I braved the humidity and supported RRCA programs during the virtual Cascade Run Off Redux 15K

Vanessa Junkin poses outside in bright yellow ESRC Racing Team shirt, gray shorts, hat and running shoes. Text reads 9.33 mi, 1:56:23, 12:28/mi.
Here I am after running the Cascade Run Off Redux 15K on June 26.

I had a range of dates to choose from to run my virtual Cascade Run Off Redux 15K, but the day I picked was a humid one — which many days have been around here lately.

I headed to Crisfield early in the morning (for me) on Saturday, June 26. I am also doing the Tour de Salisbury, and a 9-mile leg in Crisfield is one of the runs, so it made sense to try to run fast for both this virtual 9.32-mile run and my Tour de Salisbury leg. Actually, these miles also counted for the eRACE Racism challenge and the Race Across Maryland, both of which are events that have to do with the amount of miles logged — so one run counted for four events!

A group of running friends arrived right after I did. Although the runners were close in pace to my pace, I wasn’t sure exactly what their or my paces would be, so I decided to run alone and try to race it as I listened to podcasts and carried water. Usually at races, I like to do my own thing and run by myself.

The Tour de Salisbury leg is an out-and-back route on the Route 413 Rail to Trail, which is currently 4.5 miles. I also ran on this trail for the virtual Pittsburgh Marathon relay. It’s a nice trail for virtual runs because it’s paved and flat, and although there are some road crossings, there isn’t much traffic, and I didn’t have to stop for traffic on either of the virtual races I’ve done there.

I started my run just before 7:30 a.m. My Garmin tracked the weather as 77 degrees with 94 percent humidity. It certainly felt warm.

I ran the first mile in 10:37, but I could tell that pace wasn’t going to last for long. I decided to walk at each of the half-mile markers. That didn’t seem like enough walking, either, and I walked when I needed it. Probably around Mile 3, I ended up doing three-minute run, one-minute walk intervals. At some points I walked extra.

I wore my new Brooks Aurora-BL that I received as a member of the Run Happy Team, and I liked how they felt. Although I was taking frequent walk breaks, the running part seemed relatively fast.

I would have ideally liked to have finished the race faster, as all my 10-mile races have been faster (this was my first 15K), but I knew the heat and humidity would affect me, so I feel good about how I did. The summer heat and humidity always has a big impact on me, and if I can finish a run without heat-related issues like I experienced in 2012 and 2014, that’s a win. Despite issues with coughing, I was also able to keep up a consistent pace after the first mile and finish strong.

At some point, I decided I would like to complete the distance in under two hours. I was able to do that, finishing 9.33 miles in a time of 1:56:23. It turned out that my time for the Tour de Salisbury segment was within a minute of what some of my friends did, so it would have made total sense to run with them. But I gave it what I had and was pleased with this run on a warm day.

Vanessa Junkin poses outside in black race shirt with brightly-colored design and jean shorts.
Here I am in my race shirt after finishing the run.

I signed up for this virtual run because the Eastern Shore Running Club, of which I am secretary, is a Road Runners Club of America club, and this race benefited two RRCA programs — RunPro Camp and Roads Scholars grants. I joined an Eastern Shore Running Club team with fellow member Susan, and I wore my ESRC singlet for the run.

The race was held to honor the Cascade Run Off 15K in 1981, which was monumental in making athletes able to run for prize money. Since I was born in 1990 and didn’t get into running till I was a teenager, I didn’t realize this had been an issue. If you’re interested in reading more about the history, learn about it here.

In addition to the donation, I also received a shirt based on the 1981 shirt design. Having run a 10K in a 1979 race shirt, I think things like this are fun, and it’s a cool shirt!

Splits

Mile 1: 10:37
Mile 2: 12:03
Mile 3: 13:07
Mile 4: 13:24
Mile 5: 12:15
Mile 6: 13:14
Mile 7: 13:28
Mile 8: 12:16
Mile 9: 12:30
Last part (.33): 3:23 (10:07 pace)

Final: 1:56:23 (12:28 pace)


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