Virtual Race Running – My New Favorite Thing

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Virtual Race RunningIn 2015, I ran my first virtual race.

I joined last years virtual race to give myself motivation for running a bit faster and to have a purpose (other than the general exercise of course) to hit a five-kilometer (5K) or 3.11 mile distance.  I got my very first medal, and there was a small portion of my entry fee that went toward a charity called “Girls on the Run.” My first Medal 112115

That virtual race was through an organization called Run the Edge.

After that virtual race, I found out about online running communities, virtual challenges, virtual running partners – you name it; if you don’t want to get to know someone but want to have a committed running partner, he or she is out there for you!  You just have to find that special person….

Anyway, as I write this post, I am training to run my body for 13.1 miles, or what is better known as a half-marathon.  I have never run one before, and I’m doing it to cross it off my bucket list.

You can see my general training plan here: January 2016 Run Goal Update.

I’m getting all the wonderful health benefits that comes with a complete and total lifestyle change, and I hope to keep it up well into the years of when my growing children leave the house.

Virtual races have become an important part of my “not getting bored” with racing plan.

I have chosen a 12-week preparation plan, which includes running four times a week, for a minimum distance of 3 miles, and other mileage ranging from 5 miles, 6 miles to the eventual 11 miles.  I’ve enjoyed the plan immensely and it appears to be working, but the chance to earn a medal for all these times I’m running for “training purposes” has been an extra bonus that has motivated me in a way I can’t explain – it’s just that much more fun.

This past month, this was a popular topic in a Facebook running group I’m in, and I’m writing this post primarily for my future self, and anyone else that stumbles upon it looking up places and links for Virtual Races.

Here are the sites I have verified (as of the date of this blog post) that have virtual races one can sign up for, pay the entry fee and get options sent to he or she, such as shirts, medals, or miscellaneous race bling.

Run the Edge: This is the virtual site that started it all for me.  In November of 2015, I paid for my first medal for the “Hug a Runner” challenge and some of the fee went toward a program called Girls on the Run.  This year, I joined the 2016 miles in 2016 virtual race, as a husband and wife team with the love of my life.  I’m looking forward to doing their “Selfie Challenge” in the summer, as I’m one of those runners that loves to takes selfies on my runs.

Fit Fam: I signed up for the PI day 5K challenge.  Some of the fees benefit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education and I’m hoping to eat a slice of pie the same day I do this run.  On purpose, of course.

Make Yes Happen: Available Virtual Races include the Race to Oz, Escape the Shire-Journey through Middle Earth and Black Friday Half.

Running on the Wall: They have a Virtual Race part of their website, but they also sell a significant amount of runner swag and bling, and great gifts for runners.

Piece by Piece Virtual Run Medal

This is the medal for the Virtual Strides website “Piece by Piece” race, benefiting the Autism Speaks organization.

Virtual Strides: Like the “Make Yes Happen” website above, this site gives money to charity with the fees collected.  There is a “Piece by Piece” virtual run in early February with a chance to win a $50 gift card to the site, and the charity benefited is Autism Speaks.

US Road Running: This site has a “Boston Strong” medal that I’m interested in getting for a 5K, 10K or a half.

Gone for a Run: This is where I signed up for my “I Love 2 Run” virtual race in February.

Hogwarts Running Club: If you love the Harry Potter Series, like REALLY, REALLY LOVE the series, this is the club for you.  The virtual races and the medals are all associated with Harry Potter themes, and I may sign up for a race just to say I’ve done one.

Will Run for Bling: And Charity….  This site currently has a couple races that are available, and has past events that I hope they do again this year, especially the Galaxy Run and the Run Now, Wine Later Race.  Both of those are right up my alley!

Here’s a ton more that I verified the links for, but didn’t even scratch the surface on checking out the medals/bling/charities.  I guess that’ll be for a later date….

Love 2 Run Swag 2016My next virtual race is for Valentine’s Day, called the “I Love 2 Run” race, and it’s only 2.14 miles.  I plan on incorporating the distance into one of my scheduled runs for the week.

You don’t have to run with other people to get medals.  This was a great start for me.  I didn’t feel the pressure of running with other people in a race that I wasn’t sure if I was even going to finish.  With virtual races, I feel all the joy of finishing purpose-filled runs, with some of the fee going to various charities, and I have something to show for all the running time I’m investing in my life.

I hope this post encourages you to get started on any sort of exercising. Even walking counts for many of these challenges.  Just getting the time/mileage in is the important part.

Blessings to you this week!


No longer a hustle – Now a run

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Run, Run, Run - Quote by Jose HarrisAs a “newbie” getting fit fanatic, I have a new appreciation for running.

The few times I have actually jogged, (cause it’s really not “running” as I think of it) I see how many calories one can burn by doing this rather than just walking.  Even riding a bike burns less calories over the same distance.

My husband found this out by tracking his jog and comparing it to a long bike ride over the course of a couple of days.  He jogged for 2.5-miles and burned over 600 calories, and compared it to his biking 8-miles and burned only 500+ calories.  It was a really good object lesson for the both of us.

The few times I have tried jogging, I started jogging until I felt kind-of sick.  That’s when I knew it was time to start walking and take a drink of water.  It was harder than I thought!  As I felt better, I would start to jog again, and instead of feeling sick, I would feel out of breath and would start walking again.  I would continue this cycle until my goal of 30-minutes of working out was up, and of course, I felt so proud of myself and good after the exercise (like everyone says you will.)

If anything that this 30-days of Hustle Challenge has been for me its to keep my goal in mind.

I know why I am doing it.

So today’s question to us was “How?”The paperwork to do this thing....

My three answers on how will I accomplish this goal are:

(1) I will read through the paper work and get familiar with it.

(2) I will plan a day (one for now) to hang out with my mom to work on the paper work.

(3) I will talk to my family about the decisions, keeping my brother, husband and even my dad in the loop so that no one is surprised, and build up a support system to keep my goal in mind.

I think I figured out today that I am slightlly ashamed that we are doing this.  It seems like no one talks about it, but everyone who is supportive also seems to know how important it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been “running” all this time with her sickness, knowing about the diseases, knowing that she is going to pass, sooner than the rest of us, etc.

But it hasn’t been as effective as one would think it is.  Being in denial seems easier.

Of course, that’s not running efficiently because I’m not getting anywhere, either.

[Another big sigh.]

This is hard.

I know, I know…. I’ll look up and feel good about it in the end.