Sunday, January 23, 2022

What is it Like to Run a Virtual Half-Marathon?

What is it like to run a virtual half-marathon?

Last year, I signed up to run a new half-marathon in my town. The Hot Chocolate Half-Marathon. I was super excited! At the time I signed up, I didn't think too much about it despite Covid being around. I was under the impression, Covid would be relatively scarce by the time the race rolled around. However, as the race date approached, there was now the new Omicron version of Covid. I can't afford to get Covid, so I decided to switch my entry to the virtual option. I was just too nervous to go and run with a large group of people, huffing, puffing and spitting all around me. The race did take precautions: Staggered starts, mandatory masks at the starting line, etc...but we all know all well people pay attention to mask mandates, right? 

Running a virtual half-marathon wasn't too different than going out for a long run. That is until I got to mile 10. This is usually when I grab a water or a Gatorade at the aid station. However, there was no aid station. But, let's start at the beginning: First off, I got to where I'd run but unlike an actual event, there was no crowds. No music. No porta potties for last minute pre-race tummy issues. It was just like I was going for a regular run. I tried to do my usual pre-race routine and it did get me psyched up, but not nearly as much as the usual energy felt at the start of a race.

The next obvious difference was that there were no mile markers or people telling you were to go. I know, I know. It's a virtual race so I was just required to cover the distance. Not the actual course. But call me old fashioned, but I ran the actual course. It was all along the greenways here in town so it was easy to look at the map and see what was what. The only exception is I wasn't 100% sure of the start and finish lines or where exactly the turnaround was at but I had a pretty good idea since it lined up with building I was familiar with. I figured as long as I was at the right mileage when I turned around, I'd be ok. 

I don't know about you, but my GPS watch is not the most reliable. In fact, when I go back and look at my route on my training runs, it has me running through buildings, cutting through people's yards, I know it's not 100% accurate. But when I got to the turnaround and my watch said I still had another tenth of a mile to go, I was a little upset. I'm still not convinced my half was 13.1. I think I actually ran more like 13.2 (which by definition, would be a half-ultra, since anything over a marathon is considered an ultra....LOL)

I had mentioned that since it was virtual, there were no aid stations. I knew this, of course, but I normally don't run more than 10 and have not felt the need for a water stop. However, yesterday, around mile 11, I sure could have used one. I know there are things I could have done. Planned ahead a left a water bottle in a tree. Wore a camel pack. But honestly, I'm lazy and that felt like a lot of effort to try an plan for.

To wrap this up, there's normally people at the finish line to give you a boost. Heck. There's normally a finish line! So I had to keep looking at my watch to see when it hit 13.1. I actually know fairly accurately how many steps I take to cover a tenth of a mile so I wasn't constantly looking, but still. Besides no  visual marker of a finish line, there was of course, no post race snacks. No free bananas which I know we all live for. And worst of all, I had to cut up my own orange! 

Don't get me wrong. It felt great to get out there an run a Half again. The last time I ran a half-marathon was in 2013. In January 2018, I ran a 10K with my son but I had not trained in forever. After the 10K, I had horrible plantar fasciitis which became very stubborn. In fact, I pretty much didn't run for the remainder of 2018. In 2019 I decided to get back into running but every time I made some progress, it would come back. Recently, I made some changes and I was able to get back to running pain free again, but that's for a different blog post. 

All in all, as I said, I'm super happy I can run 13.1 miles non-stop. However, I don't think I'd do a virtual half again. A 5K or even a 10K? Sure. No problem. But I just found the virtual half a bit lonely. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

3 Simple Workouts for a Faster 5K (without a track)

Help me beta-test my new program, 3 Simple Workouts for a Faster 5K (without a track) and get in for just $27! In this program, you will not only get 3 easy workouts that don't require a track, but you'll also receive a bonus workout, my 12 exercises that increase strength & flexibility and cuts down your chances of getting a running injury.

In addition, you'll also get a quick fix for the dreaded side-stitch as well as one for shoulder pain. 

All I ask is that after you try the program, you give me some feedback to help me make the course better. What worked? What didn't work? What could be better explained? etc...

Click below to join my beta program for only $27.00.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Shoe Review: Merrell Vapor Glove 5

Hey everyone, here is my video review of the Merrell Vapor Glove 5. I do realize there is a Vapor Glove 6 out now, but these were on sale and I have not had luck in the past with the Merrell brand so I was a little hesitant. These however fit like a....well....a glove. They feel great and are SO easy to get on compared to the Vibram 5-finger shoes I nave been wearing. 

For those of you that follow me on Instagram @ashevillerunningcoach, you know I've had trouble with foot pain. Running in minimalist shoes has changed everything for me. Yes, I run a little slower now, but I'm running pain free and I imaging that my times will get faster as I adjust to the "barefoot" style of running. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Passing the RRCA Certified Running Coach Exam

During the weekend of August 14th, I took the RRCA Coaching course. It was held remotely during Saturday & Sunday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m both days. It sounded like it would be a lot to be in a Zoom meeting all day both days, but honestly, it went by really fast and was very informative. We took breaks each hour or so and worked in groups several times both days. 

RRCA Exam Grade
So what was the exam like? The exam is 100 questions. Most of the questions are multiple choice, but there are some true and false mixed in. The exam is open book, but don't let that lull you into thinking it's not challenging, because it definitely is! 

The nice thing, is that you can save your progress and leave the exam and come back to it later. I took the exam 2 weeks after the course to give myself time to learn the book and where different topics where located to save time and energy as the book is very thick. There's close to 400 slides in the powerpoint so there is A LOT of infomation to sift through. 

If you are interested in learning more about how you can become a RRCA Certified Running Coach, be sure to visit 

Monday, June 21, 2021

Prime Day is Here! Great Deals on Garmins & More

Today is Prime Day at If you're in need of any running gear, simply click on the links below and search for anything you need. Even if it's not for running! I do earn a small commission off your purchase and that helps keep this site and my ability to offer tips and tricks to help runners run faster and farther.

Running Gear

Garmin Sport Watches

Friday, June 4, 2021

Why Even Runners Struggle with Belly Fat (Part 3/3)

Welcome to part 3 of my 3 part series on Why Runners Struggle with Belly Fat. In this video, we'll look at what actually works to get rid of that stubborn belly fat. Things like nutrition, exercise frequency and lowering stress.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Why Even Runners Struggle With Belly Fat (Part 2/3)

Welcome to part 2 of my 3 part series on Why Runners Struggle with Belly Fat. In this video, we'll look at some of the strategies runners try to lose weight, only to have it backfire on them.

What is it Like to Run a Virtual Half-Marathon?

What is it like to run a virtual half-marathon? Last year, I signed up to run a new half-marathon in my town. The Hot Chocolate Half-Maratho...