You know it's spring when buds pop out on the trees, rivers get louder, and runners are everywhere.  There are two virtual 5k's happening within the next couple of weeks, and one benefits the YMCA.

Oh, sure, there's something invigorating about running a race with hundreds of other competitors, feeding off of their energy and being challenged by their lightning-fast mile times.  The atmosphere at a 5k is usually festive and fun and it includes music, bananas, and lots of volunteers passing out high fives with the water.  But sometimes a girl needs some space!  Virtual races are great too.  You're not to be elbow-to-elbow with other runners and if you want to cut over and take the inside track without tripping over someone else, well, this is your moment.  Just don't forget to pack your own bananas.

The West Valley Virtual Rock 'N Run 5k and 10k will happen between May 1 and May 7th, and anyone 5 and up can be part of it.  I have three girls and thirty-three percent of them like to run, so I'll take that kiddo with me.  We'll go out for ice cream afterward without telling the other two.  It'll be fun.  It's still the early bird time frame for registration for this virtual 5k and 10k, and it's only ten bucks.  The price goes up to $15 on May 1.

Pick any day and location between May 1st and May 7th and finish your 3.1-mile or 6.1-mile walk or run, and then send in your result and share your 5k/10k pictures or workout screenshot on the web using #WestValleyRockNRun. They'd like you to tag @TVFamilyYMCA and @WestValleyMedCtr too.

There's also a virtual 5k happening this month to celebrate Earth Day.  The goal of the Earth Day Virtual Challenge is to "crush last year's total of 51,023.592 miles."  The distance around the equator is 24,901 miles, and the goal of the virtual challenge is to see how many times we can collectively run that distance during the month of April.  And it's free.  If you upgrade your registration and you'll get the Earth Day official t-shirt and some other schwag.  Even if you haven't been logging miles all month, it's not too late to hop on.  Just report your results daily or weekly and help with the overall goal.  And tag @virtualrunchallenge and #VRCEarthDayChallenge if you'd like.

It takes motivation to get moving, but once that runner's high kicks in, it feels amazing.  Especially if we're helping a bigger cause in the process.  AND, if there is ice cream involved afterward.  Have fun!

See the Must-Drive Roads in Every State