8 on 8th in 2008


When is a race not really a race, yet dozens of people participate? How can I finish several hours before others, yet still be a middle-of-the-pack finisher? Or how can someone finish 10 minutes in front of me, yet I beat them by two minutes? When is there an event in which I can use a fast mile time from earlier in the week because of very relaxed rules? And why would I be doing my long run on a Friday? Welcome to the world of virtual running folks.

Today is the third or forth virtual race put on by Non-Running Nancy, but it's the first I've been able to participate in. The rules are simple -- run 8 miles sometime this week. Those miles can be fast or slow or combined. For me, for the purpose of having a decent finishing time, it's a mixture of all three.

For me, today's 8 on the 8th started a few days ago when I ran a 7:25 mile. I HAVE to include that mile as part of my 8 for this race. It's just too fast not to. The rest of my miles came as part of a 10.1-mile run today. For me, this was like three runs in one -- part of it was a race. I kept thinking of how many people are actually out running 8 miles today because it's 08-08-08. Part of it was just a long run of 10 or more miles. It was my second double-digit run in as many weeks. And lastly, part of it was getting some speed work in as part of a long run. Speed + distance = a better racing experience in a few weeks.

Including my mile from the other day, my official race time for "8 on the 8th" was 1:05:39, an 8:12 pace. Had I known I was so close to an 8:08 pace, I might have pushed it a little harder in some parts. This time included a mile with my dog in 7:55 -- probably his fastest mile to date. I then had a two-mile tempo run of 16:18 along some rolling hills in my neighborhood. After a cool down, I logged an 8:10 mile with a few loops around a couple of soccer fields in a nearby park. After another cool down, I struggled to an 8:33 mile while dodging tree limbs in the same park. After taking the next 1.5 miles pretty easy, I did a half-mile interval in 3:51. I ended my long run with a couple of quarter-mile intervals in 2:01 and 1:49. To get the fastest time possible in 8 on the 8th, I added together two of my half-mile cool downs for the "final" mile, which was just under 10 minutes.

As confusing as that all sounds, here's a simplified look at my speed workout today as part of my long run: 1st mile in 7:55; miles 1-3 in 16:18; miles 3.5-4.5 in 8:10; miles 5-6 in 8:33; miles 7.5-8 in 3:51; miles 8.5-8.75 in 2:01; and miles 9.5-9:75 in 1:49. Adding it all up, that's 6 miles of speed work today. I'm mostly pleased with my times, especially my last quarter-mile interval.

I want to thank Nancy for organizing such a great event. And I want to congratulate all the finishers of this awesome race. There are so many of us who have never met that are taking part in this race, and it's a good feeling to be a part of it as the Olympics get under way this weekend. We may not win bronze, silver or gold, but we'll have the pride to carry around that we finished 8 on the 8th!