Rebel Well Mighty Half Recap

Standard

For years there had been a half marathon in Oxford, MS that Susan wanted me to participate in, but for whatever reason, my schedule never seemed to align properly with it. And when I finally decided to make it a priority to appease my Ole Miss alum wife, the race was discontinued. That is how things go I suppose. But this year Run Oxford decided to organize a half marathon to showcase their beautiful town (even non Ole Miss fans like myself can concede to this fact) and encourage healthier living. In fact, Run Oxford has organized an entire series of races for 2016, dubbed as the Inn at Ole Miss Oxford Grand Prix Race Series. You can sign up for the short or long distances, or just for individual races. I opted for the long distance, and that is how I found myself in Oxford, MS on a brisk February morning preparing to run a race in which I was not properly trained (my fault) and had no clue what to expect.

I have been to Ole Miss several times with Susan and her family for tailgating and football, as well as a few times in my younger days for some debauchery, but I have never visited to campus so early or when there seemingly was so little happening. I arrived plenty early because I was not entirely sure of where I needed to be or how easy navigation was going to be on campus. It turns out that I was overly paranoid about this fact because there was plenty of parking adjacent to the expo and finish line, and this area was also quite close to the start line as well. I did not browse the expo being that I was picking up my packet the morning of the race, but by the looks of the setup inside the indoor practice facility which housed the expo and finish line, there were a decent amount of vendors for this newly minted race.

Since I was not fully trained (a recurring theme which I am not proud about, and I have started to address) for this race, I opted to use a run walk ratio of 2.5:1. This ratio served me quite well for the first 8-9 miles, but my lack of training and mental weakness from this lack of training took over and I went into full on “how much longer is this race” mode. Nothing on my body really hurt that badly besides my ego and my confidence, but this is the bed I made for myself, so I forged through it to finish the race is a personal worst time. This performance will likely be repeated another time or two this spring as I work to reset my running, healthy living, and dedication into my daily routine.

Rebel Well Half

The positive to being slow is that it is easier to get a clean race photo!

Course: A-: There were hills because running a race of any distance in Oxford will have hills. It cannot be avoided. The race organizers did do a great job of trying to minimize the impact of the hills, and tried valiantly to incorporate the biggest hills early in the race. This was appreciated by all of us runners. The course went throughout Ole Miss’ campus, Downtown Oxford, and several residential neighborhoods, ending in the Manning Center (name of the indoor practice facility). Finishing inside was a great idea for a February race, even though on this particular race day, it was not needed due to the unseasonably warm weather. The Ole Miss cheerleaders cheering you to the finish was a nice touch as well.

My only complaint about the course is that the Oxford Police Department were moving us off the road and onto the sidewalks by 8:30 am, even though not all of the roads had sidewalks to utilize. The race started at 7:00 am and the roads were supposed to be closed/reserved until 10:30 am. I guess the small number of runners expedited the urgency to fully reopen the roads.

Mighty Half

Mighty Half 2016 Finisher’s Medal

Swag: A-: The race shirt was a full zipped hoodie which is awesome, even if they gave me the wrong size, and the race medal was nice looking, even if it was not revolutionary. There was no beer after the race, but there was plenty of chocolate milk, water, and refreshments to recover with. Also, they provided free race photos, which is always great.

IMG_4232

Mighty Half 2016 Swag

Overall: A-: This was a fun and well-organized event. I am curious to see if this race does become an annual event, and how many more runners chose this race in the future. If it is offered and I am available to run it, I will return to this race. If for no other reason than having a very attainable personal best finishing time for the course!

 

Advertisements

Weekly Recap

Standard

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.

Week in Review

Standard

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.

Nerds

Standard

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…

Great Run Today

Standard

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

Image

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

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

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

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

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