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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Race Recap: Run to H.E.L.L. Virtual 5K

A view near the starting line. 
My virtual Run to H.E.L.L. took place March 9, 2015 at 6:30pm near the The Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park.

Background & Initial Reaction 
I found Virtual Race Nerds through a running group on Facebook. I read VRN's story and liked that all race proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I also thought the H.E.L.L. medal was hilarious. My first virtual race, the Let It Snow 5K, was tough to top. Jost Running did a great job letting me know what distance to run, where to submit my time for the leaderboard, and when to expect my medal. (Jost also provided bibs, which I did not use.)

I don't want to be a jerk, but for this "race" I felt like I just bought a medal off the internet. I did not know what distance to run and there wasn't a place to input results. (Yes, I would like to be explicitly told "any distance works.") I even went through the past posts on their Facebook page for more information on the run. I found a Facebook event for their most popular virtual race (with a Star Wars themed medal), but no mention of H.E.L.L. except for the medal. Again, it felt like I bought a medal online instead of earning it. Because of this, I would hesitate to do another non-organized virtual run. I like medals, but not that much...

My race course.
The Run
I received my medal in the mail yesterday so I figured I'd better run ASAP. (Again, I prefer submitting my time then receiving a medal or have a specific date to run, but c'est la vie.) I had 4 miles on my training docket, but decided to run this as a 5K, so I drove to some nature to make it a "destination race." I considered trying to break my 5K PR, but quickly changed my mind.

The medal is cool (errrr,,,hot?).
Yesterday was the first warm day since... November? It was 52 degrees when I started running and the bike trail was covered in puddles and new Spring runners. I kept thinking, "Now I understand how gym members feel the first week of January!" My "race" started at the Wetlands Research Park and I headed north on the adjacent bike path. Just before the first half mile I ran through a large puddle. As soon as I'd crossed, I came upon an epic 100 foot long puddle... and I couldn't see the trail under the water. So, I walked around it. Walking around was dangerous with the slush and ice, and looking back, maybe I should have run through the puddle.

I was hoping to run 1.5 miles then turn around, but unfortunately the bike path stops and you have to re-route through a neighborhood and wait at a crosswalk to rejoin the path. Instead of waiting, I turned around at mile 1. This meant I would have to run past my starting point and find another place to turn around. This realization mixed with the puddles and countless runners and bikers meant I would just run the 5K and not race it.

Winter (the river) vs. Spring (the wetlands overlook)
After my no-PR declaration, I decided to stop and take photos along the way. After finishing, I added another mile to get to my 4 mile training goal. It was fun to run in the warmth, but my legs were more tired than I'd expected from Saturday's 9 mile run.

Final time: 28:11
Final thoughts: Mehhhh

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