Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lebanon Hills Virtual Running Group?

I was out for my run this morning and I had one of those moments that occasionally occur where a few thoughts come floating through my head and evolve into a new idea.

First some background, earlier this year when we were running in Lebanon Hills, Wayne, Karen and I discussed how we need to have a south metro club that could rival the Duluthian's - Northern Minnesotan Track Club series of races. Now our motives weren't entirely pure of heart which may be why we did nothing with it. The discussion was based around Rick B. and Wayne's 2011 race mileage contest. You see Rick is shooting for 1000 miles of race mileage this year in celebration of becoming a Senior Master and Wayne kind of decided to see if he could keep up with and maybe even run more race miles than Rick. Our discussion was all about the fact that Rick has the advantage of the NMTC series and Wayne has nothing similar to add on the extra race mileage. So we chose a name - Southern Minnesota Trail Club, I volunteered to set up a blog which I did but I did nothing more (if you go to the link you will see what I mean about not doing much with it :-). I think what held us back, ok me, was the time and commitment of organizing, just too much work and I am not always a group kind of person.

Then today, it all came together, as I thought about that idea and then thought about a blog that I have been part of called "Whats a Few Miles Among Friends". This blog tracked our high mileage day for the weekend and was intended to allow a virtual group to encourage each other as we got our runs in.  I have to admit it that occasionally I would get out the door to get in my run as I didn't want to post a 0. This worked especially well for me during our winter months but alas that virtual group appears to have run out of gas.

I had a few more ideas pop into this thought thread, does anyone else ever have these kind of mental threads? You know, when disconnected ideas and thoughts keep colliding with one another, merging, separating, etc.. and turning into really neat ideas, usually I forget the result but today I think I have remembered it.

During today's run I was really struggling to muddle my way through as it was hot and humid but I also knew it was because I have no race in my near future to force me to run with a purpose, usually I sign up for a marathon, check the calendar, say "oh xxxx" and then force myself to get in the mileage as I only have x weeks to get in shape. I thought to myself that I need to find a race to give me some focus to my running.

My last thought in the thread was around a conversation I had with John K. (a member of the Upper Midwest Trail Runners board) at the end of my run in Lebanon Hills yesterday and his. He passed me on the short hill out of Jensen Lake and we introduced ourselves. He said he reads my blog and that he liked all of my Garmin data from Lebanon Hills.

So as all of these random thoughts converged in my head it became clear I should create a virtual running race series for the south metro. I will post a route and anyone who wants to join me for the race can simply send me their time when they complete it.

Granted this virtual series will require you to run my route or at least say you did but since there is no prize money or awards, I think it will work. This also avoids needing to get permission from the park as we can all run when our schedule allows. We can worry about all of the other details later as I realize I could be the only one to do these virtual races but heck that's ok, as it still might motivate me to put in a harder workout. We could also have routes from the River Bottoms, Hyland, Murphy, Afton, Terrace Oaks, well I think those on the south side get my drift. If anyone wants to run it together, no issue they will just need to organize themselves to do so. Now this series may not help out Wayne but something tells me he will be doing every race in the series.

If you like the idea, let me know. I plan to map out the first race with a few basic rules later this week.


Kel said...

If you decide to do this (or even if you don't and just want to try a pre-planned route in one of the Three Rivers parks), Life Time Fitness has a trail run series and posts maps of their courses:

Routes are relatively short miles (4-6 mile range), but include Hyland, Murphy-Hanrehan, and Carver in the south metro, French in the west, and Elm Creek in the northwest suburbs. Save you some time trying to create new courses ;)

Mike said...

Thanks Kel, I am familiar with those races, who knows I might steal one of their courses but when I run it there will be a lot fewer folks on the course :-)

Wayne said...

sounds like a great idea to me... and since I'm 20 miles behind Rick - whatcha waiting for? Can we start this week?? :)


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