Tag Archives: virtual race

#136 – Freedom Run 5K

5kmFriday night, I decided I needed to put some miles under my feet, so I headed out into the late spring swelter.  It was well over 90° — despite what Garmin says! — and was miserable.  I chose a flat neighborhood course that was right around 5km, with a little extra to get my distance in.

Did I mention it was hot?

As I’ve mentioned many times, I melt in the heat, and when it’s above 90°, the chances of me doing anything closely resembling “running” quickly approach zero.  I walked.  Slowly.  But I got out there, and put some miles in the books.

As this was a virtual race, there’s not much to say about it.  So let’s talk headphones.  🙂

For years, I have used Bose earbuds for my runs.  I love the feel and the sound… but not the cord.  I’ve tried a variety of wireless earbuds, trying to find something that works well with my gear, and can stand up to my sweaty self.  I’m sure some of those sounded amazing, but I had all kinds of trouble getting anything to fit in my ear as well as my trusty corded Bose.

A couple of months ago, I broke down and put some Beats Powerbeats2, and was pretty well blown away by the fit.  They actually fit in my ear holes, and stayed in place.  In fairness, they have hooks that go over the ear, which is a little interesting as those compete with the earpieces of my glasses.  Not a huge thing.

I do wish the sound was a little better with them, though.  I know that earbuds are gonna struggle with good sound reproduction — there’s just not enough room in them to make “big sound” possible.  It’s a trade off, and for the convenience of cordless sound, I’m cool with that.

Last week, after years of my lamenting Bose not having wireless earbuds, Bose announced a set.  Grrrr.

I’d love to try a nice cordless set of Bose for my travels, but in reality, the Beats are doing the job, aren’t too uncomfortable, and will likely last me for at least a few seasons.  When they die, Bose will have their chance!

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#129 – Awaken the Fourth and Run 5k

5km VirtA few days ago was Star Wars Day.  May the Fourth be with you.  And also with you.

I’d had great intentions to run a ton last week.  We’d originally been slated to drive to Michigan for the Bernese Mountain Dog Specialty, with Bailey signed up to try to complete her herding title.  Unfortunately, she re-injured her back, and we were a no-go.  She’s better, although not quite herself, but definitely headed in the right direction.

With us mired in Da Lou, I wanted to run.  Bunches.  It was a great opportunity to catch up on some virtual races that I’d been piling up, and to finish off a Spring Challenge from the Moon Jogger folks.  So run I did… back and forth to Home Depot!  🙂

I ended up spending the first part of the week building a new desk for my home office.  It’s a impressive piece of redneck engineering, and has plenty of room for all my computerized toys and their attachments.  By the time the week had closed, I hadn’t run a single mile.

Today, I fixed that.

Ideally, a run celebrating Star Wars Day probably should be run on Star Wars Days, but I’m a bit of a maverick, and ran it fashionably late.  I returned to the Greenway, and put my feet to work.  Unfortunately, with the week escaping, so did the cool weather, and I ended up running in temps near 80° — far above my melting point.  It was hot and uncomfortable, and before I got to my turnaround point, it was obvious that I was growing a blister on the back of my right heel.  That really slowed me up, and put me in the “just ok” range of my finishing times.

Looking at the blister, I think I figured out what happened.  I was running with these really cool Swiftwick socks that I picked up in Chattanooga.  I’ve run with them a bunch.  They’re mid calf, and have the circle and stars from the Tennessee state flag on the back.  However, they also have a small logo on them that I think got sucked down into my shoe, and the knitting on that logo rubbed me the wrong way.

Tomorrow, I’d like to run again, but it’s gonna take a little bit of work to get me on the trail… lance the blister, and bandage it well.  Blecch!

This event benefitted the Make a Wish Foundation.

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#125 – Comb the Desert 5K

5km VirtHi.  My name is Colin.  It’s been ten days since I’ve run.  And boy did it show.

My intent was to do 10k last night.  I mean, how hard could it be?  I’ve done it before, the weather was perfect, and I had a boatload of time available after work.  Easy-peasey.

I started out, with a mission to “go long”, and hit a trail that’s about 3km from the house.  It’s a short trail, but it’s kinda like a victory lap for me — I’ve only done that one a few times, and there’s loads of hills getting there and back, but the payoff is beautiful wooded scenery — and yesterday seemed like the day to tackle it again.

But in truth, I wasn’t really feeling it as I laced up my shoes.  I haven’t been sleeping well, and it’s really sucked the life out of me.  I spied David Johndrow’s book, ICU to Marathon, on my desk, however, and knew I needed to get out, and put my feet on the street.

I set out, and the first 3-4km were great.  The body parts were in motion, and working well.  However, around the time I got to my happy trail, things started to fall apart.  My pace fell way off, my feet were beginning to bother me (just tired and sore — no blisters!), and I knew the return home was gonna be miserable.

Time to Turn Around!
Time to Turn Around!

I exited the trail, and returned to the sidewalk that would carry me home, knowing that I had a tough 2-3km ahead of me.  I climbed the hills, and slowly made my way home.  At one point, Darla passed me on her way home from work, and I was so done, I tried to flag her down for a ride back, but she didn’t see me.

Along the way, I met this beautiful Landseer, Mr. Jibs.  He’s barked at me a gazillion times on one of the back trails through the neighborhood, and it was great to finally meet him.  He’d been sheared for the summer, leaving only that monstrous head and fluffy tail looking like they’re supposed to.  And, his owner drives a Wrangler.  Good taste.

I waddled home, short of my 10k distance, and felt like I’d been hit by a truck.  My body was beaten, my brain was questioning why I’d ever chosen to engage in running, and I began this awful death spiral of “what ifs” and “whys”.  I went to bed early, feeling considerably better this morning, and having some welcome clarity of thought.

At the end of the day, running is a couple of things for me.  One is consistency.  If I keep myself regularly moving, and not allowing myself to have excuses not to go out, it’ll come easier than it did last night.

It’s also mass across a distance.  The less mass I have to carry through a distance, the easier that’ll come.  And again, that’s just commitment, dedication and keeping my eye on the prize.

I don’t know that I’d say last night was any kind of epiphany for me — there’s nothing there I didn’t already know.  However, I do believe I got a dope slap of reality concerning my commitment to this, and to my future self.  I wanna still be doing this ten, twenty, maybe thirty years from now, and the changes I make now are critical to ensuring that’s possible.

This event benefitted the Testicular Cancer Society.

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Race #89 – Runner’s Best Friend 5K

This morning, I’d intended to take on ten kilometers, but I also wanted to take on a new route.  The route won, and the 10k will have to wait for another day.

The city (county?) has been working to extend the Greenway eastward, with a connection between the Wildwood end of the trail all the way to Hutchinson Road.  I only ran on about half of the new extension, but it seems to be nice, and doesn’t feel as hilly as it looks.  There’s still work going on to clean up the trail, get signage in place, etc., but it seems like a terrific extension.  In fact, I think this will allow me to run from the house to the Greenway.  My only complaint is that there are a *lot* of traffic crossings, with the trail crossing back-and-forth across the access road that parallels Highway 100.  I’m sure this is done for safety, but it really hinders getting into a nice rhythm.

There’s no question as November comes to a close that this year has been transformative for me.  When this year began, a cold, cloudy day like today would’ve kicked my butt, and I would’ve struggled, walked, huffed and puffed through the distance.  Today, I ran almost the whole route at a comfortable pace, enjoying the time out on the trail, and not feeling like I was gonna fall over.  Running — at least at a 5k distance — has become enjoyable, and something I look forward to.

What a difference 2015 has made in my life!

This race benefitted WaterAid.Org, an organization that provides clean water and toilets that are essential for life. 

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Race #88 – Mustache Dache 5K

Yesterday, I returned to the Greenway for my first run since the half marathon in Tulsa on Sunday.  I’ve been taking it a little easy, as I could feel that the effort on Sunday in the cold had really exhausted me — although my body wasn’t sore, which was great news.  The only fallout from Sunday seems to be the beginning of a “black toenail” on the third toe of my right foot.  This seems to be a real rite of passage for the longer runs, so that’s not unexpected, although I’d rather I didn’t have one.  It feels weird.  🙂

The weather yesterday was dreadful.  It was cold, and rained the whole time.  I know I’ve said that I love running in the rain — and I do — but there’s a huge difference to doing that at 50-60° than in the low 40s.  I dolled up in my Zippy’s, my new bright orange CEP calf sleeves, my freshly won Route 66 running shirt, and my running jacket.

I’m really finding that I enjoy running in my calf sleeves, rather than my compression socks.  It feels as though I have more choices that way, as I can vary my sock (thin or thick), while still getting the benefit of compression in my calves.  That may be the new path for me!

I’ve been wanting to run the Mustache Dache for a while, but only just noticed this year that they had a virtual option.  With that, I signed up, and finally picked a day to run.

Once I arrived at the Greenway, I stretched out, and began to run.  And run I did.  In fact, this became the first 5K I’ve run where I ran the whole distance.  Yep, the whole thing.

I didn’t have great speed, as I was taking it slow due to the wet conditions, but also because I didn’t know what my body was gonna do.  Would it give up?  Would my goofy black toenail start causing trouble?  Fortunately, neither happened, and I just kept chugging.  Looking at my cadence data, I was really up and down on steps-per-minute, but I was never as slow as my walking pace.  The was cool to see.

I really think the half on Sunday gets the credit for my success yesterday.  I kept chugging, hill after hill — none as big or long as the ones in Tulsa — and I could just put the distance in a little box in my mind, knowing what I’d just done a few days earlier.  Every hill was “just” a hill, every kilometer was “just” another.  And at the end of the slog, I’d run my race, and heck of a good race at that.

This race benefitted ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer.

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Race #83 – Carpe Diem and Be Thankful 5K

I love it when things come together.

Tomorrow will be 47 months since I was declared NED (no evidence of disease) after surgery to remove a two-inch tumor and about a third of my colon.  Definitely something to be thankful for!

When I saw that the medal for this virtual race was coming today from Agent Outerwear, I knew this was the race to run today.  Carpe diem!

Today, the weather was so much different than yesterday.  The deluge — almost 4″ of rain — was gone, and made way for sunshine and very windy conditions.  Keeping a hat on my head was a real tough gig.  The wind was blowing across the trail, so every time I’d run next to a pasture or highspot, I got blown all over the place.

I’d intended to take it kinda slow today, using this as my last run before the fun times to come at Tulsa this weekend.  With that in mind, I started out a little slower on the Greenway than I did yesterday, chugging through the first part of the trail.  And once again, I found myself a third of the way through in what seemed like no time.

I switched back to Sport Beans today, and started munching on those at my turnaround point.  Ya know, I still haven’t decided if they really help or not, but I firmly believe that half of running lies between the hips and feet, and the other half is between the ears.  So, if I believe Sports Beans are helping, that’s nothing but good!

I ended up finishing strong, running most of the last half.  It’s amazing to look at how I run now compared to even earlier this year.  I’m so comfy taking on the 5K distance, and have no anxiety about getting through the course, even if it’s a course I don’t know — like Philly last weekend.  That confidence has probably been the biggest thing I’ve built this year, and something that is helping me, no matter what kind of run I’m on.

In preparation for the on-again-off-again rain/snow for Tulsa this weekend, I picked up some CEP calf compression sleeves — bright orange! — so I could still wear wicking socks if it rained.  I gave ’em a trial run today, and I love ’em.  I think I even like them better than the compression socks I usually use.  It’s nice to bump into something new that seems to help.

Oh, and an update on the new Hoka One One’s.  These things totally rock.  I’ve had much less knee pain, shin splints and fatigue in my legs when running since switching to the Hoka’s.  These things are just great, and are sooooo comfy!

So, I’m thankful to still be here almost four years after my diagnosis.  I’m thankful that I’m living in a country where I can run (among other things), and I’m ecstatic that I can seize the day, just about any day, and strive to make my little corner of the world a little better.

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Race #72 – Running Outatime 5K

Yesterday, I went back to the future.  Well, I guess technically, I ran a virtual race that celebrated the arrival of a fictional character to the future from a real film from thirty years ago.  Or something like that.  🙂

I’d signed up for this race from Virtual Nerd Runs quite a while ago, and pocketed the medal, with plans to run it on the day Marty McFly was to visit 2015.  Well, he didn’t show up on October 21st, and neither did I.  Nursing a re-aggravated minor foot injury suffered at the Go! Halloween race two weeks ago, I’d taken it easy for these last two weeks, only breaking my rest to run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K last weekend.  After two weeks, it was time to hit the road again.

And I had a carrot in front of me to get me out… new shoes.

In one of the Facebook running groups I belong to, someone mentioned getting new shoes from Hoka One One.  I asked what made them so special, and got some answers I liked.  I hit their website, and started looking at men’s road shoes.  They had selection criteria on the website, to help narrow the field.  I selected my weight (and yep, they had a category for big guys — good for them!), a plush ride and a wide fit.  The listing was narrowed to two shoes, and from that I dug into the Bondi 4 Wide.  I started looking at reviews in print and on YouTube, and folks just raved about this shoe, especially if you “carry some weight on your frame.”  This suited me perfectly, and I ordered a pair.

They arrived on Wednesday, but I couldn’t carve out time until yesterday at lunch to try them.  I went up to the Greenway, and jogged a little bit in them followed by some walking.  I really like the comfort of them, but man, they are tall!  Part of that really comfortable fit is a tremendously thick sole, well over an inch high from heel to toe.  I was a little nervous that extra height might feel unstable, but surprisingly, I never noticed it.  Despite being wide, these shoes were snug, but in a good way, kinda like a really good glove.  I felt sure-footed throughout both walking and running, and found that my knees, calves and shins were really comfortable after five kilometers.  I think part of that is the way the sole is shaped.  It has a upturn at both the front and the back, so you land on a flat surface under the heel, rather than the edge of the sole, and then roll through the step until you come off the toes.  I think other shoes probably do this to some degree, but this is a pronounced shape, and I believe it really helped.

So, another virtual race is in the books, on a rather cool day (finally!), and with what appears to be a wonderful new pair of kicks to keep me on the trail!

This race benefitted the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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Race #65 – Public Lands Day 5K

After running in Flat as a Pancake this morning, and having some concerns about my knee, I decided a walk tonight would be a good thing for me.

The folks at Vacation Races have put together quite a few virtual races this year that have been related to our National Parks and public lands.  Today’s virtual race was in celebration of those lands.

Since the theme was public lands, I walked my neighborhood, trying to hit public trails that are closely.  Ellisville has a ton of multi-use trails, which is an awesome thing to have so close by.

I walked down our street, and started down Quailwoods Trail.  This trail has a huge downhill on the front side, and winds through a beautiful wooded area.  It’s serene, without too many houses along the way, and a couple of benches, in case you wanna just hang out and listen to the birds.

After exiting Quailwoods Trail, and a little more street walking, I walked down a familiar trail, Wren Trail.  I walk this one quite a bit.  It’s just a flat paved trail, in a generally wooded area, and is used by a lot of folks to cut through the neighborhoods.

All good things have to come to an end, so my public lands stroll wound back through to neighborhood, I finished by going the other direction on Quailwoods Trail, this time climbing the hill, before returning to the house.

In all, a nice stroll!

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Race #51 – Quest for the Golden Pearl 5K

With exceptionally cool morning weather this week, I resolved last night to get up early today, and run.  It didn’t hurt that the Perseid meteor shower was also coming up on its peak (which is tonight).  So,  at 4:30am, I drug my tired self out of bed, threw on my running gear, and walked out on the deck, both to confirm the temperature was as predicted, as well as to see if there were any streakers in the sky.  The temp was great, but I saw nothing of the Perseids.  🙁

I scarfed a little breakfast (water and an English muffin with peanut butter and some wonderful honey from the pantry — this stuff was kinda green colored, and crazy sweet!), and trucked out to the site of my last awful run… the Wildwood Greenway.

This time, Mr. Sun wasn’t gonna harsh my buzz.

Last night, I set up my Garmin a little differently, albeit still for intervals.  In the ill-fated run on Monday, I set up intervals in the Training set of menus.  This was the way I was accustomed to doing intervals with my old Garmin, so I thought that was right.  When doing it like that, however, you can only specify a specific number of cycles of running and walking, and in the online app, splits are shown as a function of those cycles, rather than kilometers or miles.  Not great, but the price of entry.

Playing around with the menus, I saw that I could set up an alert for my running/walking intervals, and after a little testing from the couch last night, I knew I’d found the right settings — prompting for run-to-walk transitions (and vice-versa!), as well as preserving my kilometer splits.  Perfect!  With my intervals set to 30secs of running and 90secs of walking, I was ready.

So this morning at the Greenway, I exited the Jeep, stretched, and hit the magic button on the Garmin to start timing whatever was to come.  I knew that I’d use the first three cycles (six minutes) to warm up and wake up.  Those passed quickly, and I made a commitment…

I was gonna let my Garmin have its way with me, and make me its whiny bitch.  When it said “run”, I’d run.  When it said “walk”, I’d think about it.  🙂

And that’s what I did.  I powered up some hills that usually cause me big grief.  I ran down the backside of some hills, extending my running cycle into my walking cycle because it felt good.  In fact, I ran up some of the hills faster than I ran down them.

It didn’t hurt that the temperature was twenty-five degrees cooler than Monday night, or that I only had the sun on me during the second half of the course.  It also didn’t hurt that I found a commitment this morning that’s been lacking lately.  Yes, I’ve been finishing my races, but on the terms my weak gray matter has been dictating, not at the level of capability I know I have.  This morning, I gave up control of that to a little plastic widget on my wrist, and it forced me to run more consistently than I have in a long time.  In fact, today was sub-50min moving time (those stupid traffic signals pushed me to 50min overall), and that was tremendous, especially after Monday’s debacle.

I’ve never tried running before my workday began, but this just might be a good thing for me!  Now, to go off and reward myself with coffee and Cap’n Crunch…

This race benefitted Water.org, which pioneers innovative, sustainable solutions to the global water crisis, giving women hope, children health and communities a future.

Race Course

Race #50 – Phone Home 5K

After my success on Saturday morning, I got cocky, and returned to the Greenway yesterday afternoon.  I thought I’d have a great time of it, zipping through 5km, and maybe even adding a few more miles.  And even more optimistically, I set my Garmin to work through  some interval work to see if I could get my times down.

Mr. Sun, however, had an entirely different plan.

I got out to the Greenway just after work, and noticed it was hotter than I expected.  Earlier in the day, we’d had a small storm come through that scrubbed out the atmosphere, and made things really nice.  Apparently, nature abhors a vacuum, and where the humidity had poured down as rain, it was replaced with vicious crazy nasty humidity with big, nasty pointy teeth.  So, not just hotter, but more humid.  Hooray.

Jumping on the trail, I started moving my feet.  I knew I’d take five minutes or so of walking to warm up, and shortly after that, I started to work my intervals.  By the end of the third interval, I knew I was not landing in a happy place, and quickly, my times fell off, and I was looking at conditions and a pace more like the ugly race in Washington almost a month ago.  This too, had turned in a death march across the desert of pavement.

I slogged on, and on, and on, wondering if this distance would ever be complete.  It felt like some kind of sick Groundhog Day, with the pavement beneath my feet never seeming to end.  I finally got to my three-quarters complete point, and knew I was gonna make it through.  Frankly, there’s really no option but to finish — there’s no way to get back to the parking lot, shy of some kind soul stopping on the side of the road to rescue you and ferry you along.

So, I finished — yay! — but I was toast afterward.  Note to self… heat and humidity DO NOT MIX!!!

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