I've been doing a lot of virtual races this year. I've always been kind of on the fence about them--I get plenty of opportunities to do live races, but I have to say that the virtual races have all been fun and motivating. This one, #5 for the year, the Road Shark Virtual 5 miler, was the first one that actually pushed me to hit my goal pace.
I had a blazing fast speedwork run on Thursday, with sub 8 minute miles. But that was not a race. If it was, I would have finished with the pace I ran for today's race, 8:45. Because between each mile repeat, I get to stop and walk, which I do for about 30-60 seconds. That's the nature of speedwork. You go all out for the set distance, and then you recover. Briefly. I even stopped for water after mile 4. In the interest of full disclosure, I have my Garmin set to stop when I do. So sometimes, my paces don't accurately reflect actual time on the road. It really depends on what workout I'm doing for that day. But when I do these virtual races, I make an effort to simulate an actual race and I don't stop.
This morning on the training plan I had 5 miles at marathon pace. I wanted an 8:45 min/mile average pace. I looked at the weather--it was perfect: 65 degrees, low humidity, bright sunshine--and took my sore legs outside to get a signal on the Garmin. CrossFit this week took a toll on me!
Once the signal finally locked in, I slowly headed down the street, willing those really sore legs to loosen up. Even with all the foam rolling and stretching I did, I was tight and sore. I haven't had a run start out easy since before we did that strength cycle. Ouch. Thinking about all the benefits to come from that hard work, I pushed through the pain. Money in the bank, right?
About a half mile in, I felt things start to loosen up, and the legs moved much easier. I picked up the pace. Listening to my music, I moved along the frontage road towards that busy suburban arterial that borders my neighborhood.
For such an early hour--630 am on a Saturday--I was surprised by all the traffic! The road is being resurfaced, and the crew was hard at work when I ran by. Not something you see on a race course, there are some interesting distractions on the virtual run! After the first mile, I turned onto the sidewalk back into my neighborhood.
Lots of people were up walking their dogs. I saw a couple of my neighbors and waved hello. But no stopping to chat. I was racing, even if no one knew it!
I rounded through my route, along the other busy road that also borders my neighborhood, and headed into the large park where there's water. I assessed my thirst and sweating--I felt good. The low humidity was really a plus today, and I decided not to stop. At the south end of the park, a large group of cyclists was getting ready to roll. They all greeted me with a wave, and passed ahead of me. I decided to take the frontage road home for that last mile instead of weaving through the neighborhood streets.
Good thing, because I saw another neighbor walking his new dog. Mud, the new dog, is a pit bull and is bursting with energy. The last time I stopped to say hi, the dog lunged at my neck. I'm pretty sure he wanted to puncture my jugular, just for the blood. Ok, maybe not, but my neighbor just laughed when the dog jumped on me, and told me, "oh, he's just a puppy". Yeah, right. A puppy who wants to kill me! I don't know about you, but if someone brings a dog to a shelter and it's a pit bull....clearly, they had problems controlling the dog. Maybe not a great candidate for adoption. Thoughts for another post. We've got our blog link up "That Time of the Month" coming up. Hint, hint...
Anyways, glad for my impromptu detour, I reflected on all the thoughts I had on this run. I tried to shake them off, focus on the run, and pick up the pace. Mile 4 was slow. Tom Petty's Running Down a Dream came on, and that got me moving again. I thought about the lyrics, and how great they were for a runner chasing a dream. Think I can make my goal at Chicago? I do. I can. I will. God willing.
I hit 5 miles right at the intersection of the frontage road and my street. I hit stop on the Garmin, and walked the last half block home. Assessed how I felt. Pretty darn good.
I am so glad I had committed to this virtual run. The distance of 5 miles and the fact that it was a race kept me accountable, especially because I was so tired from a very intense training week. Plus there was that bling to earn. It would have been easy to just make this another 5 mile run. But I hit that goal pace of 8:45. On the dot. It's all about confidence at this point. I have to believe that I can do this thing.
Yep! I can and I will!!!!
Gone For A Run provided me with a free entry and swag in exchange for a blog post about the race. But all the opinions are mine.
I'm linking this post with The Silvah Lining and her weekly Race Recap link up! Got a race to share? Link it up! You know we all love reading those recaps.