Friday Recap

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This post is going to serve as a recap of what has been going on here lately that I haven’t had the time, desire, or content to put into a stand alone post.  Your ADD shall be happy.

First, for several weeks I posted about studying for the GRE and applying to grad school, and then the posts abruptly stopped.  I did not give up on my goal of going back to school, but rather was waiting for all of my registration materials to be submitted and official acceptance to come to pass.  And I am happy to say as of last Tuesday, I was accepted into the MPA program at the University of Memphis, with classes beginning in August.  I was advised on Tuesday, so I am now officially registered for a full time class load in the fall.  Add this to my full time job and marathon training, and I will be quite a busy person this fall!

I wrote my Warrior Dash recap immediately following the race, but I now have an update for that post (the entire post can be read here).  I caved in and decided to buy a race photo from the event.  I usually don’t buy race photos because Susan does a fantastic job of capturing them for me and most of the finish line photos are muddled with several other runners.  But this is a photo that she could not take, so I shilled out my hard earned cash for one.  This may be my favorite race photo of all time.  It is all over my social media sites right now.

This is the first race photo that I have actually purchased.

This is the first race photo that I have actually purchased.

On Wednesday, I registered for the St. Jude Half Marathon for the third consecutive year!  This year, however, it was not the easiest of races to register for.  First off, there is a severe lack of distance or specialty races in the Memphis area, so this race always garners several participants.  Second, this year registration was opened early for participants willing to be a St. Jude Hero, which is a fundraiser for St. Jude.  You had to commit to raise $500, $1,000, or $2,500 to participate.  You could wait until June 1 to register for the race without the fundraising requirement, but St. Jude has been posting for months that they anticipate the race being sold out by then.  That may just be posturing, but being that this is the premier running event in Memphis, most people, including me, did not want to risk it.  So at 8:00 am I tried to register and the first two of four pages went smoothly.  The third page took about five minutes to submit, but I honestly was expecting some wait time with the high volume of requests.  The real problem hit with the final page, the payment page.  I put in all of my info and hit submit and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The page sat there, processing for nearly 25 minutes before timing out!  So I check Facebook and apparently no one has been able to register for the event all morning.  The excuse was that there was a greater volume of registrations than expected.  This race sold out very quickly last year, even if it wasn’t the Marine Corps Marathon sell out numbers, and with the added emphasis out on this year’s race, I expected a little better planning.  They post a number to call and this revealed the third problem.  St. Jude switched from using active.com to raceit.com, and they are not equipped to handle these issues.  Race It was not expecting the volume of registrations that they got and their site crashed.  I have no clue who is to blame for that, but it happened.  I ended up calling four times before I was able to talk to somebody.  The first three times I got a message stating that no one was there to take my call.  Once I finally reached a person, Phil, he was very helpful and finished my registration.  The first three pages of the registration had submitted properly, but the problem was with the payment page.  Phil took my info and I was good to go.  I was assured that my first payment attempt would not be processed and I was registered for the race.  Then yesterday I looked at my bank account, and sure enough, there was two St. Jude race payments debited from my account!  Of course I called, got the requisite apologies, and was assured that a refund was being processed.   As of this morning, that has not happened, but we shall see.  Also, my heroes page is not up yet,l but with all of the other issues that they have had, I will not hold my breath for them meeting the 24-48 hour pledge (we are currently sitting at roughly hour 50).  For first time St. Jude racers, I could see this leaving a bad taste in their mouths.

The Memphis Grizzlies are one win away from moving on to the second round of the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history!  And I will be there tonight to hopefully witness this happen.  The Forum and all of downtown Memphis will be electric tonight, especially since music fest, the Redbirds (weather permitting), and the Grizzlies are all going on downtown this evening.  I can’t wait to get to the Grindhouse tonight!

ZBo holding tonight's Growl Towel!

ZBo holding tonight’s Growl Towel!

Tomorrow I will be running a nerdy virtual 5K called May the Fourth Be With You 5K.  Yes, that means it is a Star Wars themed event.  I will post the pic of the medal and bib tomorrow, hopefully.

And don’t forget that registration for the Platinum Sombrero Virtual 5K is still ongoing!  There will be giveaways from KT Tape, RoadID, the Flip Belt, Spriggs, SPI Belt, Fuel Belt, Bulu Box, Lock Laces, Pro Compression, Sweaty Bands, BIC Bands, Balega socks, a Running on the Wall medal display, and swag from several MLB teams!  Plus, 100% of the proceeds is going directly to St. Jude! Register today!

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End of Week Update

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This has been a busy week and I haven’t had a chance to update the blog very much, so this will serve has a good catch up on what has happened this week.

This is the week that I have finally been cleared to begin running again, albeit not at full speed yet.  Tuesday I jogged lightly on the treadmill for a mile pain free.  My doctor was rather emphatic that I needed to take it slow, and advised that as I begin running again, I should add speed or distance to each run, but not both at the same time.  This being said, I ran the same speed for two miles on Wednesday, and it was still pain free, so that was very positive.  I didn’t run Thursday or Friday, and yesterday I ran on the streets for the first time in over a month. I finished two and a half miles at a 10:40 pace, which is slower than I was before my injury, but was a little aggressive for my rehab.  I only felt a slight twinge of pain while stretching after my run, but it did not last long.  I am going to run at about the same speed again today for hopefully a 5K distance so maybe I can gauge where I am at physically.  If today goes well, I am going to register for the FedEx St. Jude Classic Fairway 5K next Saturday.  I will not be pushing for a PR, but getting out there for a race where I can actually run/jog will feel good.

In case you missed it earlier this week, I have officially registered for my first full marathon this week.  I will be attempting the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12, 2014.

Yesterday, Susan, my in-laws, her sister, Nannie, and her sister’s friend met at Local on the Square for lunch.  We got there earlier enough to enjoy the brunch menu, so I took the opportunity to enjoy their take on chicken and waffles.  It was a pecan crusted spicy chicken with a sweet potato waffle, topped with blueberries and a blueberry, bourbon, and red chili syrup.  It was an outstanding dish, and despite it being a filling meal, I wanted another order because it was so good.  It was a great compliment to the homemade Bloody Mary that I had with the meal.  The last time I went to Local I had the John Hughes Club, which consisted of a fried egg, bacon, cheddar, tomato jam, avocado, and chipotle aioli on toasted brioche, which was another strong meal.

Local's take on chicken & waffles is very tasty

Local’s take on chicken & waffles is very tasty

In last night’s Braves game, something happened that has never happened in MLB before.  Going into the ninth inning, the Braves trailed the Cubs 5-4 with the top of the order coming up.  Enter Chicago’s shaky closer (well, not anymore…) Carlos Marmol.  The first batter he faces was BJ Upton, and when given a fastball down the middle on a 3-1 count, he did not miss it.  BJ drilled the game-tying homerun to dead center and Turner Field was rocking.  After a Jason Heyward flyout to left, Justin Upton, BJ’s younger brother strolled to the plate.  And on a 1-2 count, Justin crushed a fastball to center for a walkoff homerun!  At this point, Turner Field was shaky so much that it was registering on the Richter Scale!  Last night marked the first time in MLB history that brothers homered to tie and then win a game in the same inning.  And this was just the fifth time in MLB history that brothers have ever homered in the same inning.  Also, this is the first time brothers homered in the same game with one being a walkoff since 1962 when for the Milwaukee Braves, Tommie Aaron homered and then later Hank Aaron hit a grand slam to win the game.  It was quite an exciting moment, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Post game celebration for the Uptons

Post game celebration for the Uptons

Both Final Four games were fantastic yesterday, but unfortunately, as has happened all year, the officiating was the story.  Poor Wichita State’s upset bid was derailed by a very questionable jump ball call and Syracuse’s comeback bid was halted by a controversial charge/block call.  All in all, the best two teams did win, but you hate to have a call to point to that potentially cost you a national title.

I’m still liking the new gym, but I am having trouble adjusting to the new schedule that the gym requires due to the heavy influx of people directly after work.  Once I am back on my 100% running schedule, I’m sure this won’t be as glaring.  And since the pool will be closed this week, being able to begin my running program this week has been very important.

Weekly Gym Update

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So it has been awhile since I updated about my training efforts while injured, so I thought I would give a quick update of what I’m trying to do to stay fit while not running.

  • Last Saturday: First official day at the new gym and I swam 34 laps (25 yards each)
  • Sunday: Walked the Germantown Mayor’s 5K in my walking boot.
  • Monday: Upper body dumbbell routine. Two sets of ten exercises using my warrior circuit timing (:30 exercise, :30 rest).
  • Tuesday: Swam 34 laps.
  • Wednesday: Swam 34 laps.
  • Thursday: Rest day to watch basketball. Go Tigers!
  • Friday: Swam 35 laps.
  • Yesterday: Unintentional rest day. The Tigers played (not well) at 1:45 CT and I slept in a little longer than I anticipated. And I have no real excuse for not going after the game in the roughly two hour window that I had.
  • Today: I wanted to swim and then lift a little, but the pool was crazy busy so I rode the bike for twenty minutes and then did two circuits of twelve reps per each upper body machine.

I need to get a constant routine going again, as well as focusing on what I eat a little closer moving forward. I may try to do two a days a couple times this week by swimming in the morning and completing a warrior circuit in the evening. We shall see if I can get out of bed to do this. And of course, watching basketball all night is not going to help me with this goal, especially when the life of my bracket hinges on this Miami – Illinois game. Also, once this game concludes, I must watch the second to last episode of the season of The Walking Dead.

I go back to the doctor on Tuesday, so maybe I can get some good news, ditch the boot, and get back to running. We shall see, and I am definitely not going to push it further than I should.

Congratulations to the Memphis Grizzlies for clinching a playoff spot today thanks to the loss by the Utah Jazz!

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We really did witness quite a bit of greatness in the 90’s.

Nowhere To Go But Pop

By Ian Goldstein

Think of the greatest television sitcom of the 1990s. Would it be fair to guess that one name comes to mind, personified by a guy who inflects his voice and constantly asks: “what is the deal with this”? and “did you ever notice that”?

When you think of the greatest NBA franchise of the 1990s do you see a red-faced, white-horned, angry adult male of the Bos Taurus species?

Yes.

So we realize that Seinfeld and the Chicago Bulls were the best of their respective fields in the 1990s, possibly of all-time. But why is this relevant?

Because they’re actually identical twins, separated at birth, both growing up to be the unstoppable force and the immovable object.

Here are the Top 10 reasons why Seinfeld and the 1990’s Bulls are uncannily similar:

10. Big Shoes to Fill

Television in the 1980s was dominated by Cheers. It averaged 15 million…

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Nerds

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I realize that I probably fit at least some of the stereotypes of being a nerd, especially in high school.  I made good grades, I didn’t get sent to the principal’s office for misbehaving, I was an officer in several school clubs (including Math Club), I liked comic books later in life than normal people do, wore some very nerdy glasses (I didn’t get the requisite nerd inhaler until last summer), and so on.  I also, however, played high school football, really enjoyed the weekend house parties (maybe a little too much), and dressed like the vast majority of my school.  I say all of this to get to my point that there is more of a crossover in the jock/nerd communities than most people believe.  Look at comic book movies, for instance.  If only forty year old virgins living in their mom’s basement and providing tech support online watched these movies, the genre would be dead by now.  Movies like The Dark Knight and The Avengers appealed to much greater portion of the population, even if “nerds” are the ones straddled with the label of liking comic books.  Or take the runaway success of The Walking Dead on TV.  These numbers show that jocks, soccer moms, nerds, and the whole lot of our population have much more similar taste in entertainment than society is led to believe.

I mean, even sports are being inundated with a nerd revolution.  Baseball has the Moneyball movement and sabermetrics which leads to some very heated debates about the sport and how to play.  Last years AL MVP vote is a prime example of the level of viciousness these debates can climb to.  Fans are split on the validity of a player’s batting average and RBI totals.  On base and slugging percentages are becoming the vogue stat.   NBA teams, such as my Memphis Grizzlies, are hiring more and more front office executives from outside the realm of former basketball players and coaches.  Football teams are analyzing numbers to a degree that would have been mocked ten years ago.

Which one is a bigger nerd?

Which one is a bigger nerd?

Under Armour is now embracing this new found acceptance of nerds, as well as recognizing that many high school nerds have grown up to be fitness warriors.  A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday a link to Under Armour’s Alter Ego line of workout clothes.  Basically, it is Under Armour’s compression gear with superhero insignia printed on them.  When I first saw them, I thought, “Damn, I had that idea!”  And that is true, a few months back, after completing a long run, I told Susan that a company should make tech shirts and other workout gear with superhero insignia because I thought it would sell quite well.  She laughed, called me a dork, and we went about my day.  And now Under Armour has introduced this Alter Ego, which is a great name, line of clothing.  MY second thought was “Damn, why does it have to be compression wear?”  Compression shirts and fat guys do not mesh very well.  I get the usefulness of compression, it just is something I normally steer clear of, both for my self image as well as out of respect for others.  I may have to make an exception in this case.

Photo from underarmour.com

Photo from underarmour.com

The Batman one is fantastic, as is the Superman and Captain America ones.  I am not a huge fan of the Hulk or Iron Man ones.  I can only imagine that a Flash one would sell well, as would any referencing the X-Men or Green Lantern.  Also, a Punisher one would sell well, even to people who had no clue who the Punisher.  If anyone at Under Armour would like to know what a member of the plus sized gym community thinks of these, a couple of them can be sent to me in Memphis for some beta testing and product reviews, size XL, please…

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.