MRTC Second 5 Miler Recap

This was basically what my run was like
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This is the timing chip for this year's event.

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

On Sunday was the second 5 miler in the MRTC Road Race Series.  And despite my best efforts and the prodding of Susan, I am still on pace to achieve Road Warrior status for the series.  I had a friend in town over the weekend, and decided that it was a great idea to drink heavily on Saturday.  All of Saturday, so running 5 miles in the heat and humidity was not the highest on my list of priorities on Sunday.  In fact, I was a little concerned about how dehydrated I was.  I would have stayed in bed all morning if if were not for Susan kicking me in the ass and convincing me to go to the race.  Thanks for that, Susan!

This was basically what my run was like

This was basically what my run was like.

Once I started my run, my fears proved not to be warranted.  I felt decent, and ran rather well.  I was 3 minutes slower than the first 5 miler, but I did feel good.  Of course, the race was not quite as hot as the previous one, nor was it as hot as the Hit and Run 5K the day prior.  I did not collapse on the course and had no cramping issues, so that was a successful race in my mind.  And as a bonus, I found a very strong hangover cure, running 5 miles in the Memphis heat and humidity!

Sorry for the short post, but I have quite a bit of work to finish up before traveling to Disneyland and the upcoming races/weekend. Good luck to everyone else that is running this weekend! Be safe, stay hydrated, and enjoy yourself! 

Hit and Run 5K Memphis Recap

Race swag for the Hit and Run 5K
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First things first, I would like to apologize to anyone that wanted to see me fall during this race.  I forgot to bring my GoPro camera, so, unfortunately, there is no proof of my navigation of the course.  You can get a good idea of the course if you have ever seen the show Wipeout because this race could have been a warm-up course for the show.

Race swag for the Hit and Run 5K

Race swag for the Hit and Run 5K

It was a hot Saturday here in Memphis. I was mercifully in an early wave for the race so I only had to deal with temps in the mid-80’s. The course was a combination of parking lot, road, and vacant field with 5 inflatable obstacles along the way.  The race started in waves with people registering for half an hour blocks, and being dispersed in 25-30 people bursts every 90 seconds, which did a great job of keeping the course moving freely.

The race was untimed, and with the water on the course, I decided not to wear my watch, so there is no official time for my run, but I finished the course in under 40 minutes.  The first obstacle was the Slippery Slopes which had you climb onto the inflatable, walk across a beam, around protrusions while having dodgeballs thrown at you.  There also was soap covering the obstacle.  I fell. The second obstacle was the Wobble Wall which had you climb up the obstacle and walk across several wobbly pedestals.  I fell.  The third obstacle was the Bouncy Bridge which is basically the Big Balls from Wipeout. It was a serious of 4 inflatable balls that you climb up 11 feet and jump onto the first one, and bounce along to the rest. I bounced onto the first one, and made it no further.  I was not alone in this outcome.  The fourth obstacle was the Whacking Wall which requires you to climb up and walk along a narrow path along a wall while people threw dodgeballs at you and panels from the wall would swing open.  Surprisingly, I did not fall.  The fifth and final obstacle was the Duck or Dive which has runners walk across a narrow, inflatable bridge across a pool while big balls rotated overhead.  I fell.

The course was fun, but hot.  The swag was OK.  The race volunteers were very friendly.  I registered via Groupon and had an additional discount, so this race only cost me $10, so I certainly think that I got my money’s worth from that. However, I probably would not go out of my way to participate in this race again in the future.

 

Wordless Wednesday: Disneyland Half Weekend Preview

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I leave for Anaheim in 9 days, and at the end of my 3 days there, I expect to experience as much goodness as the area can provide.  All of the following should be in my future:

Double Double goodness

Double Double goodness

Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

High fiving Mickey at the finish line - this is such a great feeling

High fiving Mickey at the finish line – this is such a great feeling

2014 Disneyland Half Weekend Medals

2014 Disneyland Half Weekend Medals

One of these is hopefully in my future!

Disney Coast to Coast Medal

Elvis Presley 5K Recap

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On Saturday, I participated in the Elvis Presley 5K for the first time despite being an active runner in the Memphis area for the past few years.  I know some people are obsessed with Elvis and his music.  I am not.  I like several of his songs (especially In the Ghetto and Kentucky Rain), and I get how big of a talent he was, but some people can be a bit over the top with it. I have actually never visited Graceland, and the race on Saturday morning was just the third time that I had even been by the mansion.

Elvis Presley 5K Finisher's Medal

Elvis Presley 5K Finisher’s Medal

This year I decided to tryout the race, if for no other reason but to see if the race is worth adding to my calendar annually. When I registered I did not realize that the race date, August 16, coincided with Elvis’ death back in 1977, but being that the race is a fundraiser for a nonprofit that Elvis himself supported, Live It Up, Inc., the event seemed to be a good way to celebrate Elvis.  And this race also is the only race from Memphis to make The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die (more on this book later this week), so I was glad to finally experience the event for myself.

I was expecting a ton of Elvis fanatics and very few serious runners.  I was only half right.  There were several Elvis fanatics there, but this was a large and very competitive race.  The race ended up with over 1100 finishers, so this was one of the bigger 5K’s in town.

The weather, while in the 80’s, was not unbearable, and the humidity was only 76% at the race start.  In some parts of the country, this would be horrid running conditions, but in August in Memphis, this could qualify for winter running!  I never felt like I was going to overheat during this race, and if it was not for my shoe coming untied twice during the race, I would have finished with a stronger time.

Course: B+: You start and finish at the gates of Graceland, which is very cool.  The rest of the course is run through residential neighborhoods, which does not provide much scenery.  But several of the residents do cheer you on, and there were multiple residents with sprinklers and water hoses going for runners to cool off with.  The area around Graceland can be sketchy, but the neighborhood we ran through was very inviting.  There were a couple of modest hills, and after a congested start, the course opened up.

Elvis Presley 5K Swag

Elvis Presley 5K Swag

Swag: A: Awesome medal! Yes, this is a 5K with a medal.  Some years, the medal is not that great, but this year they hit it out of the park.  It was a replica of Elvis’ TCB logo, and it is awesome.  The t-shirt falls more on the ugly side of things, but for the diehard Elvis fans, I am sure that they love it.  There was nothing else in the race bag, but the post race food spread was great.  There was plenty of beer, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, pasta, wraps, and fruit.

Overall: A:  There was great race support with the event and anytime a 5K produces a good-looking medal is a plus.  I had fun at the event and would definitely consider running the race again.  The race started at 8:00 am, which worried me because of the possibility of it being really hot, but the race was not hindered too much by it.

2014 Breakaway Bardog 5K Recap

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Originally, I was going to skip this race, but was convinced on Saturday to run it on Sunday morning.  Last year’s event was fun and the post race party had plenty of beer and top-notch food.  I expected to find more of the same again this year.  The weather was not nearly as agreeable as last year’s event or even the Elvis 5K the previous day.  In fact, the worrisome 9:00 am start was not kind to us runners.  If the event would have started at 7:00 am (preferred) or even 8:00 am (like the Elvis 5K), it would have been a little more forgiving.  There was a breeze and cloud cover until 8:45, then the clouds parted and the sun bore down upon us.  It became apparent very quickly that this race was not going to be a PR!

The first mile was bearable, but I decided to take it easy after that.  The heat just beat me physically, and especially mentally.  I still finished feeling better than I did after the second MRTC 5K, and my finishing time was a little bit better as well.

Swag for the 2014 Breakaway Bardog 5K. No pint glass for me this.

Swag for the 2014 Breakaway Bardog 5K. No pint glass for me this.

Swag: A-: Another Breakaway Bardog 5K, another great, super soft t-shirt.  This race has certainly figured out how to make their runners happy with the race shirts, and that is certainly one reason you see so many of their shirts worn around town all year.  I did not get a pint glass this year (only given to the first 350 runners to register), but it was very nice looking.  The post race food and drink was basically the same as last year, which is a positive.  It is hard to argue with Bardog sliders and veggie kabobs, as well as a large beer selection, with plenty of local brews.  I used all three of my beer tickets to take advantage of this race perk.

Course: B+: A small tweak from last year eliminated a couple of the turns, which was certainly a positive, but crowd management was an issue for all 3.1 miles.  Just over 1,000 runners finished this year’s event, but it felt like it was much larger than that.  The post race party also was hampered a bit by the number of runners and limited space.  The earlier you finished the race, the easier it was to get beer and sliders.

Overall: B+: Very fun post race party with a great spread, downtown course, and the proceeds from the event goes to St. Jude.  You cannot argue with any of that.  However, I would love to see the race incorporate an earlier start time to alleviate some of the Memphis heat.  I am certain that I will participate in this event again (I was not certain of this at 9:35 am this morning), but hopefully it will be more like 2013 than 2014 for me.

5 Do’s and Don’t’s for Race Day

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bke161:

Quick and easy tips to improve your race day experience, regardless of your running level.

Originally posted on Fleet Feet Sports:

As the Road Race Series is in full swing, and many of you are training for various fall races from 5k’s to marathons, we thought we would put together some helpful tips to get the most out of your race day experience:

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DO:

- Hydrate and fuel well leading up to a race. It’s not necessary to “carb load” for a 5K or 10K, but eat good, nutritious food leading up to race day and make sure to drink plenty of water in the days before the race. And for longer races such as half and full marathons, incorporate more carbs into your diet the week leading up to the race. Not necessarily more food, but foods that have more carbs in them.

- Remember racing etiquette. If you need to walk or slow down, move toward the right shoulder so as not to cause a traffic jam. Use only…

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MRTC RRS 5 Miler #1

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This morning was the third race in the Memphis Runners Track Club Race Series, and it was my first ever 5 miler race.  And just the last two races, this morning’s race was hot and humid. But unlike the race two weeks ago, I was better prepared for the humidity this morning.  That does not mean that it was a particularly comfortable run, but I did run five strong miles and have something let in the tank for another run tonight.

The 5 miler is held at W. J. Freeman park in Bartlett so the course is not nearly as close to my house as the 5K’s are, but the parking was much better.  The course is mostly neighborhood streets with the finish coming on the walking path at the park.  And there is more shade throughout the course, which certainly helps on these humid days.

Run 365 group photo at the race

Run 365 group photo at the race

A few less runners completed the course today when compared to the 5K’s, but there still was 1,200 people running today, several of which are still aspiring to achieve Road Warrior status.  Managing the crowds early in the race is as big of a challenge as the heat and humidity for these events.  The course had several turns which led to some bottle-necking early on and towards the end, we had to dodge several of the faster finishers that thought that returning to their car via the race course was a prudent move.  It was not, but oh well.

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

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

Best news about this morning’s race is that I set a PR with my 50:17 finish! Of course, no matter how fast I ran, it would have been a PR since this was my first attempt at a 5 mile race.  This is an odd distance, and I will not have many opportunities to beat this mark.  Maybe I can do even better in two weeks at the second MRTC RRS 5 Miler.