I’m a little behind on the race recaps. I want to get one up for the Turkey Trot I ran on Thanksgiving and also the Reindeer Run I did the week after that, but I ran a Virtual 5k TODAY, so I’m more inclined to write about that one right now. Chronological order isn’t really that important, is it?
My plan for today was to run a hanukkah race that I ran last year called the Run-a-Latke 5k. The race was fun and had the best post race food I had ever eaten, and I was looking forward to running it again this year. But, at the last minute I decided not to sign up. I had hoped to run the race with Jeff and his sisters, but he’s been sitting out due to a knee problem, and with all the craziness of this time of year his sisters were both busy. While I originally planned to just run it alone, I opted not to because it’s a very family oriented race and I thought I’d feel weird being a loner. Plus after several busy weeks, not having any plans was sounding real nice. Luckily, as I was reading through my favorite running blogs last night, I was reminded that Kristen over at Run Away With Me was hosting a Virtual 5k the very next day! (today!) It couldn’t have been more perfect timing. 🙂
I got up this morning around 7 to celebrate Amy Christmas with Jeff. We always celebrate early because we travel for the holiday. I get to open presents early, I love it! (note: I give Jeff hanukkah gifts and one christmas gift, he gives me christmas gifts and one hanukkah gifts). He really outdid himself this year…I got a selk’bag! So, after opening gifts I sat around on the couch in my bag, reading blogs.
After printing my race bib and having a nutritious breakfast of a banana and some cherry coke zero, I was eventually able to get out of my bag and into some running clothes. I dug out the hole punch and some safety pins and attached my bib before heading out the door. I felt a little silly wearing a bib out on a solo run around the neighborhood, but in all honesty, I’m sure it’s not the strangest thing I’ve worn running.
On my way out the door, Jeff asked if I was going to try and PR and I immediately said no. I was expecting a virtual race to be fun, but not really “race-y”, so I had no real intentions to treat it like a real race. But by the time I was standing outside waiting for a GPS signal, I had completely changed my mind. Even though I wasn’t going for a PR (I’m not really in shape for that), I decided to push just as hard as I would in a normal race.
When I had a signal on my watch, I quickly crossed the street, pressed the button and was off! In typical racing fashion, I took off like a bat outta hell, and was struggling before I even hit the quarter mile mark…right on! The slight climb at the beginning of the run ended up being a blessing because it forced me to slow down and not be a crazy person before I’d done any damage.
The first mile flew by pretty quickly, with only a short stop at one intersection to wait for a light. Unfortunately, my watch lost it’s signal at some point and I hit the one mile mark (on my watch) before the actual one mile mark (that I know from landmarks). I took note of my actual one mile time: 8:34/mile, so I could add on a little extra for my official time.
Mile two was quite a bit more difficult than mile 1 as it included several hills. The first hill ends at a stoplight and I was really looking forward to taking a quick breather while waiting to cross.
Unfortunately Lucky for me there were no cars around to force me to stop.
Why on earth I’d chosen a hilly route when I get to pick the course is beyond me, but that’s what I did, at least for mile 2. At least I got to enjoy some downhills along with all the up, and my mile time, while slower than the first mile, was still under 9 min/mile (8:59/mile to be exact!)
Going into mile 3, I was really feeling it. My “winter running streak” legs were probably wondering what I’d gotten them into. They haven’t felt fresh and bouncy in at least a week, and now I was asking them to sprint it out to the finish! In a a race with no one else around, no less.
I slowed a bit early in the mile due to some walkers taking up the entire sidewalk, and then had a short downhill. Although, I was initially annoyed that these people were taking up the whole sidewalk as I thundered toward them gasping for breath, it was probably a good little break before starting the final climb – a gentle incline about half a mile long. If I had been doing a regular run, I would have absolutely, no question about it, stopped on that last hill. But, by golly, this was the Solstice Sprint 5k, and even though I couldn’t see them I knew there were other people racing. So I thought about that to distract myself, and kept running until I hit 3.1 miles!
My 3rd mile rang in under 9 min/mile, too although I don’t remember exactly what it was, I’d have to check my watch. And my finishing time clocked in at 26:29. Because my first mile was off, I’m recalculating that to add in the extra time it took to hit the one mile marker, leaving me with a finishing time of 27:07!
Not bad! I was very pleased with my time, and really enjoyed my first experience at a virtual race. It was cool watching twitter all day and seeing some other people finishing the race as well, and I was pleasently surprised how race-like the run felt even though it was just a solo jaunt through the neighborhood. Thanks Kristen for putting it on!
Have you ever done a virtual race – what did you think? Are you going to run out and buy a person shaped bag to lounge around in? I highly recommend it.