Tentative 2015 Race Schedule

Time for the obligatory 2015 racing schedule post.  I feel like everyone and their mother has been posting these of late, but what’s one more, right?

One of my goals this year is to run 15 races in 2015, so I feel like I need to be much more organized this year than last year, when my only big goal was to complete my first half marathon.  I live in northern Vermont, and unfortunately, there just aren’t that many races to choose from that don’t require a long drive and/or an overnight trip somewhere.  This means that I have to scour the interwebs to find races that are a) affordable, b) close by, and c) fit my training schedule/goal distances.

This schedule is incredibly tentative at the moment, mostly because I’m a commitment-phobe, but also because I’m broke, so I can’t afford to register for races and then not run them.

February 14:  Race Vermont Cupid 5k.  This sounds silly and fun–everyone gets a different colored headband depending on whether they’re single, in a relationship, or not interested, with the idea that maybe some singles can find a love match with a fellow runner.  Obviously this wouldn’t apply to me, but it’s still a fun little shtick, and this race organization doesn’t usually do swag for shorter races, so that’s a nice change.

March 21:  Race Vermont Spring Fling 10k.  This race would fulfill my goal of running an actual 10k race.

March 22:  GMAA Pump it Up 5 miler.  This would be a brand new race distance for me, and therefore an automatic PR, but I’m not sure running a 5 miler the day after a 10k race would be smart.

Early May (not yet scheduled):  Vermont Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k.  I ran this race last year, and it was hands down my favorite race experience of all time.  I raised $1000 for a very deserving charity, and plan to try to beat my amount this year.

Early May (not yet scheduled):  Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge.  I ran this race last year with a bunch of my coworkers, and as long as my company participates again, I will run the race again.  Hooray free race registration!

May 16:  Mt. Tom Run to the Pogue.  I need to pull the trigger on this one soon, because it sells out every year.  This is a scenic, 6.1 mile, semi-trail race that happens down near my parents, so I could make a nice weekend of it without spending a lot.

May 30:  Craft Brew Race.  This is one I REALLY wanted to do last year, but it was scheduled on the weekend of a friend’s wedding, so I had to pass.

June 6:  Girls on the Run 5k.  This is a race that I’d like to volunteer for, which would cross my “volunteer at a race” goal off. I may also see if I can run AND volunteer.

July 12:  Stowe 8 Miler.  This is another one I wanted to race last year, but something prevented me, I can’t remember what.  This would be a new race distance and an automatic PR.

August 1:  GMAA Women’s Round Church 10k.  This seems like a pretty no-frills race, but it would give me a chance to either a) beat my 10k time from the Spring Fling 10k, or b) complete a 10k race if the Spring Fling doesn’t work out.

September 6:  GMAA Labor Day 15k.  This would be a brand new race distance for me, and an automatic PR.

September 20:  Spartan Sprint.  Yeah, we’ve already talked about this.  AAAAAHHH!

September 26:  The Color Run 5k.  I’ve run this a few times.  A nice, easy, non-competitive 5k.

November 6:  runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  This is my big race for the year.  My first runDisney event.  My first “racecation.”  I’ll get to meet my accountabilibuddies.  And right now it’s the only half marathon on my schedule.

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot:  I’m not sure where we’ll be for Thanksgiving this year, but I’m determined to find a Turkey Trot to run after my injury-induced DNS this year.

December 7:  Ri-Ra Santa 5k.  This will be a redemption race after my DNS this year.

So that’s exactly 15 races.  Obviously, some of these may not work out due to scheduling stuff that will come up as the year goes on, so I plan to supplement with virtual races as needed.  There are a few other races I’m keeping an eye on as well, so I’m fairly confident that as long as I stay on top of things, I’ll reach my 15 races in 2015 goal.

How is your 2015 race schedule shaping up?

Do you have any new distances that you’re running?

Are you planning to repeat any races you’ve run before?

Virtual Racing with Jost – Beat the Heat 10k

You may remember me mentioning a virtual 10k race that I did recently.  I wanted to wait until I got my medal before doing a “race recap” and a recap of the Jost experience.  Well, I finally got this baby in the mail, so I guess it’s recap time!

Photo Jul 31, 5 23 10 PM

Jost Running is a company that was started by a mother/daughter duo, and the concept is pretty great.  Each month, they have a new race series (Beat the Heat, Crank it Up, and Home Run are a few recent examples), and you can choose to do a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon.  5k and 10k races are $25, and Half and Full Marathons are $35.  Each race series supports a different charity, so it’s nice to know that your entry fee isn’t just lining someone’s pockets.

I signed up for the Beat the Heat 10k, which benefits the charity Girls on the Run.  GotR is a nonprofit that “inspires girls to take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. It’s a place where girls learn that they can. No limits. No constraints. Only opportunities to be remarkable.” <–from their website.  I was really happy to be supporting such an awesome organization!

How it Works:

  1. Register on the Jost Running website
  2. Print your bib and complete your distance on your own time–morning or night, weekday or weekend, all at once or break it up into chunks, whatever works for you!
  3. Log your finish time on the website, and see how you compare to other finishers (I’m currently in 7th place out of 16)
  4. Take a post-race selfie and tweet it to @JostRunning–they’ll have a great response and mostly likely retweet–they have a very active social media presence
  5. Get your medal in the mail and feel super proud!

I’m really happy with my experience with Jost Running.  The cost is very manageable (especially for the half and full marathons!), and the medals are actually quite nice, unlike some other cheesy virtual race companies I’ve seen.  Also, I’ve been really impressed with the various interactions I’ve had with the company.  There was apparently a delay with my medal, even though I ran on Saturday and received my medal on Thursday (I didn’t notice, because it says on the website that while they try to get it to you before you run, they guarantee delivery no less than one week after you submit your time).  Along with my medal, I received a nice 10k sticker, and a hand-signed note from Cynthia, apologizing for the “delay.”  When I tweeted a thank-you, the company responded with a nice message.  That’s how you do business, folks!

Photo Aug 03, 11 45 01 AM

While virtual races will never replace real races, and it’s hard motivate yourself to race without crowd support and aid stations, it’s a great way to test your limits or run a new distance, support a charity, and get some bling!  That’s really what it’s all about, right?

Race Recap

This was my first time racing a 10k distance, and while it wasn’t a race in the traditional sense, I pushed my pace as if it were actually a race.  I really wanted to hit a sub 60-minute time, but because this was my longest run since the half and I’d never raced this distance before, I tried not to get my hopes up.

I tried to treat it as much like a real race as possible, so I got up early (Beat the Heat, get it?), drank a glass of Nuun and had a TJ’s whole wheat everything bagel thin with sunflower seed butter.  I didn’t really plan a specific route, I just decided to go out along the bike path and turn around once I hit 3.5 miles.

It was sunny, but there was a nice breeze and it wasn’t too hot, so I set out with a pretty decent pace.  I made the unfortunate mistake of deciding to try a new GPS app on my phone, and it was set to give me updates every .62 miles, which threw me for a pretty big loop.  Thankfully, I was able to math enough that I estimated I was on track for a 60ish minute 10k, so I tried to keep my pace consistent.  The bike path along the lake has a few rolling hills, and it was getting pretty warm by the turnaround, so I was very grateful for the water fountain I found in Oakledge park.

I snapped a photo of this really amazing, handicap-accessible tree house that’s in Oakledge park.  There was a cyclist there who was also taking pictures, and he said, “Gosh, if I were a kid I’d LIVE here!”  Me too, friend.

Photo Jul 26, 8 01 47 AM

At about 4.5 miles, I wanted to be done, like really badly.  I was still pushing the pace because I was still on track for my goal, but I was having a tough time.  Out of nowhere the phrase, “The faster you run, the sooner you’re done” popped into my head, and I picked up the pace a bit.  I was having a hard time keeping an eye on my phone for distance and time and not falling on my face, so I ended up finishing with a time of 1:00:17.  This.close. to my goal.  I wish I’d been paying closer attention, because I know I had enough gas to squeak in under 60 minutes, I just honestly didn’t see how close I was 😦  Further argument for splurging on a Garmin…

Really though, I am PYSCHED about this time, even though it was disappointing to be so close to my goal.  I really didn’t think when I started that I would be able to do it, and now I know I can next time!  It’s really exciting to see that I’m getting faster–my hill repeats and 400s are paying off!   I can’t wait to see more improvement over the weeks to come, and see what all this speed work does for my half marathon time 😀

Have you ever done a virtual race?



Check out my “Races” Page

Hello, all!  As I mentioned the other day, I have added a “Races” page with all of the races I’m planning to participate in this year.  Take a look, and if you’re planning to be at one or more of them, get in touch!  Let’s run together!

In other news, the Half Marathon I originally wanted to do, The Charlotte Covered Bridges Half, is scheduled for the same day as the Color Run.  Whomp whomp.  Since it would be completely beyond me  to do both (physically as well as logistically), I have decided that I’d rather do the Color Run that day since it’s such a fun event, and I was planning to get a team together.  This just means I have to find another half to officially sign up for.  If you look at the Races page, you’ll see I’m looking at 2 in October.  At this point, they’re pretty evenly matched regarding which one I might pick.  Only time will tell.

How do you decide which races to sign up for?

The Plan

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I found a training program on Pinterest that looked pretty good, but I needed to alter it a bit because I don’t want to run 6 days a week, and I also really like to get lifting time in at the gym with my boyfriend.  Therefore, I added in another rest day and another cross-training day, leaving me with 2 cross-training days, 2 rest days, and 3 running days per week.  I think this will work for me right now because the half is REALLY far away (either September or November, depending on which one I pick).  As I get closer to the actual race, I can add in more running days as needed, but with at least 6 months to train, this should do:

Half-Marathon Training

Please keep in mind, I am not a trainer or doctor, so I can’t vouch for the safety or efficacy of this training program–this is just what I plan to do.  I would consider myself a novice runner, since I have completed a few 5ks and used to run regularly.  If you are a beginner, you may want to start with a Couch-to-5k or Couch-to-10k program to ease into it.  When I started running, I used Couch-to-5k and it was great!

Also, I’m planning to add a “Races” page with all of the 5ks, 10ks and half-marathons that I plan to participate in this year.  If any of you are in VT and looking for a running buddy or plan to be at one of these events, let me know!