For frequent and returning readers, you’ll remember that I ran a virtual race, the Dark Helmut 5K, back on May 17th. To say I struggled is an understatement. It was a frustrating virtual race that I just slogged through.
I also made mention that course selection was key. I believe I have proof of that today.
Today is Geek Pride Day, commemorating the release of Star Wars on this date in 1977. The fine folks over at Moon Joggers had a virtual race to commemorate the day, and with my geeky tendencies, I couldn’t exactly pass it up.
The medal came in a week or so ago (typical for a virtual race — so you can “finish” with your medal), and I was filled with both excitement and dread. I was thrilled to add another race to the “done” list (along with another medal!), but the results from my last virtual race were pretty crushing.
Last night, as I thought about the run this morning, I decided I would treat this like a regular race. That’d take a couple of things.
1. Prepare like a real race.
Last night, I laid out my clothes. That sounds like a little thing, but it got my brain in the game, and forced me to look at the weather for this morning, find the right clothes and have ’em laid out for this morning. This included my compression socks (which really do help!), running underwear, shoes, knee braces, Spi-Belt (for my iPhone), and proper shirt selection. I’ve gotten kinda lazy on the virtual runs, probably because they’re just around the neighborhood, and without the tools that make/keep me comfortable on my travels, it’s no wonder I’ve struggled lately.
2. Find a course that will lead to a successful outcome.
Also last night, I thought about my course. I had no idea where I was gonna go, but I knew I didn’t wanna try to conquer that same hill that killed me a little over a week ago. It was brutal, both physically and mentally, and I just didn’t want to have that kind of outcome again. I thought about the area, and realized that I could simply take a “right” instead of a “left”, and avoid that hill altogether, keeping me on flatter roads.
As it ends up, that was a brilliant decision. I ran more on this journey than I have in a while — although my time doesn’t really reflect that very well! I was comfortable getting to my turnaround point, and it seemed like it was no time until I was at the four kilometer point, and entering the home stretch.
I got home, with Becky awaiting me on the front porch. She was planning to cheer as I came in, photographing me, and giving me the full race experience. However, she forgot the direction I was headed, and I ended up sneaking up on her. She did end up snapping a few photos before I got back in the house to relax.
The thing I noticed was that I wasn’t nearly as exhausted as I was after trying to conquer the hill last week. In fact, I felt pretty good. If I feel that good after the Friday night 5k in Kansas City in a couple of weeks, I’ll be good to go for the 10k the next morning!
So, put another race in the books, and a little bit of learning, too. I think this was the best solo run I’ve had this season, and I hope I’m focused in on why that was!
And yes, that’s me in the image above. My parents gave me my first computer, a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model III, as a present for graduation from high school in 1981. My inner geek runs deep!
(BTW, the course maps look a little different now, and will link back to slightly different looking data. It’s still the same stuff, just formatted differently.)