I had read about virtual races before and have always wanted to take part in them. One where people all across the nation, and some in different countries, would all run on the same day and then report back with how they did and where they ran. I, unfortunately, couldn't run it yesterday because of how fortunate I was to have been able to walk 18 plus miles in the beautiful and lush surrounding of Saratoga Gap and the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains. So I pushed it to the 9th.
8 on the 8th - 1:05:55 - (8:14 pace)
I was bummed to have not been able to do this on the 8th, so I was sure to do it on the 9th. When I woke up I wasn't too sure if I would be able to because my toes were sore and the balls of my feet were tender from all the rocks on the trail and the rocks that were in my shoes. So I played it by ear and waited. Sometime after lunch I knew that I would do it. At the least I would DNF, but I would still log in some good miles. After all, that is the beauty of virtual runs because they motivate the runner to get out there and run!
So I started out and knew that I wanted to run the first half at a nice even clip. I started at the trail entrance to the Coyote Creek trail at the Blossom Hill and 101 intersection. I've ran this many times before, so I was very familiar with it. It is a bike path that follows Coyote creek. Add to this beautiful trees and hills off to the left (uh, and subtract the freeway to the right) and you have an idyllic setting. Oh, and it was mid to high 60s, so I couldn't complain.
The first half was ran at an even 8 minute pace, which was right where I wanted to be. I was pushing it a little (it seems that ever since I started running the longer endurance runs my pace on the shorter runs has slowed down), but I wanted a fast pace in the beginning and then slow it down for the last half. So at the 4 mile mark I turned around and walked for a a few seconds to catch my breath. The return journey was just as nice, although the wind was now coming into me because of the the lake in between a highway and a freeway which acted as a funnel for the wind. Anyway, my pace slowed a little, and not because I slowed down, but rather because I was taking short walking breaks. If you subtract my walking breaks than I easily came in at a sub 8 minute pace:
8:19 (30 second walk break)
8:52 (50 second walk and water break)
8:24 (30 second walk break)
8:17 (15 second and 5 second walk breaks)
All in all, I was very happy to have taken part in Nancy's 8 on the 8th Virtual Race. My legs were a bit heavy from the long hike yesterday, and the sore toes and balls of my feet worked itself out during the race, so it was both a struggle and a joy to finish the 8 miles. I loved doing this; I loved reading other peoples thoughts and feelings about running a virtual run; and I loved the motivating essence that events like this create. All in all, a great idea and one I would gladly take part in again.