Running in the Cold

Found on the Jeff Galloway Facebook page.

Found on the Jeff Galloway Facebook page.

As I am doing my final prep for my first half marathon of 2015, it occurs to me that this race, the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon, is going to be my coldest half marathon to date. And as I am frantically looking at the weather reports, and considering how much to bundle up, I come across a post from Jeff Galloway’s Facebook page. It is a handy, straightforward chart to refer to for cold weather running. Runner’s World has a nice reference for weather related attire as well. So, enjoy this chart and stay warm out there while pounding the pavement!

FlipBelt Review and GIVEAWAY


A couple of weeks ago I was presented with the opportunity to test the FlipBelt out on my runs.  I was also given one FlipBelt to giveaway to a lucky blog reader, but more about that in a few moments.  What is the FlipBelt exactly?  It is advertised as “the world’s best running and fitness belt workout belt.”  I cannot with 100% accuracy say that it is the world’s best running belt, but I can say with 100% confidence that it is the best running belt that I have ever tried.  Currently, there are eight colors available on their website and five different sizes to help guarantee a perfect fit.   I have included the size chart so you can get a better idea about the fit of the belts.  As you know, I am a larger runner, so finding a good fit can be a bit of a challenge for me.  I went with the extra size option and it fits perfectly.  For reference, I wear a size 36 in pants and I have had zero issues with the belt.  I chose black because it is a basic color and since the belt would be concealed by my shirt most of the time anyway, I did not need a color that would standout too much.

*Unisex Size Guide
Belt Circumference Unstretched

Shipping was lightening fast from the FlipBelt.  I ordered my belt on a Tuesday afternoon and it was at my house by Friday of the same week!  It is hard to top that, especially since shipping is free inside the United States!  I went on a run with the belt on the first day that I got it and I have used it in the bulk of my runs since.  In fact, one of my first runs with it was in the Midsouth Championship Half Marathon, and it definitely did not slow me down in that race!

This is what it looks like

This is what it looks like

The belt is very comfortable and you barely know that you are wearing it.  My first run in it, I had my house key, iPhone, and three GU packs (just to see how it felt) packed into the belt.  After five miles of running, nothing had fallen out or shifted into an uncomfortable manner.  Furthermore, the belt did not bounce up or slide down once during my run.  And that is still true to this day.  I have run several times now with some hefty items, and the FlipBelt still stays securely in the place that I place it in.

An idea of how it works (taken from their website)

An idea of how it works (taken from their website)

The belt has slits around it in which you slide your items into it.  You can then flip the belt so the slits face your body, thus further securing the items inside the belt.  There are no snaps, ties, Velcro, or any of the such fasteners.  I have not had any issues with hot spots or chaffing from the belt or stored items as of yet either.  This has been true for a 5K that I have run in it as well as a half marathon and a sixteen miler last weekend.  The only issue that I have had with the belt is that my iPhone 5, in its Otter Box, is very snug in the belt, which makes it difficult to use during a run without stopping to pull out the phone.  Also, when running with your phone, place the screen of your phone so that when you are wearing the belt, the screen will face outwards.  This helps with condensation and allows you to use it a little easier as well.   And since the belt is a spandex-Lycra blend that is worn close to your body, you might want to invest in two belts unless you want to do laundry a little more frequently than you current belt.


  • Comfortable
  • No bounce
  • Stores several items
  • No chaffing (as of yet)
  • Items stay secure
  • Multiple sizes & color options
  • Cheaper than several other options out there


  • My iPhone with its case fit a little snug into the belt
  • I am curious to see what happens with the belt in the extreme heat and humidity of the Memphis summer

The Bottom Line:

I wish that I would have bought this belt months ago.  It is very comfortable and performs as advertised every time.  I am going to purchase at least one more so that I can wear a FlipBelt on consecutive days without worrying too much about its cleanliness.

The FlipBelt has been kind enough to offer all of my readers a 10% on the FlipBelt by simply using the coupon code RunLrg upon checkout.  They have also been kind enough to allow me to give one lucky reader a FlipBelt of their own.  You can enter the giveaway here.

I was not paid or compensated in for this post besides being provided one FlipBelt for the review.  All opinions and observations are my own, and have not been influenced by an employee of FlipBelt or any other outside sources.

Runner’s Christmas List


It is that time of year again when my family and friends inquire about what I might possibly want for Christmas.  I usually shrug and say “I don’t know.”  But, this year, I have decided to actually reflect on some items that I use almost daily and some items that would be more of a luxury.  I then decided to throw this into a blog post so there would be a place to refer my loved ones and I thought that it might be a helpful post for other runners out there as well.  So, here it goes!

7″ Running Shorts

Runners can never have enough pairs of shorts.  I currently own pairs by Under Armour, Nike, and The North Face.  All three companies fit virtually the same and perform fairly equally.  I prefer the 7″ length because being a bigger guy, the 5″ or shorter length exposes a little bit more skin than I like.  The 7″ length gives a nice range of motion for my runs.

XL Tech Shirt

Jut like with the shorts, runners can never have enough running shirts.  Nike and Under Armour are my preferred brands simply because they seem to be generously cut.

Under Armour Alter Ego Shirt

Superman Alter Ego Shirt

Superman Alter Ego Shirt

Not the compression variety, but rather the loose, graphic tee variety that is for sale.  I currently own the Batman version, but there now is a Superman and Captain America variety, and both are on my wishlist.

Brooks Glycerin 11, Size 11.5

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11

I currently own a pair of these shoes and they have been treating me well, so I am going to need a replacement pair eventually.  Why not ask for another pair for Christmas?  I have the orange pair now, which would be great again, but the blue pair are great as well.

New Balance 1080 V3 ans/or Asics Gel Nimbus 15, Both Size 11.5

New Balance 1080 V3

New Balance 1080 V3

I have never worn either pair of these shoes, but both are recommended for supinators, which I am.  The color options are not overwhelming, but as any shoe store will tell you, buy your shoes by function, not color.

Asics Gel Nimbus 15

Asics Gel Nimbus 15

Pro Compression Marathon Socks and Sleeves, Size L/XL

My 1st attempt at using Pro Compression socks

My 1st attempt at using Pro Compression socks

I own a pair of each, and I love them, so obviously, I need more.  Red and blue are the two Pro Compression colors that I currently own.  I have a pair of black compression socks from a different company and a pair of neon green sleeves from another company as well.

Brooks L.S.D. Lite Jacket II, Size XL

Why this jacket?  Well, it is the highest rated by Runner’s World and that is about all of the knowledge that I have about a running rain jacket.  Honestly, I need a light and breathable jacket that does a good job of keeping me dry.

Warm Headgear, Size As Big As It Comes

For my winter runs, I need headgear to wear that keeps my head warm and repels sweat.  I currently run in typical beanies and they become consumed with sweat very quickly.  The biggest issue is that my head is rather large, 24+ centimeters, so finding a via option is tricky.

Socks, TBD

As I previously mentioned, I need so new socks to help battle my blister issues.  Once I discover that sock, they will be in this slot.

GoPro Hero3+, Black Edition

Hero 3+ Black

Hero 3+ Black

Do I need this? No.  Would the Silver or even the White edition work? Probably.  But if I am asking for one, I might as well as for the top in one.  I go back and forth on wanting one of these because I do not know how it would work for me during an event, but the idea of wearing this for the WDW Marathon, Spartan Sprint in Tampa, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, and several of my local races is quite enticing.  This is definitely in the why not ask for it category.

The Flipbelt, Black or Blue, XL

My Armpocket is great, and it has served me well, but I have been having some arm pain after my long runs, so I need to try some new options on these runs.  After some research, I think that the Flipbelt will be my first trial.

Reflective Gear

I need any variety of gear for safe running early in the morning or late at night.  Knuckle Lights or a non-chafing vest are what I am thinking here.  On colder runs, maybe some reflective sleeves.  I will give almost anything a try here.

RoadID Elite Band

I currently refuse to run without my RoadID Elite, but my band is taking a beating, so a couple of new bands would be great.  I actually have two name plates, so I could rotate bands very easily.  My current band is black, but a red, blue, or orange would be great as well.

Race Registrations

If it is a race that you think that I would like, it does not conflict with my schedule, and does not create too much of a traveling conflict, it  would probably be welcomed.

Running Gear Repping My Favorite Sports Teams

Can be found on the Grizz team site

Can be found on the Grizz team site

I have a Braves running shirt, Red Wings shirt, and Braves workout shorts, but I would welcome gear from any of my teams to utilize in races as well as training.  Dallas Cowboys, Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Tigers are a few of the teams that I still need to represent. 

Yurbuds Inspire Duro, Ear Size 4

Cobalt/Black Yurbuds Inspire Duro

Cobalt/Black Yurbuds Inspire Duro

I really need a new pair of headphones for my runs.  I love the fit of Yurbuds, even if they do not stay in as well as advertised (they start to have issues after a couple of months of use).  I have a random ear hole size of 4, so it is not easy to find these ear buds.  The red, black, or cobalt ones all would be welcomed.

Stocking Stuffers

All runners need small items like Run Guard/Run Glide, fuels (GU, Chomps, Energybits, ect), Nip Guards, KT Tape, Lock Laces, and similar items.  They are little things that runners use, but do not get much attention when compared to the bigger ticket items.

Blisters, Blisters, Blisters


Blister – noun: a small bubble on the skin filled with serum and caused by friction, burning, or other damages

I have been having some issues with blisters on the outside of my big toes, especially on my right foot.  I have had some issues in the past, but the current issue is directly correlated with one pair of shoes, my Saucony Triumph 10’s.  I at first thought that the issue was because I was trying to break in the shoes, but I now have over 100 miles in the shoes, so they should be sufficiently broken in.  When I wear my Brooks Glycerin 11’s, I have no issues.  The problem arises after roughly four miles of running, and progressively gets worse from there. The issue has gotten so bad at this point that I do not have a blister on my right big toe, but rather a callus.

Callus – noun: a thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue, especially in an area that has been subjected to friction

My first inclination for the cause of the friction was the type of socks that I was wearing.  I have some cotton socks that I wear on occasion, but that is very rare, and honestly, I probably wear them more often with my Brooks.  I have completely eliminated that over the past few weeks, and the problem has not subsided.

I have also tried covering up my hotspot with a band-aid, which helped delay the issue, not solve it.  I have also started to apply Run Guard to my foot, the inside of the sock, outside of the sock, and interior of my shoe to help eliminate the issue.  This has provided some relief, but not much.

Side view

Side view

I talked to some of the experts over at Kindrunner and they relayed to me that they have received some similar complaints from other customers.  They seem to believe that there is a piece of fabric in the toe box that causes the extra friction.  After inspecting the shoes further, that seems highly plausible.  I was also recommended to try a sock from Feetures, which I will be purchasing sometime this week.

Also, I wear a size 10.5 in my normal shoes, but in running shoes I wear an 11.5.  If I continue wearing shoes in the Triumph line, I will probably bump my size up to 12 or go with a wide variety since they are tighter on my foot than the Brooks.  This also might be contributing to my issues.  I am a supinator, and the selection of shoes available for me is slim.  Add in the fact that I am a heavier runner than most, finding a reliable and durable shoe is quite a chore.  Hopefully I can work out the issues with the Saucony Triumph.  Or maybe this issue will be rectified in the next shoe update.

How do you deal with blisters?  Have any certain shoes caused more blisters than others?

Make a Quick Ten Bucks

Be A KindRunner

Be A Kindrunner

As you all know, I am an ambassador for  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.

Another Pair of New Shoes


I mentioned that I got a new pair of running shoes a week or so ago, but I never shared much info about the shoes besides what they were, Brooks Glycerin 11.  This was the second pair of new shoes that I have bought in about a month span, but I would not consider the purchase of the frivolous variety.  Susan would probably disagree.  But my rationale was simple, I need to have a minimum of two viable running shoe options at any given time.  I rotate my shoes from day to day to help the rubber soles recover from the beating they take.  This helps me squeeze every mile possible out of my shoes.  I am already at a disadvantage since I am a heavier runner (my own doing, I know) and I supinate severely.  If I get 250 miles out of a pair of shoes, I think that I have gotten my money’s worth.  And thanks to my new shoe knowledge as well as my Nike+ watch, I can keep a fairly accurate odometer on each pair of my shoes.

I do not have many miles on these shoes yet, nine to be exact, but they are comfortable.  I wanted a different pair of shoes to rotate with my Saucony Triumph 10’s so I could subtlety work different muscles in my legs and vary my run, slightly.  The Brooks Glycerin 11 has a 12 millimeter heel-to-toe drop versus the 8 milometer drop on the Saucony Triumph 10.  I am not going to get into the shoes hurt your feet or you should run in a barefoot shoe or minimalist is the only way to go debate on here.  I am just sharing my thought process.  Maybe after my marathon in January I will explore some of these other areas, but for now, I am going to not be too radical.  But I will say that the 8 milometer drop on the Saucony’s was one of the reasons I went with the Saucony in July over the Brooks.  I also had also tried out a pair of the Triumph 10’s in a  running event here in Memphis in April, and most of the reports seem to indicate that the Saucony is a little more durable than the Brooks.  We shall see.  They are slightly more expensive than the Saucony’s were, but the $20 difference did not factor into my thought process in the least.

Top view Brooks Glycerin 11

Top view Brooks Glycerin 11

Rear view Brooks Glycerin 11

Rear view Brooks Glycerin 11

Bottom view Brooks Glycerin 11

Bottom view Brooks Glycerin 11

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11


If my opinions change on the Brooks Glycerin 11 after logging some miles, I will post them here.  But for now, I must say that the shoe is light and comfortable.  They seem to fit true to my size a little bit better than my Saucony Triumph’s do.  Again, that will be tested once I log some significant miles in them.  But for now, I am satisfied with the purchase.

Drink Water. Stay Motivated.


The summer is nearly over and I am just now tackling the issue of hydration.  My timing is impeccable, I know.  There are numerous articles about how much water you need to drink, hydration rates, temperatures, and such, and I will not get into those specifics here.  They seem to change the recommendations with each article and whatever I post here will be out of date next week.  Instead, I will share with you some ways I stay hydrated.  I am not a doctor, I do not play one on TV, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night.  Rather, I am a larger fellow that runs, an the slower side, and I do whatever I can not to fall out on the side of the road during a run.

Drink more water

Drink more water

For anyone that I see on a regular basis know that I am constantly drinking water.  My daily water intake goal is 128 ounces.  I have been striving for this number daily since March 2010 when I was doing Nutrisystem and trying to shed one hundred plus pounds.  Nutrisystem calls for eight glasses of water a day, but I am an overachiever!  Most days I find it easy to reach the 128 mark, and in fact, most days I eclipse it.  As I am writing this post, I have already consumed around eighty ounces today.  I have never been a coffee drinker so that was not a barrier for me to overcome.  I used to drink several carbonated beverages, but I rarely do that anymore.  And honestly, I very rarely drink alcohol anymore either.  In the past week, the only liquids that I have imbibed have been water and chocolate milk, which is my go to recovery drink.  I even refrained from having margaritas for Susan’s birthday party since I knew I was scheduled to run the following morning.    The downside with drinking this much water is that I constantly feel like Forrest Gump when he meets JFK, “I gotta pee!”  This can be annoying on road trips, busy days at work, and long runs, but not unmanageable.

I use several vessels for my water consumption throughout the day.  While I am at home, I primarily use a twenty-four ounce Tervis cup.  I am addicted to these cups, and have over a dozen at the house.  They have excellent insulation for cold and hot beverages, and fit perfectly in my truck’s cup holder.  The only problem with them is that Beau really wants to share my drinks with me in a Tervis.  At work, I use a thirty-two ounce water jug, a twenty ounce Tervis water bottle, or my twenty-four ounce Polar Bottle.  I try to rotate them to help keep them clean.  Everyone on my floor are accustomed to seeing me walk to the water fountain throughout the day, and probably would call the authorities if they did not see me coming down the hall for a couple of weeks.

Tervis 22 oz, Nathan Quick Draw Plus 20 oz, Polar Bottle 24 oz, CamelBak 3L

Tervis 22 oz, Nathan Quick Draw Plus 22 oz, Polar Bottle 24 oz, CamelBak 3L

On my runs, I use three different vessels.  I have a twenty-two ounce Nathan Quick Draw Plus handheld bottle.  The bottle comes with a pouch that is advertised to be large enough for your iPhone.  This is a rather bold statement, and at least for the iPhone 5, this is not a true statement.  The pouch is, however, great for storing running gels, keys, cards, and the such.  There is also a reflective stripe on the bottle that is nice, and you can adjust it depending on how large your hand is.  The bottle is ideal for quick runs because it is not well insulated, and gathers quite a bit of condensation during a run.  Within thirty minutes, your water is warm.  I also run holding the Polar Bottle, and despite not having a strap, it is very easy to carry on a run.  Water stays cold longer in the Polar Bottle, and there is not as much condensation as the Quick Draw Plus.  The Polar Bottle is perfect for a run of about an hour.  After that, the air temperature and your body heat significantly warm up the contents of the bottle.  If you are in an environment in which you are not constantly holding the bottle or in extreme heat, the contents stay cooler longer.  The third option that I use is a CamelBak Military Hydration Pack 3L.  This is by far the easiest option to run with since you wear it versus carrying it.  When full, you are adding a little bit of weight, but it honestly is not that noticeable.  The water in the pack stays cool for over two hours, which is great for my longer runs.  I have only had two major issues with it in the three years that I have had it.  The first is that I get soaking wet wearing it due to heavy sweating underneath it and the fact that the pack produces a fair amount of condensation.  Of course, when I go on a long run, I end up soaked anyways.  Second, the Velcro on the adjustable straps wreak havoc on my running shirts.  I noticed this one day when I was washing my laundry.  At first, it was my older shirts and I thought that they were just wearing out from use.  It was after noticing some fabric on the Velcro as well as rough spot on a new shirt that I put two and two together.  I have since reversed the straps, and last weekend I did not notice any damage.  I am going to keep a close eye on it.

I also feel compelled to admit that I enjoy the taste, or lack thereof associated with water.  I get that this kind of makes me a freak, and most people cannot stand drinking the amounts of water they need daily due to this.  For these people, I suggest that you use Nuun tablets or Crystal Light or some other water flavoring product that is not full of sugar and calories.

Another Week of Training in the Books


It appears that much to my dismay, the heat and humidity of a typical Memphis summer is here to stay.  This was my second to last week of full half marathon training before I taper for a couple of weeks before running in the Tupelo 14.2.  I’ll then have an easy week before ramping up the miles once again in route to the 4 Bridges Half Marathon in October, the St. Jude Half Marathon in December, and the Walt Disney World Marathon in January.  The last week looked a little like this.

Monday:  I woke up early and ran 4.24 before work.  It was an easy run a little faster than my PR half marathon pace.  I felt great during my run and was happy that I motivated myself to get out of bed.  After work I mowed and trimmed my yard.  The yard is small, and takes about an hour and a half to mow with my push mower.  Add in the trimming, and it is a two hour plus endeavor, so I will chalk that up as some cross training!  Especially lugging the weed eater around the yard and sweeping up all the grass clippings.

Tuesday: No run scheduled, but I did work in about a forty-five minute TRX session at the house.  I did not focus on any particular region, I just did two cycles of about twelve of my typical exercises.  I could definitely feel the burn twenty minutes in, especially in my abs, so I knew I was accomplishing something.

On a side note, the Memphis Grizzlies officially made a significant move on Tuesday by signing Mike Miller.  The Grizz desperately needed a shooter, and when healthy, Mike is very good at that.  He did play a pivotal roll in the Miami Heat beating the San Antonio Spurs this last season.  There is also a rumor that Mo Williams is considering signing with the Grizz to be the backup point guard!  It seems odd for the Grizz to be active in free agency, even if it is for the second tier of player.  Hopefully they can build upon the remarkable season that they just completed.

Wednesday: I was a bum and slept in.  I used the excuse that it was about to rain, but honestly, I was just tired and lazy.  I would pay for this laziness after work.  I tried to wait out the heat, but it did not work.  I completed 3.14 and that was it.  The heat got to me and I ended my run early.  Yet another reminder to get my lazy ass out of bed in the morning.

Jedi Challenge Medal

Jedi Challenge Medal

Thursday:  I did not want a repeat of Wednesday, so I definitely got out of bed.  As I mentioned a couple days ago, I ran this training run as a virtual race called the Jedi Challenge.  It was only supposed to be a 5K, but I extended it by a little over a mile.  The humidity was brutal and by the end of the 4.33 miles, my left nipple was bleeding, which is not a good feeling.  After work, I did another TRX workout.  This one was modeled more after a burnout routine with a single set of exercises at a high number of repetitions.  I am still sore from this.

Friday:  Another planned day away from running, but I did get in my third TRX routine of the week.  It was partially a stall tactic since we were having an early surprise party for Susan and she kept trying to ruin it.  Her birthday is not until next week, but we thought that if we did the party early, she would not expect it.  We had twenty-five or so of her friends and family meet us at her favorite Mexican place, Las Delicias.  They got there at 6:30 and I was to have Susan there at 7:00.  The problem was that she skipped lunch that day since they were gearing up for the school year and they were swamped with the last minute details.  I stalled her as much as possible and we got there at 6:55.  The only problem was that her parents showed up at the exact same time, with a birthday present no less!  Susan claims that she did not out two and two together, and did seem genuinely surprised when she walked into the room.  We had a great time with pitchers of margaritas, cupcakes and a dreamsicle cake from Muddy’s, and some great fellowship.  We ended up shutting the place down.

It was runner's Christmas at my house!

It was runner’s Christmas at my house!

Friday was Friday filled with presents for me as well.  I received my Runnersbox that I won a couple of weeks ago, as well as a St. Jude Heroes tech shirt for eclipsing the $100 threshold in my fundraising efforts, the September issue of Runner’s World, and my brand new Brooks Glycerine 11 shoes!  I also purchased two new pairs of running shorts, utilizing the tax free weekend here in Tennessee and a store coupon.  I felt like it was Christmas morning at my house!  I will be doing a stand alone post on the shoes and Runnersbox later this week.

Saturday: This was my scheduled long run for the week, and I will say this, Las Delicias is not the best prerun meal, especially when twelve miles are on the docket!  I managed to complete 10.73 miles before submitting to my stomach ssues and calling it a day.  As I did my finishing stretches, the rain came in full force, and my iPhone was grateful not to be out in it.  It sucked to not get in my miles, but I do not feel that it will hinder me any in the upcoming week.

Sunday:  Today has been a 100% rest day with that has afforded me the opportunity to recover a little bit as well as complete some laundry.  Once I complete this post, I am going to use the foam roller for a few minutes while watching the Braves on ESPN and the Cowboys in the first NFL preseason game of the season on NBC.

Platinum Sombrero Race Recap


Here is the overdue race recap for my very first attempt at hosting a virtual run.  I have constantly updated my blog with Platinum Sombrero 5K information and I know several of you thought I only had a blog for this event, I know Susan did.  Well, the event has come and gone, and this will be one of my last posts about PS5K.  You can find further information here if you missed any of the prior posts.  I learned quite a bit from this experience and will be able to use this new-found knowledge on my next virtual event.  The feedback that I have seen has been positive and I truly hope that everyone had as much fun participating in this event as I did coordinating it.  Susan joked that she was going to make one of those large, fake checks for me to present to St. Jude.  Now that would be awesome!

The Cause:

Another picture that is not mine, but rather St. Jude's

Another picture that is not mine, but rather St. Jude’s

I chose St. Jude Children’s Hospital to be the charity of choice for this event for several reasons.  First, I am running the St. Jude Half Marathon here in Memphis again this year.  The race has an option to run as a St. Jude Hero, and actually, all early registrants were required to be heroes.  My fundraising minimum was $500, so instead of asking family and friends for donations, I wanted to be a little more proactive.  Second, St. Jude is not a cheap place to operate, but they never charge their patients a dime for treatment.  This is no easy feat when your daily operating cost is $1.8 million!  I broke down the costs and benefits in a previous post.  Third, I live in Memphis, and St. Jude is probably the most positive thing going for this city.  Therefore, sharing this wonderful place with others felt like my civic duty.   And fourth, I was involved with St. Jude fundraising through the Up ‘Til Dawn program in college.  This involved quite a bit of patient interaction and several tours of the St. Jude facility.  After one tour of the hospital, you cannot help but want to raise money for these children.  Thus far, we have raised $709.77 for St. Jude!  This money is the product of $1,250 in race registration fees and one $40 donation from a very kind race participant!  The number can go up a little bit since Lock Laces has agreed to donate 20% of all sales using the promo code KYLEJUDE.  This promo code is also good for free shipping, so shop away!  The promotion is good until August 13, 2013.

The Swag:

I had to post this pic!

I had to post this pic!

There are countless virtual races being hosted out there and I wanted mine to stand out.  Therefore I worked tirelessly to get as many top-notch sponsors for this race as I could.  I wanted to reach as many people as I possibly could for St. Jude.  And since I had a baseball theme, I knew that I was not advertising to as broad of a fan base as I would with a Star Wars or Harry Potter them might do.  Also, it seems that the vast majority of virtual run participants are female (more on this in a little bit), so I had to find ways to reach them.  I ended up securing twenty-nine race sponsors for the event!  I honestly thought that I would be able to get six or seven sponsors, so it just goes to show you the power of hard work and a good cause!

Look at all that race swag!

Look at all that race swag!

With the medals and all of the swag that each race participant received, every participant ended up with more products than their original $25 registration fee could purchase!  In fact, several race participants eclipsed the $75 worth of swag plateau!  All race participants received a Road ID coupon, Banjee wrist wallet, KT Tape sample, Climb On! skin product sample, Ion reflective iron-on patch, one month subscription to Bulu Box, and an awesome race medal.  I also gave away had seven $15 Road ID gift cards, five Today’s Miles tech shirts, four Armpockets, one Trigger Point foam roller, one Nathan Quick Draw Plus water bottle, three Polar Bottle water bottles, two Headsweats hats, one pair of Pro Compression socks, two pairs of SL3S compression socks, three pairs of Balega socks, two pairs of Zensah socks, one FlipBelt, one SPI Belt, one medal hanger from Running On The Wall, two cases of Zola coconut water, six Bic Bands, two Sweaty Bands, ten Run Guard products, two Cyclone Cups, ten pairs of Lock Laces, and one Energy Bits sample pack!  Energy Bits, Lock Laces, Spriggsville, Hydrapak, Headsweats, Fuelbelt,  and Glimmer Gear all created discount codes for race participants, which can be found here.

Finalized race medal

Finalized race medal

I could not have been happier with how the race medal turned out.  I contacted the fine folks at Crown Awards, told them exactly what I wanted, and they nailed it!  I did not have to do any tweaks or changes.  The medal they designed was even better than what I had designed in my head.  I was nervous that the sombrero on a baseball was not going to work out, but there is no doubt what is conveyed in this medal.  I hope that everyone likes this medal as much as I do.

I also was able to get some fan packs and other materials from numerous MLB teams since this was a baseball themed race after all.  It was very interesting to see what each team would and would not donate for the event, and I am generally surprised by the number of teams that did not respond to my requests.  I would like to thank the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, , Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Seattle Mariners for sending fan packs to be used as race swag.  Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics would have sent something, but it required me to send them a self address, stamped envelope, and since there were no race participants that listed these two teams as their favorite team, I did not bother sending in the requests.  I did send in the request to the New York Yankees, but as of this date, I still have not received their fan pack.  I am sorry Yankee fans.

I also based the race bibs on the favorite team for the race participant.  The color of the race number, and the number itself reflected your team.  I wanted to get very creative with the design, but I decided not to push any copyright issues and played it safe.  I started on race numbers with the team’s retired numbers, and then moved onto the biggest stars currently on their team.  For example, the Baltimore fans got race bibs with an orange number eight (Cal Ripken, Jr.) and an orange number five (Brooks Robinson).  I also did my best not to double up on race numbers, but this was easier said than done.

The Participants:

Where yall were from

Where y’all were from

There could not have been a race without any race participants, so I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you.  There were fifty total race participants, including myself, and the vast majority of the country was represented in the race field.  As you can tell from the map above, we had participants from Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, Utah, Nevada, California, and Hawaii.  I was quite surprised with some of the states that were represented, especially having multiple participants from Hawaii and North Dakota! I was also shocked by the gender disparity in the participants.  The final count was forty females to only ten males!  I would have never guessed that prior to the event.  We also had at least four groups of mother and son teams run the event together, and one mother daughter race group, which is awesome!

Registration started off very slow, and I was getting discouraged, especially with the amount of work I had put in, but by late May, it was obvious that this thing was going to sell out!  Sadly, I had already ordered the medals or I would have tried to bump this event to one hundred participants.  I am still getting emails and Facebook messages about any race openings.

The race ended up having fifteen MLB teams represented by their fans, which is good for half of all of MLB.  I wish I could have given MLB swag to each participant, but with these splits, this was not possible.  The Atlanta Braves led the way with thirteen fans participating (go Bravos)!  The second most represented team was the Boston Red Sox with six, then it was the St. Louis Cardinals with four.  The Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees had three fans apiece, and the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, and Minnesota Twins came in next with two fans apiece.  The Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins, and Seattle Mariners all had one loyal fan in the Platinum Sombrero 5K!

The Race:

Being that this was a virtual race, you could run it on any day that you wanted to run it.  It was officially scheduled for July 13, 2013, and know that several people, including myself, ran it then.  This date also happened to coincide with the MLB All-Star Game 5K, which I guess they started to hear the good publicity for my event and wanted to piggy back off of it!  From the reports that I have gotten, the race went well for everyone.  Some completed it on an elliptical, some on a treadmill, some braved this brutal summer heat, and some had to break up the distance due to injury.  It was great to hear how many participants got out there and ran the race, with their race bibs nonetheless!

Weekly Recap


The summer heat has come to Memphis with a vengeance this week, and my runs have reflected it.  Even waking up at the crack of dawn has not provided much relief from the high temps and crippling humidity.

Monday: Rest/recovery day since I ran my long distance on Sunday rather than Saturday last week.

Tuesday: I ran 4.5 miles on the treadmill at the gym since I missed my early morning run window by helping Susan in her classroom.  I hung letters, moved boxes, and kept her on task most of the day and we actually accomplished quite a bit.  I considered the hours of activity there a part of my weekly training.

Wednesday: I did my first TRX workout since I was on vacation during the first week of June!  I did a whole body routine for about 40 minutes.  I hurt afterwards, but it was definitely a good hurt.  I was happy to finally return to TRX.  I wish my new gym offered free TRX classes like my old one did.  That once a week in class helped me stay on task.  I have to get more diligent with my cross-training again.

Thursday: Another 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym.  This was my first run with a podcast, and I actually enjoyed the change of pace from music.  I listened to the Atlanta Braves Talk Podcast, and being a Braves dork, I really enjoyed it.

Friday: I ran the latest that I ever have during my young running career.  I did not hit the streets until after 9 pm, and did not return home until 10pm!  This was by far my best run of the week despite the darkness and more blisters from my new shoes.  I tried the Let’s Run Disney Podcast and loved information the podcast provided for my future runDisney adventure.

Saturday: Easy day since my weekly long run was looming.  I did some planks, situps, and pushups during the early afternoon, but not much else.  I went to dinner with my in-laws at one of their friends’ house.  We had BBQ ribs, pork shoulder, and all of the fixings.  We also had homemade ice cream and chocolate cobbler.  The food was excellent, but was not the best meal to eat the night before a long run.  The Irish whiskey was also not the wisest of choices, but I did enjoy it.

Sunday: I woke up at the crack of dawn and ran 10 miles this morning.  It was 10 humid and slow miles, but it was still 10 miles.  I am going to try out a foam roller for the first time ever later on this evening.  I am very eager to see how it goes tonight.  From everything that I have heard or read, a foam roller can only help with my running aspirations.

I was styling w/ this!

I was styling w/ this!

I also tried out KT tap for the first time this week. My left foot was a little sore, so I put on the KT Tape Pro as if I was about to have another struggle with peroneal tendinitis.  The tape worked like a charm and once it was on, I never noticed it again.  The instructions were very easy to understand, and I did notice some pain relief.  I am intrigued enough at this point to buy a roll for myself to tryout.

Boston Remembrance Medal

Boston Remembrance Medal

I also finally got my Boston Remembrance Run medal on Saturday.  It was been over a month since the event, and I was getting a little antsy about getting the medal.  The event was a virtual marathon in which you could split the miles over the course of an entire week.  I split up the miles and ended up in the middle of the four hour block.  I was pleased, especially when I thought that this time would marvelous to duplicate at the WDW Marathon!  The people that put on the event were for helpful, but they did not know what to expect with the volume of this race and engraving process of the medals  Better late than never, and I am still waiting for my socks from the event.