Week in Review

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My half marathon training is plugging right along, even if I am not doing as much cross-training as I need to.  That WILL change this week.  I am certain of this fact.  But at least I have still been logging my miles close to schedule and I have been pain free, so I will take these two positives all day long.

Monday: This was my rest/easy workout day since my long run for the previous week was on Sunday.  I just did some stretching, crunches, planks, and pushups.

Tuesday: I wanted to run five miles, but I had to settle for two.  It was very hot and humid, and early on my run, it felt like I had been hit in the stomach with a sledgehammer.  I almost puked multiple times within the first mile, and I decided not to push it.  I am up to enough weekly miles that this will not hurt me too much.

Wednesday: I did what I should do everyday I want to run during the Memphis summers, run early.  I woke up at 5:30 am and ran 4.34 miles in the muggy morning air. I intended to do some TRX after work, but I decided to donate blood during the annual blood drive at work, and decided against working out.  At least I got some miles in before work.

Thursday: Despite my best intentions, I slept in and had to run after work.  Fortunately for me, a cold front moved in an my run was in sub-90 degree heat with only 80% humidity.  I completed a little over four miles when Susan called and reminded me that we had a neighborhood association meeting to be at in ten minutes.  Whoops!  I hightailed it home and finished with a total of 4.68 miles.

Friday:  I was traveling to my parents’ house so I did not get in any sort of workout.  I like to think that I was resting my legs for my long run on Saturday.  I did get some good news during my drive though.  The parents for one of my closest friends informed me that they would be traveling to Disney to cheer me on in the marathon in January!  That was quite the welcomed surprise!  Susan may already have the whole trip planned, including what shirt she wants me to race in.

Another positive was that I was able to listen to the Atlanta Braves on my drive up.  I think the radio people for the Braves, Jim Powell and Don Sutton, are some of the best in baseball.  I cannot say the same for their typical TV announcers, so it is a treat when I have an excuse to listen the radio guys.

Saturday:  My training plan called for eleven miles this week and that is what I was going to do, regardless of location.  I did not, however, expect it to be as big of a challenge as it was.  My parents live on a country road with no sidewalk or shoulder, so you must run in the middle of the street.  The street is no more than two miles long, so I knew that I would need to incorporate some more streets into my route.  There is a major, four lane highway near my parents that I was assuming was going to be my best bet.  However, when I got there, I noticed that there was somehow no shoulder, so I was stuck running in the turn lane for about half a mile until I could hit another side road.  I spent the next nine miles zigzagging through random country roads to get my miles.

I noticed a stark difference in my Memphis route versus this route.  Memphis is not nearly as hilly as these streets were.  There were several steep climbs and the final mile was all uphill, which I hated while running it, but I am certain that it will pay dividends in the future.  The highest point in the run was 634 feet which immediately followed the lowest point of the entire run at 206 feet.  I need to remember this hill when it gets closer to time to run in the Four Bridges Half Marathon.

Sunday: Today was a recovery day.  After returning home from my weekend away, I went to the gym for a little bit of stationary bike time.  I rode at a solid, but not blistering pace for thirty minutes.  I was not in my calorie burning and weight loss mold, but rather trying to keep the lactic acid from building up too much.  I read a little bit on my iPad while I rode, and once I finished, I did an extra long stretching session.

Next week is now setting up well for my return to a balanced workout schedule.  Also, I will have an exciting announcement coming tomorrow about my first giveaway!

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Monday Motivation: Marathon Edition

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Today marks what was supposed to be the beginning of my Walt Disney World Marathon training plan.  The problem is that in my infinite wisdom, I decided to register for three half marathons in the fall, and therefore my training regiment got ramped up a couple of months early.  What I am doing is training for the Tupelo 14.2 as I normally would, and then pick up my finalized marathon plan from there, incorporating the 4 Bridges Half Marathon and St. Jude Half Marathon into the training.  It may be a somewhat ambitious plan, but I am confident that I can do it.

Come 1.12.14, I'll be a special kind of idiot

Come 1.12.14, I’ll be a special kind of idiot

I was talking to a friend that has ran two marathons as well as multiple half marathons.  And honestly, our talk spooked me for a moment.  He was talking about the horrors of his last marathon, and I was thinking “what have I gotten myself into?”  But then, I took a deep breathe and realized that is an obtainable goal and one of my friend’s biggest issues with his marathon was the boredom over the last half.  This boredom is something that I was anticipating and one of the reasons why I am running at Disney.  My friend agreed that the distractions during the second half should be beneficial to me. I know that running a marathon is not an easy task and will require effort and dedication.  I know that there will be pain.  I know that I will be questioning my sanity while I am out there.  I know that I will be wishing for death at some points.  I know that I will feel invincible at some points.  I know that I can achieve this goal.  I know that I will be able to call myself a marathon finisher.

I thought this was a great way to look at a marathon

I thought this was a great way to look at a marathon

I’m a bit of a nerd and I like to mess with numbers, so I’m going to look at the US population that has ran a marathon.  I remember reading somewhere before, probably Runners World, that only .5% of the US population has ran a marathon.  And I would assume that this number means the runner actually completed the marathon.  I know for me, it doesn’t count unless you can complete the task.  And to put this number into perspective, the US population in 2012 was 313.9 million people, so .5% of this is 1,569,500 people.  That number on its own seems large, but is roughly the size of the Milwaukee metro area, which is the thirty-ninth largest metropolitan area in the US.  So the city of Milwaukee ran a marathon last year!

A little extra motivation via Today's Miles

A little extra motivation via Today’s Miles

I purchased a shirt from Today’s Miles last week to have another form of motivation for my runs.  The idea behind the shirts is the shirt you run in displays the mileage that you are running that day.  Their site has a plethora of distances to achieve this, but I went a different direction with it.  I chose a shirt that displays 26.2 because that is the mileage I am working towards.  That way, each time I wear it, I have the subtle reminder of my goal.  I might buy a couple more for this reason.

I will be here on 1.12.13

I will be here on 1.12.13

Shelby Farms Greenline

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Today I went for an eight mile run as a part of my Tupelo 14.2 training plan, which will evolve into my 4 Bridges Half, St. Jude Half, and Walt Disney World Marathon training.  I decided to utilize one of the best assets that Memphis has to offer, the Shelby Farms Greenline.  Shelby Farms is a 4,500 acre urban park in the heart of Memphis that offers a vast variety of activities.  You can rent bikes, ride horses, observe the buffalo herd, play paintball or laser tag, play frisbee golf, hiking trails, visit the off leash dog park (a personal favorite of Beau’s due to the lack of sodomy he enters here versus Overton Bark), or participate in the litany of youth programs there.  There is also the Greenline, a 6.5 mile track that runs along an abandoned railroad track from Midtown Memphis to Shelby Farms Park.  The course does not cost the tax payers of Memphis one red cent, and is free to use for everyone.  It has been criminal how little I have used this asset over the past two years.  I ran on it often while training with my running group for my first half marathon in the summer and fall of 2011, but not much since.  That will be changing.

This is the access point at Graham St.

This is the access point at Graham St.

The Greenline also connects to several of the trails within Shelby Farms, as well as the Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge, so you can add even more miles to your route.  There are access points at Tillman Street, Highland Street, High Point Terrance, Graham Street, Waring Rd, Podesta Street, Sycamore View Road, and Farm Road.  The official Greenline course is the paved trail from Tillman Street in Midtown to Farm Road inside of Shelby Farms.  The area near Tillman Street is not the best of neighborhoods, so most people I know go no further than Highland Street when utilizing the trail.

A little art to enjoy on the trail

A little art to enjoy on the trail

I have never been on the trail when it was not extremely busy, which is a good problem to have.  I know the success of the Greenline has led to other smaller urban trails being opened around town and has helped Memphis to secure federal grants to make the city a little more Eco-friendly.  Today I encountered numerous cyclists and runners, as well has multiple walkers (I think of The Walking Dead every time I say this now), a couple of people in wheelchairs zooming down the course, several baby strollers, and one man walking and smoking a cigar.  My only word to the wise is if you are running, be very cautious of the cyclists because they are not always willing to share the trail with you.  Also, when you come to an intersection, hit the crosswalk button, please.  It produces a red light for oncoming traffic rather quickly and greatly diminishes your chances of being struck by a vehicle!

A very scenic run today!

A very scenic run today!

The future plans for the Greenline is to extend it west from the starting point at Tillman to the viaduct in Downtown Memphis.  This will be a $73,000 project and the article I saw said that the hope is to have it completed be December!  There is also the Shelby Farms Greenline Half Marathon being held on October 13, 2013.  I really want to run in it, but with the 4 Bridges Half Marathon the following week, it probably is not the wisest decision of my life, so I guess I will skip the event this year.

My 1st attempt at using Pro Compression socks

My 1st attempt at using Pro Compression socks

Today’s run was not my best, but we did have a cold front roll through today.  The expected high is only 88 today and it was only 82 when I was running this morning!  It does feel good to slowly get stretched back out for my fall race schedule and I am incorporating some new running and recovery tactics this year.  I am currently wearing a pair of compression socks for the first time in my life, so I am hoping that they are as good as everyone says that they are!  I went with a pair of Pro Compression socks today, and decided to try wearing them post run today.  Next week I will wear the same pair of socks during my run, which will be eight miles once again, so I can compare and contrast the two techniques that I know causes much debate in the running community.

50 Half Marathons in 50 States

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Currently running a half marathon in all 50 states is not one of my running goals.  It would be outstanding, and a great way to see the entire country, but it is a significant commitment both financially and in time.  But, just for fun, I thought I would try to list out the fifty races that I would like to run in each state as of today.  This is based on locations I would like to visit, themes of the races, and time of year.  Currently, I have notched one of fifty states, with a second state slated for September, so if I ever decide to do this, it will take some time and dedication.  Some of these race choices were quite arbitrary, but I could not stand leaving a state blank.  Maybe this post will serve as motivation to make it happen.

Alabama: Mercedes-Benz Half – Birmingham, February – great medal, easy trip

Alaska: Mayor’s Half – Anchorage, Saturday closest to Summer Solstice – very cool idea

Arizona: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Phoenix – January – not many options, chosen because of city

Arkansas: Little Rock Half – Little Rock, March or The Hogeye Half – Fayetteville – April – easy state to complete

California: Big Sur Half -Carmel – Mid-November and/or Disneyland Half – Anaheim – August/September (complete Coast to Coast with WDW Half) – Big Sur simply for locale & medal, Disney in attempt to complete Coast to Coast

Colorado: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Denver – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Connecticut: ING Hartford Marathon – Hartford – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Delaware: Monster “Mash” Half – Dover – October – Why not?

Florida: WDW Marathon – Lake Buena Vista – Jan 12, 2014 and Key West Half – Key West – January – both on my “must run” list

Georgia: Publix Georgia Half – Atlanta – March – best half in Atlanta

Hawaii: The Hapualua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon – Waikiki Beach – March – any race in Hawaii would be perfect

Idaho: City of Trees Half – Boise – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Illinois: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Chicago – July – multiple options for Chicago, this is most convenient

Indiana: Dances With Dirt Half – Gnaw Bone – May – trail half, completely different from the rest of the list

Iowa: IMT Des Moines Half – Des Moines – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Kansas: Kansas City Half – Kansas City – October – fast course, good BBQ

Kentucky: Hatfield & McCoy Half – Goody (counts for KY & WV if run twice) – June – very cool idea

Louisiana: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – New Orleans – February – any excuse to go to NOLA

Maine: Maine Half – Portland – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Maryland: Baltimore Running Festival – Baltimore – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Massachusetts: Boston Athletic Association Half – Boston – October – may never qualify for the Boston Marathon, so this is the next best thing

Michigan: Martian Invasion of the Races – Dearborn Heights -April – unique idea

Minnesota: Polar Dash – Minneapolis – January 1 – cool idea, part of a series

Mississippi: Tupelo 14.2 – Tupelo – Sept 1, 2013 – should be state #2

Missouri: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – St. Louis – October – easy trip

Montana: Montana Half – Billings – September – not many options, chosen because of city

Nebraska: Omaha Half Marathon – Omaha – September – not many options, chosen because of city

Nevada: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Las Vegas – November – Vegas, no further explanation needed

New Hampshire: New Hampshire Half Marathon – Bristol – October – not many options. Update: Smuttynose Rockfest Half – Hampton Beach – October – free lobster roll, clam chowder, & beer on a flat, coastal course (thanks to seneslant for to recommendation)

New Jersey: Superhero Half – Morristown – May – because I am a nerd

New Mexico: Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon – Santa Fe – Sep – Very scenic with the last 11+ miles being all downhill!

New York: NYC Half – New York City (Manhattan) – March, the Brooklyn or Manhattan Half are also options – I want to run any and all the half marathons in NYC

North Carolina: OBX Half Marathon – Outer Banks – November – great locale

North Dakota: Fargo Half – Fargo – May (actually runs into MN and back) – not many options, chosen because of city

Ohio: Flying Pig Half – Cincinnati – May – cool theme, good medal

Oklahoma: Route 66 Half – Tulsa – November – great medal

Oregon: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Portland – May – not many options, chosen because of city

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Half – Philadelphia – November – a bridesmaid lives here, really want to visit Philly; the Rock ‘n Roll Half events in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are tempting as well

Rhode Island: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Providence – September – not many options, chosen because of city

South Carolina: Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon – Myrtle Beach – October – location, primarily

South Dakota: Run Crazy Horse -Rapid City – October – different medal, not many options

Tennessee: I have run the St. Jude Half twice & I am scheduled to run the 4 Bridges Half in Chattanooga & St. Jude again, so Tennessee is covered, but a new race would be the Oak Barrel Half – Lynchburg – April

Texas: Livestrong Austin Half – Austin – February – great cause (even if Lance was a fraud) & several options in Texas

Utah: Dino Half – Vernal – May – dinosaurs are (were) the best, childhood nerd alert

Vermont: RunVermont Half Unplugged – Burlington – April – not many options, but this one seemed to be the best option

Virginia: Marine Corps Historic Half (if you can’t do the full)- Frederickburg (Half), Arlington (Full) – May (Half), October (Full), Yuengling Shamrock Half – Virginia Beach – March – I couldn’t decide between the two of these.

Washington: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Seattle – June – an excuse to visit Seattle

West Virginia: Morgantown Half – Morgantown – October – run the race, catch a game, burn a couch

Wisconsin: Brewers Mini Marathon – Milwaukee – September – merging baseball & running

Wyoming: Jackson Hole Half – Jackson Hole – September – not many options, chosen because of city

Update: I did not include the District of Columbia in my original post, but since I have decided that Washington, DC should be included as well.  So, here it goes.

Washington, DC: Rock ‘N Roll Marathon Series – Washington, DC, March, limited options, but the course will be good.

Races, Races, and More Races

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The last few days have seen me register for a plethora of races.  I’m certain Susan and my checkbook hope that I cool it off for a little while.  But, I now have every month except August booked with at least one race, and there are two good options for that month, with no real need to register too early.  And surprisingly, as it stands now, my busiest month of races will be July, which means I better to acclimated to the Memphis heat and humidity!  There is a wide variety of distances represented in my running schedule over the next couple of months, and can easily be adapted into my training schedule.

Now, let’s explore the new races!

Thursday, May 23:  Zoom Through the Zoo 4 Miler: This is the first of the four races that comprise the first ever M-Town Race Series.  Theses four races are staples of the Memphis racing scene and all are evening races in an attempt to compensate for the heat and humidity.

Friday, June 7: Harbortown 5K: The second race in the M-Town Series and it is the only one that I will not be able to run due to a scheduling conflict. However, since it was the same cost to register for the series versus registering for the other three races individually, I decided to register for the entire series.  I’m not sure want the series perks are, but I should get some value from the series.

Saturday, June 15: Gibson Guitar 5K: The third race in the M-Town Series and this probably is the most popular race in the entire series and is one that I have wanted to run for a couple of years now.  The only downside is that this race is on Father’s Day weekend, so I won’t have a very long to visit my parents that weekend.

Saturday, June 15, through June 22: Boston Remembrance Virtual Run: I debated about running this, but I caved.  The goal is to complete 26.2 miles during the week, whether it be all in one run or split daily.  Participants will receive a pair of socks and a nice looking medal while proceeds are going to the One Fund Boston.

Wednesday, July 3: Stars and Stripes 5K: The fourth and final race of the M-Town series is also the newest, and easiest to get to from my home.  How could you not run in a race that celebrates America?

Sunday, September 1: Tupelo 14.2:  I may be crazy for signing up for this race, but I could not shake the desire to run it.  The race is run at 5:00 in the morning since the first day of September is typically a brutally hot time of year here in the south.  I am currently in my early training stage for this race, and the weather is already getting hot.  It will only get worse from here, but it will be something that I can manage.  I feared that I missed registering for the event because due to a glitch withing the system, registration was cutoff at 350 total participants, not 350 marathon participants and 300 14.2 participants.  A quick email to clarify the situation enabled the registration process to be opened back up and I became the 351st person to register for the races that weekend.

These races will be my first 4 miler and 14.2, along with my second 10K and 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th 5K’s!

These races are in addition to my previously scheduled virtual runs on July 4 (Captain America 5K and First Avenger 10K) and my very own Platinum Sombrero 5K (registration is still open, sign up today).  I will be having a very busy summer of running, and once it subsides, I will have to crank it back up for training for my first ever marathon (WDW Marathon) and two more half marathons (4 Bridges and St. Jude Half).

Back In The Saddle

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After my impromptu rest day yesterday, I made sure to get in a run today.  The temperature never rose above thirty-seven here in Memphis today, so I decided to utilize the gym and the readily available treadmills for my run.  I ran four miles at a 9:34 pace.  I felt great after the run, and definitely could have pushed it a little harder, but I was pleased with the outcome regardless.  I followed the run with a couple of sets of diamond pushups and crunches.  This was all after logging 1,464 stairs while at work today.  I was going to do some TRX or  Warrior Dash circuit, but I was pressed for time and I wanted to make sure that I got my miles in first.  I may try to use the stairs for the rest of the week and see how that goes.

The Four Bridges Half Marathon I’m running in October posts lots of useful information and motivational items on their Facebook page.   They shared the following quote yesterday and I meant to include it in my previous post, but I forgot:

There are plenty of obstacles in your path.  Don’t allow yourself to become one of them. – Ralph Marston

That sums up marathon training fairly well, I do believe.  And I think it applies to my last two days very appropriately as well.  My gym has quotes posted all over the facility and I may have to suggest that they include this one.

After getting back on my workout track earlier, I’m now catching up on my DVR.  First up was the second best show currently on TV, Justified, and I’m now watching The Americans.  Tonight’s episode is tackling the attempted assignation of Ronald Reagan, which made for a very intriguing episode.  Each week, the show gets a little stronger, which gives me high hopes for The Americans comparing favorably to the other highly lauded FX shows.

And one last note, tonight was a goodnight for Memphis basketball.  The Grizzlies beat Rudy Gay and his new team, the Toronto Raptors 88-82, in large part because Gay played his usual selfish and turnover prone fourth quarter.  Toronto is not a good team, but when you part ways with a player, it is always good for morale of a fanbase to perceive that the right move was made.  The Memphis Tigers won for the seventeenth straight time this evening after dispatching the Houston Cougars 81-74.  Chris Crawford finished just one assist short of joining Penny Hardaway and Antonio Anderson as the only Tigers with a triple-double.  Of course Penny had two and is regarded by many as the greatest Tiger of all time and Anderson was in the senior class with the most wins in NCAA history and a Final Four appearance (both vacated because of Derick Rose’s bogus SAT), so including Crawford with that duo may have been a little dubious.

Interesting Article

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My Facebook page is full of likes for races that I have ran, signed up to run, or would love to run, even it the logistics of doing said race are not favorable.  Besides giving some great information on the specifics of the race, often times the pages will share some training tips and workouts that I might not come across otherwise.  Today, the Seven Bridges Marathon (I am running in their half marathon distance, the Four Bridges Half Marathon in October) shared some training tips from Active.com about strengthening your ankles.  It makes sense that you would want to focus on your ankles if you are a runner, but there aren’t too many ankle specific routines being incorporated into circuits at gyms across the nation.  That being said, after reading the article, I noticed that many of the exercises that I do now, especially through TRX, are helping strengthen my ankles, even if I didn’t know it.  So, the following is the article and hopefully you can get some useful tips from it to help with your running goals:

http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/12_ways_to_build_ankle_strength_for_top_performance.htm