Tuesday Topics | The SeaWheeze 2021 Virtual Half Marathon

In August, I signed up for the SeaWheeze Virtual Half Marathon. I hadn’t run a race since last year, and I desperately needed a race on the calendar. The sign-up fee was only $5. There wasn’t going to be a t-shirt or medal (but a virtual badge on Strava to commemorate the achievement!), and yes, ‘virtual’ meant I’d be running this race solo, but hey I am a solo-runner by nature and I just needed something to work towards.

All funds raised were going to be distributed through lululemon’s social impact program, HERE TO BE, and evenly contributed to the three non-profit organizations: BACK ON MY FEETBLACK MEN RUN, and GIRLS ON THE RUN.

I mean, it seemed like a no-brainer.

I have to admit though that my training wasn’t ideal. I had hopped on the training plan late (but figured that wouldn’t be a problem as I had been consistently running), but then I ended up only rather loosely sticking to my training plan for the whole cycle. On the one hand, a few runs had to be canceled due to poor air quality because of the California wildfires, on the other hand because I was admittedly a little distracted by my Peloton bike. Oops.

But this last week came and I had from September 18 to September 26 to complete the 21.1km (13.1 miles) in a single effort. I was pretty confident that I could somehow manage the distance but wasn’t taking any bets on the finish time and I was absolutely prepared to take a few walking breaks if necessary.

So, I got up at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, had a bite to eat, then did a little cardio warm up and was out the door at 8 a.m.. The temperature was just right at 63F/17C and I actually felt pretty good. At the beginning, I even had to force myself to slow down a little, as I was sure I wouldn’t be able to hold the pace. I had preplanned my route along the river with as few obstacles (traffic lights, street crossings, etc.) as possible. My strategy for long runs – not just in a race – always is “run the mile you’re in”.

To be honest, I was a bit afraid that I would hit a wall somewhere in the second half. My longest run in previous weeks had been 10 miles and like I said, my training runs hadn’t been consistent. You can see from my negative splits that I did slow down a bit after mile 7, but all in all I was surprised how steady I was able to keep my pace. In mile 12, I had a cramp in my left foot all of a sudden but it fortunately resolved relatively quickly, so that I was able to finish strong.

I have to say, I surprised myself quite a bit. I didn’t think it would go so well. I waited the whole time for the massive slump, but somehow it didn’t come. I don’t want to say that the last 4-5 miles were not hard and I had to do some mental gymnastics to keep my focus on the individual mile, but I guess even though I ran fewer miles in preparation for this race, the cross training paid off in its own way.

In the end I was able to beat my previous PR by almost 2 minutes. That doesn’t sound like much but every runner knows that every minute shaved off a long distance run is hard-fought for and I love that I continue to improve and that consistency keeps paying off.

Did you run the Virtual SeaWheeze Half or 10k or any other races this month? How did it go?

I am linking up with  Kookyrunner and Zenaida  for Tuesday Topics.

  1. Very well done!! Two minutes is substantial, so huge congrats to you ;-) Running a virtual race, like this, especially all by yourself, really takes a lot more grit and mental strength than a true live race would. I bet all the Peloton time has had a great influence on your fitness!

    1. Thanks so much, Kim. I appreciate it <3

  2. Congrats, it’s not easy to run a half solo and beating the previous PR in a virtual race.
    The virtual needs a lot of mental strength to be concentrated on the pace and it’s also important to pay attention to the car traffic that, on a race in person, is not allowed on the route.
    During the lock down I only did virtual 5 km because I don’t have the right mental predisposition for longer distances at the race pace.
    Now I hope to sign up for some in person race (also half marathon but no virtual).

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving this kind comment. I hope you’ll be able to run an in-person race again soon. I am looking forward to it myself.

  3. Wow, San, look at that consistency!
    I love these splits – even your overall pace is a neat 9.00 min/mile. Super well done!

    “Running the mile you’re in” is something I find very difficult – my mind always wanders to the future miles. But you are right, it’s very important to stay focused in the present.

    1. Thanks so much, Catrina. I always envy people that pull off negative splits, I tend to go for an even pace, but mostly slow down a little at the end LOL

  4. Well done! Two minutes is a huge PR in a half- very exciting! Congrats!

  5. Congrats! A 2 min PR is huge. I love that the race was super affordable this year and gave the proceeds to 3 very deserving charities.

    1. Thank you, Kim. You can’t really say no to an affordable race with a great cause (or causes!).

  6. Wow, that is some excellent pace you made! So consistent and even! And two minutes off your PR – incredible!! Congratulations!

    1. Thanks Nicole! I am always going for the even pace when I can… :)

  7. 2 minutes is definitely a substantial improvement! Way to go! I felt similarly when I ran my last 1/2 and 10 mile races. The pace was faster than I expected but felt sustainable and I never got tired and had to slow down. It’s such a great feeling!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa. I appreciate it :)

  8. Yay! Congratulations on a PR- and I agree with the other commenters, that’s hard to do when you’re running a virtual race all by yourself. Sounds like your modified training plan- and all the cross training- definitely worked!

    1. Thank you Jenny! Who knew that cross-training could really make a difference ;)

  9. No races for me, but nice job! Congrats on your new PR — sweet.

    Once you’ve run a few halfs, a 10 mile run is fine (although I usually do like to get a couple in if I’m not going longer). I think a lot of people tend to over train!

    1. Thanks Judy! I think you’re right that once you got a certain mileage under your belt and run consistently, you can pull off a race by just half-assing the training a little bit – ha!

  10. That’s amazing, San! All that Peloton-ing paid off, I think! Shaving 2 minutes off your PR when you didn’t train “as hard” for this race is really something to celebrate.

    1. Thanks so much, Stephany <3

  11. As I said before: best feeling when you surprise your self. Congrats again.

  12. Congratulations! Glad to see the funds going towards great organizations!!

    1. Thanks so much. I love running for a good cause!

  13. A two min PR is amazing! Great work!

  14. Well done! And congrats on 2 minutes off your PR – that is awesome.

  15. So proud of you – congrats on the amazing new PR!

  16. Super late to the post, but GO YOU! That’s awesome. I think your Peloton had a positive impact, actually! You kept up your fitness, didn’t trash your legs (at least not in the usual running sense) and clearly maintained your stick-to-it mindset.
    I do miss running – particularly with these virtual events that make it so easy to help raise money for good causes. Sigh. I wish there were something similar for other types of exercise – you know, log a certain number of minutes to hit the goal, or something like that. I could totally do that, just not with running. (Sigh, again… :>)

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Anne. Does your bike actually log miles? I think there are biking challenges that you can join, if you’re motivated by challenges. Let me know and I’ll look into it for you. :) I am currently doing a challenge through Peloton, but there are mileage challenges on other platforms (like Strava).

      1. It does log miles – but I honestly never though of joining Strava to log them. Now that I know they have challenges (you learn something every day…), maybe it’s time to finally do that! I’ve also pondered a Peloton membership but it’s just not the right time for that. Perhaps in the future.

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