• Juan J. Arrieta

California Coast Commitment

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the California Coast 500 Virtual Challenge as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews.

This summer, by taking on the California Coast 500 virtual challenge, I was able to have my strongest, highest mileage summer ever. I felt motivated and committed to keep cranking out the miles during our typical hot, sweltering summer here in Texas.

The challenge allowed participants to choose from a number of distances to run cumulative from June 8 until September 7: 100, 250, 400, and 500 miles. The miles would be virtually run on the Pacific Coast Highway on the California coast, from Santa Monica all the way to San Francisco.

All you had to do was log your miles manually at the event website or simply link up your Garmin/Polar/Suunto account to it and it would sync up automatically to it.

I opted for the 250 miles goal and that turned out to be perfect for me---challenging yet achievable. After having my strongest June ever with a 107 running miles, I was able to follow that up with another great month in July for a total of 110 miles. That then allowed me to recover a bit by lowering my weekly average mile some while staying active and not just shutting it down completely during the brutal August temps and humidity. It all felt very satisfying to do so.

The race website was great and had a super easy way to check your progress on an interface that would show your stats both on a table as well as on your virtual position along the California coast. The position of the runners in front and behind you would also be shown so that was a neat way to check how you were doing not just with your target mileage but others as well such as my fellow BibRave Pros who participated in the challenge.

However I believe that what I loved the most about the California Coast 500 were the weekly mini-challenges and accompanying digital badges. They were great for me because of the difference between them from week to week; I felt they kept things fresh and helped me have something new to look forward to each week.

For example, I earned the POWER HOUR Shark badge (see photo) during one week by logging 60 minutes of running on July 16th, which also made me eligible to win a shoe & apparel package from @HOKAONEONE. I didn't end up winning the package, but it sure as heck motivated me to get those miles done, and ultimately that's what I truly wanted to do.

In all the years I've been running, not once had I logged 100 miles in a month during the summer. Not ONCE. I've thought about it and can only conclude that in the past I've just let the challenging heat and humidity during this time of the year get to me mentally and break my discipline. But this year, motivated primarily by this challenge, I was able to get past that mental block and put together those back-to-back months of over 100 miles each.

The swag was this AWESOME custom/handmade wooden medal as well as a great looking participant shirt, super soft and comfy and perfect for relaxing anywhere.

In conclusion, this was an outstanding virtual challenge to participate in and one that I'd gladly do again next summer.

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