Disclaimer: I received a free entry to this raceas part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro , and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
When I first learned of the DC Wonder Woman 5K/10K Race Series, I was really bummed that the races weren’t located closer to me. They were all way too far west. One benefit to a global pandemic is that this year’s race went virtual, and that meant I could race. I was ALL IN for the Wonder Woman Swag. When I was a kid, I had the coolest Wonder Woman Underoos. While this swag doesn’t quite rise to that level, it’s pretty great. And also much more appropriate for an adult to wear in public.
The swag for this race includes a sweet medal, two Wonder Woman wrist sweatbands with zipper pockets for keys or tiny snacks, a really nice long-sleeved running shirt that I would describe as slightly lined (perfect for the fall weather that’s hopefully coming my way) and a reusable Wonder Woman bag. You also get a race bib, but I forgot to wear mine while racing. When you upload your results, you also get a finisher certificate, and of course, your finishing time gets added to the stats.
I went out and did the race on my regular running route, and yes, I did pause my watch when I hit the red lights. Cheating? Probably. But it’s 2020 and none of the rules apply. It still wasn’t my fastest 10K, but it was fun to push myself and really see where my running was at.
I’ve definitely never been the biggest fan of virtual races, but this year, it turns out that working towards a virtual race was exactly what I needed. I’m pretty proud to have this medal hanging as a memory of the 2020 racing season. It’s a really substantial medal!
There’s still time to sign up, and I definitely think it’s worth it. Registration is $40, the swag is great, and I think we all need some added motivation to race this year. (And apparently, you can add on the Batman virtual race as well and get a discount!)
While I’m not usually a big fan of virtual races, when the opportunity to run the 465 Challenge came up with BibRave, I said yes. I needed something to help me kick off the new year right, and I liked the idea of taking on a new challenge.
The 465 Challenge is a brand new virtual race, running you in a loop around Highway 465, which circles Indianapolis for a total of 53 miles. The goal was to complete 53 miles between January 1 and February 29 in whatever way possible. I decided that I was only going to count run miles, but you could count run, bike, swim, walk, whatever you wanted. That’s the fun of a virtual race.
You also had the option to do the 465 miles in the first 24 hours, getting your name on the 24 hour club list, or you could aim for multiple loops, putting you in the Looper Club. While I used to be in shape to run 50+ mile months, I’m just not there right now. So I was just looking to run a total of 53 miles. (Should be easy, right? Not during cold and flu season!)
One thing I LOVED about this race was the race emails. Every week, they sent a motivational email that included where you would be on the loop if you were doing your 53 miles at an even clip (.88 miles a day). Of course, they were sure to remind you multiple times that you should not, no do not, never ever go run on 465. That always made me laugh, and yet you know there was probably that one person…
For example, here is a bit from week 3:
Piping along the west side of Indianapolis amps you up for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing!”! The West side of Indianapolis houses the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard, INDYCAR: GMR Grand Prix, and the MOTOAMERICA: Superbikes at the Brickyard! Just the thought of those high speed engines has us picking up our pace!
I really enjoyed learning about the area as I “ran” around the loop. There was also a Facebook group for this challenge, which was equally fun. There were a lot of people taking on this challenge as a way to kick off the new year, and for some, kicking off a new healthy routine. It was great to get to cheer on new runners and walkers.
The race swag is pretty sweet. It arrived just as I was finishing my 53rd mile, and it’s super cute. The medal is adorable, and the car slides around the course, which I love. They billed the t-shirt as super soft, and it definitely is. It’s one of the nicer race shirts I’ve received in a while. It also came with a bumper sticker, and while my car remains sticker free right now, I do have a fun collection of stickers on my bulletin board at work, and this one will fit right in.
While I don’t do a lot of virtual races, this one made me see why some people love them, especially the ones with an attached community. It was a lot of fun to get to talk with other runners, especially newer runners. It was good to challenge myself and make myself get back on the treadmill, no matter how much I didn’t want to. And it was fun to start the year on a positive note. So I think this one might just stay on my list for next year. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
This year, I finally returned to racing at Disney Marathon weekend. This year was “only” the 10k for me, since it was on my birthday. I considered running the half, but decided 10k was plenty. There would be opportunity for longer distances later. Cue ominous music.
Race morning dawned stupidly early, as is the norm for runDisney. We stayed at a monorail resort, but on race morning, the only transportation available was busses. I’m a huge fan of the monorail, but the bus worked just fine. Not too long of a wait, and our bus driver only got slightly turned around once. We made it to the race start in plenty of time.
I liked the way the corrals were setup this year – corrals were lined up next to each other and then filtered out the front and over into the starting chute, unlike in many races, where the corrals are lined up in a long line and you have to walk through the other corral spaces to get to the start. I felt like this reduced the amount of walking to the start line. They also metered people through the start, using a ribbon of sorts, so each corral was divided into mini-corrals for the start. This definitely helped some of the crowding.
We were unexpectedly in the last corral due to a mistake with placement on my sister’s bib (so I went back with her), and it was definitely crowded. It took us 50 minutes to get across the start line, which is just something to remember for future races. We were planning to do a run/walk and spent much of the time going around walkers. Nothing against walkers, but it would be nice if people kept to the sides when walking and didn’t walk in such huge groups going across.
I did have a negative moment – there was a guy throwing water over his head and basically throwing it directly into the face of the people behind him. So I said something him, just asking him to step over. He gave me attitude, so I responded with something like “Thanks so much for understanding! Have a great day!” And then throughout the race, I kept seeing him giving me evil looks. Come on, people, use a little common sense.
I enjoyed the course – I felt like we got to see a lot of Epcot, and plenty of backstage too. In general, some of the overcrowding was frustrating, but that’s to be expected in a race like this, especially when we started further back than where we should have started. It was a slower race than I wanted, but really, I can’t complain too much. We were there to have fun after all.
(Now, don’t get me started on the new Club runDisney that they’ve announced. Infuriating.)
I’ll be there next year for the marathon, which is on my birthday. Terrifying. TERRIFYING.
I think it’s clear that I like space races, as I have now run this race seven times, with plans to do it at least another two years. I don’t typically run for medals, but come on, this series is fabulous.
I’m not sure what’s going to happen after 2021, but I really want the full set of the human spacewalk medals. Why? Because they’re cool.
Admittedly, I also really like this race. The course is simple, very flat, and the time of year is perfect. There is nothing better than going down to Florida in late November/early December and just getting away for a long weekend before the crazy holiday season really starts.
This year, as per usual, we headed down on Friday and hit up the expo on Saturday. Though I didn’t buy anything, this expo gets bigger every year and there are some good vendors there. And the volunteers aren’t to be beat. The sheer organization of the whole event is incredible.
It’s nice to do a race that I’m so familiar with. This race starts in a little downtown area, and it can seem a bit confusing at the start. Everyone is trying to cram into this little space down a street between cute shops and it’s very crowded and the pace groups seem all messed up and it doesn’t seem reasonable that the course will clear out. But it does. Every year, the start works and within the first half mile, the space has widened and people can run a reasonable pace.
I didn’t feel super well trained for this race, even though I had done two 10+ mile runs. My only goal was to run with my sister, finish the race, and get a medal. I was also hoping for little to no hip pain. I’m still not back into shape after breaking my arm so I’m having to do a lot of extra rehab work on both my hip and my upper body.
This race was a lot of fun, as per usual. It wasn’t my fastest, but it wasn’t my slowest. I finished in 3:12:01, finishing with my sister, my friend Nikki, and having had a great time chatting our way through the race. And with some energy in reserve for a night at Disney World.
Once this series is over, I’m not sure how long I’ll continue traveling for this race, but it’s a lot of fun and I love being able to go to the beach to start the holiday season. It’s a great place, lots of good fun, and always an amazing time with friends.
This weekend, I finally returned to the race stage after crashing on April 20th. Early in the year, I registered for the Patriots Olympic Triathlon, and it was the one race I opted to not defer after my crash. I really wanted to have something to work towards. I knew it would be tough, but I was dedicated to completing it.
Of course, the incoming hurricane had something to say about it. We were very lucky to not get hit, but thanks to Dorian, the swim was cancelled. The rescue boat was required elsewhere, so we know about the cancellation mid-day Thursday (the race was on Saturday). There were plenty of angry athletes, but I was just disappointed. Obviously, the important thing was that people were kept safe, so I’m glad the rescue boat could be prioritized to where it needed to go. And I was glad to know early so that I could mentally prepare.
My biggest worry was probably the swim. My elbow and shoulder still hurt when I swim. It’s not bad, and swimming doesn’t make it worse or better, but it’s just something I’m going to have to deal with for a while. So having the swim cancelled removed that worry.
It also really removed another big worry, which was a super fast cyclist coming up behind me after the swim. The race turned into a time-trial start, all self-seeded. While there weren’t signs indicating where people should line up, I figured there wouldn’t be any crazy cyclists whizzing past. Sure, there would be some jockeying for position, but nothing like a slow swimmer/expert cyclist coming out of the water later and then trying to crush the competition.
This race, I also had my boyfriend with me as chauffeur, carrier of heavy things, captain of the cheer squad, anxiety battler, and all around super supportive person. I think that definitely helped as well. He kept me out of my head and prevented a lot of stress.
He also very proudly wore the shark head, much to the delight of many a toddler. After the race, I asked him how many people he took pictures with, and he said something like “Not too many, only maybe ten or so.” TEN? That’s a lot of people to ask a random stranger for a selfie!
The race also had a half-distance before the olympic, so we got to watch the half athletes go off first, which was helpful in understanding how they were going to do the time-trial start. The bike didn’t actually use the original “bike out” path, so I was confused for quite some time until things got started. I was ready to leave and return the same way, so the description of how the time trial would start made no sense to me until I saw it happen.
I ended up lining up with some other friendly Athenas. We chatted and had a lovely time as we waited for our race to start.
For the start, we walked to the start line and were told to go in pairs in 15-second intervals. We walked/ran across the line and mounted our bikes. And then we were off.
The start was a bit scary because we rode along a very narrow path along the side of the road (that would later be part of the run). There wasn’t any jockeying for position because there literally wasn’t any space for it.
Thankfully, that didn’t last terribly long, and then it felt like the race really started. I had done the race before, back in 2017, so I knew it was flat save for one bridge (that I had also ridden many times during Rev3 Williamsburg) so there wasn’t a lot of unfamiliarity here. Flat was a bit of a misnomer – there were some small rollers, and as someone who has done the majority of her training inside this year, they felt larger than they really were. My only goal for this ride was to at least try to stay in my racing zone – though I’ve not done a new FTP test since before my accident, so it’s possible that’s a bit high. My watch is set to beep at me when I’m out of the zone, and well, it did a lot of beeping! I wasn’t really watching my pace, but I knew I was doing well based on the time it was taking me to complete each 5 mile set (my watch beeps and gives me the time for each 5 mile “lap”). My only real goal was to keep to at least 15mph and I was absolutely doing that.
Of course, even with the time trial start, there were still a number of riders (male, of course) who came flying up from behind me. The whole point to the time trial start was to put everyone in generally the right spot pace-wise, so waiting til last to start is kind of a jerk move. I know plenty of people who do it running, and that doesn’t bother me, because there really isn’t much of a safety risk to a fast runner passing you, but as I can attest, a fast cyclist coming past you can cause all sorts of damage. Naturally, there was the expected shifting of positions, where I caught up to other riders or others caught me, but it was the number of riders who came blasting past that I found very frustrating.
Around mile 20, I started to get cocky. I hadn’t crashed! I had made it through the bike! Except not yet. No getting cocky now. I needed to finish the ride first.
And I did. Just under 24 miles (the course was a bit short the last time I rode it too) at 18.1mph.
I was off the bike and running into transition. I couldn’t believe I could actually run into transition. I think I was just so excited to have not crashed.
In transition, I just felt like I was moving through molasses. I was sure I was in there for nearly five minutes. It felt like it took me forever. But it didn’t.
T2 (or T1, depending on how you view it): 1:45
I had looked at the run map for this race because I remembered that there was a weird turn and that the last time I raced, a bunch of people had missed it and ended up running a loop backwards. What I didn’t look up was what the course was like, so I had forgotten that a good chunk of it is through a wooded area, on a dirt path. It’s actually really pretty, but it also feels pretty darn deserted.
My goal on the run was to hold my intervals (1:1) and to keep to a sub-14 pace. I really wanted to be closer to 13, but I know where I’m at right now, and knew that might be pushing too hard.
The other thing I forgot about this race was how lonely it feels at some parts of the race. It definitely starts to feel like a bit of a mental challenge, when you feel like you’re the only one out there, no other runners, no spectators. I had to work hard to stay out of my head. I’m a slower runner – there’s no way around it. And I’m okay with that. But when I feel like I’m totally alone while racing, it becomes a mental game. So I just started doing race math. Each mile, how far under 14 minutes was I? How much time was I “earning” each mile? Whatever it takes, that’s what I did.
I managed to ultimately keep a 13:09 pace, which is fantastic! I was super pleased with how well things turned out.
I made the final turn into the race and pushed myself to cross the finish line strong. I won’t lie – it hurt. But it felt so great to finally be crossing a finish line again.
Total race time: 2:40:56
I’ve never done a bike-run race before, so it was hard to say just what that time meant, but given that my main goal was to finish under 3:45, I’d say that even if there had been a swim, I would have been safely under that time. So all in all, a great race back! I also came in smack in the middle of the Athenas, which was an awesome place to be (and it was so great to see so many of us out there!). Now I have something to work towards for next season. And a great cheerleader to join me on the adventures.