The Best Reason to be MIA

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I know, I know, I have been MIA for a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGG time. I have kept running somewhat (I owe you 4 race reviews at minimum), but I have completely neglected this site. For this, I apologize, but I have a valid excuse. I really do.

todd

My long journey into fatherhood was finally realized a couple of weeks back, and I have been completely consumed/enamored/in awe of my little guy. It is amazing how different it feels to actually be a father rather than preparing to be a father. Everything you think you know is probably wrong, and all of the preparation for the event cannot adequately prepare you for the actual day.

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Honestly, once my son arrived, everything changed for me. My priorities were altered, my outlook on routine happenings was skewed, and it became abundantly clear that there is nothing more important in my life than providing for and taking care of him. Of course, I am certain that the majority of parents feel this way (I wish I could say all parents, but we know that this is not correct), but my feeling is actually heightened a bit because of the journey (more on that on a later date).

We have several other pictures, but I had to go with my two sports ones!

 

 

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Quick Update: I’m Not Dead!

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It has been over a week since my last post, and first, I want to assure everyone that I am still here, plugging away!  The hills of Nashville did not consume me!  This is the last week of the semester and I have quite a bit of work left to do.  Some of this is due to my procrastination, and some is just the nature of grad school.  Also, some of it is due to the Memphis Grizzlies being in the playoffs.  So, as I take a mental break from my 30 page paper and budgeting assignment, I thought that I would do a quick update on what is going on.

First, I completed my 4th half marathon in 41 days in Nashville when I ran the Country Music Half Marathon.  It was a fun event and a full recap will be coming later this week or early next week.  But for now, I want to share the medal with y’all.  It actually looked better in person than I thought it would.

2014 Country Music Half Marathon Medal

2014 Country Music Half Marathon Medal

Second, a couple of months ago I was chosen to be a FitFluencial Ambassador, which mean I will have the opportunity to review some products, techniques, or events throughout the year.  My first couple of reviews from this partnership will be coming very soon.

Third, Monday I finally joined a local running club here in Memphis.  I joined the Memphis Runners Track Club, which is the major running club here in town.  I only did a 1 year membership because I want to see what it is all about.  I am certain that I will post more about this in the near future as well.

MRTC

And one last thing, Go Grizz!  Tonight, at 7:00 PM CST, the Grizzlies will host the Oklahoma City Thunder, here at the Grindhouse.  If you cannot be there, watch on TV.  And look for the battle between Tony Allen and Kevin Durant, which pits the league’s premier perimeter defender against the league’s premier pure scorer. It has been fun thus far.

Prepping For a Cold Race

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I have three papers due next week, but I am in a holding pattern with all three for various reasons so I decided to take a small diversion from them to do a quick update.  This Saturday is the St. Jude Marathon and Half Marathon here in Memphis.  It is the biggest running event of the year here with over 20,000 participants in the various events.  It raises a significant amount of money for St. Jude and it is always a fun event.  The problem is that Memphis has quite unpredictable weather, and this will certainly be reflected in the three years that I have run in this event.  The average high is 58, low 38, and the mean 46, but these numbers are not often the actuality.  My first event in 2011, the morning started off brutally cold, but the temperature rose quickly and was in the  60’s by the time I crossed the finish line.  Last year it was warm and humid, with the temperature well into the 70’s.  This year, the weather forecast is brutal.  The expected high is 34, expected low 28 with wind in the 13-15 MPH range.  This comes the day after the expectation of 1/4″ of ice from a winter storm.  We do not see must ice and snow in Memphis, so even small amounts cripple this town.  Needless to say, this week has been full crisis mode for most Memphis runners!

We may see a couple of these on Saturday.

We may see a couple of these on Saturday.

I heard someone on the elevator at work today say that the prediction for this weekend is a worse storm than the one in 1994.  In 1994, over 6 inches of ice accumulated in the area, effectively shutting down everything for weeks.  There was widespread damage, almost everyone in the regions was without power, schools were shut down for basically the entire month of February.  It was a big deal and a natural disaster.  Now, every time there is a projection of ice or snow, some yahoo invokes the tired, “This is going to be worse than the storm of ’94!” Only, most people say this with a little bit more of a southern drawl and worse grammar.  I am going on the record and refuting this notion that this weekend will be anywhere near the level that 1994 was.  It is going to be cold, there will be some ice, but 6 inches is extreme.

A Google image search produced this picture of the storm

A Google image search produced this picture of the storm

The good news for runners is that as of this morning, the race is still all systems go and the original forecast of freezing rain during the event has been moved to Friday morning and midday, as well as Saturday night into Sunday morning.  The bad news is that is still going to be cold and windy, and there might be some ice patches along the way.  Susan is already on record that if there is ice, she does not want me to run.  I tend to be somewhat of a klutz and if I get hurt, she will not be happy.  Especially if it jeopardizes the WDW Marathon in five weeks.  The worst news for runners is that in the infinite wisdom that incorporates this town, the Memphis Tigers play a game at 12:00 pm and the Memphis Grizzlies play a game at 7:00 pm on Saturday.  Both games are at the FedExForum, which happens to be in the middle of the race course.  And since the race begins at 8:00 am, there is going to be some over lapping of the events.  Traffic and parking are going to be a nightmare even without any ice, so fellow runners, you have been made aware.

I tend to follow MemphisWeather.net for a more accurate view of the weather than I can get from the app on my iPhone or the local stations.  The guy behind the site does the weather projections for FedEx, so it is paramount that he be right.  You can view his blog post about this weekend here.  Also, here is the St. Jude Marathon blog post about this weekend.

UPDATE: Official word from the St. Jude Marathon Weekend is that a decision will be made by 5:00 am CST on Saturday, December 7, on whether the race is going to be canceled or not.

UPDATE #2: Apparently, there is no official statement from the powers that be at this point about any decisions about the plan for the race.

Randomness

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It has been an insane week for me thus far, but I decided to take a break from my office duties to allow my faithful readers to indulge in some randomness.  I could probably write longer entries on the majority of what will be included in this post, but I honestly do not have time to do so right now.  So enjoy this ADHD blog post!

Meet Molly

Meet Molly

1. Meet Molly.  On Wednesday, Susan and I drove to Hayden, AL to rescue the newest member of our family, Molly.  She was at a pet rescue there and had previously been rescued from a kill shelter.  When she was rescued from the kill shelter, her hair was matted to the point that it had to be cut off by scissors because the shears would not work.  Susan and I cannot fathom anyone ever surrendering a dog to a kill shelter, but especially not a dog as comfortable around people and playful as Molly.  She took to us immediately and once we got home, Beau and her acted like they had been brother and sister for years.   We are not 100% of her breed or age, but we know that she is at least part doodle, which is great for me and my terrible allergies, and estimate that she is between one and two years old.  She was found in the same area in which we got Beau, so I feel that there is a high probability that they both came from the same breeder and that her original owner came upon some hard luck that led to the less than ideal situation for Molly.  Susan and I are happy that we found out about her and were capable of rescuing her.

Side view of my apple after starting with the top.

Side view of my apple after starting with the top.

2. Thanks to a Facebook post, I have discovered a new way to eat an apple. So yesterday I saw a post on Facebook about how we have been eating apples wrong for years.  Today, I happened to have an apple in my lunch, so I thought that I would try this fancy new way of enjoying my apple.  And to my surprise, the new way worked!  I feel like Charlie Kelly discovering fruit for the first time in the “The Gang Hits the Road” episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  You can read the whole article here.

Infographic on the financing for the new Braves Stadium

Infographic on the financing for the new Braves Stadium

3. The Atlanta Braves are moving to Cobb County.  On Monday, the Braves dropped a bombshell on their fans by announcing the intention to move the Atlanta Braves from their current downtown ballpark, Turner Field, to the suburbs in Cobb County.  The new stadium would still have an Atlanta address, but the local fans have been freaking out a little bit.  My take is that this is great for the team because the construction of Turner Field was done with very little imagination or planning, and the place is just OK.  Theoretically, the new stadium will provide a new revenue stream for the team (which hopefully will be applied directly to the roster) and should help with the gameday experience.  Traffic is terrible everywhere in Atlanta, but currently, the Braves do not have a real interstate exit for Turner Field that can be accessed before and after games.  Also, there is one bar or restaurant within walking distance of the stadium and crime kinda sucks there too.  For a Braves fan from Tennessee, I say “Bring on Cobb County!”

Memphis

Memphis

4. Advice for travelers to Memphis.  I have come across a couple of articles today about food in Memphis.  I have eaten at the majority if the places mentioned in both, and I can vouch for most of the content in both of these articles.  My one exception is that locals go to Charlies Vergos’ Rendezvous for dry rubbed ribs.  This is false.  Locals do not eat at Rendezvous.  It is a tourist trap these days.  You can find better ribs at Blues City Cafe and Central BBQ.  You can read the articles for yourself here and here.  Also, Susan, maybe we should try Restaurant Iris for the first time for my birthday next month…

5. I saw Thor: The Dark World this week.  It was better than the first Thor movie, but not as good as The Avenger’s or Iron Man.  They did a fantastic job of establishing the characters and it is a fun movie.

Grit 'N Grind, a staple of the Grizz

Grit ‘N Grind, a staple of the Grizz

6. Maybe Lionel Hollins was a great coach.  After the first eight games of the season, most people here in Memphis have given up all hope on the Memphis Grizzlies.  The Grizzlies are 3-5 and not playing good defense, which was a staple of their success over the past few seasons.  But, it is November and there is a new coach, so I will wait a little while longer before passing judgment.  Also, I think fans need to start a petition to stop The Commercial Appeal from abbreviating the name to Griz.  It is Grizz.  Griz looks stupid and is not how the team shortens their name on social media.  The Commercial Appeal argues that the mascot’s name is Grizz, and when you are referring to the team, the spelling should be different.  It should not.

7. My running is back to normal.  After a horrendous run on Sunday, I have been able to hit the reset button and had a couple of good runs this week.

8. One more race?! Unbelievably, I only have one race left this year.  My goal for the year was to run in at least one race per month in 2013, and I have blown that goal out of the water thus far with 27 races so far.  The St. Jude Half Marathon on December 7 is my last scheduled race for the year.  This definitely feels a little weird.

Runner’s Christmas List

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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.

Another Week of Training in the Books

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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.