I will be heading to DC this weekend for the first time since I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2010! I entered the lottery to run in the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler back in December and got picked. DC is a four-hour drive from home, but it’s mainly highways so it goes quickly. I’ll have a full recap next week!
Lately I’ve been participating in an assortment of virtual challenges organized by bloggers I’ve met through Twitter or other blogs. Back in October and November I did the Best Body Boot Camp, which was a great way for me to get comfortable mixing in strength training with my running. The structure of the workouts and the interaction with other participants are great motivation and accountability. I’m currently signed up for the latest round of Boot Camp, however I’ve not been feeling well and haven’t done a workout yet.
In November I signed up for Pile On The Miles, knowing that my training and participation in the Philadelphia Marathon would have me running many, many miles. There wasn’t much participant interaction for this, and the prizes were so-so, which leave me feeling meh about doing it again this year. I posted back in the end of January about the Chilly Challenge which was a very similar structure, but the Facebook group that the organizers created made it more enjoyable overall.
The week after the Philadelphia Marathon I started the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, which, much like Best Body Boot Camp, was fun because of the interaction with other participants. While Amanda provided participants with a weekly WOW (Workout of the Week), there wasn’t a set schedule of workouts like Boot Camp, and you were challenged to take initiative yourself, and to also make more healthy eating decisions. I currently am participating in the Spring Bootie Buster Challenge which is much the same structure and very fun. I have not been doing very good the last couple weeks
Virtual 5ks have been popping up like flies lately and I’ve done two in the last month. For a virtual 5k, you sign up (usually with a registration fee), and run 5k whenever it fits in your schedule within a specific date range. After you run, you report that you finished and after the running window the organizers usually have an assortment of prizes to divvy out, which are typically done in a raffle format so for someone like me that would never win a prize for time, it evens out the playing field. Plus, with training for Cherry Blossom, pretty much any run would count so it was a no-brainer to sign up, contribute to important causes, and cross my fingers that I might win something. The first one I did was Race To Remember which raised funds for the Alzheimer’s Foundation. On a Monday night I made plans to run at the Nor-Bath Trail with my friend Casey and we cranked out the 3.1 miles together. It was fun having someone to run with again and we hadn’t caught up in several weeks.
The next virtual 5k I heard about I immediately took a liking to – the Happy 5k! I heard about it during a Twitter #Fitblog chat that I moderated. The proceeds for this fundraiser go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which I’ve been a supporter of for the past three years. The organizers are a TNT coach and one of her participants. The energy and excitement they have for this event rub off on you! I decided to run this 5k on the Ironton Rail Trail a little over a week ago. I had planned to go to the gym that day but when I stepped outside and realized how nice of a day it was, there was no way I was going to the gym. Since the weather made me so happy, I knew that I was going to do the Happy 5k that day.
As long as my bank account can support it, I hope to do more virtual races during my training for the Marine Corps Historic Half, Ragnar Relay and New York City Marathon! Without having the competitive pressure of real 5ks, and the fact that I do three-mile runs quite often during the week, it will be fun to challenge myself, and maybe try to improve my times!
One final note since I mentioned Ragnar, I’ve committed to doing the 2014 Ragnar Florida Keys next February! A friend texted me a little over a week ago asking for my advice and whether I’d be interested in running with her if she got a team together. I said I probably would but couldn’t give a definite commitment. Last night she let me know that she had nearly two teams together, and was looking for a definite answer. What the hell, you only live once! I love the Keys and it will be a lot of fun to run Highway 1. Oh and I also applied to run the Hood-to-Coast Relay in August with Team Nuun – I will find out on April 17if I’ve been selected. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that they choose me!
The internet is full of healthy living bloggers with challenges for readers – what, if any, have you done? What types of virtual challenges do you enjoy and why? Have you ever organized any?