Tag Archives: virtual races

Race #43 – Jedi Challenge 5K

Summer has arrived in Da Lou.  This week, it’s mid-90s for highs, with mornings starting in the mid-70s.  With that kinda heat, I’m left with morning runs, which puts me into “weekends only” mode until this weather breaks, and cooler temperatures return.

Last night, I decided that I would get the Jedi Challenge virtual race checked off the list today — it seemed like my only chance this week to pull it off.  Do you know how hard it is to get up at 5:15am to get ready to run at 6am?  🙂

That’s one of the cool things about this quest of mine, though.  While I’m not a fan of getting up early like that, it’s an awesome feeling to get home and cleaned up, realizing that the day is just starting, and I’ve already got miles under my feet.  That’s a great feeling, and worth every lost wink of sleep.

It was definitely hot this morning, and I started working up a pretty good sweat pretty quickly.  However, I had one new thing on my side.

Two weeks ago, I put a new Garmin running watch on my wrist (a 920XT — more on that another time) that will sync through my iPhone.  However, carrying my iPhone isn’t always convenient.  I have a SpiBelt to help with that, but it’s a little constricting, and I’d rather have my phone in my pocket  Of course, that means securing the phone so it won’t fall out, and that means zippered pockets.

Enter Zippy Sports.

I found these guys on Amazon, and started looking at them pretty closely.  Looking at their blog, I see that their shorts are American-made, and that they’re runners.  It seems like there are a bunch of running products out there, with some zoomie-zoom runner behind it.  These guys are faster than me, but are just normal folks out running, and I dig that.

I wound up with a pair of gray shorts from them, and took them out for a test run this morning.  They were light, didn’t soak up a bunch of heat, and have two wonderful zippered pockets.  The pockets extend toward the front, so my phone stayed on the front of thigh, and didn’t move around.  Perfect!

The other thing I liked about these new shorts was how they fit across my belly.  I carry a little extra weight — something I’m working on! — but beyond that, I have a little bulging belly scar tissue from my surgeries when I was fighting colon cancer.  These shorts don’t stretch too tight across my lower belly, and frankly, sorta give my belly some support as I’m chugging down the trail.  These are winners, and I will have more!

I was telling Darla this weekend that I’ve done fifteen races in the last nine weeks or so.  That’s just amazing to me.  A little over three years ago, I was still on the mend from colon cancer, and just barely decided to do a little running.  I’ve already run more races this year than I ran all of 2012, 2013 and 2014.  I think I’m hooked.

And I get why I do it.  This crazy race to run races plays right into my obsessive nature.  It’s measurable, has a collecting aspect to it, and the only person I’m competing with is me.  It doesn’t hurt that I’m seeing other benefits.  For example, I’m down about twenty pounds over the last two months.  Part of that is paying attention to my diet, but I know that putting 6-10 miles a week under my feet certainly doesn’t hurt!

My next scheduled race is the Wheels and Heels 5K in Washington MO on Saturday.  See ya then!

(This race was managed by Virtual Nerd Runs, and benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.)

Race Course

Race #37 – The Puppy Run 5K

Another virtual race in the books!

I’d had a few question marks about putting this race on the schedule.  I had no idea how my knees and stamina would be this weekend after the Hospital Hill duals last week.  As it ends up, all the races this year have (apparently) made a difference, and my recovery seems quicker, even after abusing my feet and knees like I did last weekend.

Last night, I vowed I’d get up and run this morning.  Yesterday, I awoke early (5:30 or so), thought about running, and then rolled over and slept for THREE MORE HOURS.  Now, I believe that if your body sleeps, you probably needed it… but, gee whiz!  I wasn’t gonna let today slip away from me, and suffer from a lack of miles.

So 6am came around this morning, and after a slow wake up — and a couple of snuggles from Bailey — I got up, and started prepping.  Remember a few weeks ago that I’d mentioned treating virtual race days just like regular race days?  I’m still doing that, and it really puts the event ahead in perspective.  I guess it’s akin to pro athletes getting their game face on, physically and mentally preparing themselves for what’s to come.

Girded up in all my running armor (there’s a contradiction, eh?!), I stepped out into the sunlight… and found a icky, humid airmass out in the sunshine.  Shades of the Hospital Hill 5K.  Blecch!  I got going though, and while the air was tougher, I once again found the course to be moving beneath my feet, just like I was flying.  One kilometer, then two, and suddenly I was at the turnaround point.

That’s been the beauty of doing these races every weekend or so.  This was my sixteenth race of this year, and that frequent activity is making these races get easier and easier.  I’ve been bemoaning not finding more speed so far this year, but I think what I’ve found is even more important:  determination.  And that’s been key for running so many races already in 2015.

I’ve been asked why I would do these virtual races.  I know me, and setting a “collectible” goal out there hits my brain pretty well, and grabbing these finisher medals is kinda a Pokemon thing for me… gotta collect ’em all!  That’s what gets me out there, and getting out there is what’s important.  It’s healthier for me, and it gives me a tangible thing that I can chase after.  And given that there’s not always races around here I can get to, this keeps my feet on the pavement in between racing events.

And I know there’s a population of real runners out there who believe that a “finisher” medal isn’t worth having, advocating that the only medals worth having are those you win for placement in 1st, 2nd or 3rd.  That’s definitely an opinion.  It’s not mine.

Words to Live By
Words to Live By
You see, I do earn my medals.  I run the same miles, sometimes on the same courses, and my miles, although slower, are for the same distance as their medals.  I’d even wager that those of us “back of the pack” folks are probably putting together a bigger effort than the elite runners at the front.  They know they can do this, and quickly.  A 5K is like a sprint for some of these folks, finishing in less than twenty minutes.  For those of us who are moving a lot slower, and carrying many more years and pounds than the folks in the front, the determination to finish is higher, and beyond the sense of accomplishment in finishing, having that medal waiting at the end is a tangible result of our toil and sweat.

As one of the signs at Hospital Hill last weekend said, I’m not here to compete, I’m here to complete.

And that’s what’s kept me on the road this year.  And next weekend is the All-American 5K on Father’s Day.  I’ve never run this race before, but I’ve been led to believe that this is one of the fastest races in Da Lou, with a one-way, mostly downhill course.  Can’t wait to give it a shot!

Race #34 – Runner’s Day 5K

OK, so I really believe that an awful lot of virtual runs are designed to celebrate holidays and celebration days that don’t really exist.  Frankly, though, if you dangle a medal in front of me, I’m ok with both us pretending that there’s an Opossum Freedom Day, and I’ll run that 5K.  If you’d asked me about National Running Day prior to this year, I woulda put it in that category.

However, there’s a website.  And, an easy search through Uncle Google shows scads of events on/around the first Wednesday in June that celebrate this crazy obsessive sport I’ve fallen into.

And of course, the Moon Joggers folks (through their sister-site, Virtual Run Events) had a virtual race to celebrate the runner.  They had me at medal.  🙂

The mantra for this race became “I chose wisely.”

I planned to run this on Sunday (yesterday), not knowing that for the last weekend in May, Da Lou would be enjoying morning temperatures in the 50s, highs in the 60s and loads of cloud cover.  I stepped out, and couldn’t believe my luck with the weather.

Unfortunately, I had some bad luck with my Garmin.  For whatever reason, it had a tough time finding the birds to track my position, speed, etc.  I waited ten minutes, and finally gave up on it, and started my run.

My intent was to take this run pretty easy, and do a fair amount of walking.  I knew the Hospital Hill twins loomed ahead in just six days, and I didn’t want to burn through my fuel ahead of that monumental pair of races.  I wanted a good, successful day, and to further stack the deck, I took the course I found last weekend that was so wonderful.

I got on my horse, and moved along at a pretty good clip.  In fact, it seemed like I reached the halfway point really, really quickly.  With the Garmin only figuring out my position about 20 minutes in, I had no idea what kind of pace I was keeping, but it seemed fast.  Once the Garmin woke up, I saw that I was doing 10min/km, even through the slight hills.  This was way faster than I’d expected.

It seemed like no time, and I turned into the subdivision, running most of the last bit (including where Darla shot my photo, above).  I looked at my watch, and I saw that I was just a touch above fifty minutes.  I had knocked over SIX MINUTES off my time on that course from last weekend.  I was stunned.

So, I set myself up with a great mental “win” in preparation for next weekend.  All my gear — including my goofy body — worked as expected, and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Next weekend is Hospital Hill in Kansas City, and I’m really hoping for results every bit as good as yesterday’s Runner’s Day 5K.  Last year, I did the 5K in 52:22, and my intention is to bust that time this year!

Race Course: