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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Wednesday Roundup

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Yesterday was the big test day, and my unofficial results on the GRE were comfortably above the minimum needed for acceptance to graduate school.  The test was only slightly nerve racking and I’m very thankful that I used a study guide for the past few weeks.  Otherwise, I would have been completely lost.   Now, I need to focus on the rest of my admissions materials, which hopefully won’t be as time consuming as the test prep proved to be.

The Germantown Half Marathon is this weekend and I’m thinking about walking a part of the race this weekend.  I have already paid for the race, so unless I complete the entire 13.1, I’m going to lose money.  The race does offer an option to register next year at a discounted rate of $25 (from the early registration fee of $45) for anyone registered and unable to run this weekend.  You just contact the races hosts (which I already have) and then save their email response until registration opens for next year’s event.  At that point, you contact the race director and you should get a link to the discounted registration.  It is a decent option, especially for those of us straddled with an injury, but I have some reservations about it.  It is very likely that I delete this email over the next eight months and then, I am SOL.  There is also the possibility that the race will fall during spring break and Susan and I will be out of town during the event.  I am tempted to show up as scheduled on race day and just walk the 5K that is associated with the race.  My rationale is that either option means that I am going to eat about $25 of my registration fee, but this way, I at least do something associated with the race.  Plus, my 2013 goal was to complete a race each month of the year, and I know that I had no control over my injury, but I don’t want to fall short of my goal.  I’ll see how I feel this weekend.  All I do know is that I am not going to attempt to walk the 13.1 in my walking boot.

I finally did so cardio today at the gym.  I rowed for twenty minutes and it felt good to do some cardio again.  Of course, trying to use the machine with my boot on was as much a workout as the exercise itself.  I couldn’t strap the boot down, so it kept sliding off the machine, and all of this extra movement nearly caused the death of my headphones.  The wire on my Yurbuds got caught in the track of the seat, and now the wires have been stripped down on them.  So, I guess I’m in the market for some new headphones once again.

After my cardio, I completed another modified :30/:30 Warrior Dash circuit.  Today’s circuit included a couple of repeat moves since the vast majority of the circuits focus on a person’s legs.  Today, I did the following:

  • DB Incline Bench
  • DB Lateral Raises
  • DB Front Raises
  • V-Sit on a Bench
  • Pull-Ups
  • Wipers
  • Russian Twists
  • Reverse Crunches
  • Straight Leg Lifts
  • Supermans

Sadly, I noticed today that my strength is not where it was a couple of weeks ago, nor is my stamina.  Now that I have an idea of what I can do at the gym, I need to start pushing it again.  Warrior Dash is only five weeks away, and it would be great not to embarrass myself there.

There are only three episodes each left for Justified and The Walking Dead this season, so that means there will be a significant gap between the end of these seasons and the beginning of the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad.  I have been enjoying The Americans and The Following, but neither are near the quality of the other three shows.  But baseball season is starting (Go Braves!), and hopefully my foot heals quickly so I can enjoy the April running weather here in Memphis before the heat becomes too unbearable.

 

Study Break

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Tomorrow is the day that I will finally take the GRE, whether I’m ready or not.  I spent the last weekend visiting my parents, and since I didn’t really have an option to do much in the way of a workout, so I mostly did was GRE test prep and played catch up with my family.  Studying has been quite nerve racking, and it would have been beneficial to be able to go for a run to relieve the stress, but I am adapting.  The test will be at 12:30 pm, and hopefully by 5:00 pm, I will have a good hunch if I will have to go through this hell another time or if I should start prepping for classes in the fall.  I’m taking a break from reviewing my notes right now, watching The Following, and I will probably review for another hour or so afterwards.  Prior to the test tomorrow, I’ll work through some sample problems to keep sharp.

Today, I finally did return to the gym, in hopes of doing as complete of a workout as possible. I was planning on rowing and then doing a modified Warrior Dash circuit.  The problem was that my gym no longer has rowing machines outside of the rowing room, and on Monday nights, there is no access without being signed up for one of the classes.  So, that means it will be at least one more day until I get in a full cardio routine.  I did, however, complete my :30 exercise, :30 second rest warrior circuit routine, consisting of the following:

  • DB Bench
  • DB Row (:30 on each side)
  • Bicep Curls
  • Pulldowns
  • Russian Twists
  • Plate Crunches
  • Chair Dips
  • DB Military Press
  • Bicycle
  • Wipers

It felt good to finally get in a workout after my injury, even if it was an abbreviated one.  I really need to figure out a reliable option or two for cardio while I can’t run.  Rowing or swimming would be ideal, but my gym doesn’t have a pool, and my usual gym time is during the peak class times, so I guess I need to get on the list for rowing later in the week.  Memphis did recently open a new facility called the Kroc Center, which has a fitness center, pool, aquatics center, basketball gym, fitness classes, chapel, and auditorium.  The facility has not been open very long, and is state of the art, but the place was at capacity when I toured it at 6:30 pm tonight.  From the reviews that I have read, there is a wait for most machines and a thirty minute time limit on the machines.  Also, I’m not sure on the pool schedule, but tonight, no one could swim because there was some sort of water basketball going on.  I may go check it out one morning this week, to see what the crowds are like before work versus after work.

Mid-Week Update

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So it has been a couple of days since I have updated my training progress and thought now would be as a good of a time as ever to do so.  After Sunday’s long run, Monday was a scheduled off day, and I was very thankful for that.  During the course of the day Monday, I started to have an intense pain in my right foot.  It felt like someone had stabbed me in the side of the foot and putting pressure on it only intensified the pain.  I have no clue what happened, but it just started hurting.  I wasn’t walking with a limp or anything, and when I wasn’t on the foot, it did not hurt, so I just kind of ignored it.  Yesterday, my foot was still hurting while I was at work, but in a boneheaded move, I decided to try going for a run.  It did not go well to say the least.  My foot hurt the entire time and the pain got so unbearable that I had to stop my run.  I managed to finish one mile at a 9:40 pace.  I was noticeably limping when I came back to the house and immediately started to ice down my foot.  I still have no clue what the issue is, but plantar fasciitis seems to be everyone’s suggestion.  I am going to rest my foot for a day or two and see if it improves.  This is not what I want to endure eleven days before the Germantown Half Marathon, especially a week after being sick, but it is a part of the process I suppose.  I am currently planning on on going to the gym tonight and do some exercises that don’t place too much stress on my foot.  And of course, if the pain persists, I will visit my doctor, but I have already noticed some improvement in how my foot feels today.  We shall see.

In non-running news, Susan and I tried a new pizza place here in Memphis on Monday night.  The restaurant is called Rock ‘N Dough Pizza and originally started as a food truck that had enough success to warrant the opening of the brick and mortar store in addtion to the food truck.  The owner worked at another fantastic local Memphis eatery, Trolley Stop Market.  We went at 7:00 pm on a Monday, not exactly a prime dinner slot, yet the place was steadily busy the entire time we were there.  There is several pizza options and we decided to try the Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza since it satisfied both Susan and I’s varied tastes.  Service was much quicker at Rock ‘N Dough when compared to Trolley Stop, which is a major plus.  Provided on the table in addition to your pizzeria standards of Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes was local honey, sriracha, and Tabasco Jalapeno sauce!  We decided on a medium pizza since we were hungry, but a small would have been plenty.  Every pizza we saw leave the kitchen looked fantastic and gigantic!  Our pizza was so big that we both ate until we were full for dinner and the following day at lunch.  I would say that the $21 we spent on the pizza was a great value.  Anyone in Memphis, especially East Memphis, would be well served to give this place a shot.  I know Susan and I will be repeat customers.

This was our monster pizza

This was our monster pizza

I take the GRE in six days and I am feeling woefully unprepared.  I have been studying, but it is quite a wealth of knowledge that I need to grasp for the test.  I kinda feel that I’m a week away from running a marathon after only running a 5K previously.  It has been seven years since I graduated from college and eight since I have had a meaningful class, so I’m a little rusty.  Susan registered me with an IXL account to practice my math, so I guess I will get off of here for now so I can get in some work.

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.

Long Week

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I must not be living right because it has been a very, very long week!  Work has been busier than it has been in a long time, the detergent dispenser on my dishwasher has finally crapped out, my Nike+ GPS watch is on the fritz, I have a nail in my tire, and a rock hit my windshield this morning on my commute to work.  Add that to the ice, but no snow, my bad workouts, and my deviating from my workout/studying master plan, and this week has been one to forget, even if it is just a bunch of first world problems.  But, it is Friday, and it is nearly perfect weather outside, so I am going to forge ahead!

I had Jack Morris Auto Glass come to work and fix my windshield, and now you can barely tell that it was damaged.  Nike is agreed to replace my watch, while letting me keep the defective one until the new one arrives in 5 – 10 business days.  I’m getting the tire patched after work today, and hopefully I will be able to locate the necessary part to repair my dishwasher this weekend.  In the meantime, I’m going old school and washing the dishes by hand.  Strangely, I actually don’t mind hand washing the dishes too much.

Once my tire is repaired, I’m going to hit the road for 4 or 5 miles to enjoy a mild and sunny January afternoon run!  I was going to hit the treadmill, but it seems like such a waste of a good day to do that.  Being that my week has not gone to schedule, I will probably run my long run for the week (8 miles) on Sunday at some point.  That will also free up my schedule so I can go with the wife tomorrow to get her new (at least to her) car!  We are getting the car from my best friend and one of the best men in our wedding, so it will be hassle free.  And if you are in the market for a new or used vehicle, give Lyons GM a look.  OK, my shameless plug is now over, and was not the intention of this entry, but when people take care of you, you want to spread the word.

Also, being that this is going to be a three day weekend for the both of us, hopefully we can get to some minor tweaks we are wanting to do to the house, as well as getting in some extra workout/study time.  I’m anticipating 18 – 20 running miles, the wife’s first car purchase, some TRX, hundreds of vocabulary words, some playoff football (I don’t root for any remaining team, but it’s football), a trip or two to the Home Depot, and more dish washing on this weekend’s itinerary.