Thursday, January 7, 2021

Making Some ILLI-NOISE!

Disclaimer: I received a registration for the Criss-Cross Virtual Challenge as part of being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews.

I've been making my own Illi-Noise lately.

Let's just say they call it Perfect Timing for a reason.

Ever been there? In the early phase of a comeback, when an opportunity practically landed in your lap? And your gut instinct immediately said, "Let's do this!"

Well, it's been my reality for a couple of months now.

Affiliated with the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, the Criss-Cross Virtual Challenge (website HERE) began November 5, 2020. It's a (virtual) trek across the state of Illinois, ending on May 1, 2021. 

This challenge has been a great fit for me as I continue my rally-back from my first-ever stress fracture. I recently finished the West-to-East route. As of Thursday (January 7th), I am currently 40 miles into my journey on the North-to-South course.   

Here are some key points:

The timing is perfect.
Having been side-lined since mid-August, this challenge began just after I'd started to ease back into running (and walking). 

The time span of the challenge is ideal.
Not only does this challenge span six months, it ushered me into the Winter season (when the temps start to get chilly in Iowa) and it will take me through most of the Spring season (when the weather tends to be a crap-shoot of winter wind, spring rain, and summer heat). What's more, with Covid-19 still a factor, the fate of races is still iffy. This virtual challenge may very well BE the "racing" scene for awhile.

The distance is a good fit.
This challenge offers three options: the West-to-East route (224 miles), the North-to-South route (435 miles), and ...for the go-big-or-go-home enthusiasts... there's the Double (doing BOTH routes...for a total of 659 miles). Myself? I took on the Double!

The virtual format makes for a user-friendly format.
In other words, this challenge is on your own terms. You don't have to do all of the miles at once (obviously). You can do a few miles every day, or just knock them out on the weekend. You can accommodate your virtual route in accordance to the weather...outside (on the streets) or inside (on the treadmill). Also, participants are afforded the privilege of counting all miles accrued between November 5th through May 1st, regardless of when they register!

Both running and walking miles count!
Believe me, this is HUGE! Personally, my recovering foot cannot take all those miles running. Let me factor in all my walking miles, though, and I'm game.

Let's not forget the swag.
There's hardware, a mask, a beanie, and running gear. Plus, there are some other goodies included in the race kit. What's not to love?

Finally, a unique bonus is the guidebook feature.
Yes, a West-to-East guidebook (HERE) and a North-to-South guidebook (HERE) depicting information on some of the towns you'll be virtually visiting on your way across Illinois.

As I said, this challenge has been a great fit for me in my stress fracture rally-back routine. I don't have issues with motivation, but the cold weather is a buzzkill. With the goal of completing all 659 miles, over the course of the six months, I have to average 3.7 miles per day, or just under 26 miles per week. That's a lot of running mileage, given my state of recovery. Factoring in my walking mileage, though, I have not had any problems with staying on track. For the record, my walking miles are intentional miles, not accumulated steps from a tracking device. 

So, care to join me? Check out the registration site (HERE), and code BRP5OFF will save you $5!

Have you ever taken on a 6-month challenge? Ever done a virtual trek across a state?

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  1. I started my state's challenge last May because I was in a mood where I needed to be working toward "something". The thing that's perfect about my challenge and the IL challenge is that they both end in May. Not that there are any guarantees but the majority of my state is supposed to get the vaccine by the summer, so I feel like it's a good mental distraction to get us through to then. And it adds a little extra purpose to dog walking;-)

    1. I agree, May is a good time frame and "finish line." And, it'll be nearly summer!!!!!!

  2. That's great that you have 6 months to complete the challenge.You never know about the weather this time of the year. Challenges like this have kept me motivated this year for sure. Looks like a fun one!

    1. I think these kind of challenges are good for the same reason. Just a nice little "gig" on the side to keep us active on those days when even just a short walk has purpose.

  3. This sounds like such a fun challenge and i love that they give you a few months to rack up the miles - makes it more manageable for sure!

    1. Right? Spreading out all the miles over six months is pretty doable for most people.

  4. This sounds like the perfect challenge for your comeback from your injury! Like you, I don't need the motivation, but it's fun to do these challenges with a group. Congrats on finishing one of the two distances.

    1. Thanks, Debbie ;-) I was really lucky to have this opportunity just happen at such a significant time for me.

  5. Love that you used this as a tool to come back from injury! I can soooo relate to that comeback journey. Way to go, lady!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I was very fortunate this opportunity came when it did. It's been a perfect fit with my rally-back ;-)