Two Virtual Races Under My Belt… In Two Consecutive Weekends

I spent some quality time with my favorite running buddy yesterday, and he thanked me with a big ol’ kiss!

JJ and I completed the Pride Stride 5K yesterday, which was a virtual race, which meant we could run it anywhere we wanted, and then submit our time to their website. Virtual races have become much more common since the pandemic started, and at first I was resistant. That’s because I really love the energy and camaraderie that comes with attending races in person, with hundreds or thousands of people gathered around a common exercise goal.

Those sorts of gatherings, however, are not really allowed right now, so virtual races will have to do. I set a goal in September to get back into racing by signing up for five virtual races in the next six months, and I’m happy to share that I’ve completed the first two!

Because of the vast number of races I’ve done in the past (120+), I’m on all sorts of race organizer mailing lists, so I didn’t have to look farther than my own email inbox to find these first two. The Pride Stride 5K is a nationwide event, with local chapters hosting a running race that benefits local LGBTQ organizations. Perfect.

I chose to run my 5K along the Paint Creek Trail, about 20 minutes away. The Paint Creek Trail is 9.5 miles long, and connects downtown Rochester, Michigan, with downtown Lake Orion. It used to be a railroad, but now it’s a hiking and biking trail, with a bunch of fishing spots along the way, since it follows Paint Creek for most of the route.

Remember how I hiked the entire length of the Clinton River/Macomb Orchard/Air Line Trail? After finishing that 103-mile challenge, I started a new, much shorter challenge of hiking all of the Paint Creek Trail, which is just 19 miles round-trip. And, for this 5K, I was finishing up the final segment of that project.

It was pretty cold yesterday morning, about 37 degrees, so I was bundled up and moving pretty slowly. But I ran the whole 3.1 miles, with only one brief pause for JJ to poop. I also saw this sign, which should belong in a horror movie, where dumb teens ignore it and meet grisly, gory fates.

Here’s my Garmin summary of my race:

I actually think I ran significantly more than a 5K, because, on the map above, I didn’t start at the green arrow. I actually started closer to the red arrow, and I think it took a while for my Garmin to find a satellite or something to properly locate me. I’m not sure, but here’s where I parked and actually started running.

It doesn’t matter, really, though. I just do these for fun, and to hold myself accountable, and I’d rather run more than a 5K than less.

Anyway. As you saw, I finished in 37:25. I submitted my time on the website, but didn’t even bother looking at the leaderboard, because I didn’t really care. I did, however, take a few more selfies with JJ.

That’s the only good one I got before he realized I was sweaty and started licking me all over.

The day wasn’t over, though! We still had some ground to cover, to finish out my Paint Creek Trail challenge, so we switched from running to hiking and kept going. We came across a pond, where JJ became enraptured by the fish he could see underwater.

We hiked 3.5 miles, all the way to the Lake Orion trailhead for the Paint Creek Trail, and then back to my car!

Here’s a map of the entire Paint Creek Trail. I’ve hiked (or run) all of this, broken in segments, in the past few months.

But wait, there’s more! I ran another virtual 5K last weekend, too! That race was called Conquer the Overlook, and it’s a virtual version of a race I did in California four years in a row. It’s probably the hardest 5K I’ve done, because it’s all hills. You run down a huge hill, then back up it, and then down again, and then up a 282-step stairway to the finish line. (Read my recaps here, here, here, and here.)

They couldn’t hold the race this year, because mass gatherings aren’t allowed in Southern California, and plus, I live 2,000 miles nowadays anyway. So I set out to do a virtual version where I would run a 5K, and then do some stairs.

But… last weekend turned out be very cold and damp, so I decided I would complete this virtual 5K at the gym, where I could run on the treadmill, and then easily transfer to a StairMaster for the stairs.

Gyms only reopened in Michigan about 4 or 6 weeks ago, with reduced capacity and lots of social distancing. I had never switched my gym membership to a gym near the new house I moved into earlier this summer, because all the gyms were closed anyway, so this race was the perfect reason to go get set up at a new gym.

There’s a Planet Fitness location about 7 minutes from my house, so I just transferred my existing Planet Fitness membership there, and was ready to go.

In honor of the hill that the race is normally held on, I ran the entire 5K on an incline. Then, once I hit 3.1 miles, I hopped off, sanitized the treadmill, and climbed for seven minutes on the StairMaster. I calculated that I need to climb 19 “floors” on the StairMaster to reach my 282-step goal, but I did a few extra, and hit 22.

Between the StairMaster and the Treadmill, I was active for almost 45 minutes on the nose.

Two virtual races done, three more to go! The fun thing about virtual races is that I can do any race anywhere in the world… so if you hear about awesome or fun events, let me know! My one caveat is that I’m only going to do virtual races where they send you a medal. (These two medals are in the mail!) If I’m paying for what is essentially my own workout, than I want some hardware out of it!

Keep it up, David!


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One Response to Two Virtual Races Under My Belt… In Two Consecutive Weekends

  1. Sarah says:

    Amazing David! Nice job! You are inspiring me to try and run again!

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