My First Race of 2013

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The day after a long run, I usually take it easy to let my muscles and mind recover a little bit.  So since I didn’t run today and I received my race medal in the mail on Friday (along with some Emergen-C), I thought that I would write about my first race of the year.  The race was a virtual 5K called the Resolution 5K administered by For the Love of the Kids, with proceeds going to The Hole in the Wall Gang.  Runners had the options of running one mile, a 5K with a medal, a 5K without a medal, a half marathon, or the double dip, which is the 5K and half marathon.  I opted for the 5K with a medal, because, when given a choice, you have to pick the option with bling.  Memphis was actually having a New Year’s Day race called the Commitment 5K, but it was more expensive and less convenient than this race, plus, it lacked a medal.

2012 was the first year for the organization’s races, and they hosted a Valentine’s race, a summer race, and the Holiday Hustle Series, which consisted of a Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s race.  Participants that ran in all three of the Holiday Hustle races received a special medal for completing the series.  This year, they are having the same catalog of races, and I am planning on registering for the summer race, Beat the Heat, at least.

The race registration fees were about standard for a 5K and cheap by half marathon standards.  Once registered, you are sent a tech shirt and bib for your race.  They also had some donations from Amazon and Starbucks, so when my shirt and bib came, I also had a $15 Starbucks gift card!  I don’t go to Starbucks often, but my wife was quite happy with the gift card.  You are encouraged to wear your shirt and bib on race day, take lots of pictures, and to upload them to the For the Love of the Kids Facebook wall.  Race dates were anytime between December 30, 2012 and January 1, 2013.  You could run any route that you wanted, even if you just ran your distance on a treadmill.  Once you ran your race, you simply entered your name, time, bib number, and state on their website, and waited for the results.  This part bothered Susan tremendously because she felt there was no checks and balances for people lying.  It didn’t bother me too much because I would not be a top finisher, there was no cash prize, and I am running for me, not others.

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Race Swag

I decided to do this race for its convenience and therefore, I chose to run my typical neighborhood route on the afternoon of January 1.  I was going to run it that morning before the football games started, but it was stormy, and since I had to run 3.1 miles before midnight, I decided to wait until the sun came back out.  The temperature was in the upper 40’s when I ran that afternoon and even though there was significant cloud cover, it did not rain one drop on me.  I felt great for the entire race and actually finished with my second best 5K road time ever by completing the “course” in 28:12.  When I was done, I was at my front door.  I stretched, went in the house grabbed some water, showered, and watched some more football.  I must say that this aspect of a virtual race is quite appealing.

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Finisher’s Medal

I thought they an outstanding job with the finisher’s medal for the 5K and would be a great reminder of the year ahead since I am aspiring to run a race each month of 2013.  I would not go exclusively to virtual races, but nor having the parking issues and large crowds is kind of nice every now and then.  I have registered for another virtual 5K for the first week of February called the Chilly Cheeks 5K.  It is hosted by a fellow wordpress blogger as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society DetermiNation, in conjunction with the 2013 Blue Cross Broad Street Run on May 5, 2013.  And like I said earlier, I’m planning to run the Beat the Heat race as well since there is only one posted race in the Memphis area for July so far, and I have a conflict on that date.  But, another positive with these virtual races is that you can juggle them around traditional races very easily.

Final grades for the race are as follows:

Course: Incomplete (I chose it, so that shouldn’t count)

Swag: A : good looking medal (not norm for 5K), tech shirt, $15 Starbucks card

Experience: Incomplete (again, I chose the course & was the sole runner of it)

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Great Run Today

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I originally was going to run bright and early this morning, but decided instead to make a run to Gibson’s Donuts to pick up some breakfast for the wife and me.  I grabbed a couple of standard chocolate glazed donuts, a cinnamon bun, and a maple bacon doughnut.  That’s right, a maple bacon doughnut!  And it was outstanding!  It is a glazed doughnut with maple icing and bacon crumbled on top.  It is a perfect blend of sweet, salty, and traditional breakfast flavors.  Now, I know most people think this sounds disgusting, but trust me, just be adventurous this one time.  It is worth it.  Maybe my adulation for this doughnut is my love affair with breakfast and my rules revolving around breakfast.   Rules?  It is quite simple, when you have french toast, you must have bacon, and hence, the marriage of bacon and maple on this doughnut.  Susan looks at my like a freak every time I tell her this rule (and maybe I am), but that is how I’m wired.  And after my not so runner friendly breakfast, I decided to delay my run until the early afternoon.

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Since I ate mine before taking a pic, I found this one via the ilovememphis blog

Today was another phenomenal day for a run.  55 degrees when I stepped outside and not a cloud in sight.  I knew it was going to be a great run.  After last week’s debacle, I have been eager to get back out there for a long run to redeem myself of sorts.  I strapped on my CamelBak and hit the street.  I ran virtually the same route as last week with a couple of subtle changes to add the extra mile, including adding the biggest hill in the neighborhood to get a little practice for the Germantown and 4 Bridges Half Marathons.  My first three and a half miles were right in line with my expected pace, and then I hit the hill.  My pace dipped, but not too bad.  The biggest issue was the mile or so post hill.  That is when I saw my slowest time split of the afternoon, 10:01, so at mile 5.1, I decided to take my GU and I saw an almost immediate boost.  Mile six became my fastest at a pace of 9:07 and whereas last week this was the point I was fantasizing about jumping into traffic to end my misery, today I was feeling great.  I’m sure having water readily available with my CamelBak, as well as the much better weather were contributing factors to today’s satisfying success.  I ended with a pace of 9:45 for 8.02 miles and recorded my fastest 10K time of all time, completing the distance in 1:00:39.  Now if I can keep these times moving forward, especially in a race or two, I will be considerably pleased.

I also finally decided to invest in some moisture wicking socks.  I didn’t notice an earth-shattering difference while I was running from normal socks I guess, but it wasn’t too warm or humid, so we will see in the upcoming weeks.  I will say that my feet were dry and comfortable when I got home, so they must of done something for me today.

Now that I have finished my post run stretches and refueling, I’m on the couch, hydrating, and watching the Falcons vs 49er’s game.  I am not a fan of either team, but I am a devoted Atlanta Braves fan, so I decided to pull for the Falcons.  Susan, being an Ole Miss girl, and staunch Patrick Willis fan, does not agree with this choice.  Our dog Beau is lying next to me, completely indifferent to the game, but happy to have someone home today to relax with him.

A couple of quick notes about the game.  It seems odd that Fox has Troy Aikman calling the game even though he is obviously sick.  Erin Andrews could not of found a tighter pair of pants to wear today.  Zac Brown Band killed it on the National Anthem.  The Georgia Dome is insanely loud today.  The Falcons are starting just like last week, but hopefully they don’t doze off like they did in the second half against the Seahawks.  The 49er’s look completely lost right now.  The terrible Tennessee Lottery commercial from last night has migrated to big Fox.  With the amount of ads and cast of The Following, unless it gets American Idol ratings, it will probably be considered a bust.  I have been seeing promos for this show for what feels like years at this point.  I wonder if the Falcons win the Super Bowl if the city of Atlanta caves and builds them a new, yet unnecessary stadium.

Odds and Ends

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I didn’t go for a run today, so I thought I would write more of a menagerie of subjects this evening.

The wife and I just got back home a few minutes ago from picking up her new (to her) car!  This is the first car that she has bought for herself and she has been like a kid on Christmas morning ever since we decided to purchase the vehicle.  This is grown up milestone #2 for Sus (#1 is marrying me, of course).  We went with a mocha 2011 Buick Enclave  from Lyons GM.  The dealership is in Lewisburg, TN, so it was a road trip for us today.  We could have had the car delivered on Monday, but the wife isn’t know for her patience, plus it is more fun to pick up the car yourself, especially when it’s your first.  It doesn’t matter if it is a 3.5 to 4 hour drive, one way.  First thing my wife said when she got into the car was “It smells weird.”  My response, “It’s clean.”  Husband of the year, right here.  The entire drive home, she was getting acclimated to the XM radio, OnStar, and all of the buttons on the dash.  I think it is safe to say that she loves the new car.  We would probably still be driving it, but she has homework due for her second to last masters class, I need to be studying for the GRE myself.  We are living it up on a Saturday night on a three day weekend!

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Susan’s new ride!

Grizz 18, Bulls 22 end of 1st quarter

I’ve got the Memphis Grizzlies and Nashville Predators games going right now, so studying isn’t taking top priority.  I wasn’t the biggest of NBA fans, despite growing up watching the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, until the Grizzlies game to town.  The whole Grit and Grind persona the team has had going on the past two years is perfect for this town, and makes their games very entertaining.  Zach Randolf (Z-Bo), Tony Allen (The Grindfather), Marc Gasol (Memphis’ favorite Gasol), and the rest of the team resonate with the locals here.  This town is still a Memphis Tigers town, but the Grizz are earning their share of attention as well.

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Screenshot from a Grizz game on TNT last year (found via Google search since I no longer have my shot of this)

I have liked hockey since the early 90’s, but obviously I haven’t been a Predators fan that long since they just came about in 1998.  I was originally a Detroit Red Wings fan, especially when their rivalry with the Colorado Avalanche was at its peak, but I have slowly transitioned to the local team.  I am trying to do the same in football, but I’m finding that to be tougher sledding thus far.  The Smashville promotion for the Preds from a couple of years back is ever bit as good as the Grit and Grind movement for the Grizz. Both teams are electric live and do a phenomenal job of fan interaction at their home arenas.

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Easy to decipher here

Preds 2, Blue Jackets 1 at 1st intermission.

It’s sad that there has been two work stoppages in the last decade for the NHL, because it is an exciting sport, but hard for us Americans, especially southerns, to rally behind as is.  Most of us didn’t grow up playing the sport and most of the players have names that we can’t pronounce nor spell.  Anyone that doesn’t understand or enjoy hockey, should reserve final judgment until they go to a live game.  Most people I know have been won over after their first trip to the rink.

The downside to watching the Grizz and Preds has to be the local ads.  I think FoxSports South/Sportsouth only has 4 non-network commercials that they are allowed to play per season.  And the worst advertiser of them all is the Tennessee Lottery.  They seem to top themselves every year in sheer awfulness. This year’s Tennessee Lottery commercial stars Parnell, a farmer with a gambling problem, and his lucky Tennessee Cash cow.  Parnell and his cow go every week to buy their lottery tickets and propagate stereotypes for Tennesseans across the state.

Grizz 44, Bulls 34 at the half.  The Grizz came on strong in the last couple minutes of the half to surge to the double digit lead.

There was two fights in the first period on the Preds game and that confused Susan a little bit.  She looked up from her homework and proclaimed “those two men are punching each other!” I explained that it was a welcomed part of hockey, and I don’t think that was a sufficient answer.  Oh well.  And as I typed that, we got a third fight!  I have missed this!  Side note, my car dealer buddy is at the game tonight, certainly enjoying the action thus far.

I’m still planning on running eight miles tomorrow.  The weather looks like it is going to be perfect for a run.  Today’s high of 57 and crystal clear skies would have been perfect as well, but I’m certain there will be plenty more days like that in the future (like tomorrow).  I’m really hoping that tomorrow’s run goes as well as last night’s.

Damn, Rinne just gave up another goal.  Game tied at 2.

And the Grizz 17 point lead is now 10.

And on that note, I guess I need to mute the TV and get back to studying.  It has been seven years since I graduated from college and eight since I took a meaningful class (my last three courses were Spanish classes), so I need all the practice I can get!  And I should probably apologize to all English teachers for the disjointed entry that this has been.

Grizz 60, Bulls 47 after 3.

Preds 2, Jackets 2, after 2.

Also, RIP to two baseball Hall of Famers.  Stan “the Man” Musial and Earl Weaver both passed away today.  You do not have to be a Cardinal or Oriole fan to understand how beloved these two men were to their fanbases.  Two phenomenal baseball people that left the sport well before I started watching the sport.  Musial’s career high in strikeouts in a season was 46.  Last May, Adam Dunn struck out 48 times!

UPDATE: The Grizz have a horrid 4th quarter, blowing a 17 point lead.  The Bulls scored 29 in the 4th after scoring 25 in the 2nd & 3rd COMBINED!  The Grizz missed 3 of 4 FT’s with their better shooters at the line in basically one possession and Nate Robinson was made to look like MJ in the 4th, so we are heading to overtime, tied at 76.  The Preds fail to net a goal in the 3rd, but neither do the Jackets, so they are also heading to overtime.  Studying is getting blown out at home by procrastination as well.

UPDATE 2: Despite more missed free throws, a five second call on an inbound pass, and general sloppiness, the Grizz were able to triumph in OT!  The Preds, however, were not so fortunate.  After a scoreless OT, the Preds lost the shootout in the sixth round.  At least they were still able to get a point in the standings.

Follow Up to My Earlier Post

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So my luck continued to rebound this afternoon.  It started with getting my tire patched.  I wasn’t sure where to take it, but luck would have it that I chose Gateway Tire.  Apparently, patching tires is a free service at Gateway, so the money I was expecting to spend went back into my pocket. Then, my buddy was able to find a better vehicle for roughly the same amount of money that we were budgeting to spend, so I’ll count that as another victory today.

My run this afternoon was yet another positive today.  It was the best I have felt post race in well over a week.  I ran as the sun was setting with a slight breeze and a temperature hovering around 55 degrees.  I ran 4.27 miles at a 9:37 pace, with the pace trending downwards on miles 3 and 4.  Better yet, as I was returning home, I felt that I could keep going towards my long distance goal of the week, but decided against it since I was due at the in-laws for dinner.  And I am not a man that turns down free dinner, especially when it is filet mignon and baked potatoes!  All in all, it has been a great afternoon and evening thus far.

Also, I got my medal in the mail for the Resolution 5K today, so I will be be posting about that race at some point this weekend.  Now, back to the Grizzlies game and vocabulary words.

Long Week

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I must not be living right because it has been a very, very long week!  Work has been busier than it has been in a long time, the detergent dispenser on my dishwasher has finally crapped out, my Nike+ GPS watch is on the fritz, I have a nail in my tire, and a rock hit my windshield this morning on my commute to work.  Add that to the ice, but no snow, my bad workouts, and my deviating from my workout/studying master plan, and this week has been one to forget, even if it is just a bunch of first world problems.  But, it is Friday, and it is nearly perfect weather outside, so I am going to forge ahead!

I had Jack Morris Auto Glass come to work and fix my windshield, and now you can barely tell that it was damaged.  Nike is agreed to replace my watch, while letting me keep the defective one until the new one arrives in 5 – 10 business days.  I’m getting the tire patched after work today, and hopefully I will be able to locate the necessary part to repair my dishwasher this weekend.  In the meantime, I’m going old school and washing the dishes by hand.  Strangely, I actually don’t mind hand washing the dishes too much.

Once my tire is repaired, I’m going to hit the road for 4 or 5 miles to enjoy a mild and sunny January afternoon run!  I was going to hit the treadmill, but it seems like such a waste of a good day to do that.  Being that my week has not gone to schedule, I will probably run my long run for the week (8 miles) on Sunday at some point.  That will also free up my schedule so I can go with the wife tomorrow to get her new (at least to her) car!  We are getting the car from my best friend and one of the best men in our wedding, so it will be hassle free.  And if you are in the market for a new or used vehicle, give Lyons GM a look.  OK, my shameless plug is now over, and was not the intention of this entry, but when people take care of you, you want to spread the word.

Also, being that this is going to be a three day weekend for the both of us, hopefully we can get to some minor tweaks we are wanting to do to the house, as well as getting in some extra workout/study time.  I’m anticipating 18 – 20 running miles, the wife’s first car purchase, some TRX, hundreds of vocabulary words, some playoff football (I don’t root for any remaining team, but it’s football), a trip or two to the Home Depot, and more dish washing on this weekend’s itinerary.

Icepocolypse 2013

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So Mother Nature did not agree with my workout plans thus far this week.  Freezing rain and sleet on Monday meant running outside was a no go.  Something about icy sidewalks makes running extremely difficult.  And since I live in Memphis instead of Minneapolis, frozen precipitation means this entire town shuts down.  So, unfortunately, no treadmill time at the gym.  Monday and Tuesday consisted of TRX at the house, Seinfeld reruns on TBS, and quality time with the wife.  I would have loved to get a quick run in, but at least I stayed busy.

Today, I was finally able to log some miles.  I hit the gym after work and was able to grab one of the good treadmills at the gym.  [Side bar: my gym has 6 treadmills, 1 is only for walking, 2 are under 5 years old, and the other 3 have seen better days.  Of course, walkers NEVER use the treadmill reserved for walking, but rather the 2 good treadmills.  People literally race to get to the good treadmills at 4:30 each afternoon.]  My run, however, was not great.  I was lethargic from the first step.  I completed 3.15 miles at a 9:45 pace, so it definitely could have been worse.  It sucks that that is back to back bad runs, but it happens.  After running, I did some pullups, planks, and stretching before heading home.

The worst part of the training was the fate of my Nike+ GPS watch.  Around mile 1, I noticed that I could barely make out the digits on the watch due to condensation.  This was quite upsetting.  I was given the watch less than two months ago and I really shouldn’t be having issues with it.  When I got home, I told Susan about it and I could tell she was not happy.  She called Nike+ customer service when I hopped in the shower and they were great.  They are replacing my watch free of charge, including shipping.  Let’s hope I just got a lemon and my new one will work better for me.

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This is over an hour after I got home

 

Major Goal

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So I have decided to run my first marathon.  My wife and I agree that it is an attainable goal, so I am shooting for the Walt Disney World Marathon next year.  By my calculations, that means 1.12.14, Lord willing, I will compete in my first ever marathon!  I could try to run the St Jude Marathon or upgrade to the 7 Bridges (from the 4 Bridges I’m currently registered for), but a Disney race seems more grand for my first, plus she gets to go to her favorite vacation place as well.  And a   Plus, with my year long goal of races, tweaking my training will be very doable.