Wednesday, January 11, 2012

12 Reasons to Join the Virtual 12athon Challenge

I'm terrible about relaying timely information. If someone tells me to remember a message for someone else, they've wasted their breath. If we run out of cat food or toilet paper, guess who forgets to inform the better half, who happens to be at the store asking what we need.

Join the 12athon ChallengeSo, the fact that I'm mentioning the Virtual 12athon Challenge on the eve of the inaugural run should come at no surprise. Well, it's not surprising to me, anyway. You don't know me that well. So, you might be surprised that a person who pretends to be in-the-know with regard to running stuff would wait until the day before a virtual contest starts to suggest that you join in the fun.

I'll confess that I think mentioning the 12athon Challenge here is a bit redundant, because I imagine that 99% of you read as well. But, hey, the other 1% deserve a special post, too, right? (That is not a political reference)

So, if you haven't already, please visit the link in the lines above and read all about the Virtual 12athon Challenge. Conceptually, it's easy to play. And, the potential winnings make the 12athon even more intriguing. Be sure to read about the bonus challenges, too.

I'll wait while you read...

Okay. So, if your hemming and hawing over the prospect of throwing an impromptu 12-mile run into your carefully crafted 2012 training schedule each month, here are 12 reasons (in no particular order) to just go ahead and try it:

  1. It's free:
    You don't have to pay a registration fee. You won't be asked to join some sort of annoying super club that supposedly saves you money on future registration fees. It's just free.
  2. Numerous opportunities to win prizes:
    Didn't win this month? Maybe next month. Or, perhaps, the following month. Maybe August will be your month. Already won this month? Maybe you're such a winner, you'll win the quarterly prize, too! Maybe you're the fastest or slowest runner at the end of the year. Both get prizes! This contest is full of win, people!
  3. Maintain race distance fitness:
    Sometimes, when a runner hasn't scheduled a race well enough in advance, he or she might be inclined to slack off in training. Well, if the 12athoner wants to continue participating, he or she will at least run 12 miles (6 miles for the JV 12athoner) once per month. And, if you can run 12 miles, you can run a half marathon.

    So, when your brother in law comes to town and dares you to run the local half with him, you won't feel like a stick in the mud because you're too out of shape to finish the race. You're a 12athoner, dammit!
  4. Levity:
    We take ourselves so seriously sometimes that the fun of the run is eclipsed by the fact that you were three seconds off from your previous pace. The 12athon bonus challenges inspire us to add a little something silly to the run. Virtual peer pressure and curiosity might help you discover something about running that you wouldn't have thought possible.

    Maybe beer really is the best energy drink for you. Maybe running 12 miles on a quarter-mile loop is better than that trail you thought you loved so much. Maybe you actually don't vomit when you eat deviled eggs anymore. The point is, there are lots of ways to have fun with your running. And, the 12athon challenge gives you an excuse to discover them for yourself.
  5. It's a year-long challenge:
    Having a sense of accomplishment goes a long way. Admit it. Maybe you'll run all 12 of the 12-mile runs. Maybe you won't. Either way, if you participate, you'll have accomplished something in the virtual company of other runners. And, it'll feel good, whether you run for two months or the whole year.
  6. Being part of a Group:
    Sure, running is mostly an individual activity. But, we runners certainly like to talk about it, especially with other runners. Some of us, though, are not fortunate enough to have a group of running friends in real life. So, the Internet fills that void with forums and other social sites.

    The 12athon Challengers operate within the realms of and Facebook, which, for the most part, is conducive to short bursts of running-related discussion. So, you could add the 12athon Challenge to your group of running friends on the web. And, this would be an even more specialized running group. How awesome is that? (rhetorical question)
  7. You can get creative:
    One of the beautiful things about the 12athon Challenge is that creative run reports and interpretations of the bonus challenges are encouraged. So, having a chance to "prove" your 12 miles in whatever way you can leaves the door open to plenty of fun Internet posting. And, the sometimes vague challenge descriptions afford the runner a lot of leeway with interpretation. If you're especially creative, you may even receive bonus points!
  8. Mix up your schedule:
    Since the requirement is to run 12 miles on the 12th day, your regular running schedule will be faced with the challenge of accommodating a 12-mile run on, say, a Tuesday. Some of you have no problem with this. Some of you can't imagine running for more than an hour on a weekday. To the latter, I say, "Come on!"

    I understand. I'm busy, too. And, yes, it may seem impossible to fit in a 12-mile run tomorrow. But, you don't have to run all 12 miles at once. How about half in the morning and half at night? How about 1 mile every hour? How about finding out how fun it can be to accept a little inconvenience.

    (Disclaimer: I am not implying that your daily problems and challenges are insignificant. I respect everyone's problems. And, I have no intention of diminishing your problems by saying you should make running 12 miles a priority on the 12th of each month.)
  9. Cut down on impulsive race registration:
    It can be tempting to sign up for a bunch of races all at once without really thinking about it. And, then, you've spent a bunch of money on registration fees in addition to committing yourself to some race dates that you may or may not be able to attend.

    This is especially easy to do right after completing a particularly fun race while you're all high on race fumes: "Gosh, that marathon was fun! When's the next one within a four-hour drive from my house? ...Ooh, here's one scheduled for the last weekend in November. I don't think I have anything planned..."

    We do this because the act of participating in a group run can be so exhilarating at times. So, I think that the 12athon will help to satiate the desire for group-run participation, at least to some degree. Obviously, a virtual run is not the same as a live race event.

    But, I communicate with more people on 12athon day than I do at a real race. So, there.
  10. It's just one day's run:
    Some challenges incite you to run as much as you can for several days. Other challenges... Actually, I'm not familiar with very many virtual challenges. But, an appealing aspect of the 12athon is that you only have to worry about one day's run for the whole month. Figure out how to run those 12 miles on the twelfth. And, you're done until the next month! So, you won't be dreading the next requirement for the 12athon challenge. Rather, you have a whole month to look forward to it.
  11. Superb and efficient organization:
    It's easy to forget how critical the organization part of an organized event is until it's disorganized. Luckily, 12athoners have the benefit of participating in one of the most well organized virtual events I've ever seen. There are links for everything you'd need to know about the event. Reporting is easy. And, the administrator is some kind of project management superhero. I'm just sayin'.

    You'll appreciate the organized aspects of this virtual challenge. And, the fact that the organization melds so well with the play-it-by-ear philosophy of the challenge is really cool.
  12. I'm participating:
    Since, I'm participating in the 12athon Challenge, then you know it must be a good idea. And, even if it's not a good idea, I'm still going to be writing about it in various ways on this blog.

    So, you might as well join the challenge. Otherwise, you'll feel left out when I post run reports relative to the challenge and fellow challengers comment on said reports with familiar remarks. And, I comment in response with further familiar remarks. And, you'll be all, "I wish I were in the 12athon Challenge."

So join already.


  1. This post is full of win. Bursting with win even! Great work, Ash!

  2. Awesome post - I feel like signing up all over again!!! thanks for the great reminders of why we are all in this.



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