Tag Archives: virtual races

#128 – Spring Duathlon

As some of you know, I’m working toward participating in the inaugural St. Louis Triathlon, taking place just a month from now. At various times, I’ve been exuberant and confident; at others, terrified and cowering under my desk. 🙂 Yesterday, the race director of the event was at the grand opening of the newly moved Swim, Bike, Run shop on Clayton Road, and I thought I’d go meet him. Now, I’d exchanged messages with him a ton on Facebook, and I even became the poster child for the social media impact of this race, which he mentioned in a podcast a little while back (about 21 minutes into the podcast).  However, we’d never laid eyes on each other.

I walked up to him, introduced myself, and he told me he already knew who I was. Well, how ’bout that?!

We talked about the event, and he gave me some much needed advice about different parts of it, and even came in SBR to help me shop for goggles for the swim.  And as we chatted, it was obvious to me that I needed to string together some events.  I can run 5k, and I can cycle 20k — the swimming is still a bit of an unknown! — but I haven’t done them back-to-back.

Knowing I had some training ahead of me, I found a virtual 10k/5k duathlon, and figured I oughta sign up.

This morning, fueled by dreams of a successful triathlon, I headed out on my bike.  Now, one big difference between the race course and my neighborhood is flatness.  The race course for the triathlon is pretty dang flat.  My neighborhood is replete with hills, and I think I found most of ’em.  I’d ridden about 7.5km, was passing the house, and thought about just calling it done.  Somehow, I squelched that voice, and rode on, putting in a little over 10km in the saddle.

Upon getting back to the house, I transitioned from riding to running, doffing my helmet, getting some fuel for the road, and ensuring I had water.  Frankly, I was surprised how easy the first kilometer came.  And then the heat started to hit me.

I ambled around the neighborhood, and eventually ended up walking the middle part of my distance, peppered with a little running here and there.  Once again, I was at the house, about 3.5km into the run, and once again, the voices in my head were trying to convince me to just be done.  I knew, though, that if I did that, I’d regret it all day, and even if it was slow, I could get through it.  I plugged along.  And just like a dog getting a treat for doing the right thing, I was rewarded with some kind of weird second wind, and I was running the last kilometer, taking me home.

This was probably the hardest race I’ve done since Gasparilla in February.  The difference here was that not only did I have to overcome the course, but I had to overcome the noise in my noggin.  With me passing by the house, I had the means to bail on the race — something that would’ve harder to do in Tampa — but had to find the gumption not to.

Neither of my times were stunning — about 40mins for the 10km ride, and around 54min for the 5km run.  I suspect my splits for the ride in the triathlon will be better due to the flatter course.  So, extrapolating, let’s assume 30-40mins for the swim (those are estimates I’ve been given), 70mins for the 20k ride, and about 50min for the 5k run, and that puts me right around 2.5hrs for the triathlon course.   Anything under 3hrs is fine with me, and if it’s closer to 2hrs, so much the better.

I only had two real issues.  The first was with my Garmin.  I set it up for duathlon mode, but there was obvious operator error, and it stopped tracking me after the bike ride.  I’ll have to figure that out.  The other thing that was a surprise was how sore my hands were from the handlebars.  I’ve got nice, new cushioned cycling gloves but I suspect there’s something else afoot — perhaps goofy positioning on the bike.

So color me more convinced that the triathlon in a month’s time is really, really achievable!!!

Race Courses



#124 – Run Dog Run 5K

5km VirtAfter a great sunrise Easter service in what Reverend Lovejoy would call the showiness of nature, I had just enough time to get some miles in before the rains set in.

After yesterday’s run, I knew that today would just be a walk, so I headed to my beloved Greenway, and set out.  While it was warmish, there was an ominous wind blowing from the south, and having looked at the maps before I left, I knew this was a hint that the rain was on the way.

Ya know, there’s not much to say about a walk, other than that I did it, and got in before the rains began.  I guess that’s the important part!

This event benefitted Running for Rescues.

Race Course

#122 – Celebrate Life 5K

5km VirtAfter the events that unfolded in Brussels last week, I knew which virtual event I needed to undertake on Friday.  I know this one was in honor of Paris, but it just made sense to be thinking of Brussels.  When work was done, I took off to roam the neighborhood.  I just needed to walk, and reflect on all that had happened.

It still just baffles me that people — any people — can be persuaded to commit such terrible acts upon their fellow man.  As Mr. Gump would say, that’s all I have to say about that.

The walk was good, the new shoes are doing wonders for my feet, and it was awesome to log some miles on a weekday — one of the nice side effects of daylight savings time!

This event benefitted the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Race Course

#120 – Mad Love 5K

5km VirtI know that on St. Patrick’s Day, I shoulda been doing a shamrock/leprechaun/Irish themed race, but I had this one hanging around, and needed to get ‘er done.

For me, this was a warm day, and I knew I had the Undy coming up in a couple of days, so my goal was to just take it easy, and not do anything that would threaten my run on Saturday.  I was gonna just walk, and continue to break in my new kicks.

The Greenway was the Greenway — a constant place for me where I can go, try new things, compare notes from outing to outing.  It was crazy difficult not to run along the trail, but I’d committed to myself that this was gonna just be a walk.  And despite the animal in me (ha!) wanting to break into a run, I kept the beast at bay, and kept true to my plan for the day.

The new shoes are really doing very well.  I had no toe box issues on the right foot, and my blister on the bottom of the left foot is healing, and not agitated by these new shoes.  I’m very encouraged.  The one thing that might be worth nothing is my socks.  For this outing, I wore a pair of my thinner socks, and I’m beginning to wonder if those are a little too thin for me.  These are supposedly great socks for hot days, when wicking is important.  However, I think I get a little softening of the ride with slightly thicker socks.  I also think I like socks that have a little more climb up my calf.  Kinda sounds like I’m becoming a little bit of a sock snob, eh?

So, another event down, another medal on the rack (once it arrives next week!), and I didn’t injure myself.  I think I’d call that a success!!!

Race Course

#119 – Magnum Pi 5K

5km VirtYesterday was Pi Day.  And to a running geek, that means you need to put 3.14 miles in the log.  This was also a chance to put my new kicks on the road.  By the time I’d finished, I’d put 3.16mi in the log — a slice of Pi, plus a few crumbs.

Once again, I visited the Wildwood Greenway.  It’s a great place for me to try new things, as I know the course, and what to expect from it.  And frankly, if I get into trouble, it parallels Highway 100, and I know I can get help quickly.

Yesterday was glorious!  The sun came out, and the temps rose through the 50’s and 60’s throughout the day, and made for a beautiful, albeit humid, race course.  They always tell you to dress for 20° warmer than the temps when you’re running.  That made it feel like the high 80’s, which is well above my wilting point.  🙂

I took it slow, given the new shoes and my not being accustomed to the heat.  I was really surprised at just how well the new shoes did.  No impact in the toe box on the right foot — which had been a growing problem with my Hoka’s — and just a little aggravation on the blister site on the bottom of my left foot.  I think that’s resolvable with a little padding until the site completely heals with new skin.  But on balance, the New Balance shoes really did well, and were plenty comfy on my run.

Once I’d decided to run yesterday, I had to find a Pi Day virtual race to sign up for.  Given the mathematical geekiness of the day, there were plenty to choose from.  Most of ’em are math-centric, or pie-centric.  I found this one, which was Magnum P.I.-centric, and knew I had to sign up for it.  Can’t wait for the medal to arrive!

This race benefitted the MIND Research Institute.

Race Course

#113 – Run for Paris 5K

5km VirtLast night, I set out to get another race in the books.  The snow from Sunday had begun to melt rapidly in the warmer temperatures.  Frankly, it was kinda nasty out there, with big snow mounds where the plows piled it up at the sidewalk intersections — making it really hard to cross safely — and halfway melted stuff on the sidewalk, making it slick.

Fun times!

I really enjoyed this time out though.  It’s so much faster without the snow, and was a wonderful time to just clear my head after work.  And still, I’m struck by the thought that in just a few days, I’ll be running in Tampa in much warmer weather!

This race benefitted the American Red Cross.

Race Course

#112 – Cupids Arrow 5K

Da Lou got another small dose of snow today — the third in the last week.  And like the last two, it was beautiful.  A couple of inches of snow, 20° or so, WCI of 15°, and not a soul out on the sidewalks and trails in the neighborhood.

I love getting out in this kind of weather.  It’s tough to walk in, so it’s a good workout, but at a leisurely, safe pace.  And all the while, sleet fell, striking my face as I grooved to some 1970s disco.  (Yeah, a little guilty pleasure, but the beat is really good for stomping around in the snow!)

At Christmastime, the Pathetic Running Group had a Secret Santa event, in which my Secret Santa sent me some WinterTrax.  I’ve had a set of YakTrax for a while, but decided to give my gifted snow footies a shot today.  I’ve gotta say, they were much easier to get on my shoes, and seemed very capable in the snow and ice.  Two thumbs up!

It struck me while cavorting in the snow that in less than a week, I’ll be racing in Tampa — and at temps that are 40-50° warmer than what I churned through today.  Wednesday, I leave for Tampa, with plans to compete in the Gasparilla Lime Challenge 15k/8k combo.  I can’t wait to see how I do at those distances in the warmth of the Floridian west coast.

Today’s race benefitted the American Heart Association.

Race Course

#111 – Make Some Noise 5K

5km VirtYesterday, we had a continuation of our surprise snow — maybe just over an inch.  It was beautiful, and still falling water work, so I knew I had to go out in it for a nice walk.

I strapped my YakTrax on my shoes, bundled up, and headed out into the falling snow.  I’m still very pleased with how well the YakTrax work to keep me scooting along without slipping.  As I was walking along on the fresh snow, I kept thinking to my self that these were like have “chains” on my shoes… and the footprints I was leaving behind certainly looked like it!

Wren Trail
Wren Trail

I made a point to travel down Wren Trail.  It was really, really pristine, with just hints that someone and their pet had gone down the trail hours before me.  Of course, Wren is only about ¾ km each way, so I ambled around the neighborhood to get my full distance in. Much like last week, I explored some roads and neighborhoods that I’d never visited before.  We’re really blessed to have a ton of sidewalks along the main roads, as well as the neighborhood roads, so I felt really safe wandering around without having to worry about the traffic too much.

And then it happened… I fell.

Virgin Snow
Virgin Snow

I have no idea what I did, although I suspect I couldn’t see a dip or rise in the sidewalk with all the snow, and just misstepped.  I went down quick, but turned it into a wicked cool roll, which kept me from hurting anything.  I’m sure the folks driving past were concerned, but I bounced right up, tried to control my embarrassment, and headed toward my finish.

In all, this was a great time out.  It was quiet, cold (but not windy!), and just a great time to reflect on the beauty of the space around me.  I’m ready for more!

This race benefitted Make Some Noise: Cure Kids Cancer Foundation.

Race Course

Race #107 – Warbird Run 5K

5km VirtLast night, it was time to get my Trekker geek on the road.

The Moon Joggers posted this race last year as they were building out their 2016 schedule.  Once I saw the medal, I knew I had to run this race.  I’ve been a Star Trek fan for most of my life, reading the books, watching the episodes and films, and collecting a raft of knickknacks over the years.  The medal for this race is just the latest part of that lifelong pursuit.  (Obsession?  🙂 )

After Sunday’s run on the snowy Wildwood Greenway, I returned to the Greenway today after work to put some miles on my Hoka’s. It was windy, and about 15° warmer than Sunday, which meant the snow was largely gone.  The pretty, quiet trail had returned to being a noisy trail, next to a busy road at rush hour.  That’s one of the biggest reasons I run with headphones.  Running is my “me” time, and hearing the cars and trucks go by is simply intrusive, so I jam.  In this run, I jammed, and enjoyed a nice run, despite being out during one of the busiest times of the day.

I’ve tried a couple of runs on the Greenway this winter after my workday was done.  Unfortunately, those haven’t gone well, with finishes in very dark conditions, and having to do too much scrambling to get the miles I wanted under some kind of lighting.  Last night, I had almost perfect timing.  I rolled out about 45 minutes ahead of sunset, and rolled back up to the Jeep a few minutes after sunset.  Despite the clouds, there was still enough light to finish, and that bodes well for more runs after work!

This race benefitted O.U.R. – Operation Underground Railroad.  Their mission is to rescue kidnapped children from slavery.

Race Course

Race #106 – Trooper Nicholas Dees Memorial Run

5km VirtToday, somewhere in Oklahoma, a race was held to honor an Oklahoma State Trooper who lost his life in the line of duty almost a year ago.  This has been a labor of love by his mother, and is laying the foundation for the establishment of a scholarship fund in his honor.  When I heard about this last year, I knew I had to run this virtual race.

Originally, I’d planned to run 7.31 miles, which is the distance chosen for the race — Tooper Dees badge number was 731.  However, the snow on the Wildwood Greenway made for a tough slog, so I ended up only completed 6km.  Still, I was happy to have helped honor a life ended too early, and in a senseless accident that was likely preventable.

I loved going out in the snow today, and I definitely learned that I need more practice in the snow before I’ll have any kind of speed in those conditions.  It was clear, and snowy, and icy, depending on where I was on the trail… And it was beautiful.

Race Course