Virtual Bacon Challenge 5K recap

How does one write a race recap on a virtual challenge?  With a great deal of humor.

The History

A little history is needed.  It all started last year as we were training for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  DB and I had joined a group of Disney-loving foodie runners: Run Disney So I Can Eat Disney.  The leaders of this group organized the now famous infamous The Three Little Pigs Challenge for the Disney Marathon.  This event was a huge success, so they decided to open it up to runner that weren't able to participate that first time. Thus, the Virtual Bacon Challenge was born.  Like most 5Ks, this is a fundraising event, this one benefits the New England Aquarium Outreach Program.

The Rules

The challenge was simple, and set up to be accessible to all levels of runners and walkers.  The only rules were: (1) Eat three strips of bacon (or bacon substitutes), and (2) complete 3.1 miles between March 8 and March 17, 2013. 

The Packet Pick-up

The virtual challenge had a nice small town, very personal feel.  After hearing so many great things about the custom bibs, I was looking forward to packet pick-up.  Packet pick-up was super convenient, a beautiful volunteer (in order to avoid any confusion, it was DB) woke me up, to personally give me my bib and wish me a great race.  This was a very nice touch.  And I didn't even have to leave the house and stand in line with a bunch of sweaty dudes at my local running store. 

The race bibs had been personalized to each runner, many  with all manner of clever and funny names.  Best of all, the bibs prominently feature the most amazing salted cured meat ever!  These must have taken forever to complete for all 300+ runners. Undoubtedly the coolest bibs in existence.  They were emailed to us as a .pdf, then DB laminated them. 

The Bacon

I gave up bacon during Lent.  So this was pretty challenging.  However, the challenge did allow for substitutes.  I went with turkey bacon.  Turkey bacon is a lie perpetuated by turkey farmers as a way to get you to buy turkey outside of November.  Sorry, but bacon comes from a pig, not a fat lazy bird.  However, I swallowed my pride and ate the liar bacon.  Easter can’t come quick enough.

DB is not a meat-eater, so she ate some kind of soy bacon biscuit.  She said it was good.  I have my doubts.

The Run(s)

This turned out to be the hardest part.  Running this virtual race took far more planning than I imagined.  It actually took us several attempts to get in the mileage.  Had we been unable to run the mileage over several days, we wouldn't have made it.  Don’t get me wrong, DB and I both have trained for a half marathon and can run 3.1 miles. However,  if it’s not a race, I am not running in unfavorable conditions. And even then...

The first attempt was a Sunday evening, we donned our bibs and headed to a park to run our mileage.  However, after about 1.5 miles it got creepy-movie-dark.  We both had visions of some driver not paying attention and mowing us down, so we called it a night.

Monday we attempted to run again.  On Mondays we run with our local running club. However, this week the rain was horrendous and we both passed. 

Tuesday is our Galloway Group run.  But we didn't have a run scheduled that day - it was a track session.  We both ran a magic mile and a few extra laps for finish out our time.  We added another 1.5 miles to the tally. 

Wednesday through Friday I did hit the gym at lunch for a run on the treadmill, but DB was not with me, and I didn't count it for the race.  Since Monday and Tuesday failed to get us to our 3.1, we decided to sign up for a local 5K.  (BTW the packet pick up was nowhere near as fun... Yep, it was standing in line with sweaty dudes at my local running store.)

We get up Saturday and once again put on our bacon apparel.  This time we have two bibs: the amazing bacon bib and the very boring track club bib. We head out, but are foiled once again.  On the way to the race, I stop to help a motorist in need.  By the time it is all over, we have missed the race.  The Bacon Gods were not with us it seems.  

Later that day, we head to Torreya State Park to enjoy a beautiful hike. (If you are ever in North Florida, check the park out.  Very beautiful trails).  We managed probably 2.5 miles that afternoon. 

Finally, we made the total mileage even if it wasn't in one attempt. 

The Summary

Great race!  Was cool to see other runners posting race recaps with photos of themselves running, wearing their bibs, and of course enjoying delicious bacon - both plain and prepared into tasty looking dishes.  I look forward to competing in future bacon challenges.    An e-book is forthcoming to document the Bacon Challenge and highlight the runners and their recipes.   Makes you want to sign up right?  Well, then check out the group, and stay tuned for future bacon events.  

Here is an image of the medal we will each receive for completing the challenge.

I KNOW, RIGHT?  Without a doubt, the coolest medal EVER.  It is a combination of metal and stained glass, with metallic paint accents.  Awesome! However, I do hope that weather and other forces do not spoil an amazing experience next time.  One more “Thank You” to that beautiful packet pick-up volunteer. 

And a super big thanks to the very awesome Endurance Sports Connection (parent group of Run Disney So I Can Eat Disney) for holding the Virtual Bacon Challenge, especially Linda Bachand, group founder and admin; Greg Itahara, designer of the awesome medals and artwork for both groups; Ron Fraser for painstakingly creating the personalized bibs; and Cheri Fraser for tireless admin work as well. 

Can't wait for my first Bacon Challenge On the Road event!  Hope to see you all at the Space Coast Marathon!