Fitness Swellness: Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee race recap

Leave a Comment July 2, 2020

Fitness Swellness: Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee month 1 recap

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Running 1,021.68 kilometres sounded like it’d take FOREVER. Now, four weeks into the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, these are some of the key things I’ve realized this month:

Breaking up my runs into several short runs is easier for my mental strength.

When I started this race, I was running once a day. In the latter half of May, I realized I could likely log more mileage and more easily wrap my head around tackling more mileage by doing a few runs a day. Although I’ve become used to running 15k straight, some days it’s just easier for me to tackle it in two runs. And on days I plan to run 21k, which is a distance I will typically dread having to complete, breaking it into two or even three runs simplifies it for me. There’s also the added bonus for being able to bring my dog Billie Jean when I break longer runs into shorter runs; with the heat wave we have already had, I’m reluctant to take her on any run that’s too long (even though she is happy to run for long distances, I worry about heat stroke and the hot pavement). Billie Jean, by the way, has run all except 46 kilometres of May’s 450k, she’s a great runner!

Podcasts are good to listen to if you’re just trying to rack up distance.

I’ve tried listening to podcasts while I run in the past, but I’ve never found them motivating enough for my workout. But now, since my only goal is logging distance and I’m running at whatever pace feels good, podcasts are proving to be a good listen. I’ve run most of this month without listening to anything (mostly because I’m having earphone issues–I think the jack on my phone is a bit broken, and my phone won’t connect to my bluetooth earbuds), but when I am able to get my earphones to work, I’ve listened to Fake Doctors Real Friends (a new podcast from Zach Braff and Donald Faison from the tv show Scrubs), Spilled Milk and Hottest Take.

Logging mileage is easier than running a marathon.

I of course knew this in theory, but I still entered this virtual race nervous about being able to complete the 1,021.68 kilometres, but it dawned on me early on in the race that I don’t have to concern myself about pace. So I run each run at a comfortable pace (which changes from day to day; if I take it very easy and run a shorter distance one day, I notice I can run a faster pace comfortably the next day) and although my legs do feel tired some days, and that I often feel like I’m always at about the 30k mark of a marathon (which is to say I’m starting to feel fatigued but I’m not quite yet cursing my chosen sport), it’s never close to feeling like how I do in the last few kilometres of a marathon. I’ve adapted to logging mileage and run streaking so well, in fact, that I changed my goal for this race and the month of May a few times.

Where do I stand one month into the race?

And how much easier is it? I’ve somehow managed to complete 450 kilometres in the month of May. That’s nearly double the most mileage I’ve ever run in a month. I ran week 1 moderately, but quickly became obsessive about the race, and all the days off I said I’d take? Well, I haven’t taken a day off yet. I used to say I would work in rest days…and then I see myself fall in the standings when I run only 10k, and I go right back to a minimum of 15 or 16k per day. It didn’t help matters that I believe Laz posted that the first 3,000 finishers get a special type of prize or recognition; I started gunning for top 3,000 and I’ve managed to work my way into the top 3,000 as of the past week.

What I am scared about…

I can’t deny that I am scared of getting injured just from sheer overuse. The repetitive action can’t be that great on my body and I’ve been researching stress fractures. I feel great so far, but I have deliberately pulled back my pace so that I’m always running at a long slow distance pace or a recovery pace. I’m paying close attention to how my body feels, and have even done a few stretches (halfheartedly, but any stretches at all is still significant, given my aversion to stretching!). I’m also trying to get more sleep by getting into bed right after my nighttime runs (which will always translate into me falling asleep several hours earlier than if I’d parked myself on the couch with some Netflix).

Month #2, let’s do this!

I’m 450 kilometres in, with 571,68k to go! This race may not take me all summer after all…What will I do the rest of the season now that it doesn’t seem like fall marathons will be held?!

Leave a Comment June 1, 2020

Fitness Swellness: My goal for the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee

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When I started the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, I fully intended on using the full four months (the race is from May 1st until August 31st) because anything more than the 8.5k daily (or approximately 60k per week) sounded very close to impossible.

I started week 1 with this schedule in mind. I’d just run nearly every day in April to complete 200k and I was kind of regretting having jumped right into a race that would have me running nearly daily all summer.  So I’d run 8.5k one day, but the next if I was tired I ran 6k, figuring I’d make up the distance with a longer run on a day with nice weather later in the week. I was very conscious of not falling behind on distance because it could quickly add up and become impossible to complete the race in time.

Then came week 2. And logging my miles into the GVRAT system, I saw where I stood amongst the 19,000 other runners, and well, that competitive side kicked in. I regularly upped my mileage, and now my usual run is 15k, and I’ve taken no days off. Taking a rest day usually means running 10k at a pace that feels easy.

And my goal for the month of May has changed over these past three weeks as well. I initially planned on 250 kilometres; then when I realized the race is actually 1021.68 kilometres (because that’s the actual distance across Tennessee) I added on the extra 22k to May, making my goal 272k. But then with my increased mileage, I realized I’d easily reach that, and I upped it to 300k, then 322k.

So this photo, which I took about a week and a half ago, was intended as a photo for reaching my goal at the end of the month. Except I’ve just reached 322k today, May 24. As for this upcoming last week in May, I’m going to stick to roughly the distances I’ve been logging daily, depending on how my body feels. Today and last Sunday, I can tell my legs need some rest after the 21k I’ve logged two Saturdays in a row.

The race has become a really welcome distraction in my life during the coronavirus pandemic, and my overall goal for the race is now to complete the 1,021.68 kilometres as soon as I can, within reason. I’m wary of injuring myself (this is more mileage I’ve ever run in fixed period of time, and run streaking is also something I haven’t done much of, and knock on wood, I’ve never had a running injury before and I don’t care to have my first injury now).

I’ll recap May at the end of the month, but right now I’ll continue my routine (which besides running, sometimes multiple times a day, translates to so much showering and running-gear laundry!).

Leave a Comment May 24, 2020

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