Race Prep: Playlist Construction


I know some races discourage you from using iPod’s and the such, but unless it is plainly outlawed or it is an obstacle/mud run, I use my iPhone.  I like the extra boost the music gives me, as well as the distraction it provides me.  For training runs I have started listening to podcasts and audiobooks, but for an actual race, I want the extra motivation.  I use songs on my iPhone versus Pandora or some other streaming application because it conserves battery on my phone and I will not have to fumble with changing songs that I am not that enamored with.  And when I construct the playlist, I subscribe to the Barney Stinson philosophy used for his “Get Psyched” playlist.  This philosophy is simple, there is no up and down with the list selections, the music is all up.  I even borrow several songs from his playlist.

All rise music

All rise music

I am not going to name every song that I am putting in the list, but rather a good sampling of the selections so you can get a solid idea of where I am coming from.  I listen to numerous genres of music, and most will be represented in my race playlist.  These selections are not necessarily what I listen to everyday, but give me a little extra adrenaline on a run.

  • You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi – this is the lead song in Barney’s playlist, and when it starts, you will bump your pace up a notch or two.
  • Thunderstuck – AD/DC – if you have watched a football hit montage, you have heard this song.
  • Panama – Van Halen – the 80’s will be well represented in this list
  • Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band – I listen to quite a bit of country, but not much makes this list
  • Don’t Stop Believen’ – Journey – it is always Journey o’clock, especially late in a race
  • Welcome to the Jungle – Guns ‘N Roses – the majority of their catalog will work here
  • More Human Than Human – White Zombie – this was one of my go to high school football songs
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor – if it is good enough for Rocky, it is good enough for me
  • Hump de Bump – Red Hot Chili Peppers – one of my favorite bands that is always well represented on my playlists
  • Icky Thump – The White Stripes – this song was made to workout/run to
  • Just Lose It – Eminem – most of his catalog works very well for runs, even if you don’t normally like his music
  • Whoop That Trick – DJ (Hustle and Flow) – it works for the Grizzlies and is basically the Memphis theme song now
  • Rock Superstar – Cypress Hill – even the opening xylophone gets me pumped
  • Crazy Train – Ozzy Osborne – if you watched any Atlanta Braves baseball with Chipper Jones, you are familiar with this song
  • No One Gets Left Behind – Five Finger Death Punch – their whole catalog will work here
  • Home Sweet Home – Motley Crue – less strip club anthem than some of their other stuff
  • Miracle – Nonpoint – a perfect song to walk up to as an UFC fighter
  • Regulate – Warren G – a classic from my youth
  • So Fresh, So Clean – Outkast – my favorite song from a group that has several solid choices
  • Stay Fly – Three 6 Mafia – in Memphis, you have to include Three 6
  • Bawitdaba – Kid Rock – another song that is perfect for a fighter
  • Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash – a classic from the Man in Black
  • Undead – Hollywood Undead – this genre of music is great for working out and fighting
  • Jukebox Hero – Foreigner – this song also gets the blood flowing
  • Going the Distance – Cake – a perfect run song

Several of the groups in this list will be represented several times, depending on the duration of my run.  And if you have not heard of the group, they probably skew towards the heavy metal genre.  They usually do not get radio play.  I really only listen to the groups when I run and workout.  They very likely are not your cup of tea, but they will get you going.

If you are fairly confident in your time splits, you can work in songs where you think they will fit best, say The Final Countdown as you approach the finish line.  Feel free to comment with any songs that you listen to during runs.  This is in no way a definitive list.

Motivation And My Weekly Recap


Last week was a little on the uneventful side, so I am not going to waste your or my time with my typical daily breakdown.  I will say that I stayed on my taper schedule by running four times with only a six mile “long” run on Sunday.  The heat is rising here in Memphis and I want my legs to be fresh for Tupelo this weekend.  This week, however, looks like it should be much more eventful.  The following quote seems to sum up what my thought process needs to be going forward:

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. – Charles Darwin

Today marks the start of my return to school.  After work this afternoon, I am driving across the city to sit in class for three hours.  It has been a little over seven years since I graduated from college, so it might take me a few days to get back into the swing of things.  My schedule is three hours of class on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after work, so those are going to be rather long days.  Apparently nine hours is considered full time for graduate studies so I am going to juggle my full time school schedule, my full time job, my household duties, and my marathon training program.  Here is another quote that will help my mental approach moving forward.

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. – Michael Jordan

After the Tupelo 14.2 on Sunday, I am adopting Jeff Galloway’s runDisney plan, so most weeks I will run on Tuesday mornings before work, Thursdays before or after work, and once on the weekend.  I will also work in some TRX and other cross training to help promote my overall health.  It is going to be odd only running three times a week, and it is possible that some weeks I will run my typical four times, but I will try my best to follow the plan.  Also, I am incorporating my scheduled races into this training plan to maintain the plan’s structure to help prepare me for the main event in January.

This was a rather short entry, but as I get time this week, I am going to post some pre-race prep posts talking about what I am doing to get ready for Sunday.

More Races Added to the Schedule


I might be crazy, but I just added four more races to my 2013 schedule!  As I posted a couple of days ago, I was debating the merits of back to back races in early November.  Well, I heeded the advice of many of you and registered for both.  Now the Friday night 5K will be a warmup for the Saturday morning half marathon!  The new races are as follows:

  • Cooper Young Festival 4 Miler on September 13
  • Zombie Hunt 5K on October 5 (which means I have 2 events on this date)
  • True Blue 5K on November 1
  • Midsouth Championship Half Marathon on November 2

These should be the last four races that I will add to my 2013 calendar, but with over four months left in the year, that could possibly change.  I will say that I have come in under budget on what I thought my race registration fees for the year wold be, but I still have not factored in the cost of gas and hotels for a couple of my upcoming races.  All and all, I think I have a good mix of race distances and themes, with several races being new discoveries for me.

Of the four new races, I have only previously ran the True Blue 5K, and in fact, this will be my fourth running of that particular event!  The Cooper Young 4 Miler is an insanely popular event here in Memphis, and I am finally available to run it this year.  The Zombie Hunt 5K is a new event and will help replace the zombie deficit in my schedule thanks to the Run For Your Lives event crapping out in Nashville.  The Midsouth Championship Half Marathon is a small town race that is insanely cheap and near home.  Also, it is a relatively flat course that will allow me to try a new technique since I am in a 5K that night before.

I’m Conflicted


As I go into the last four months of the year, I am firming up the remainder of my race schedule.  The problem is that I have reached a little bit of a scheduling conflict in November.  The conflict is between the True Blue 5K on November 1 and the Midsouth Championship Half Marathon on November 2.   I suppose that I can run in both events, but I have never run a race on back to back days as of yet in my running journey.  And there is always the option of walking the True Blue 5K to remain loose, but that seems a little like a waste.

True Blue 5K

Distance: 5K

Cost: $25

My very first race of all time was the True Blue 5K back in 2010.  It was a goal for my weight loss journey back in 2010.  I wanted a public display of my progress and felt that a fall evening race was my best bet for an inaugural event.  Proceeds from the event go to the Young Alumni Committee at my alma mater, the University of Memphis.  The course winds around campus, passing many landmarks from my collegiate days, including my fraternity house.  And I live just a couple of miles from campus, so there really is no travel concerns for the event.  The weather is cool and the course is rather flat.  Some of my favorite races shirts have come from this event, and I where them constantly.  Running the event reminds me of where I came from as a 330 pound slob that got winded to a person that willingly runs miles at a time, with relatively small amounts of complaining.  And not to mention that running this 5K on a Friday night in November will easily work into my WDW marathon training.

I'm wearing my 1st True Blue shirt here

I’m wearing my 1st True Blue shirt here

Midsouth Championship Half Marathon

Distance: 13.1

Cost: $27

I have never run in the Midsouth Championship event and one of the goals of the plan this year was to try new races.  The race is in Wynne, AR, which is just about an hour from Memphis.  While this is not a big tourist attraction, running a half marathon this close to the house while adding a state to my running history is tempting.  The course is extremely flat, with the highest elevation for the half marathon being 351 feet, which is just 107 miles higher than the low point of the course.  This will be a welcomed change from the 4 Bridges event a couple of weeks prior.  Also, this is a small event, so the corral crowding and other logistical nightmares presented by the bigger races is eliminated.  This would also be my first out and back course, so that would be interesting to see how I respond to that.  This would also create a string of four straight months with an official half marathon ran for me, which considering that I have only ran in half marathons ever, would be an accomplishment.  And all of this for just $2 more than a typical 5K!  Of course, a half marathon distance falls a little short of where my marathon training should be, but going 100% for the event should probably cause the lack of mileage to be a draw.

I thought that by laying the case for both event out would help me decide, but it did not.  I have nine days until the price for the Midsouth Championship increases, so I guess as long as I have a decision by then, I shall be good.

Make a Quick Ten Bucks

Be A KindRunner

Be A Kindrunner

As you all know, I am an ambassador for Kindrunner.com.  Yesterday I received an email that was sent to all registered users from them that I thought you might be interested in.  They are currently offering $10 in Kindness Cash for anyone that registers or updates their information on their site.  There is no purchase necessary and it will take about a minute to complete.  Simply follow this link, and enter the required information.  If you already have a Kindrunner account, just log in prior to submitting this form.  If not, simply register for the site and enter the requested information.  And then, boom, ten dollars deposited into your account, good to use on any item on their site.  It could not be simpler.  The deadline for this deal is Friday, August 23, 2013, at 8:00 pm EST.  The information that Kindrunner is looking for is your current running shoe, days a week that you run, your favorite race, and your favorite place to run.  Very quick and painless.  Once again, that link is here.

Full disclosure here, I am a Kindrunner Ambassador, but this is not a paid position, and I am not being compensated for this post.  I just wanted to share this opportunity with my readers because we all could use an extra $10 towards our running addiction.

Last Week’s Recap


This post might be a little late, but it is finally here.  Last week was officially my first taper week, and honestly, I did not know how to juggle my taper long run and the Breakaway Bardog 5K.  All and all though, I had a good week of training, and hopefully this will translate well for my race.

Monday: It was a rest day since I had just completed thirteen plus miles the day prior.  I was active around the house doing chores, but that was it.

Tuesday: I ran just under five miles, but they were slightly split about.  The first half a mile was a dead sprint with Beau, up and down our street.  Running with Beau can be a little treacherous since he likes to go side to side and explore everything that comes along the path.  His ADD has caused me multiple tumbles over the past few months!  After dropping him off at the house, I hit the street again to complete my run, even if the lack of a pace dog had an adverse effect on my time.  Since last week was a bit cooler than the norm for August, I was able to do this run post work, allowing me to sleep in a bit in the morning.

Wednesday: I ran four and a half miles after dinner, which is something I do not do often.  I do not like the feeling of running on a full stomach, but I wanted to make sure to get in some miles.  I also deviated from my running norm by working in a few exercises during my route.  After mile one and a half, I did ten burpees and fifteen pushups at a local elementary school on the route.  After mile three, I stopped at a park to attempt some pullups.  While I was unable to do one (no surprise), I did get some  good core work in during my attempts by hanging on the bar and pulling my knees up.  I finished the run with ten more burpees and twenty more pushups.

Thursday: I only ran three and a half miles because I was having some complications with my asthma.  This has been a recurring theme over the past week or so.

Friday: No run, but I did a TRX routine focusing on my upper body and core.  I wanted to give my legs a little bit of a rest.  After the workout, I went to my sister-in-law’s birthday dinner at Paulette’s, a local favorite that I had never visited before in Harbor Town.  The best thing anyone ordered was the peach crepe made with fresh, local peaches from Jones Orchard that Susan ordered for dessert.  Even though all of the food was good, she definitely won the food ordering battle with that selection.

Saturday: The day started with a return trip to the Memphis Farmers Market, which led to some fresh okra, grouper, squash, zucchini, purple hull peas, and Susan getting reprimanded.  Apparently bringing your dog to the outdoor market is frowned upon.  This was news to Susan since the previous two weeks there were dogs everywhere.  You live and you learn, I suppose.  That afternoon, before grilling up some grouper tacos, I did a full body TRX routine.  My TRX home kit is a lifesaver.  I do, however, need to start going to the gym more often to justify my membership fees.

Sunday: The day started with the Breakaway Bardog 5K, which you can read about here.  After the race, we took Beau to my in-laws for a play date with their dogs.  That evening, my trivia team vied for the the title of Memphis Champions, but we fell short of that goal.  Due to a lack of sci-fi knowledge and some Van Halen hubris, we fell out of contention, and this round of trivia finals has now concluded for us.

Breakaway Bardog 5K


My goal of running a race in each month of 2013 has now officially eclipsed the eight month plateau!  The eighth month of racing was realized when I ran in the fourth annual Breakaway Bardog 5K in downtown Memphis yesterday morning.  This was my first time to attempt this race and I was pleasantly surprised by the event.  The event is not hosted by the major race promoter in the area, and being that it is only in its fourth year of existence, the event logistics went rather smoothly.  The only real issue was at packet pickup.  Most races you can walk in, pick up your packet, and leave.  For this race, however, it took a little over twenty minutes to get my bib and swag.  I am purely speculating here, but my assumption is by hosting the event internally, with some assistance from the Memphis Runners Track Club for timing and course layout, the event is able to donate more money to St. Jude, which is definitely worth a little bit of a wait.  Also, I do know that this year’s race was the largest yet, so with a boost in participants, a little bit of a learning curve is to be expected.

The weather certainly was better than expected for the third Sunday in August.  While the humidity was at 90%, the temperature was only 72, and the dew point was actually under 70, making the race much more pleasant than August average of 91 degrees!  The morning was also overcast, so there was no battling the sun during the run either.  I know several people set PR’s yesterday.  I was not one of these people, but I did, however, have my best time since February!  I finished the race in 28:12, and more importantly, felt that I could keep going at that pace for a couple more miles.

The race is held in conjunction with Bardog’s anniversary party, so race participants are encouraged to stay after the race for an after party.  There was beer, live music, and food in copious amounts.  The finish line funneled you into alley beside Bardog.  First, there was water available, then beer, then sliders, then peanut butter and banana sliders, then chicken salad sliders,  fruit, and then more beer.  Having multiple beer locations is always a prudent move for a race, especially a race at a bar!  And since this was an event hosted by a bar, participants were treated to beer a few notches above Bud Light or Miller Lite.  There was multiple brews from Yazoo Brewing, some Yuengling, Fat Tire, and many other beers that were much appreciated by the majority of the runners.  I will say that I am thankful that I got my wristband prior to the race because that line was insane after the race.  I had a couple of beers and sliders before heading home, but if I would have had a DD, I am certain that I could have been persuaded to stay down there for a little while longer!  The post race party lasted until 11 am, and that point, the anniversary street party began.  There was a world beer tour tent with about fifteen beers to try, and well as food and drinks to be purchased, a dunk tank, more live music, and a meatball eating contest.  Proceeds from all of the events were going to St. Jude.  I am very interested to see what the final donation total will be.

Course: A: It incorporated quite a bit of your standard downtown Memphis running course with one exception, no Beale St.  Most races have you run up the hill on Beale before turning to the finish line.  This race, however, had you stay on Riverfront for a couple more blocks and then turn up the hill onto Monroe where we ran past the front of Bardog, turned onto Main until Union, then turned onto Union to finish at the alley connecting Union and Monroe, which is where the after party was.  And for all of you readers that are unfamiliar with Memphis, the city resides on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff which separates the city from the Mississippi River,  This bluff makes for a very steep ascent on downtown runs.  Riverside Drive is the street basically at the same level of the Mississippi.

This was my race swag.

This was my race swag.

Swag: A: The food and beer selection was awesome, which is to be expected with Bardog.  The opportunity for the after party was also great, but I do hope that people went home to shower before the majority of the festivities.  The race shirts were super soft tees, which means it is a shirt that I will actually where again in public, which I did yesterday afternoon.  Seriously, all races should be forced to give super soft tees or tech shirts.  No one wants a plain, scratchy white tee-shirt anymore.  I also received a pair of Brooks shoe laces, a coupon to Aldo’s Pizza Pies (a sister restaurant to Bardog), a Bardog wooden nickel for a PBR, a free ticket to that evening’s Redbirds game, and a beer mug since I was one of the first 350 people to register for the race.  Some of the participants also got Believe Memphis headbands, St. Jude sunglasses and koozies, and different race advertisements.  I noticed that some people were upset on Facebook that they did not get the full allotment of swag.  There are much better things to get worked up about than that.  Oh well.

Overall: A: I am very glad that I chose this race over the Elvis Presley 5K that was held on Saturday.  I know that the events are held in such a manner that I could have run in both, but I was never going to do that, so I am glad that I chose this one.  I will certainly be making a return visit for next year’s race.

And on a nerdy side note, I wore my Batman Under Armour shirt for this race.  I had several people comment on it and I even saw another runner with one on as well.