Monday, November 15, 2010

Not Your Average Adventure Virtual Race

As some extra motivation to keep plugging along in my Goofy Challenge training, I "signed up" for the Not Your Average Adventure Virtual Race. There wasn't much to it:


This is a choose-your-own-adventure race – have fun with it! There’s really only one rule (but I’m going to list a bunch of them so it looks more “official”):

RULE #1 - (Almost) anything goes. Please don’t do anything illegal or life-threatening.

RULE #2 – Pick a theme, a distance, and a venue. Feel free to go with some sort of birthday theme :-)…or something to do with the letter P…or, see Rule #1.

RULE #3 – You don’t have to RUN this race. Currently injured athletes are welcome here! Any form of human-powered locomotion will be accepted – kayaking, skating, sledding, bicycling, surfing…see Rule #1.

RULE #4 – But you CAN run a race if you want to. Not feeling all that creative? No worries, you can still win! Just submit a race report from ANY race you do between now and the end of the contest (see below for dates and details). You wanted that NYC Marathon to count for something, right??

Day 1:
I started off my Virtual Race on Saturday with 7 miles. It happened to be the first group training for the Spring Team in Training teams (training for Cap City 1/2 and Country Music full and 1/2) so there was a lot of excitement (and apple cider, donuts, muffins and Halloween candy). We had a great turnout of more than 40 athletes!

The season just started though so the participants were only scheduled for 1-2 miles. I got out to the trail at 7 am so that I could get in 3 miles before the group practice started. Like usual, it was pretty uncomfortable because I decided to run the first 3 instead of walk. Shin splints are probably my biggest annoyance right now. The nice thing about starting early was that it was a beautiful, crisp morning and I had the trail to myself. I did forget my sunglasses though so the 1.5 miles back to the trail head were a little challenging as the sun was still coming up and was right in my line of sight. It's a good thing I am extremely familiar with the trail!

When I got back to the trail head, the Team was already starting to gather. Once everyone got there, myself and the run coach, David, welcomed everyone and got everyone up to speed on how the trainings work. We also drilled into their heads the importance of signing in when they arrive at training but even more importantly, signing out once they are done. If they don't sign out, the coaches have to start calling their emergency contacts and that never turns out well. You can see me in the picture below holding up the sheet and asking if everyone had signed out.

After the teams finished their 2 miles and I had a few pieces of the Halloween candy, a few of us went back out to do another 2 miles so I could finish my scheduled 7 miles. It wasn't all at my race pace and there was a short break after the first 3 miles but I count it as time on my feet and that's really what the Goofy Challenge is all about. It was an easy day though so I was looking pretty refreshed when I got home.

Day 2:
Despite pleading on Facebook in the days leading up to Sunday, and some last ditch efforts on Saturday at the group practice, I couldn't find anyone that was available to join me for even part of my scheduled 15-miler. I charged up the ipod though and headed out at 7:30 am. As I left, I couldn't help but notice the guilty look on The Pilot's face. He's had a cold and couldn't join me on his bike and I felt guilty for leaving him on his own all morning when he didn't feel well. Ugh...still trying to manage the balance of the real world and the training world.

Since I was alone and not sure how much water I would need (it's Indian Summer here so while it was only about 40 when I started, there was the potential for a very warm finish) so I decided on a course that would have me back near my car on 3 different occasions in case I needed a refill or to shed some layers of clothing.

It was cold and damp all morning so the trail was pretty empty. That didn't help with my boredom, but there is something very peaceful about being on a somewhat secluded trail just after most of the leaves have dropped from the trees. (Don't worry mama, I only wear one of my earphones when I'm alone so I can still hear my surroundings and my cell phone is always handy. I do my best to stay safe!)Another cool thing about a quiet morning on the Olentangy Trail is that there isn't much going on to distract the wildlife. There were lots of squirrels and other small wildlife scurrying around in the woods but there were also three deer hanging out just off the trail. They kind of blend in with the fallen leaves and the cell phone camera isn't so great but leave it to The Pilot to help me point them out in the photo.After three hours and 51 minutes, I finally finished 15.2 miles. My last 3 miles were discouragingly slow so I was sure that my average pace was shot. I'm still old school so I only have my $30 Timex Ironman watch and the mileage posted on the trail maps to go off of. No fancy gadget to tell me my pace or exactly how far I've gone, so it takes some general knowledge of the landmarks and some mental gymnastics to figure out that my average pace was pretty close to my intended race pace. I was pleasantly surprised. (I'm aiming for an average pace of 15 minute miles in the full marathon at Goofy). I wasn't quite as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I was after 7 miles but I was still standing so that is success in my book.

Virtual Race Fun Facts
22 miles in 2 days
2 "fun size" Snickers
6 Tropical Punch Shot Blocs
32 ounces of water
5 text messages to The Pilot (progress reports, I'm hungry/bored, etc.)

Virtual Race Sights
Blinding Sun
Lots of leaves
6 different breeds of dogs (yes, I start to count things when I'm bored)
A man wearing denim shorts and running shoes (no shirt), running about 1/4 mile in front of me, swinging his arms wildly. I think he was "boxing?" (First WTF moment of day 2)
A man wearing running pants and a knit sweater while running (2nd WTF moment of day 2)
A squirrel burying his nuts in a hole that was nearly as deep as the squirrel was long (again, I was BORED and started to notice all kinds of things)
2 runners that I passed while walking (I feel both guilty and proud at the same time)

Virtual Race Smells
Leaves! Fall has a very distinct smell that reminds me of playing in leaves as a kid with my brother
Dog poop. bleh.
Exhaust from the cars when the trail goes near a few intersections. bleh.
A couple going for a leisurely stroll around Antrim Lake...while smoking. Smoking should be illegal in ALL public spaces, not just inside. bleh.

Virtual Race Sounds
It was a looooong day on Sunday so the ipod was required.
Lady Antebellum-I Run to You (cliche, I know but it got me moving)
Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man
Muse's entire Resistance album
Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #3
Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #4
Arcade Fire - Une Anne Sans Lumire
(This is when it occurred to me that Arcade Fire does NOT make for good workout music)

Kings of Leon's entire Only By the Night album
Paramore's entire Brand New Eyes album

Thank you, P, over at Adventures of an Average Athlete for suggesting the virtual race! Especially on Sunday, the thought of blogging about my "race" helped distract me from the boredom of my 15-miler!

1 comment:

  1. I love the sights, sounds and smells of your race - SO creative!! I put you in for +2 entries for the race report, *fingers crossed* for being a random winner!! Thanks for playing along! :-)