Tag: #GVRAT1000k

Fitness Swellness: 1,000 Miles Back Across Tennessee race recap

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This Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee been one full of revelations for most of the 19,500+ participants worldwide. I see it in all of the posts to the Facebook group: so many of us wondered if we could ever finish this 1,1021.68k race in four months…and so many of us have surprised ourselves with what we have been (and/or continue to be) capable of.

Last night, I passed the 1,000 mile mark of my race back across Tennessee. Which means from July 1 to July 30th, I completed 561.9 kilometres, for a GVRAT total of 1,613.8k, bringing me just a couple of kilometres past the first milestone for the BAT portion of the race.

When I finished the Race Across Tennessee on June 28th (58 days into the race for me—here’s my race recap), I knew I’d continue with the BAT portion of the race; after all, I’d thought I’d have this race to focus on all summer, not just May and June. And although my initial plan was to just take it a lot easier and aim for August 31st to complete 1,000 miles…on July 2nd, I was already texting my friend Aylin (who’s also running the race) the math I’d done to see how many kilometres I’d have to do daily to complete the entire BAT (that is, an entire 1,021.68k again) by the deadline of August 31st. “Well, that escalate quickly,” I messaged her, when I caught myself already planning on doing the entire BAT.

Forced to focus on active recovery

After I finished the RAT, I took three days off of running, and walked. As I mentioned in my race recap, for the BAT, I planned to include walking miles in the race. This has always been allowed in the race, and encouraged by Laz, but I was stubborn and a stickler for making it a running race for myself, and so I only counted running miles for the first 1,021.68k.

And that kind of wrecked my legs. Not that I got injured, but my exhaustion was obvious whenever I walked with friends (slow pace, ginger steps and wincing as we hiked uphill or took any stairs). So I decided to include the purposeful walking miles that are permitted as per the race rules, but I planned to do short runs as well, and I resumed that three days after completing the RAT.

It was a good 16 days after I completed the RAT that I realized how intensely sore and tired I continued to be. I’ve run 14 marathons and never ever have my legs been that ache-y so long after a race, and so for the next eight days, I only walked. Which was a nice break from running EXCEPT WALKING TAKES SO LONG. My walking pace is generally leisurely, and it’s been incredibly humid and hot in Toronto, so I slow down even more then. I’m honestly not clear on how people have only been walking this race (Are you speed walkers by sport? If not, this is hours and hours out of your day!). If I’m walking and not distracted and intent on getting to my destination efficiently, I probably walk the average, which is about 5k/hour. In the heat and generally no time limit and tired legs, I’m probably  more at a 4k per hour pace walking. Which means I’ve spent hours daily walking in the month of July.

The eight days focused on active recovery were much needed, though, and my legs felt much better (although still tired) once I started running again on July 20th. And I wanted to get back to including some runs (to have fewer long walks to slog through) and because in typical obsessive fashion, it irked me that I was on track with my training schedule, but that it had me completing the 1,000 miles by August 4th.

My goal to complete the 1,000 miles in July

But August 4th? Wouldn’t a nice and neat time to complete 1,000 miles be to complete it for July 31st, I asked myself. And so on July 16th, I upped my daily mileage, and on days off (usually weekend days) I walked as much as I could so that I could bank some kilometres since some weekdays can be extremely hectic, with limited time to run or walk. It took awhile for the projected finish in the standings to reflect by July 31st goal (at which point I found myself disappointed with it, the computer should know me and my obsessiveness better than this after more than two months!). And thanks to loads of walking, I finished one day earlier than my goal! Huzzah!

This BAT portion of the race has had me walking quite late at night and for most of the walks, I did a few usual loops within a four kilometre radius from home, and these walks (compared to walks with a specific destination in mind) were draining mentally on many days. I was grateful to not have to run on the most sticky humid days, but at the same time I’ve found the walking around downtown usually pretty dull. I did receive a new iPhone though, and on some walks have started listening to podcasts again (which helps pass the time, but I typically don’t listen to anything when I walk at night for safety concerns).

I’ve been keeping track of how much walking vs running I’ve done to get to this point of the race, along with how much mileage Billie Jean has done; I ended up doing much more walking than running, but I’m fine with that. My legs were completely spent from GVRAT, and I feel quite fortunate I didn’t injure myself. The general rule of thumb for ramping up your distance safely is to not increase your weekly distance by more than 10 percent. Had I followed that guideline, based on my last week of running in April, I’d have logged 240 kilometres in May (instead I logged 450k) and 325 in June (except I logged about 600k, to complete the RAT race and then a few additional distance since I started the BAT right after) so I ramped up extremely quickly and took no rest days, which I know is everything you shouldn’t do.

Another nice thing about including walking for the BAT means that it’s opened up more options, including walking with friends (most of my friends aren’t runners) and it’s been good for Billie Jean since I can’t run much with her in the harsh summer conditions as I want her to be safe from the hot concrete and heat stroke, but it’s less exertion for us to be walking (plus we take water breaks and always stop for her to cool off in Lake Ontario).

So how did my 1,000 miles play out over most of the month of June?

From June 1-June 30, during which I reached and surpassing the 1,000 mile mark:

  • I walked 465 kilometres.
  • I ran 118 kilometres.
  • Billie Jean, my little superstar pup, she completed 411 of those kilometres with me.
  • It took me 91 days (gun time) to complete 1,000 miles (90 chip time since I started the race on its second day, May 2).
  • I’m in position 886 in the race. 886!!! I can’t believe it.

With all of August plus today (the last day of July) in the GVRAT race window of four months, I have 430 kilometres left to make it back to the starting line where I kicked things off on May 2. I currently stand in position 886 (and if the gender ranking is correct—there was a long explanation from Laz about the constantly changing rankings, including why you can appear to pass people who ran RAT faster than you, and this is due to the fact that not everyone has chosen to continue BAT, if I understood his post…)—I’ve moved up to 406th woman).

I’m beyond thrilled to be in the top 900 in this race so far, and my position is fueling my obsession with doing more miles daily, and I have already calculated how many kilometres I must complete daily to finish by August 31st…but let’s be real, I’m going to up that distance so I can finish earlier! I’m also registered to do the Lululemon Seawheeze Virtual Half-Marathon mid-August so that will be part of my total mileage for this race.

Hope your summer of virtual racing is going swimmingly! I’d love to hear how your running season is going!

 

Leave a Comment July 31, 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!).

1 Comment May 24, 2020

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