Run Run Rudolph Race Recap

Run Run Rudolph 2014 Race Logo
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Saturday was the First Annual Run Run Rudolph 5K and Dasher Dash benefiting Rivercrest Elementary School in Bartlett, TN. As you probably know, Susan was the race director for this event, and I assisted her some in the planning and execution of the event, so I might not be 100% impartial in my review of the event.

Run Run Rudolph 2014 Race Logo

Run Run Rudolph 2014 Race Logo

The event was held at the school, and from everyone that I spoke with, it seemed to be a huge success. We exceeded our goal for participants, and ended up with 429 participants in the various race categories. The race categories were a 5K, 400 meter dash for the kids, and spirit runners. There was also a Christmas costume contest for adults and children, with the adult winner taking home a Keurig 2.0 brewer! The children’s prize was an Olaf Snuggie. Santa Claus also made an appearance at the event, and he was one of the biggest cheerleaders at the finish line.

The weather mostly cooperated for the event. Memphis in December can be unpredictable, with temps ranging from the teens to the seventies over the past three years. The temperature for the race was in the high forties, low fifties, with cloudy skies, and it felt colder than the thermometer read. But there was no rain and the wind was not really a factor, so it was still enjoyable running weather.

My bib and shirt from the event. The Dasher Dash bib was green.

My bib and shirt from the event. The Dasher Dash bib was green.

All registered participants were entitled to red, long-sleeved cotton tees with the race logo in the front. The shirts were a huge success, and we got nothing but positive feedback from them. In fact, one of the runners told us after the event that she runs in races basically every weekend, and that most of her shirts get donated, but she will be keeping this one. We certainly appreciated the love from the other runners, and I must agree that Start 2 Finish and Bluff City Sports did a great job with the logo and shirt. The debate now is whether we recycle the logo next year or change it as well as what color shirt will be best. The Dasher Dash kids also received medals upon completion, and every one of them seemed to think that the won the Boston Marathon. It was a lot of fun to watch.

A sincere thank you to all of our sponsors!

A sincere thank you to all of our sponsors!

Despite being crunched for time, we were still able to secure a number of great sponsors for the event. One of the sponsors was Keurig, which was a huge hit with the runners. We had three Keurig 2.0 brewers pumping out various flavors of drinks provided by Keurig for the entire morning. We had various coffees, teas, ciders, and cocoas, the beverages fit with the theme seamlessly. Also, the Keurig 2.0 brewer that was awarded to the costume contest winner led to some intense competition for the award. Susan’s personal favorite was a Caramel Apple Cider from Green Mountain Coffee. The Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate was also very popular.

And we are off!

And we are off!

For the race itself, the course was ran through the school neighborhood, starting and finishing in the bus lane at the school. The bus lane was an ideal fit for the stop and finish, even if it was a small incline for the finish. The rest of the course was run on city streets, and since it was run though the school’s neighborhood, there were families cheering along the course.

3rd Place AG Award

3rd Place AG Award

The finisher awards for the event were clear Christmas ornaments with the race logo in the center. We did red glitter for first, green for second, and silver for third place finishes in each age group. A mix of all three was used for the overall and master’s winners. The ornaments were assembled by Susan and I one evening (with mine being a little heavy-handed on the glitter, oops), and I am happy that I was able to earn one for our tree at the house.

My run, while not my fastest 5K ever, or even of the fall, but I did run well, and was able to place third in my age group! This is my third age group finish of the year, and I am obviously proud of that.

Overall, the event was a lot of fun, and everyone I saw seemed to enjoy themselves. The kids had a good time, and the race was a great representation of Rivercrest. I hope that everyone else that was there on Saturday feels as positive about the event as I do. And thank you to each person that supported us in this event!

We have also launched a Facebook page for the event, so you can like it here. You can check out more race photos over there.

2015 Mercedes Half Marathon

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One of these should be in my future!

One of these should be in my future!

Well, it looks like I will be heading to Birmingham, AL in February at add state #6 to my half marathon running trek! I won a contest from the 100 Half Marathons Club for a free entry into the race and I sent off my registration info earlier this week! Now, I am just waiting for my registration confirmation. I am looking forward to the race, and the awesome finisher’s medal! I guess I need to book my hotel.

 

2014 St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon

Far and away the best medal that the event has ever offered.
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Saturday was the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, and once again I ran in the half marathon. This is my fourth consecutive year registering for this event, and each time I have taken something new away from the experience. I love raising money for this cause, and the event is always top-notch. This race truly is a great celebration of St. Jude and the City of Memphis, and it is always an honor to participate in it.

The St. Jude logo painted onto Beale St.

The St. Jude logo painted onto Beale St.

There is not much I can about the race that I have not said before, I will give it my best shot.

The start line for the 2014 St. Jude Half Marathon

The start line for the 2014 St. Jude Half Marathon

The weather for the race was cool, cloudy, and windy, but there was no rain like the day before or ice like the previous year, so it was certainly bearable. If anything, the weather was slightly warmer than ideal for my personal preferences, but I did enjoy it.

One of several pics Susan got of me on the course.

One of several pics Susan got of me on the course.

There were a little over 18.000 of us out there running the streets of Memphis on Saturday morning in the various events. This is about the normal amount of runners for the events and the crowding along the course was also about the same. We were crowded at the start, then gained some separation for a few miles, then bottled up a bit going through Overton Park, and stayed in pockets of runners for the remainder of the half marathon.

The half marathon was my tenth of the year, fifteenth overall, and my time was solid. I finished in 2:18:03, which is my second fastest half of the year. I started off a little too fast, but overall, I felt good for the vast majority of the race. I did forget about the hills towards the end, and did not have the best plan of attack for them this year, but I survived. There is always next year to break my course, and even overall PR! This very well may become a 2015 goal. That or attempt the full marathon in 2015. We shall see.

2014 St. Jude HM Swag

Shirts and medal for the 2014 event. the back of the shirt had the Memphis skyline with St. Jude incorporated into it.

Swag: A+: I am always pleased with the expo for this event. There is always several vendors and tons of information available. This is the first year that I actually heeded my own advice and requested a shirt in  a size larger than I normally wear. And since I did that, I finally have a St. Jude Half Marathon race shirt that I can wear in different events! Also, this year’s medal is by far the best one that has been offered by the event, and I loved the incorporation of Memphis and St. Jude landmarks onto the medal, as well as the shirt. My Heroes singlet was still too snug for me to run in comfortably, but I did run in my Heroes training shirt, so I was still able to celebrate the kiddos at St. Jude. If it was much colder, then the compression like fit of the singlet would have been welcomed for the run.

Far and away the best medal that the event has ever offered.

Far and away the best medal that the event has ever offered.

Course: A: The start was slightly revised, following a more straightforward route which is similar to several of the other downtown races. It helped with congestion early in the race a little bit, but did not make or break the race. The highlight of the course, as always, was running through the St. Jude campus. And the marathon actually went through the campus twice! The hills towards the end are tough, but manageable if you have a plan.

Great post-race meal at an U of M institution (even if it is no longer by the U of M)! Also, rocking my Strikeout Cancer shirt.

Great post-race meal at an U of M institution (even if it is no longer by the U of M)! Also, rocking my Strikeout Cancer shirt.

Overall: A: As always, I love this event. The logistics for the runner is always top-notch. Even in the heavily congested food and beverage area, there are signs and directions. The only negative was that the beer garden was not clearly marked, and getting to it was not easy. I ended up skipping it altogether, despite wearing my 21 and up id bracelet for the two days prior.

Chewbacca runs Memphis! The best costume in the entire event, and this person ran the full marathon like this!

Chewbacca runs Memphis! The best costume in the entire event, and this person ran the full marathon like this!

Apology: Several months ago I posted about a special medal that was going to be given out to Heroes raising at least $100 at each of the Country Music Marathon/Half Marathon in Nashville, and the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. I even put this in  a post last week. Well, this did not happen. So, if anyone got their hopes up about this medal, I am sorry for sharing incorrect information. I do not know why the medal  was not given out, but the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon site still has the page for the medal up. I received two emails about the medal, one of which said medals will be shipped in a couple of weeks, and one that said that medals were not offered. It sounds like to me that there will be no medals. Update: So I got another email saying that medals will be mailed out in a few weeks. Regardless, take pride in knowing that you efforts helped the children of St. Jude, which are the real reason for these events anyway.

Obviously, I plan on running in this event in the future. The only real question is whether or not I run in the half or full marathon next year. The only reason that I am considering the full is because next year’s event falls on my birthday, and that would be a cool way to celebrate!

It’s St. Jude Race Week Once Again

Photo produced by Competitor Group
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This week is going to be a hectic one for me. It is my birthday, finals, and the St. Jude Half Marathon occurring concurrently. I also had an opportunity to go to a conference for work, but I wisely turned down that opportunity to focus on everything else.

My 1st race medal - St. Jude Half 2011

My 1st race medal – St. Jude Half 2011

Race week means that I ratchet down my workouts, trying to avoid injury and stay fresh for the big event. I do not always adhere to this since my schedule has been so packed with races, but I am going to do my best to take it easy this week. After all, nothing I do this week is going to drastically improve my time on Saturday morning, so why risk injury?

2012 St. Jude Half Marathon Medal

2012 St. Jude Half Marathon Medal

I have been checking the weather forecast like a psycho for the past few days, and while the weather does not look ideal, it should be warmer than last year’s event that was canceled for the cold and ice (even though some of us crazy runners hit the streets anyway) and drier than the second MRTC RRS half marathon. I can only hope that this remains true.

Photo produced by Competitor Group

Photo produced by Competitor Group

I have reached my fundraising total, so I can cruise along without stressing about finding the extra dollars needed for that. And I think that for the first time, I will squeeze into my Heroes singlet for the race (don’t worry, I will have an under shit on) to celebrate the wonder place that is St. Jude.

This was me as I was about to head out for my very cold 13.1!

This was me as I was about to head out for my very cold 13.1!

I recently upgraded phones, so I have been debating what to do with my new iPhone 6. 13.1 miles can get very sweaty, and with the chance for rain, I decided to bite the bullet and invest in a Lifeproof case, even though the model that I really wanted has not been released yet. I would rather sacrifice some aesthetics rather than my entire phone!

2013 St. Jude Marathon Weekend Medal (w/ a little ice)

2013 St. Jude Marathon Weekend Medal (w/ a little ice)

New phone, also means I need a new playlist, so during study breaks, I will be constructing a list of tunes to help carry me to the finish line!

Good luck to all my fellow St. Jude Marathon Weekend participants and everyone else running this weekend!

MRTC Road Race Series Half Marathon #2 Recap

I immediately think of this anytime I hear Road Warrior! The Road Warriors from the WWF (now WWE)
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On November 16, 2014, my quest to become a 2014 Road Warrior was finally realized! And Mother Nature wanted to make sure that I earned this status. The final 13.1 miles of the 74.8 miles required to become a Road Warrior may have been the toughest. It was cold, very cold, with temperatures in the thirties, and a steady stream of rain for each and every mile. If I had not needed this race for Road Warrior, I probably would have stayed in my warm, dry bed.

This is the timing chip for this year's event.

This is the timing chip for this year’s event.

But despite the cold and rain, I completed the race, which was my ninth half marathon of the year, and fourteenth overall, and earned Road Warrior status in the process! I was able to stay upright for the entire race, which I cannot say about the first MRTC RRS Half Marathon. I did, however, have some issues with my shoes and the course.

I immediately think of this anytime I hear Road Warrior! The Road Warriors from the WWF (now WWE)

I immediately think of this anytime I hear Road Warrior! The Road Warriors from the WWF (now WWE)

 

The sole of my right shoe bunched up as the race progressed. At first I thought that I could endure the discomfort for the final two miles, but that was wrong, and somewhat stupid. I had to stop and take the shoe off to solve the problem, which is not ideal during a race. Hopefully this will not become a recurring issue. The course was narrow, with standing water in places, so there was plenty of puddle jumping throughout.

Running in the cold rain

Running in the cold rain

I did not finish the race quite as fast as the previous one, but considering the weather and my shoe issue, I am still very pleased with my time. It was my median time for the year, and leaves me in a good position for another strong run at the St. Jude Half Marathon on December 6.

2014 Beat the Blerch Virtual Medal

2014 Beat the Blerch Virtual Medal

Like the previous MRTC RRS Half Marathon, this one had no swag,  so I coupled it with a virtual race from another physically held half marathon. For this race, I used the medal and swag from the Beat the Blerch Half Marathon held in September. It was a race hosted by the author of The Oatmeal that has some fantastic cartoons about the struggle of running and weight management. For anyone that is unfamiliar with the comic, you should certainly check it out. You will be amused. And probably find something that you can relate to as well.

Beat the Blerch was swag

Beat the Blerch was swag

The race had distances of 10K, half marathon, and full marathon, as well as a virtual option for those runners that did not make the cut for the sold out event. Each had their own medal and the race shirts were great as well. There is a cupcake on the sleeve, which is hilarious and motivating at the same time. Participants also received three race decals,a magnet, stress ball,gummy bears, and cupcake flavored chapstick. It was a nice haul for a virtual race.

It is hard to believe that I only have two races left this year, but I am going to go all out on both of them, that’s for sure!

Heroes in Recovery 6K 2014 Recap

Heroes6KAward
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Back on November 8th, I participated in the Heroes in Recovery 6K held at the Court Square here in Memphis. It is a smaller event, but is for a great cause, alcohol and drug recovery services. Their website shares stories of people in recovery talking about how they overcame addiction and mental health limitations to break the stigma. And since I work in the field of alcohol and drug recovery, I felt that I had to run in the race, if for no other reason than showing my face at event as a representative of my courtroom. Also, it was my first ever 6K, which meant that it was an automatic PR!

And we are off!

And we are off!

It was a cold morning, but nothing like this past week has been across the country. But it was not raining and the sun came out, so it was really ideal running conditions for myself. I was coming off my 5K PR at the True Blue 5K the previous night, so I was confident that I would run hard again. And I did!

The majority of the course is one that I have run multiple times over the past few years, and yet the scenery is not getting old. I started a little faster than I should have, partially because I was at the front with the real speedsters and partially because I was feeling really good. This caught up with my on the home stretch, especially the climb up the bluff, but I was still very happy with results.

Race medal and my age group award

Race medal and my age group award

The combination of the small race field and my strong running led to an age group second place finish for myself, which was my second age group award this year! It feels good to see some positive results on my running ability while also knowing that I can always improve.

Swag from the race, including my age group award.

Swag from the race, including my age group award.

Swag: A: Good looking tech shirt, race medal that was better than a few of the half marathons that I have run in this year, and a race decal. Post race refreshments were adequate, and plentiful. Also, the poster designs for each event is great, and reflects each city for the event.

Front of the medal

Front of the medal

Course: A: Downtown course that is incorporated in most downtown races in Memphis in some capacity. The uphill climb towards the end was a killer, but it always is. We still got to run along the river before making the climb, so at least we had a great view before the steep, but short climb.

Back of the medal

Back of the medal

Overall: A: This was a fun race for a great cause with some good swag for participants, especially the runners that registered early enough to get the $25 registration fee. This is a national race, with events in Memphis, TN, Leiper’s Fork, TN, Palm Springs, CA, New York, NY, Roswell, GA, Charlotte, NC, and Coconut Creek, FL.

As long as my schedule allows, I will return to this race in the future, even if it is just to try to break my 6K PR and this is the only event that will give me this opportunity in the Memphis area.

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Medals Revealed

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Over the weekend, runners at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon festivities were treated to the first look at the Star Wars Weekend medals. Today, runDisney officially released the images of the medals for all the races for the weekend. And they are awesome!

2015 runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Medals

2015 runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Medals

It has been well established on this blog that I am a nerd. I am not ashamed of this. When both the Avengers and Star Wars Half Marathons were announced, I was beyond excited, even though I knew that I would be unable to run in either event. And then the Avengers race medals were released, and I was honestly underwhelmed by them. I guess I built them up too much in my mind. This is not the case with the Star Wars medals. RunDisney knocked it out of the park with these medals, and now I really wish I was able to be in California in January for these events. Good luck to all of you that will be running in these events and have fun!