All Hallow’s Eve Romp, 31 October 2013

What: Virtual 5K*

Where: Woburn, Massachusetts (course map)

Who: Me and Colin

Benefited: The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp

Time: 37:15**

Photos: (click to open a larger version) ***

That shirt is actually a size small, despite the fact that I could fit 2 of me in there

That shirt is actually a size small, despite the fact that I could fit 2 of me in there

Recap: First, let’s deal with those pesky asterisks, shall we?

* What the heck is a virtual 5K? That’s what I was asking myself when I first heard about this race, which is part of a holiday series sponsored by For the Love of the Kids. A virtual 5K involves runners from all over the country and/or world pledging to run 3.1 miles in their respective parts of the country and/or world, then logging their times on a website and trusting that everyone else participating actually ran that distance and actually ran it in the time they said they did. In the end it doesn’t really matter, as it’s for charity and personal accomplishment anyway, but at least those of who actually ran will know that our medals will mean something!

** I submitted my time as 37:15, but anyone who clicks on the course map link at the top of this post will see that my time was recorded as 37:18. Let me explain, dear reader. You see, I logged our distance and time by using the MapMyRun app on my phone. When we had run what felt like one-tenth-ish of a mile after the little automated voice announced we had hit the 3-mile mark, I had to unlock my phone and wait for the delay while I paused the workout. That took approximately 3 seconds from the time we stopped, which is why I deducted that time from our “official” time. Don’t even worry about it; totally legit.

*** Colin and I ran our leg of the virtual race after work when it was all dark and stuff, and spent the race dodging trick-or-treaters. Neither of us felt like running in the first place, and the rain, wind, and humidity made us look like real winners once we were done, so there were no action photos. Apologies.

Right, so. The recap. We had intended to run our race at the local high school track, where we would be able to easily keep track of our distance. However, upon arrival we found that the floodlights were off and the track was bathed in darkness. No good. We made our way to Horn Pond, our other favorite running location, purely because we didn’t know where else to go… Horn Pond is mostly unnavigable in the dark and it was pretty pitch black by this point.

We decided to run back and forth along the street portion and just not wander into the woods, which made for some creative route diversions into parking lots to add extra distance. We also decided to tackle the dreaded Water Street hill, which is wicked steep, and which we had recently added to our usual Horn Pond route to add distance and a bit of challenge.

I don’t know if it was the hill, or the slight hesitations as we tried to figure out our route as we ran, or what… but our time and pace was a bit mystifying. Both Colin and I felt like we were pushing the pace (our average is around 11:20, I’d say) in the first mile, only to hear the MapMyRun lady tell us our first mile was actually completed in 12:15. It was even more disheartening as we continued to push the pace, but finished the second mile even slower than the first (12:24). We had no idea what was going on. (By the time the third mile’s pace was announced, we were both focusing so hard on just finishing the 3.1 miles that we didn’t hear her announce a happy 11:17 pace.)

Despite feeling frustrated that our “pace pushing” was turning out to be slower than our normal pace, we were both proud of ourselves for running the full distance without stopping; our mid-week training runs tend to be 2.2 miles or less, so the full 3.1 – without any walking breaks – was reason to be pumped. And, as with other series we’ve attempted, this will give us a good benchmark to try to improve upon!


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