2014 Greenline Half Marathon Recap

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Sunday morning was the 4th annual Greenline Half Marathon at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, TN. This marks my seventh half marathon of the year and twelfth lifetime half marathon.

Weather for the race was the odd combination of cool and humid.  63 degrees at the start and 67 degrees by the time I crossed the finish line are always welcomed, even when the humidity is 93%.  It also helps when it is cloudy.  Actually, I thought that it was going to rain during the event, so we had an entire spectrum of weather forecasts for this event.

One very cool feature of this event is that it is the first sustainable sporting event in Tennessee.  The race medals and shirts are made from recycled materials, and the goal of the event is to reduce the carbon footprint in Memphis/Shelby County.

Finisher's medal for the 2014 Greenline Half Marathon

Finisher’s medal for the 2014 Greenline Half Marathon

Course: A: Even though the race is named after the Greenline, very little of the running actually came on the Greenline. The course was a nice combination of paved running trails and neighborhood streets. There were hills, and there were stretches of flat terrain. Crowding was a slight issue at the start, but quickly dissipated, which is why more of the event was not held on the actual Greenline.

Ummm, not quite...

Ummm, not quite…

Swag: C: The swag for the event was honestly lackluster. The medal has a nice design, but is smaller than most of my other race medals and the lack of a date on it coupled with pics of the medal from previous years makes me think that they ordered a ton of these a few years back, just changing the ribbon each year (which probably helps with then purpose of reducing the carbon footprint). I really like the shirt but it was advertised that the shirts run large, so order accordingly.  However, the opposite is true.  The shirts run small. Very small.  Like wetsuit small. This is very disappointing because I really like this shirt, and when I lose 50 pounds, I will be able to wear it! There were several people pissed about this mislead.  And that was all of the swag.  In previous years they handed out unique 13.1 stickers shaped like buffaloes, but I did not see one anywhere today.

Race swag for the Greenline Half Marathon

Race swag for the Greenline Half Marathon

Swag Update: According to the RD, the green buffalo 13.1 stickers are offered every two years, so they will be available during next year’s event.

Overall: C+: The event started off on the wrong foot for me. Packet pickup was from 12-4 pm on Saturday afternoon, and I was unable to make that, so I had to go extra early (6 am for an 8 am race) to the event to get my shirt and bib. Of course there were no signs or race personnel directing people to where we needed to go, so finding the proper place to go was a mile long treasure hunt in the darkness of the morning. I love Shelby Farms and the Greenline, but I was not impressed by this event.  Just tweaking the small things that were wrong would go a long way towards dramatically improving this event while not compromising the mission to reduce the carbon footprint in the community.

I really wanted to like this event more than I did. The lack of communication and flat-out misinformation about the shirts is very discouraging. At this point, I do not anticipate running in this event again.

Mid-Week Review

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Back in March, I did a post about the Alter Ego line of clothing from Under Armour.  You can have a refresher here, or the Cliff Notes version is the line is workout clothing inspired by superheroes.  The nerd in me was very excited about these shirts, but being of the larger persuasion and these shirts being base layer compression shirts, it did not look like I was going to get one.  Well, a random trip to the local Dick’s Sporting Goods changed that for me.  I was shopping with Susan and Dick’s was next door so I hopped in for a second.  And as I walked in, I noticed the Alter Ego display.  I stopped to look for a second and noticed two things.  One was that the compression shirts are tiny.  I seriously though I was in the children’s section!  Also, I saw a Batman shirt that said that said “loose fit” on it!  This could not be right, and I had to double check the tag.  Yep, “loose fit” just like my other Under Amour shirts!  I decided to try the shirt on, just in case, and it was a perfect fit!  So I now own a Batman Under Armour shirt!  I am such a nerd.  Maybe they will release the other superheroes in the “loose fit” as well.

Batman Under Armour

Batman Under Armour

Last week I bought my first pair of shoes from Kindrunner and the experience was very simple.  Today I am returning a pair of old shoes that will become $10 in Kindness Cash.  It is kind of a bittersweet moment since the shoes that I am returning are the ones I ran my first half marathon in.  But I cannot wear the shoes anymore and someone needs to get some use out of them, so sending them to Soles 4 Souls in a positive outcome for these shoes.  It is ironic that these shoes that I randomly bought with no knowledge of my gait, running mechanics, or shoe life held up for over a year and 700 plus miles without incident.  And now that I know this stuff, I have had some injury issues with shoes closely fitted for my feet with very strict mile management.  It is funny how that happens.

Kindrunner donation

Kindrunner donation

And speaking of my new shoes from Kindrunner, I made a rookie mistake over the weekend.  I was so eager to wear my new shoes that I did not properly break them in before taking them out for a long run.  I ran ten plus miles on the Greenline last Sunday and this run resulted in blisters on both of my big toes!  Thankfully these blisters were not a lingering issue this week.

I am also going to be trying something new with my runs and workouts over the next few weeks.  I almost exclusively listen to music on my runs, so I am exploring some podcasts to listen to, as well as an audiobook to utilize during my runs.  I will also try to watch some Braves games on the treadmill at the gym when the opportunity presents itself.  Last night was my first run listening to a podcast and it went well.  I had no problems staying motivated on the run, and it provided the distraction that I sometimes need on my runs.  I am still browsing audiobooks and honestly did not realize how expensive that they are.  I read several non-fiction books, and I am a little wary of running to an audiobook of a non-fiction book.  We shall see.

Today is the longest sports day of the year since it is the only day of the year that there are no activities from any of the major four American sports leagues.  What sets today apart from the past two days is that Monday has the Home Run Derby and Tuesday has the MLB All Star Game.  Even worse for Atlanta Braves fans is the fact that the team is also off tomorrow, so there is a four day sports void for us.  ESPN puts their annual sports awards show, The ESPY Awards, on Wednesday to help fill the void, but no one really cares about that.  The USA and Costa Rica game that was played last night would have been perfect in prime time tonight.

Update: I just read an article on Deadspin talking about the ESPYs, the hatred for the event, and the colossal waste of money the awards show really is.  You can read the article for yourself here.

Shelby Farms Greenline

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

This is the access point at Graham St.

This is the access point at Graham St.

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

A little art to enjoy on the trail

A little art to enjoy on the trail

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

A very scenic run today!

A very scenic run today!

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

My 1st attempt at using Pro Compression socks

My 1st attempt at using Pro Compression socks

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