Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Back in May, I signed up for my first ever 'virtual' race.  The event was being organized by NUUN, a company that makes electrolyte enhanced drink tablets for athletes or anyone who is seeking a natural and healthy hydration solution.  I am fortunate to be an ambassador for them and I trust the company and the product wholeheartedly, so despite not really knowing what I was getting myself into with this virtual thing, I jumped in head first.  The folks at NUUN created this event for two reasons; first, to unite members of the NUUN family (employees, ambassadors, elites) through sport and second, to raise awareness and funds for the well-known nonprofit program, Girls on the Run.  Along with about 300 other athletes from the NUUN community, I would be doing a 5K, a 10K or a 15 mile bike ride.  I'm not a very good biker, and I'm not a huge fan of the 10K, so, by default, I threw my hat into the 5K ring.  And then, I kind of forgot about it, as I had the end of my high school track season and a June marathon to contend with at the time.  About a month later, to my surprise, I received a race packet in the mail with my official RUN, RIDE, HYDRATE number, a t-shirt, a medal, some tattoos and even the safety pins for my bib.  Along with the packet, we got an email from Brian, our fearless leader, reminding us to make sure to get our race/ride in some time between July 2nd and 5th and to then to submit our results online to make them official.  Holy crap....this was the real deal.  I happened to be on vacation with my family during this stretch of days, so I needed to figure out how to squeeze it in.  First, I tried to find a local race that I could jump into, thus merging the two events together.  Unfortunately, the only thing I could dig up was taking place on the day that we were leaving, so I was out of luck.  Thus, I was going to have to run this virtual 5K Han Solo.  Hmmm.  Because I was a little daunted by this notion, I reached out to my coach who suggested I use it as a time trial.  Since I hadn't raced since early June, he explained, it would be good to check my fitness level and an added bonus to get the hard effort in.  Well, all righty then.  Fast forward to Thursday, July 2nd.  I decided I was going to treat this baby like a legitimate race.  If I was going to sport the number, I was going to go all out.  So, as I always do, I laid out my race attire the night before and went to bed early as I planned to get up at the crack and bang out my 5K before it got too hot.

I'm not gonna lie...it's a little strange to have the race medal in hand before the event takes place.  But, at the same time, having it up front gave me the extra motivation to earn it, so I was ready to push hard and work for it on 'race' day.  As I had been all week, I was woken up by our 1 yr old lab the next morning at 5:30.  Thank you, Clover.  I laced up, pinned on my bib and then headed out for an easy 2 mile warm up.  As I got myself mentally ready, I thought about how nice it was to feel a bit of the regular race day excitement without the added pressure of a crowd to contend with or a goal time to reach for.  I was fired up, but not the least bit nervous.  It was awesome.  Two miles later, I cleared my watch, toed my imaginary line and then I was off.  I flew through my first mile, probably a bit too fast, as I tend to do in most of my races, but I was amped up and taking full advantage of a long stretch of shade.  As I cruised into my second mile, the reality of my situation began to sink in.  I was working crazy hard, getting ridiculously hot, breathing like a maniac and I was totally and completely by myself.  I was struggling big time to stay motivated.  I did see a few people on the bike path as I was running.  I smiled as I realized how strange it must have looked to see a lone runner wearing a race number coming toward them.  I waved and nodded at each person I passed as if to say, "yes, I know this looks weird.  There's a good reason behind this.  I swear."  I powered on.  Mile 2 was rough.  I had turned into the sun and I was still very, very alone.  My motivation was seriously waning and I was doing whatever I could to dig in and finish strong which included some solid singing, belting really, along with a few good dance moves.  And finally...3.1.  Done and done.  According to my Garmin, I finished in 19 minutes and 50 seconds.  Woo-hoo.  I'll take it.  I cooled down for another couple miles, enjoying the fruits of my labor and happy with the fact that I had officially earned my medal.  As I turned into our driveway, I asked my husband to take a photo for proof of completion.  "Wait, you wore an actual number??" he asked.

"Hells, yeah!"  I replied.  I shared my pic and race time with rest of the NUUN community on Facebook.  Within seconds, the comments flowed in - 'Congrats', 'Way to rock it, Rebecca', 'I was right out there with you today', and so on.  And I quickly realized, they'd done it.  With this single, perfectly executed event, they had successfully brought us all together to support each other while doing something that we love for a good cause.  Way to go, NUUN.  HIGH FIVE! (virtually)

Listen to this:
Outta My Mind - The Arcs  Listen w/ 

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