I’m not sure how I first stumbled upon the Pi Day 5k virtual race, but it didn’t take much arm twisting to convince my math teacher husband to sign up with me. It was to be our very first virtual race. What’s a virtual race? It’s a race that can be run anywhere – inside, outside, you choose! For this one, participants could run 3.14 miles (Pi = 3.14159265358979… and that’s all I can remember!) , which works out to approximately 5 km, or 10 km if they wanted to. The runs were to be done any time between March 12 and March 15th. Alasdair and I both chose the 5k option, and of course we had to do it on March 14th (3/14)!
If you don’t remember what Pi is, here’s a simple explanation!
So, I registered us in February and we waited for our race kits to arrive! I read online that even if participants registered by the “delivery” cut off date, their packets may not arrive on time because some t-shirt sizes were on backorder. A week ago, an envelope arrived addressed to Alasdair, but by Friday, I still hadn’t received anything. I was disappointed, but the race organizers prepared digital race bibs and medals that could be downloaded and printed so no one missed out. Last night, I decided to open Alasdair’s package just in case my stuff was in there too – and it was! Lucky me! Each participant received an awesome t-shirt (nice women’s cut!), a race bib, a medal, a sticker, and a pie lifter!!
Alasdair and I had hoped to race together, but I had to run between 12 and 1 (today was a work day for me, after all – not for him, it’s March Break!), and he wanted to run at 3:14 PM! So, at noon I ran slowly over to a local paved path about 1 km away, where I would be able to start my race and not have to worry about cars slowing me down. I hit “Start Free Run” on RunKeeper on my phone, and I was off! It was 7 degrees Celsius and lightly rainy – not bad for running!
I’ve never done a timed 5k race before (though I did do a free, timed 5k parkrun in England in 2014 with a time of 27:05), but I’ve done 8k, 10k, 16k, 21.1k and 42.2k races, and try a tri, sprint, Olympic, long course and half ironman triathlons! In February I ran an 8k at a 5:24 min/km pace, and a 10k at a 5:23 min/km pace (both very fast for me). I was hoping to run a bit faster than that today!
I felt that I was running quickly, but was surprised when my phone didn’t talk to me at 1 km and tell me my pace and time. I soon realized that after biking on Saturday, I had forgotten to change one of the settings, and that my phone wouldn’t talk to me until I had hit the 5k mark! I always have my phone set to give me feedback at 1 km, and wasn’t wearing a watch, so this would be a very weird run (and race)! I didn’t feel like carrying my phone in my hand to watch my pace.
I did a practice run the other day so I would know where to turn around, so when I reached that spot, I headed for the finish line! I passed a couple of people who I think were looking at my race bib and wondering why I had it on. Even if they had asked I wouldn’t have been able to say much – I couldn’t slow down or stop and ruin my race!
I did pull my phone out at about the 4.3k mark, and looked at it frequently for the next 700m! When I looked at it the first time, I saw a pace of 5:23, but wasn’t sure I could hold it. I think I might have actually picked up the pace at the end, and was pleasantly surprised to finish with a time of 26:52! That works out to a pace of 5:22 min/km. Yay!
I cooled down by walking for a couple hundred metres, then ran slowly home. That’s where my husband took a few post-race pictures!
Not only did Alasdair start his run at 3:14 PM, but he also ran in a pie shape – unfortunately, his heart rate monitor didn’t cooperate so he can’t share the picture of his route. He also pressed his lap timer at 300m, 1 km and 4 km during his run. How did I find this guy?!
Late this afternoon I made my 60th blood donation (1-888-to-donate or 1-888-je-donne for my Canadian readers), and then after dinner, we enjoyed our 22/7 apple pie!
Since each runner could register their time online (we both did), they were able to build some stats. There will even be awards for the top 3 male and female runners in the 5k and 10k categories, plus some other fun ones (e.g. geekiest photo, best family photo, best medal photo, top of the curve (median race finisher) etc.).
Time: 26:52 (5:22 min/km)
Gender place: 7/164 women as of the writing of this blog post
Overall place: 15/221 runners
Total participants in the 5k and 10k run and walk: 1,114 (67.5% female, 32.5% male with 74.8% doing the 5k run/walk, and 25.2% doing the 10k run/walk)
In addition to the Pi Day 5k being a fun run to do, $1 from each race entry was donated to IGNITE (Inspiring Girls Now in Technology Evolution). IGNITE is from the United States, a “nonprofit based in Seattle which introduces school girls from grades 6-12 to technology careers via panel discussions, job shadowing, technology workshops, mentoring, and field trips throughout the school year to visit the work places of professional women in Science, Technology, Engineering and #Math (STEM) careers.”
I’m glad we signed up to do the Pi Day 5k. You can’t beat a race where you don’t have to:
- crawl out of bed at what seems like the middle of the night
- drive far to get to the race
- find parking or take a shuttle bus to the race start
- line up for portapotties
- deal with congestion when the race starts
This race was very well organized, the online facebook community was fun to participate in, and the race kit was awesome! We will definitely consider running this one again!!