Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Incredible Virtual Run Recap

When I signed up to do the Incredible Virtual Run, I knew I wouldn't be looking at any PRs or amazing performances because I was coming off two big races, 26.2 with DONNA and the Publix Georgia Half Marathon, but I still really wanted to make the event a fun, race like atmosphere, more than just a regular training run.
At age 12, Mia Monster has earned her first medal.

Since the Incredibles is about a family working together, I thought it might be fun to do the event with a family member. The Jayhawk was still recovering from a little ankle tendonitis after the Publix Georgia Half (more on that soon), so that left one potential running mate: The Monster.
Relaxing in full taper mode.

Now don't let the white hair fool you, the Monster is quite the athlete and still has some impressive spring in her step. Her current training is focused on interval workouts with a considerable emphasis on sprints (i.e. squirrel chasing), she gets in several rounds of yoga a day, and is an absolute master when it comes to being well rested.
Everyone has their own favorite way to use the foam roller.

Though it has been quite some time since the Monster's last official race, she isn't a racing newbie. In 2006 we completed the ASPCA 1 miler in Houston, after which she climbed into a city fountain to cool down (totally passing by the kiddie pools the organizers had out), only to then realize it was deep enough that she couldn't climb back out over the wet, stone sides leading to me climbing halfway into the fountain to hoist out 50lbs of wet fur. She still wears her race bandana to this day.
Pre-race I tried to prep Mia for the event, but she seemed unphased, showing no signs of race day nerves. She woke, took a pre-race walk, ate breakfast, and even snuck in a quick nap before gun time. We (ok, mainly me) decided on a double loop course for easy aid station access or break time as needed. Since Mia hadn't been running more than a mile or so at a time, I wanted a way to break up the 5k in case she needed it. Turns out, my concerns were unnecessary. Spoiler alert: the old hound rocked it.

We lined up at the official chalk starting line and without too much fanfair, the Jayhawk yelled "Go" and we were off. The first quarter mile was spent trying to find a consistent stride as one member of the duo was attempting to sprint and therefore was dragging the other member. Once we realized that individual was also trying to catch the lead bicycle, we had to get them to tail rather than lead. By about a half mile in the Monster and I had found a nice stride, but then needed a quick pause around 3/4 miles in for a bushes visit to do some business.

The rest of the loop went very well. We ran by the ocean and even saw some dolphins and an osprey returning to it's nest. Coming into the aid station, we were still keeping a strong pace, and we pulled off a quick pit-stop for a bowl of water and bottle of Nuun. While I've seen plenty of runners walk through aid stations (I often do myself), the Monster had the unusual tactic of laying down in the middle of the aid station while getting her hydration. To each their own.
Starting loop 2, aid station offerings.

Starting out on lap two, the Monster's energy remained high and we slipped right back into pace. The second lap progressed much like the first, but with no attempts at sprinting and one small pee break. Sometime after 2.5ish miles, I did notice that the Monster was getting a little tired: her tongue was getting long and there wasn't as much tension on the leash. At no point was I worried about her health (always a concern when your running buddy doesn't speak English), but I did keep an eye on the pace because I knew if she was truly done, she would just laydown on the side of the road and I would be stuck lugging her home.
Finish line pic!

The Monster stayed strong through the end and the Jayhawk cheered us in with a finish time of 29:32. Sub-30 for her first official 5k! To my best knowledge, she won the Canine Masters Bitches Division and I couldn't be more proud of her efforts. To celebrate we went to the beach for a victory swim and cool down. Judging from the sprints she was running on the beach, the hound wasn't as worn out from the race as I expected. Perhaps she was just dogging it.

All smiles during the post race swim.

Overall, Mia and I had a great time doing the Incredible Virtual run with Level Up Runs. As Mia isn't always allowed to race traditional races (that whole canine thing) and having the option to break up longer distances complements her training style, virtual runs are her jam. Mia proudly (I assume) displays her medal over her bed and will be adding to her collection. Now if someone will just host the squirrel chase 1 miler, I think she can win the whole thing.
The medals are really cute and well constructed.
I was given free entry into the Incredible Virtual Run by Level Up Runs in return for a open and honest review. All thoughts/opinions/musings are my own.


  1. Haha love this post. I think there should be more dog friendly events. Heck they often fair much better on runs than their owners do. Great job with course and aid stations, great way to make a virtual run very fun.

    1. Thanks! Best I can tell she had a great time.

  2. Fantastic POST! Loved every word :)
    What a solid effort for her first medal. Mia Monster kind of melts my heart, she always loooks like she is smiling :)

    1. Thanks Karen! She is quite the character.

  3. Wonderful post! Mia Monster might be interested in the Uptown Rhodes Race 5K in the fall, this year on October 29.

    1. Thanks Frank! I will check with the athlete to see if it will fit in her schedule!


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