2015 Stars and Stripes 5K Review

A post race beer!
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It is amazing that despite how brutal of a summer that we have been having that an evening race in July was bearable, but that was the case for the 2015 Stars and Stripes 5K held at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and Tiger Lane here in Memphis, TN. Originally I was not going to participate in this race, but we had a friend, Abby, coming in from out-of-town and she wanted to run in it, so I decided to as well. I ran in this race two years ago, and while I thought it was a fine race, there was a train that ran through the middle of the course, causing several runners to have to wait out the train, destroying their pace and finishing times. Luckily the course has since been tweaked and there were no trains to contend with this year!

Post race fireworks (taken from the Start 2 Finish Facebook page)

Post race fireworks (taken from the Start 2 Finish Facebook page)

Abby was wanting to improve on her time and wanted me to help motivate and distract her along to course. In theory, the plan seemed solid, but in action, I discovered that I am kind of terrible at being a running coach! We started strong, actually probably too strong trying to find a nice section of the pack. During this jockeying, I lost Abby. I tried to slow down or stop a couple of times to wait for her, but with over 1,600, the crowd was too big for any recon, so I just forged ahead. I finished the race, informed Susan and Abby’s mom of our separation, and then headed back onto the course to find Abby and help her finish. I found her about half a mile short of the finish and I started running with her. I tried to minimize what was left on the course and let her know how close to a victory beer she was! As the final stretch came along, I encouraged Abby to sprint to the finish, pointing out a lady a few feet ahead of us that I knew Abby could beat. I actually yelled to Abby “You can beat her!” and then took off. Not only did Abby beat our mark, she sprinted past several people to a PR by over 5 minutes! It was a great performance by her and I was happy to be a part of it! I was so happy that Abby was able to exceed her goal and feel great about it!

A post race beer!

A post race beer!

Swag: A: After the race, there were burgers, hot dogs, watermelon, beer, and the other staples of a July 4th celebration. There even was a fireworks show for the participants and their families! The ultra soft, cotton shirt was so much better than a cheap, white t-shirt, and holding the event at a football stadium and tailgating venue really helped with crowd control and parking.

2015 Stars and Stripes race shirt and bib

2015 Stars and Stripes race shirt and bib

Course: A: Not too hilly, and they avoided the train tracks, so that is a plus. Also, with a crowd of 1,600+ runners, the majority of the course was able to accommodate us, even though I was scolded for running outside of the cones during one of the turns!

Overall: A: All in all, this was a very fun event, and thankfully the weather cooperated with us for the run! I will return for at least a third time!

The Baby’s Gender Is….

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A few weeks ago I shared with all of my wonderful readers the exciting news that Susan and I will be having a baby! Since that time, things have progressed normally and both the baby and mother are doing as expected. Two weeks ago, we finally had the opportunity to discover the gender of our baby at a July 4th/Election themed gender reveal party with our family and friends. And when I say we found out with our family and friends, that is exactly what I mean, Susan and I did not know until everyone else did! It was very exciting, and I am proud to announce that Susan and I will be having a baby boy! Now back to you normally scheduled day of running and battling the heat!

Running in the Memphis Heat (Not the Wrestling Documentary)

batman-its-hot-outside
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Hot Outside

I am not going to lie, staying motivated this summer has been almost impossible. I have allowed the heat and humidity to best me, and there really is not an excuse for this. I live in Memphis, where it is always hot during the summer and this is not exactly my first time experiencing it. I have just allowed it to creep into my psyche, and with each slow run, this negativity creeps further into my mind. The temporary reprieve from the heat last week showed a glimmer of hope for my running, so this is what I am going to build upon.

batman-its-hot-outside

Six months ago, I was griping about the cold and ice hampering my running, and now it is the heat! I just need to get back into the proper mindset to return to a strong running regiment. The 5K I ran in on Friday night is the first step in this endeavor, but more on that race later this week.

Best of luck to all of you as you battle this heat with me!

2015 Navy Ten Nautical Miler Recap

2015 10NM Race Medal
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Two weeks ago I participated in my second straight Navy Ten Nautical Miler on the naval base in Millington, TN. I loved the race again this year despite the higher temperature and humidity for the 2015 version. As the race progressed, it became more of a just finish mentality rather than pushing for a PR. I am not going to lie, I struggled greatly during the run, and questioned this whole running thing! I ended up finishing the race about 15 minutes slower than last year, which seems to be a theme for this heat and my running. The heat got so overwhelming, but I finished and once I cooled off, my rational mind took over and I was eager to run once again.

Battle of Midway

D-Day

The distance of 10 nautical miles is clearly not an arbitrary distance. Rather, it has some significance from the Battle of Midway. The Battle of Midway was a major victory for the US Navy in WWII, and marked the first naval defeat in almost 100 years for the Japanese Navy.  The battle was between June 4 and June 7, 1942. And since the battle was in early June, the race is likewise held in early June, despite the heat and humidity this time of year in Memphis. As was stated at the event, if the US Navy had won the battle in October, the race would be in October.

2015 10NM Race Swag

2015 10NM Race Swag

Swag: A+:  This race provided one of the better goody bags that I have ever received. All runners received a good-looking tech shirt, financial book, race decal, KT Tape sample, race logo mixing cup, 10NM race decal, as well as some other promotional items and race literature. Finishers received a fantastic finisher medal that was a heavy-duty anchor on a navy and gold cord. It is an awesome finisher’s medal and certainly stands out on my wall. Also, the Cool Zone fans and ice bag chairs were lifesavers on the hot morning!

2015 10NM Race Medal

2015 10NM Race Medal

Course: B+: Mostly flat course with some rolling hills that serpentines through the naval base and a brief stretch of country road. There were water stops at each nautical mile and good crowd support along the way. From the guys handing out cold beer at nautical mile six and the kids with Super Soakers spraying runners right before nautical mile 7, the spectators helped make the race even better. The only downside was that the course between nautical miles 7.5 and 9 incorporated a track around the barracks/family living units on base. It was a boring stretch of the course.

Overall: A:  Great race, with lots of support and excellent swag.  I love that there is a reason why they host the event and amount of support from the community as well as the naval sailors and officers. This is a must run the race for those in the Memphis area, and it will certainly be one that I return to in the future. And I am certain that next the weather will be brutal, but I am still looking forward to getting another anchor medal!

WWII Veterans Honored at Airport

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bke161:

Had to share this post from last year since it is the 61st anniversary of D-Day. Once again, a humble thank you goes to all of those that served.

Originally posted on runninglarge:

I was out-of-town last week at a work conference (more on that in a later post) and on my return trip, I witnessed one of the greatest moments of my life.  I was at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport changing flights when it was announced over the PA system that a group of World War II veterans were landing at gate C7.  I luckily was in the area, so I headed over to the gate.  As it turns out, so did the rest of the passengers in C terminal, and what happened next was truly amazing.  As each vet exited the plane, they were greeted to a standing ovation and a series of thank yous.  One by one these men were warmly greeted by the crowd as they went on to their next stop.  The looks of gratitude on the faces of the vets as well as the crowd was truly…

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Belated, But Happy Post

Not as elaborate as we had planned, but it seemed like the right way to announce.
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I should have posted this a couple of weeks ago, but as my post frequency reflects, I have gotten a little bit lazy about posting (I will get better, probably) on a regular basis. But, Mother’s Day this year was quite eventful for Susan and I. It was my official graduation (for the second time) from the University of Memphis, and it allowed us to take and share our favorite picture of the year!

Not as elaborate as we had planned, but it seemed like the right way to announce.

Not as elaborate as we had planned, but it seemed like the right way to announce.

This has been a long and trying process (more on this later) that is still far from over, but we are excited to tackle this journey together.

Bluff City 10K Recap

Beer and medal, enough said
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Last Saturday was the inaugural Bluff City 10K benefiting Habitat for Humanity here in Memphis. And since the Grizzlies advanced to the second round of the NBA Playoffs, graduation was moved to Sunday and I was able to participate in the event. Too bad the weather did not cooperate with my good fortune.

Red normally is not good for running

Red normally is not good for running

The morning began with the threat of rain and storms, and for once, the weatherman was right. Thirty minutes before the race was scheduled to start, the bottom fell out and the lightning came with a fury. A large group of us huddled up in a parking garage, waiting for the lightning to subside so we could fuel our running addiction along the soggy course. With each lightening strike came another delay of 20 minutes. It seemed as if we were not going to get to run the race, or even an abbreviated version of it. But just as quickly as the storm began, the lightening halted. 700 idiot runners cheered, and we swam towards the start line. Honestly, I welcomed the rain. It was a warm and humid day, so the rain helped keep my core temp low. I may not have been thrilled with the soggy shoes, but there is no need to complain about that.

Ready to play in the rain

Ready to play in the rain

This race had a first for me. About the time we were listening to the thunderstorm contingency plan, we heard a report that two of the water stations had been stolen! That’s right, some locals decided that they needed the tables and coolers more than us runners, so they helped themselves to them. This occurrence does lend itself rather nicely to my favorite quote from Clerks, “Bunch of savages in this town!” I will say that Start 2 Finish did a great job making accommodations for the missing water stops and we did not even notice it during the race. Kudos.

Bluff City Savages

Swag: A: A simple, but great looking medal and t-shirt for all finishers. The post race spread was a nice mix of chips, bagels, and pizza, with plenty of Memphis Made beer flowing, even in the rain.

Beer and medal, enough said

Beer and medal, enough said

Course: A: Not terribly challenging, and it included a great snapshot of Midtown Memphis. Obviously the rain created some puddling issues along the course, but it did not create any areas that were impassable. And even though some individuals absconded with two of the water stations, we still had water (and not from rain) each mile.

Shirt, medal, bib

Shirt, medal, bib

Overall: A: Great logistics and a fun race, even with all of the potential for disaster. I love that there is another 10K in town, and I suspect this race will grow in popularity at a rapid rate over the next few years. I, for one, will certainly participate in this event again.

My optimism for this race could also be from the fact that this is the best I have felt after a race in several months. I have been in a funk, and it felt great to finish an event without having the feeling of having the crap kicked out of me!