.
With that said, when ‘virtual racing’ became a thing, I was very uninterested. I think the idea was there, and it helped some charities, but it wasn’t the same. It isn’t racing unless you are going head to head live with someone. This is why I don’t mind the Zwift racing. Although they are online, they are live, and you are head to head.
So when a local running shop posted a Blue Jean mile race on social media I was all over it. Live racing – sign me up. For those uninitiated, the Blue Jean mile is pretty much what it sounds like. A mile in jeans, but to raise awareness for mental health.
I showed up to the event 45 minutes early in my only pair of dad jeans and a loud Hawaiian shirt, oh and my Vaporflies. I mean what else do you race a mile in?
I elected to skip the warm up because it felt strange to run in jeans more than I had to. I did a few leg swings and lunges and called it good e’nuf. As we slowly came to the starting line, that feeling and excitement of racing came back. Finally!
The race started and I went out hard. It’s a mile so it will be hard the whole time, but I wanted to see if there was anyone who wanted to challenge the champ. Nobody went with me, but I did see some racing flats and Next %’s in the crowd so I couldn’t relax. This mile was on the road, and I knew there was a hill from .25 – .75 and the plan was to attack that and just coast the downhill to the finish. I figured that if I was close to anyone when we hit the final stretch I would open it up and have faith my kick would hold them off.
The pollen was very heavy that day, and as I rounded the turn to start the climb, it was becoming difficult to breathe. I couldn’t let up though and as I glanced down at my watch I was holding about 5:30 pace. Not a world record, but respectable in jeans without a warmup. As I crested the hill and took the left towards the final stretch I took a peek back and saw second place was far enough back that I had the win as long as I didn’t wipe out.
I cruised the final quarter, took a few more looks back to be sure I wasn’t at risk of being caught, and crossed the finish line just under 6:00 minutes. First live in-person race in months and it felt great. Undefeated for the year, haha.
Post race I had quite a cough due to the dry air and pollen. A few bottles of water solved that and I was back to normal pretty quick. Chaffing wasn’t too bad, but I won’t be running down the road in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt again any time soon. It is a fun event, for a good cause, and worth trying at least once, especially if it get’s you back to racing.