Weekly Recap

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I did a better job of working in some cross-training this week, even if I did not do quite as much as I wanted or needed to.  After last week’s weather reprieve, the temperatures crept back up this week, but thankfully the humidity did not.  Hopefully the temps will trend back down next week, and the humidity will remain low because I am about to embark on my biggest stretch of races of the year as well as approaching new distance territories with my marathon training.

Monday: This was a designed rest day.  This was the beginning of my busy week of work, as well as a full week of class assignments, so every extra second was appreciated.

Tuesday: An early morning run to get the day off on the right foot.  I felt good on the run and used it as an easy forty minutes away from worrying about school and work.

Wednesday: On the exercise front, I was a complete slacker.  I had every intention to do some TRX after class, but I just zonked out instead.  I did, however, get my second A in my Wednesday night class, which is my most difficult class!  Therefore, 9% of my grade is an A, which is great, but now I have more pressure to keep up with the momentum.

Thursday: Another early morning run at an easy pace for four miles.  This is going to be my routine for the foreseeable future, and yet, waking up by 5:30 am is not getting any easier!

Friday: I finally did something besides run or be lazy!  I did an intense, all body TRX workout after work, and I immediately noticed that my recent slacking was taking its toll on my body.  This was a jarring reminder that I am better served with a couple of non-running workouts per week, and that I can find time for these.  After my TRX routine, I decided to embrace my Spartan Race training advice and headed outside for some burpees.  I wanted to do thirty since that is the penalty for skipping a Spartan obstacle, and while I attempted thirty burpees, twenty-five of them would be in the running for the worst burpee of all time!

Saturday: This was my “long” run day, and since I am following the Jeff Galloway training plan, this called for a four mile run.  No worries, next week will be a fifteen miler, so I will definitely be building my mileage base!

The rest of the day consisted of college football and some beer.

Sunday: No workouts, but I stayed busy working on a paper for class this week.  It is my third writing assignment in this same class, and the pressure is on to make another A.  We shall see how it goes.

Best show on TV

Best show on TV

Sunday night marked the end of the best TV show of all time, Breaking Bad.   I am not going to spoil the episode, but I must say that Vince Gilligan knows how to end a show.  It was a perfect ending to an outstanding show and certainly lived up to the hype.

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Weekly Recap

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Another week of training and grad school is in the books.  I am a couple of weeks away from my next race and I am finally getting a little bit of a balance in my schedule.

Monday: No run or class, rather, I had to to go to an information session on a study abroad opportunity in Cuba over spring break.  Whereas it is an unique opportunity, I do not know if I want to spend the time or money on the experience.  We shall see.  After the session, I did my Spartan 100 core focused workout.  Twenty minutes of core focused moves will hopefully lead to stronger runs down the line.

Tuesday: Early morning run that was a little on the humid side, but it was nothing unbearable.  It was an easy 4.29 mile training run.  I also did not have to attend class, but rather submit an online discussion question.  I could get used to grad school courses like this!

Wednesday: Busy day of work that led to my only night of grad school class for the week.  I did receive some good news during the class being that I got back last week’s paper, which I was able to score an A on!  So my first official grad school grade was an A, so hopefully there will be many more to come!

Thursday: I decided that I wanted to sleep in so I had to go for my run after work.  It was quite hot, so I ended up running my four plus miles at 8:30 pm, which always makes Susan a little uneasy.  I probably need to invest in some reflective/night gear.

Friday: I was lazy and did not workout.  It was an all around boring, uneventful day.  We did get some much needed rain in Memphis.

Photo borrowed from Susan's Facebook page

Photo borrowed from Susan’s Facebook page

Saturday: Susan and I worked in the yard most of the day.  Our front flowerbed was in terrible shape, and Susan thought it was time to make out house “fall ready”, especially since Friday’s rain cooled off the weather for a couple of days.  We ended up planting 36 pansies, a mum, and laid some mulch.  I also raked the front yard and did some general yard cleaning.  I did not go to the gym or run since we were doing yard work.

The Braves finally clinched the east!

The Braves finally clinched the east!

Sunday: I ran what was the easiest thirteen miles of my life!  It was not my fastest time, but I felt great upon completion and was able to stay mentally strong.  I would like to think that my training is paying dividends, but I am also certain that the drop in the heat and humidity also aided in that effort.

After the run, Susan and I met a friend that was visiting from Atlanta for brunch at Local on the Square.  I had my favorite, the chicken and waffles and Susan tried the lobster stuffed avocado, which was amazing.  It was an avocado covered in Panko bread crumbs and fried, then stuffed with the lobster salad.  I also helped myself to a Samuel Adams Oktoberfest and the Oktoberfest offering from Ghost River Brewing, a local brewery.  The Ghost River offering would have been better if the keg would have been properly cooled.

Speaking of Atlanta, the Braves finally clinched the NL East!  They are officially in the playoffs now and not in that dumb, wild west one game, winner take all wild card game.  This is the sixteenth time in my life that the Braves have won their division, which is quite exceptional.

It was another good episode of Breaking Bad and there is only one more episode to go the greatest TV show of all time.

Cooper Young Festival 4 Miler Recap

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Last Friday night I checked off another one of my “Memphis institution” races when I ran in the Cooper Young Festival 4 Miler.  This is an insanely popular event that coincides with the Cooper Young Festival in early September.  The last couple of years, or, the only years that I have been running, I have wanted to run in this race, but I have always had a conflict.  Usually the conflict was a wedding of a close friend, so I’m not complaining, but it was nice to finally get to experience the event.

There were 2,600 registered runners for this event, which meant that it was over four times larger than the race that I just ran in Tupelo, over a much shorter distance.  There actually were starting corrals for the race, which is definitely a first for me in a single digit mileage race!  Of course, the corrals were more of strong suggestions that law, and there was not a staggered start time, just a little better grouping of similar paces.  I thought that this was a fantastic idea, and even though I was still dodging walkers before running half a mile, I did not have quite as many as usual to sprint around.

The race is a celebration of one of Memphis’ best known communities, the Cooper Young area of Midtown.  Several of Memphis’ best restaurants and bars are in this neighborhood, as well as a vibrant art scene and some of the oldest houses in the city.  The community as a whole has their own way of doing things, and this race was a great reflection of the neighborhood.  Several residents along the race route had their houses decorated for the entire weekend, with luau and zombie themes to name a couple.  At mile 2.5, a man was handing out jello shots to the runners, and more than once on the route, residents were misting the runners with their water hoses to help beat the heat, even though the weather had subsided somewhat from earlier in the week.

I had a very sold race, cutting four minutes off my only other four mile race, the Zoom through the Zoo back in May.  There were twice as many people at this race, but the crowd control was much better, and the temperature was a little friendlier as well.  Also, it was much easier to help myself to the beer trucks, which was greatly appreciated.  I finished the race in 38:07, which was just off my goal of 38:00 flat, but that goal did not take into account for jello shots…

Cooper Young 4 Miler race shirt

Cooper Young 4 Miler race shirt

Swag: B: There was not much here since they went with a virtual goodie bag which consisted of mostly ads with very few coupons or discounts.  I did, however, get a free, one year subscription to Men’s Health via the virtual bag, so that was cool.  Also, the shirts were long-sleeved moisture wicking shirts.  They are just like the ones from the Move it Memphis 10K and St. Jude FedEx Classic 5K.  They are a cotton blended shirt and whereas they do not work great for long runs for me personally, they are comfortable to wear and look good.  Food was cold cuts and fruit, with plenty of beer.

Course: A: I loved going up and down the streets of the neighborhood and the community enthusiasm.  The start of the race was on the widest road, and as we progressed into the narrower streets, the crowd was beginning to separate itself.

Overall: B+: Fun race with a party atmosphere that benefits from being held on a Friday night at 7:00 pm.  There was no parking however, so it was a free-for-all on the city streets for spots, so those people who were late arriving had quite a trek to and from the event.  I would certainly run in this event again.

This is such a great shirt!

This is such a great shirt!

The following day, Susan and I, along with one of her friends went to the actual Cooper Young Festival.  I drank some Sam Adams Octoberfest and bought one of my favorite t-shirts, so all in all, the weekend was a success.

Forming My 2014 Schedule

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It is never too early to explore next year’s races, so that is what I am doing today.  Originally, I wanted to run the Disneyland Half Marathon next August to complete the Coast to Coast Challenge, but realistically, making that trip might be out of my budget next year.  My wife and I are in the early stages of exploring the purchase of a new house, so that is taking priority.  We are saving as much disposable income as possible, so that means I will be running in races a little closer to home.  This means that after the Walt Disney World Marathon in January and Spartan Race in Tampa in February, the farthest I will travel for an event will be a three-hour drive from Memphis.  I might just focus on running in every half marathon in Shelby County, and I will also be able to work in another state by running in a half marathon in Murray, KY, which is very close to my parents’ house.  So, let’s look at the potential races.

Paid in Full, Scheduled Races:

Jan 12 – Walt Disney World Marathon – Lake Buena Vista, FL – My first marathon and a genuine runcation!

This is my ultimate goal!

This is my ultimate goal!

Feb 15 – Special Ops Spartan Sprint – Tampa, FL – My first Spartan race that will allow for a visit with some family and friends in the Tampa area!

June 7 – Tough Mudder – Nashville, TN – Susan is against me participating in this event, but I want to prove myself.

We shall see!

We shall see!

Dec – St. Jude Half Marathon – Memphis, TN – This is my annual event at this point.

Nearby Races That I Am Leaning Towards:

Feb 22 – Oxford Run for Hope – Oxford, MS -Susan is an Ole Miss girl, so anything Oxford should be an easy sell.

Mar 16 – Germantown Half Marathon – Germantown, TN – I was supposed to run this event in 2013, but I was injured and had to limp through the 5K.  I want this to be a redemption run, plus it is here in Shelby County.

May 3 – Warrior Dash – Jackson, MS – I loved this event last year, and really want to do it again.

Oct – Greenline Half Marathon – Memphis, TN – I should be able to work this in for the first time in 2014.

Tempting Races on the Fringe:

Apr 5 – Oak Barrel 13.1 – Lynchburg, TN – Registration opens Oct 27, 2013, and this race has a very unique finisher’s medal.

Apr 12 – Murray Half Marathon – Murray, KY – It is near my parents and would be another state completed, but I can’t run it and the Oak Barrel 13.1

Apr 26 – Country Music Half Marathon – Nashville, TN – I have never run in  a Rock ‘N Roll event, but if I do in 2014, this would be it.

Aug 31 or Sep 7 – Tupelo 14.2 – I might make a return trip to this hot and humid event.

Pipe Dreams:

Mar 23 – Publix Georgia Half Marathon – Atlanta, GA – If this was a month later, I could work in a Braves game too, but both are just wishful thinking for 2014.

Jul 20 – Rock ‘N Roll Chicago Half Marathon – I have never been to Chicago and this would be a good excuse.

Aug 31 – Disneyland Half – Anaheim, CA – I want to complete the Coast to Coast, but my finances are not looking good for this.

I will also add in some local 5K’s, as well as some other events here in Memphis.  I will probably not run quite as many races in 2014 as 2013, but it is still early. At least the WDW Marathon will be partially encompassed with my 2013 budget.

Weekly Recap

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My updates have not been coming at an acceptable pace, this I know.  I am going to try to do a better job of writing this week. I think that I have finally gotten into a rhythm with class, work, my personal life, and running.  So to get back into the swing of things, let me catch you up on my last week.

Monday: I did not run, but I did one of the Spartan Race Workouts of the Day that focused on my core.  I did some side crunches, planks, pushups, bicycles, and such for about half an hour.  Focusing on my core will be vital moving forward for my marathon aspirations.

Tuesday: I woke up early and went for the first run of the week.  I completed 3.81 miles slower than I was expecting, but the heat and humidity was insane.  At 5:30 am, the temperature was already over 80 and the humidity was close to this number.  Can it be December yet?  Also, Sons of Anarchy returned and while it is not as good as Breaking Bad or several other dramas on TV now, it still is one that I am rather addicted to.  Hopefully season six is better than season five was.

Wednesday: My first grad school paper was due and I am very eager to see how I did on it.  It has been a considerable amount of time since I graduated from college and I am having to learn a new style of writing.  I am cautiously optimistic about how I did.  After class, I was mentally zapped, so I watched It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League, and did no workout.

Thursday: Another early morning run in high heat and humidity.  My pace was a little better and I logged 4.24 miles.  After work, I rotated homework for my Monday night class and some TRX.  It was not my best TRX session ever, but it was better than nothing.

Friday: I ran in the Cooper Young Festival 4 Miler (my recap will be posted sometime this week) and I had a great race.  I beat my previous four mile race PR by about four minutes!  The weather was great and the race was well organized.  I will leave it at this until I post my full recap.

Saturday: No workout, but I did do quite a bit of walking at the Cooper Young Festival with Susan and one of her friends.  We did not buy much, but I did score one of my favorite shirts of all-time!  Susan and I had seen a picture of the shirt before, but acquiring it proved to be quite elusive, but I knew it would be at the festival and it was my mission to find it.  After the festival, we went to Local on the Square, where I had some amazing chicken and waffles.  College football was not kind to the Tennessee Vols or Memphis Tigers, but Susan’s Ole Miss Rebels looked good against Texas.

This is such a great shirt!

This is such a great shirt!

Sunday: Another early morning run, but since I am doing the Jeff Galloway plan, it was a short one.  However, I really should not have done a run at all, but only running three days a week, especially on the short weeks is hard to do.  That might change as my mileage ramps up.  It was a cooler morning than my last couple of early morning runs, which was greatly appreciated.  And it made my 4.28 miles very pleasant.  My neighbor did deliver some bad news when he said that someone tried to break into his house this week.  Wednesday around 7:00 pm, his daughters caught two minute lurking around their front window.  This same night, someone knocked very aggressively on our door, but Susan did not answer. Having a loud dog probably helped urge the people to move along.

Not a single team that I root for won today, so that is a bummer, but hopefully the Braves can win at least two of their next three games so they can clinch the NL East in Washington.

I am not sure my heart can handle two more weeks of Breaking Bad if they are going to be this intense!  The show is without a shadow of a doubt the best show in TV history.  I would also like to thank the NFL for the one hour weather delay that perfectly coincided with Breaking Bad tonight.

Another Race Added to the Plan

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So Susan texted this morning to inform me that I have another race to add to my schedule, the SCS Race For Education.  The event is being held on November 3, 2013, at 3:00 pm here in Memphis, so that means I will have races on the first three days of November!  Now, this will not exactly be the Goofy or Dopey Challenges at Disney, but will still be outside of my norm.  So why I am running events on three consecutive days?  Well, I just could not say no to this newest race since it is a fundraiser for the local schools and they could use all the money that they can get.  Also, my wife is a teacher and basically left me little choice in the matter.

Shelby County Schools need your help!

Shelby County Schools need your help!

For anyone in the Memphis area, this would be a great event to participate in being that the money is being donated directly to the benefit of the children in the community.  When you register, simply chose the school that you would like to represent so that school can receive a donation from you registration.  If you have no particular school of interest, Rivercrest Elementary School would be an excellent choice!  Also, adding the teacher Susan Eaton to the form would be a welcomed decision as well!  This is an excellent fundraiser for the schools and one that I am happy to participate in.

I am not being paid for this post, but I do feel strongly about the cause and being that my wife works for the school system, I see first hand the need for every dollar that can be spared.

Week in Review

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This was my second week of grad school and the first week after the Tupelo 14.2, so I am getting back into my fall routine, even if the weather is not.  And I am going to go ahead and say that I am already over the required reading for my classes.

Accomplished!

Accomplished!

Monday: It was Labor Day, and a recovery day.  I went to the gym and rode the bike for about 45 minutes.  It was great to do a little bit of something to help my legs feel a little bit better after the race.  I spent the bulk of my time reading text books, so there was nothing exciting happening on my day off.

Tuesday: I woke up at 5:30 am to get in my run and completed 3.5 miles at an easy pace.  The Jeff Galloway training plan for the Walt Disney World Marathon calls for two 30 minute runs during the week and one longer run on the weekend.  I am used to running 45 minutes to an hour on my shorter run, so we will see what happens.  Work was terrible, because missing a day of court leads to a backlog of new arrests and violations.  Afterwards, I went straight to class to endure three hours of being one of the four people in class that had read the text.  That makes class discussion a little tedious.

Wednesday: I was lazy and did no workout.  I did have another grad school class and was released twenty minutes early, so that was a positive.

Thursday: Another early morning run, but this one was a little bit longer and I completed just over four miles.  Work was busy, but uneventful, and I do not have class on Thursday nights, so I use it as a study night.  Also, this week marks the beginning of the NFL season, so after the never ending weather delay, I watched Peyton destroy the Super Bowl champs.

Friday: No run, but I did some TRX at the house.  It was a typical all around routine and was a reminder to keep focused on my other fitness needs besides running.  I also launched my second virtual race, the Festivus 5K (register here), which is a virtual run with a Seinfeld theme that benefits St. Jude.

This is the proof for the race medal

This is the proof for the race medal

Saturday: I picked up the Galloway training plan in progress this week, which meant that I was scheduled to run eleven miles.  I usually run a much shorter distance the week after a race, but with the marathon being my ultimate goal, and the fact that I still have three more half marathons this fall, I made sure to run the eleven miles.  It was not my best run, and by the end of the run, it was very hot and humid here in Memphis.  My time was atrocious, but I completed all eleven miles, so it was still a success.

Sunday: I woke up with the goal of finishing the rough draft of my first paper (due on Wednesday) and that is exactly what I did, albeit after a couple of hours.  I ended up missing the first hour of the early NFL games and the Braves game, but class comes first I suppose.  I might work in some core exercises this evening, but with the Sunday night game and a new episode of Breaking Bad, as well as my DVR finally recording It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League today, I have some TV watching to juggle with studying and working out.