H-Town Run Tourist

Make the best of your COVID 19 quarantine by running a virtual race!

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy

I had so many goals for 2020. I was looking forward to doing more local and foreign races. Like so many other things, it would be put off until who knows when. But, where there is a will, there is a way.

Have you ever heard of a virtual race? It is a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or full marathon that can be run anywhere at your own convenience and pace. So how do you run one?

First, you would choose the virtual race that you want to run. Many people choose by the charity that it benefits. A portion of nearly all virtual runs go to charities like Make a Wish Foundation or to benefit Sea Turtles. I love charity, but I like the swag. I'm going to be dead honest. I'm going for the ones with the best medals. Because, we all deserve a medal.

Next, you would choose where you want to do your run. It could be on a treadmill in your garage, around your neighborhood, along Buffalo Bayou, or maybe even on the Strand in Galveston. Next, you would map out the correct distance to run your virtual race. You can use running apps like WHOOP, Map My Run or Strava. You can choose to run or walk your race.

The day of your special race, you can get some of your family and friends to drive by and honk to cheer you on. If not, just get some great tunes like Hip-Hop from the mid to late 90's. Now, it is time to enjoy Houston. After you finish, submit your results and take your picture and post. After everything is said and done, wait for your swag shipment.

Now, here is an even better question? Which races are out there to do? The list is endless, so I made a list of my top 5 races. Here they are:

Allstate Hot Chocolate Run: I have been spying this race for a while. Not only does it have a cool medal, but instead of a shirt, you get this awesome hoody! I'm in. Also included in your swag bag is a chocolate bar medal and some chocolate. You have to hurry because it closes on April 30. If you are anything like me, you really want that hoody.

Coffee and Donuts: This one is a unique run. Because you can choose your own course, you should end this run at your favorite Donut shop. I'm thinking VooDoo Donut on Washington Ave after a run along Buffalo Bayou!

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Zombie Apocalypse: I can see Fred wanting to run this one. Zombies are right up his alley. I'm pretty sure that you will come back alive from this run. You also get a pretty cool medal with a zombie chasing a man dripping with flecks of blood.

Run for Sea Turtles: This one is put on by the Bad Ass Running Company. It is encouraging you to run the 10K + 1 mile in one day or do it over 7 days. They just want to see you get out. There is a cute sea turtle on the medal.

Run Houston Clear Lake: Let's support Houston Races as well. You could actually go to University of Houston ClearLake and run on campus to complete your race. The Race Houston metals are always stellar.

So, don't let your COVID 19 go to waste. Use it for the downtime and choose the race you are going to run next. For more on races and touring Houston, visit my new website: HTown Run Tourist.

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Keep an eye on Alex Bowman this weekend. Image via: Wiki Commons.

For the first time since July 1984, NASCAR returns to one of its most popular cities in Nashville, Tennessee for the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville Super Speedway. This track is a 1 1/3rd mile concrete oval that was dormant for nearly ten years and was only used as a testing facility. So it came as a bit of a surprise last season when it was announced that this track would be getting a date. For a lot of drivers, this will be a brand new racetrack, but we will see practice and qualifying, so that will be a huge help for the newcomers that haven't raced here before. Back when the Xfinity and Trucks ran here, this track featured a lot of first time winners. Back in 2008, future NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski shocked the world by jumping in Dale Jr's car and capturing his first win here. There will be a lot of veterans like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick who have plenty of experience at this track, but it will be tough to compare. It should be fun with everyone coming into this race with minimal knowledge.

Last week, Kyle Larson continued his hot streak by winning the All-Star Race. Overall, while Larson and his Hendrick teammates probably enjoyed the race, the feedback from crews and fans was less than positive. As I was walking through the garage area and talking to a few crew members, a lot of them were very critical of the 450 horsepower motor and the tall spoiler to try and keep the cars bunched up. When I asked one of the crew-members what he thought about the package he told me, "Oh it's awful. The track is terrible, the package makes it impossible to pass and it's super hot out here." On green flag runs, it was the same as it ever was as the lead car would pretty much take off and the only time there was really any "pack racing" it came after there were restarts. The whole race was well-intentioned and the fans showed up as it was nearly a capacity crowd, but the whole thing just didn't make any sense. From the start time being in the nearly 100 degree heat to the wacky full-field invert at the end of each stage. Let's hope that next season's All-Star Race is a lot more concise.

In Silly Season news this week, Truck Series regulars GMS racing announced that they would be fielding a full-time cup series team. The team is currently owned by Allegiant Airlines CEO Maurice Gallagher and his son, Spencer, who used to drive for them in the Xfinity Series. This move seemed to come from out of nowhere as there was never any indication that this was a move they were exploring anytime soon after they turned down the opportunity to purchase Furniture Row Racing in 2019. This is certainly a great sight for the sport as there will be more new teams on the track and with their close relationship with Chevy, it wouldn't be a surprise if they step in and help this team become competitive. The favorite to drive their car has to be 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed. He has easily been their best driver in trucks, and it would make the most sense for him to get the promotion.

This week at Nashville, the driver that I have winning is Alex Bowman. Now while this is a brand new racetrack and he has a grand total of zero starts here, this track suits his driving style perfectly. With the inclusion of this track, there are now four tracks with a concrete surface. Nashville, Bristol, Dover and Martinsville. At the three of the tracks they have run at, he has shown a lot of speed, including a victory at Dover this season and a top ten finish at Bristol. This is also a track where crew-chief Greg Ives said Bowman has gravitated towards during testing. In an interview with Sirius XM Ives was quoted as saying "we used to have a lot of fun testing there," so this is clearly a track that they both enjoy going to. Another big factor going into Sunday will be just how fast these Hendrick Motorsports cars are, they have finished 1-2 over the last four points races. He has watched his teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott have immense success, and now this week I think he is due for a third win of the season. Look for the bright purple #48 Chevy to go to victory lane this week at Nashville.

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