Wednesday, December 30, 2020

MO' Cowbell Single Chuck Challenge - Half Marathon #53

On a cold Christmas Eve morning in St. Louis, my runner friend and I finally completed the Single Chuck Challenge for the MO' Cowbell Virtual Half Marathon.  Since summer we had trained and were working our way up to running at least 10 of the 13.1 miles, if we couldn't run the entire distance.  We were on track and had a great eight mile run on November 7th, but soon after that our training got derailed due to a couple Covid scares and crazy work schedules.  The rest of November and the 1st half of December, we hardly ran at all.  Since our training had completely derailed, we settled for walking the entire 13.1 miles.  

Once we saw the forecast for Christmas Eve we knew that despite the cold, the weather was otherwise beautiful and sunny.  My friend asked me how long I thought a walking half marathon would take and in my experience as a race sweeper, I told her four hours.  We finished just under that, around the 3:52:00 mark.

Our finish time

Our course was beautiful and almost completely clear of any other humans, partially due to the holiday and partially due to the bitter cold.  We started at Longview Farm Park in Town & Country, walked several loops through Drace Park, down Bopp Road where we felt tiny as we walked by mansions, and then repeated the same course back to Longview Farm Park.

Drace Park along the course in Town & Country

We even passed several holly bushes along the course, which made the race feel more festive. 

Holly along the course

As we got back to Longview Farm Park to finish the 13.1, we were cold but we were not sore.  We were the only two cars in the parking lot when we left, which was a completely different view from when we started training together this summer.  We had picked up our race SWAG back in October and normally I refuse to wear race SWAG until I complete the race, but I've actually been using this year's race SWAG ever since packet pick-up.  I wear hats much more often now since I primarily work from home in the Covid-era and I LOVE the face mask because it is perfect for workouts.  I actually wore my MO' Cowbell face mask during the entire virtual half marathon not only for safety, but also because it protected my face from the bitter cold!

Single Chuck Challenge SWAG

Normally my runner friend and I volunteer on race weekend, so it was nice to be a participant again this year.  Be sure to stay tuned to the MO' Cowbell Marathon website to see what they have in store for 2021.

See you next year!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Virtual Stranger Distances 6.7 Mile Race

Although there have been a couple in-person races in the St. Louis area, I still just prefer virtual races for now.  Due to Covid, the race market is suddenly flooded with virtual races so when I received an email about a virtual race with unusual distance options, I just knew that I had to sign up.  The race was called "Stranger Distances" and it offered a 3.2 mile, 6.7 mile, and an 11.11 mile option that was offered through an organization called All Community Events.  My friend and I have slowly been building our mileage since this summer so although I wanted to sign up for the 11.11 mile option, I decided that the 6.7 mile option was much more attainable.  

Once you registered, you had up until Halloween to complete your selected mileage.  I selected a random weekend with warm weather to run the 6.7 miles with my friend.  We didn't do anything special to prepare other than setting our long run goal for 6.7 miles that day.  We started the race from a gorgeous park in Town and Country, MO called Longview Farm Park.  It connects to a wide asphalt path that runs along Clayton Road and connects to several other parks.  Since I have never run this distance before, our finish time was definitely a PR for both of us.  We actually completed the race on October 10 and then a week or so later, the race shirt arrived.  For this race, I opted not to pay the extra $10 (I think) for a medal and the bib was emailed to you to print at home.  What I like about the shirt is that it is long sleeve, so it will be perfect to wear this fall and winter on my long runs.

Below are some pictures from the Stranger Distance 6.7 Mile race

Beautiful Fall Colors

Race shirt and printable bib were included in the registration fee

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Will Run for Coffee Virtual 5k

This weekend I ran the Will Run for Coffee Virtual 5k through  This is the first virtual race that I have participated in through this company, but I have been following them on social media for a while.  I registered for this particular 5k due to the medal and obviously by the name of my blog, I am all about medals!

I run regularly with a former co-worker and since we ran another virtual 5k together at Tiemeyer Park, we chose a different park for this virtual 5k.  With this race being coffee-themed, I also decided that I would celebrate finishing this virtual 5k with a fancy coffee from Deer Creek Coffee.

We started the race in Town and Country, MO at a park called Longview Farm.  It is a beautiful park with wide paths, multiple loop options, a barn, and horses.  More importantly though, it connects to a wide trail along Clayton Road.  We started and ended our 5k at the park, but mainly ran along the Clayton Road path.  We also ran through another Town and Country park called Drace Park.  It has a small paved loop but it also has several log cabins along the path, which makes it very unique.  We are still using the Galloway Method, so our intervals were set to run two minutes and then walk one minute.  I'm happy with our overall paced and we ended up finishing in 44:16.  

After cool down and stretching I placed my pick-up order from Deer Creek Coffee, which is in the opposite direction on Clayton Road.  Sure enough, my Cadbury Creme Latte was ready for me when I arrived and it was delicious!

I love this medal and how it is designed to not just hang on your medal rack (or in my case, the closet), it can actually be used as a coaster.  I'll be sure to keep an eye out for other unique medals from

Happy running!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

I'm back and slower than ever!

Back in January, I started talking to my mother about where we would go for our mother-daughter race-cation this year.  We had tentatively chosen a June race in Kansas City until I received an email about the Baltimore Running Festival celebrating their 20th anniversary .  My very first half marathon in 2009 was at the Baltimore Running Festival and I had wanted to run it again in 2019 to celebrate my ten years of running, but I couldn't make it happen due to my lack of training and my crazy schedule.  I thought going back to Baltimore to run a half marathon for their 20th anniversary, staying in the same hotel in the Inner Harbor, and eating amazing seafood sounded amazing!  Then COVID-19 hit and the world changed.  We canceled our Baltimore hotel back in March and luckily I had not registered for the half marathon yet. I started working from home and since my commute became non-existent, I was able to walk every morning before starting my work day.  Walking at least a 5k daily eventually led to the need for a new pair of Brooks Adrenalines, which made me want to run again. 

In 2019 I completely walked the two half marathons that I finished and I did not register for any races after June last year.  I had gotten so slow due to weight gain and I wasn't motivated to train for a race of any distance.  But something this spring re-energized me.  I was getting motivated by all the miles I was walking and I kept wanting to walk longer every day or even multiple times a day.  With most races being converted to a virtual format I started looking at virtual 5k's, but I knew that I needed to take the time to properly train this time.  I ended up downloading a Couch to 5k training app and LOVED it, but it stopped working about four weeks in.  I Googled similar plans and just chose one that I liked and would end the week of Independence Day. My goal was was the virtual America's Birthday 5k, which is normally held in downtown St. Louis on Independence Day before the parade.  

Training started off well and the weeks flew by.  When my Couch to 5k app stopped working I could have made that an excuse to quit too, but I had re-fallen in love with running by that point so I found a new plan to follow thanks to Google. We had an amazing Spring in Missouri this year, but the temperature and humidity jumped up in June and has only been going up since.  I HATE running in the summer heat and humidity.  I just wilt in the heat and if I don't start running before 7 a.m., I just won't run outdoors that day.  My body just won't let me do it.  I will still go for a walk, but my body just hates running in that environment.  But just as the temperature and humidity were going up, the gym in our complex finally re-opened by appointment only.  I suddenly found that I really enjoyed running on the treadmill and wished that I had my own so that I could run longer than a one-hour appointment allowed me.  So by the end of June, I was consistently running outdoors or indoors between three and five days per week!

As Independence Day weekend approached, we had a socially distanced department lunch at a co-workers house.  Her house was adjacent to a park in St. Ann, MO.  Before that lunch I had no idea where I was going to run my virtual 5k but as I left her house, I texted another co-worker to see if she would want to run a 5k with me at that park on Friday, July 3.  It had been a while since I had run with that co-worker (we had run the University City Memorial Day 10k in 2019 together but I didn't blog about it), but she immediately agreed to meet me at 7 a.m. to try to beat he heat.  

With the America's Birthday 5k going virtual, you had from July 1st - July 7th to complete your 5k.  Technically I completed two: one indoors on a treadmill and one with my co-worker, outdoors on July 3rd. I wanted to see what the time difference would be when you factored in real hills, heat, humidity, and socializing. To my surprise, there was not a major difference between the two.

I completely ran my indoor treadmill 5k at a fairly slow and comfortable pace, and I did add some rolling hills for a finish time of 42:49, which averages out to a 13:47 pace. 

Treadmill 5k

For my outdoor 5k, I alternated between jogging and walking with my co-worker.  The park had rolling hills and it was HOT and humid that morning.  Our finish time was 44:40 for an overall pace of 14:25.  I was surprised that there was not more of a difference since we walked quite a bit, but we must have been running at a faster pace than I usually run on the treadmill to make up for that time.   

After our 5k, we walked another mile to cool down and explore other areas of the park.  The park was really a hidden gem with several water features, beautiful landscaping, several paved paths, plenty of parking, and it was very quiet that morning and not packed with people.

I also brought my virtual bib and medal along to take a picture of in the park post-race:

The race director sent out several emails leading up to the race so that participants would stay motivated and know how to submit their results.  I'm really glad that I found this virtual 5k to complete my Couch to 5k training and I am so glad that I pulled in a co-worker to run with me at the last minute.  I am certain that my outdoor 5k time would have been even slower had she not been there with me!  Even though both my indoor and outdoor finish times were slow, I am now able to see where my current fitness level is and then hopefully improve and stay motivated going forward.

So I am slower than ever, but I am finally back running again!!!