Friday, September 12, 2014

What is a Virtual Race? A Guide to Virtual Racing

In anticipation of the upcoming Running with Ollie BIG 4-0 Virtual Four Mile Fun Run, Scavenger Hunt, and Giveaway, I've decided to devote a blog post to virtual racing. This is everything you need to know to start participating in virtual races.

If you've seen some virtual races online and not really sure what they are all about, or had some questions about virtual racing, this is the resource for you.

A Guide to Virtual Racing


What is a virtual race?
A virtual race is an event that can be completed in your own location. You decide where you will run it, you map out your own race route, run or walk the designated miles, and report your participation online. You can run it in your neighborhood, on local trails, on a track, on a treadmill, or even at a local organized race. The beauty of a virtual race is that you choose the location!

What are the different types of virtual races?
Some virtual races are set up as charity fundraisers. In these virtual races you usually pay a registration fee, in which a portion will go to a charity. In exchange for your registration fee, which will vary by event, you usually can expect to receive a t-shirt, a finishers medal, or a gift bag. Before paying a registration fee, I suggest doing some research on the legitimacy of the charity and the race host. The vast majority of charity virtual races are legit, but before you shell out your hard-earned money, do some checking to make sure you understand where your money is going.

Some virtual races (like the Running with Ollie Big 4-0 virtual four mile run) are 100% free and are put together to motivate runners and walkers, build an online community, and to raise awareness of a blog or brand.

Why do people participate in virtual races?
Virtual races can be used as a motivation or training tool. Once you commit to the miles, you'll want to get out there and follow through. Another reason people participate in virtual races is because there may not be any traditional organized races nearby and it is fun way to be a part of a bigger running community without having to travel anywhere.

Is there a packet pick up? Will I get a race bib? How about a medal?
Some paid races will send you a bib in the mail, but the free virtual races usually offer a printable bib. You can choose whether you wear it or not. Many people hold up their race bib for the camera when sharing their experience online or on social media.

Some virtual races will send you a medal upon completion. These races usually have a registration fee to cover the cost of the medal.

How do I know how far I ran?
Since you don't have the benefit of a preplanned race course with mile markers in a virtual race, you will have to figure out how to log the distance you will run. If you don't have a GPS watch to track your mileage, there are a couple of other ways to document your distance. There are websites like Map My Run that allow you to create your own race (or training) route online. You can also use running apps like RunKeeper or Runtastic that use the GPS on your phone to log your distance. If all that technology is too much for you, you could simply get in your car and map out the mileage in your car.

Map My Run

Should I time myself?
Sure, but I wouldn't worry too much about getting it down to the exact second. If you don't have a GPS watch or other timer, you can just take note of the time you left and the time you returned to figure out your approximate finishing time, although it doesn't really matter in a virtual race. Some virtual races will post a results page after the run where participants can self-report their finishing times. If winners are announced, it is not usually based on finishing time, but by random drawing.

I ran a virtual race, now what?
Share it on social media. After all, what good is a virtual race if you run it and don't tell anyone! The whole point of a virtual race is to share it virtually! Often times virtual races will have designated hastags so you can find the other participants on social media and they can find you.

How do they know if I really ran it?
They don't. Virtual races are based on the honor system. If you didn't want to run it, you probably wouldn't have signed up. And those that collect money for charities probably don't really care if you ran it or not. It's up to you to run it because you want to!

Where can I find virtual races to enter?
Great question! You can sign up and run the Running with Ollie BIG 4-0 Virtual Four Mile Fun Run, Scavenger Hunt and giveaway now for free! You can run it anytime between 9/21/14-10/4/14. There is also a big giveaway and 14 winners will be selected by random drawings. Register now!

The Running with Ollie virtual four mile fun run, scavenger hunt, and giveaway!


After you run the Running with Ollie virtual race, you might decide you've been bitten by the virtual race bug.

You can search active.com for virtual races, look for virtual racing groups on Facebook (like this one), or follow some running blogs, and you're sure to find plenty of virtual races! As another resource, Jost Running has regular monthly virtual races.

So what are you waiting for? Have you signed up for the Running with Ollie FREE virtual race from 9/21-10/5?

Register below or click on the link here to register.



Have you ever participated in a virtual race? Are you signed up for the Running with Ollie Virtual Race? Do you have any tips for virtual racing? Did I miss anything?

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Life Lessons Learned from Running

We interrupt this regularly scheduled month of getting super excited about the upcoming Running with Ollie Big 4-0 virtual four mile fun run, scavenger hunt, and giveaway for a regularly scheduled throwback Thursday.

Throwback Thursday is a monthly post when I share a blog post you may have missed the first time around. It also gives me the chance to spruce up old posts, add better images for Pinterest, and clean up old mistakes. Sometimes you don't realize how far you've come until you look back.

This month I am remembering my very first day of the Blogember blog every day in November challenge in 2013. I was inspired to do this challenge after not posting a single blog in October last year. I was in a blogging rut and the challenge was exactly what I need to get my blogging movo back. After all, blogging challenges are easy. Someone else does the hard part, they come up with the post ideas. All I had to do was write them.

My first post of the challenge was Life Lessons learned from Running. I'd love it if you would take a trip back in time with me to check it out.




I usually take this opportunity to share a throwback picture, so that you can either laugh at my giant hair in the 90s or gush over how cute I was when I was a toddler. (Seriously, I was cute. I'm not sure what happened.) But instead, in honor of our upcoming virtual four mile fun run, we are going to throw all the way back to last Friday, when I announced a giveaway for registered participants in the virtual race until 9/12. The pre-race giveaway ends this Friday (tomorrow!)

Ends 9/12/14
I will randomly draw a winner from the registered participants in the US 18 years old or older on Friday 9/12. If you haven't registered for the FREE virtual race yet, now is the time to do it. I may announce another pre-race giveaway on the 12th, so stay tuned.

And if I haven't mentioned it enough times in this post already (what? too many times?), you can still register for the running with Ollie virtual four mile fun run, scavenger hunt, and giveaway here. It is fun and free. Register now.

Who excited? I mean, besides me.

Have a great Thursday, friends.  We'll catch up soon.

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Lea

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PRE-RACE GIVEAWAY RULES:   
Contest runs from until 9/12.
No purchase necessary.
1 winner will be randomly selected via random.org
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Must have a shipping address in the US. 
Winner will notified via email and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Giveaway BEFORE the #Giveaway

I just want to take a moment to say that you gals/guys rock! The registrations for the Running with Ollie virtual four mile fun run, scavenger hunt, and giveaway have been POURING in. I am so excited and so is Ollie. He is ready to go. I tried to tell him this thing doesn't officially kick off until 9/21. He just doesn't understand.

"Let's go, mama!"

As a big thank you from me to you, how about a giveaway before the big event giveaway? 

All registered participants in the event will be automatically entered to win this BULU BOX until 9/12. If you are not registered, now is the time to do it! Register now to be automatically entered to win. (US shipping addresses only.)



Don't worry, if you are already registered, then you are already in the running (pun intended) to win this prize. Winner will be drawn randomly on 9/12 from all registrants and will be announced here (and I'll email you). If all goes well, I'll hold another flash giveaway next Friday. 

I'd love if you would share to help get the word out about the virtual run and giveaway! REGISTER HERE and learn more about the run and the event giveaway prize sponsors.

GIVEAWAY RULES:   
Contest runs from until 9/12.
winner will be drawn randomly from all registered contestants in the US.
No purchase necessary.
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Must have a shipping address in the US. 
Winner will notified via email and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.

Thanks, friends!

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Keep Running,

Lea

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GIVEAWAY RULES:   
Contest runs from until 9/12.
No purchase necessary.
1 winner will be randomly selected via Random.org
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Must have a shipping address in the US. 
Winner will notified via email and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Register for the Virtual Four Mile Fun Run & Scavenger Hunt!

Welcome to September. I don't know about you, but I am welcoming autumn with open arms! It can't get here fast enough! Goodbye stifling heat! Hello cool fall running!

If you follow Running with Ollie Blog on Facebook you have probably seen my posts about the upcoming virtual four mile run and scavenger hunt. I've been working hard around the clock (except when I am getting my required 8-9 hours a night of sleep) pulling everything together for the event and giveaway.

The virtual run starts 9/21 and will run (pun intended) through 10/5. If you want to participate, but are like me, and realize there is a very good chance you will forget all about it by 9/21, please register so that I can keep you in the loop!


11 Sponsors. 14 Prizes. 14 Winners. No Entry Fee. Fun and Free!

Sneak peak at the prize sponsors
What is a virtual run, you say?
A virtual run can be completed at any location! Run it on the streets in your neighborhood, on the treadmill, or even at an local organized race. Anywhere! You run in your own area and report back online to join in on the fun with hundreds of runners all over the country. You can find my guide to virtual racing here, everything you need to know about entering & participating in a virtual race.

Run the BIG 4-0 virtual 4.0 mile fun run or walk.
Run (walk or crawl) four miles wherever you are to virtually participate in the Big 4-0 fun run. There are no rules, no pace requirements, no pressure. Virtual runs are the best! There are no parking hassles and no long lines at the porta potty. Just get out there and get four miles in however you can! The winners aren't the fastest runners. The winners are the luckiest (via random drawing).

And what's this about a scavenger hunt? 
Well, I have to leave something for you to look forward to! All that I will say for now is that you will take pictures of things you see along your run for the scavenger hunt and share them on social media with a designated hashtag. All the details regarding the scavenger hunt will be revealed in the 09/21 post at the start of the event. Don't worry, it will be voluntary, but really fun and easy. You're going to love it!

You can use the below form to register for the event. You can also register here. There is no obligation if you change your mind later or something comes up and you can't participate.



So what do you think? Are you in? Preregister now! Ollie is ready to go!!


A big thank you to our amazing prize sponsors. Please check out the brands that interest you to keep these kinds of giveaways possible!

Shine AthleticaMomentum JewelryApera BagsGym Boss Interval TimersFlipBeltLoxley SportsJay Robb ProteinEveryMoveProCompression and Trailheads

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Running La Jolla

If you've been following along with the Running with Ollie Blog Dog Week, you probably already know that we spent an extended weekend in beautiful San Diego, California. We got married on the beach in La Jolla in 2005, so every few years we like to go back and celebrate.


We did something a little different this year. We decided to rent a room through airbnb rather than a hotel room. Airbnb is a site where you can find local hosts who are renting rooms, houses, or in our case, a master suite near the beach with a private entrance, private bath, pool and hot tub.

It was different than anything we've ever done before, but we liked the idea of not staying in some stuffy hotel, and it was at least half the price of staying in a nice hotel in La Jolla. We just weren't sure what exactly to expect.

The house was in a gorgeous quiet neighborhood in La Jolla, just two miles from La Jolla cove. Immediately upon being greeted by our hosts, I knew it was going to be great. They were friendly, engaging, and really helpful. They knew of our anniversary and bought us a card and a bottle of champagne as a gift. It felt like we were staying with relatives. They were the perfect balance of being available for questions or short chats, while still allowing us the privacy to enjoy our vacation. It was perfect. I will definitely use airbnb again when looking for rooms in other cities.



Our anniversary gift from our airbnb hosts. I am so grateful!
We immediately hit all our favorite San Diego spots. Hubby's favorite place to eat in all of San Diego is a little dive cafe on the Ocean Beach pier.  This was our first stop after landing, for clam chowder and lobster tacos.

don't judge me. 
Our first night in San Diego we went to Mission Beach to watch the sun set.


Then we played our typical La Jolla game of "find-the-exact-spot-we-were-standing-when-we-got-married." It gets a little harder every time we go back, but I think we found it. This looks right:


We managed to get in three runs in four days and I have to say that our time running together (together: aka hubby 1/4 mile ahead at all times) along the ocean were some of the best times of our vacation. You know you're a runner when running on vacation is the best part!

We've been suffering through stifling Texas heat runs, so even though everyone in California was complaining of a heat wave (laughable!) our runs were the coolest that I can remember in a long time, plus you just can't beat an ocean view while running!

One day we ran along the 101 in Encinitas and it was just amazing. I didn't have my phone during the run, but I made hubby take me back up there with the car afterwards so I could get some shots of the incredible view. The selfie was accidental. I couldn't see the screen at all because of the sun glare and I didn't realize the screen got turned around. I thought it was funny because I didn't know until I was looking through the pictures later. I think the look on my face says it all.
"Hey, who's Grandma did you beat up to steal those glasses?" 
On Sunday most of the roads downtown La Jolla were closed for a 7k. I wish I would have known, I would have loved to run a race while in town. This is something I should definitely look into for next time. I have traveled to run races, I just never thought to look for races in the places that I was already traveling. This was our view on our walk to eat pancakes. Way to guilt trip me, La Jolla!


I even bought a new pair of running shoes because I love visiting local running shops when I travel. I decided to try something different this time. The sales guy really sold me on these: Hoka One One Kailua Tarmac. I bought them my last day in town, so I haven't had a chance to run in them yet. I'll let you know how they go. They are supposed to be really comfortable.


Even though our diet was less than stellar, we did manage to get in several very enjoyable runs, and walked around a lot. I logged the most steps in one day on my Polar Loop since I started keeping track and hit 200% of my goal everyday we were there. Apparently, vacation is good for my health (but not my pocket book). (You can read my review of the Polar Loop here.)

My Polar Loop and my motivate wrap (Momentum Jewelry is a sponsor in my upcoming September Virtual Run and Scavenger Hunt)

We finished out our trip with a lovely outdoor anniversary dinner at Bernini's Bistro, La Jolla. It was the perfect end to our perfect anniversary vacation.

Anniversary dinner at Bernini's Bistro

Our airbnb hosts left us with a parting gift of passion fruit that they grew on their backyard vine. Delicious!


We had the most wonderful vacation. Ease of travel, carefree days, delicious meals, running along the beach...it all was all fun and memorable. But there is no happiness like the happiness of being home. Besides, we really missed Ollie!

What about you? Have you ever booked a room with airbnb? Have you ever been to La Jolla? Do you run on vacation? Do you ever travel for your anniversary? Have you ever worn Hoka One One running shoes? Do you have any recommendations for future trips to La Jolla? Let me know in the comments!


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Keep Running,

Lea

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Friday, August 29, 2014

IT'S DOG WEEK! Furry Feature: Meet Adriana and JayJay

Welcome to the final day of the Running with Ollie blog DOG WEEK! It's been one great week. I was in San Diego enjoying the sun and surf, and in an attempt to keep you entertained while I was away, I've been sharing daily Furry Futures. There were so many great running dogs (and their humans) featured this week. This was probably the cutest week in Running with Ollie history! I hope you've been following along and enjoying dog week. If you've missed any, you can catch up on Furry Features here. Although today is last day of dog week, I'll continue to do monthly Friday Furry Features, so stay tuned for more four-legged furry running partners. 

Today we are featuring Adriana and JayJay from Latina and Triing

Hi, Adriana, Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.
Her name is JayJay. She is a black lab we (hubby and I) rescued last year after having to put down her sister Anise.

JayJay in the pool!

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?
We run around the trails at home.

Have you ever raced with your dog? 
Yes. We have done Friends of the River 4mile run and the DFW lab rescue 5K twice.

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.
Running in general. I don't come from a working out background. Starting to run was painful and started motivated to run with Anise a few years ago. Now have completed multiples 5k, 10k, 3x13.1, 3x70.3 (Tri) and 2x140.6. With a few sprint and Olympic distances in between. So I'm proud of accomplishing all that.


What important running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?
Pacing is important. JayJay will want to go all out and I have to push her back to pace her so I don't have to drag her home after 4 or 5 miles of running. It is the same with running you have to pace yourself so you can always finish strong.

Adriana, I am going have to check out the DFW lab reuse 5k! Thanks for sharing your pup and your story. You can follow Adriana and JayJay below:

Have you missed any furry faces? You can get caught up on Dog Week Furry Features here.

Are you a runner who would like to be featured with your favorite furry four-legged running partner?  Just fill out this form to be considered for a future furry Friday feature. (Bonus points if you can say that five times fast.)

If you want to check out some other great running dog blogs, check out Top Dog Running Blogs (spoiler alert: clicking on link will lead to cute pictures of running dogs).


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Keep Running,

Lea

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

IT'S DOG WEEK! Furry Feature: Meet Walter (aka Disney Groom) and Magnus

I hope you are enjoying the Running with Ollie DOG WEEK. We've been sharing the stories of runners and their four-legged running partners all week. If you've fallen behind you can catch up on Furry Features here. We are rounding out the week and boy, do I have a surprise for you! It's our first ever manly feature on Furry Friday Feature. The submissions for furry features have been pouring in, and I've had plenty of boy dogs, just exactly zero boy humans. Now, I know you guys run with your dogs too (I see you out there, all the time!). So why the shortage of male submissions? It's OK. Our new friend Walter (aka Disney Groom) from www.RunningHappilyEverAfter.com has saved the day!
When I am on vacation, every day is Friday!

Hi, Walter. Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.
Magnus is a 8 month old Pointer Lab. He is a rescue from the Tallahassee Animal Shelter. The vet estimated his DOB to be 12/24/2013, so he is a Christmas baby.

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?
I prefer to run off-road, and we are very fortunate to have so many beautiful trails in North Florida. Magnus and I frequent many of our local trails and also the beach.

Have you ever raced with your dog? 
Not yet. We have only had Magnus for a short time. After we slowly increase his mileage, perhaps we can run a race together this fall.

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.
Watching my wife finish her first half marathon. She set a goal and through sheer determination and dedication made it happen. There is no greater joy than seeing someone complete what they have set out to do. I can still see the big smile she had on her face as she crossed the finish line. That memory continues to motivate me today.

What important running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?
Don’t overanalyze, just GO. Whether it’s skipping or dancing in the middle of a marathon, sticking your tongue out and running with abandon, or just stopping to enjoy the scenery. Stressing over splits, target zones, etc. – that’s not for me. Running IS FUN – don’t lose sight of that.


Do you want to tell us anything else about you or running with your dog?
It’s important to remember your own early days of running. You don’t want your dog to have a negative association with running. Start slow, and increase the mileage very gradually. Make sure to stop and allow your dog to drink each time you take a drink. Taking it nice and slow will help make running fun for everyone. Finally, running him through the park is a great way to get him to nap for an afternoon.


Any Parting Thoughts?
Need motivation to run? How about a running partner that is ready to go at a moment’s notice? Want a running buddy that will make you laugh, so those miles just seem to pass very quickly?

An energetic puppy or adult dog will demand exercise and encourage you to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Get to your local animal shelter and meet your new BRF. You will be saving two lives.

Also, if you cannot adopt now for any reason, ask about volunteering to exercise (walk/run) the shelter dogs.


You can follow Walter and Magnus here:
  
Blog: http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RunningHappilyEverAfter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Disney_Groom

Have you missed any? You can get caught up on Dog Week Furry Features here.

Are you a runner who would like to be featured with your favorite furry four-legged running partner?  Just fill out this form to be considered for a future furry Friday feature. (Bonus points if you can say that five times fast.)

If you want to check out some other great running dog blogs, check out Top Dog Running Blogs (spoiler alert: clicking on link will lead to cute pictures of running dogs).


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Keep Running,

Lea

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