ONE YEAR OF DIFFERENCE…

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From one extreme to another for the Oak Hall Run for St. Jude. The Oak Hall Run was brutal last year.  I haven’t signed up for it (mostly due to the Grizz playoff game & my ongoing fundraising efforts for St. Jude here and here) but I did run a 5K in today’s cold and rain.

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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!

Weekly Gym Update

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So it has been awhile since I updated about my training efforts while injured, so I thought I would give a quick update of what I’m trying to do to stay fit while not running.

  • Last Saturday: First official day at the new gym and I swam 34 laps (25 yards each)
  • Sunday: Walked the Germantown Mayor’s 5K in my walking boot.
  • Monday: Upper body dumbbell routine. Two sets of ten exercises using my warrior circuit timing (:30 exercise, :30 rest).
  • Tuesday: Swam 34 laps.
  • Wednesday: Swam 34 laps.
  • Thursday: Rest day to watch basketball. Go Tigers!
  • Friday: Swam 35 laps.
  • Yesterday: Unintentional rest day. The Tigers played (not well) at 1:45 CT and I slept in a little longer than I anticipated. And I have no real excuse for not going after the game in the roughly two hour window that I had.
  • Today: I wanted to swim and then lift a little, but the pool was crazy busy so I rode the bike for twenty minutes and then did two circuits of twelve reps per each upper body machine.

I need to get a constant routine going again, as well as focusing on what I eat a little closer moving forward. I may try to do two a days a couple times this week by swimming in the morning and completing a warrior circuit in the evening. We shall see if I can get out of bed to do this. And of course, watching basketball all night is not going to help me with this goal, especially when the life of my bracket hinges on this Miami – Illinois game. Also, once this game concludes, I must watch the second to last episode of the season of The Walking Dead.

I go back to the doctor on Tuesday, so maybe I can get some good news, ditch the boot, and get back to running. We shall see, and I am definitely not going to push it further than I should.

Congratulations to the Memphis Grizzlies for clinching a playoff spot today thanks to the loss by the Utah Jazz!

Nerds

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I realize that I probably fit at least some of the stereotypes of being a nerd, especially in high school.  I made good grades, I didn’t get sent to the principal’s office for misbehaving, I was an officer in several school clubs (including Math Club), I liked comic books later in life than normal people do, wore some very nerdy glasses (I didn’t get the requisite nerd inhaler until last summer), and so on.  I also, however, played high school football, really enjoyed the weekend house parties (maybe a little too much), and dressed like the vast majority of my school.  I say all of this to get to my point that there is more of a crossover in the jock/nerd communities than most people believe.  Look at comic book movies, for instance.  If only forty year old virgins living in their mom’s basement and providing tech support online watched these movies, the genre would be dead by now.  Movies like The Dark Knight and The Avengers appealed to much greater portion of the population, even if “nerds” are the ones straddled with the label of liking comic books.  Or take the runaway success of The Walking Dead on TV.  These numbers show that jocks, soccer moms, nerds, and the whole lot of our population have much more similar taste in entertainment than society is led to believe.

I mean, even sports are being inundated with a nerd revolution.  Baseball has the Moneyball movement and sabermetrics which leads to some very heated debates about the sport and how to play.  Last years AL MVP vote is a prime example of the level of viciousness these debates can climb to.  Fans are split on the validity of a player’s batting average and RBI totals.  On base and slugging percentages are becoming the vogue stat.   NBA teams, such as my Memphis Grizzlies, are hiring more and more front office executives from outside the realm of former basketball players and coaches.  Football teams are analyzing numbers to a degree that would have been mocked ten years ago.

Which one is a bigger nerd?

Which one is a bigger nerd?

Under Armour is now embracing this new found acceptance of nerds, as well as recognizing that many high school nerds have grown up to be fitness warriors.  A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday a link to Under Armour’s Alter Ego line of workout clothes.  Basically, it is Under Armour’s compression gear with superhero insignia printed on them.  When I first saw them, I thought, “Damn, I had that idea!”  And that is true, a few months back, after completing a long run, I told Susan that a company should make tech shirts and other workout gear with superhero insignia because I thought it would sell quite well.  She laughed, called me a dork, and we went about my day.  And now Under Armour has introduced this Alter Ego, which is a great name, line of clothing.  MY second thought was “Damn, why does it have to be compression wear?”  Compression shirts and fat guys do not mesh very well.  I get the usefulness of compression, it just is something I normally steer clear of, both for my self image as well as out of respect for others.  I may have to make an exception in this case.

Photo from underarmour.com

Photo from underarmour.com

The Batman one is fantastic, as is the Superman and Captain America ones.  I am not a huge fan of the Hulk or Iron Man ones.  I can only imagine that a Flash one would sell well, as would any referencing the X-Men or Green Lantern.  Also, a Punisher one would sell well, even to people who had no clue who the Punisher.  If anyone at Under Armour would like to know what a member of the plus sized gym community thinks of these, a couple of them can be sent to me in Memphis for some beta testing and product reviews, size XL, please…

Back To Normal…Almost

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I finally returned to work today.  I wasn’t at 100%, but I couldn’t justify staying home another day so I sucked it up and went to work.  I’m sure my coworkers were questioning my dedication after I had a coughing fit at the morning status meeting.  I didn’t have quite as much work piled up on my desk when I came in today as I was expecting, but I had enough to keep me busy all day long with plenty left to tackle on Monday.

After work, I decided to try to get in a quick workout.  I was still coughing a bit and was tired from actually working all day, but I knew that I needed to log some miles.  The temperature has been dropping for a couple of days here in Memphis, so I decided to head to the gym.  Today was the first day of March, in Memphis, and our high was thirty-eight degrees.  Plus, if I wasn’t feeling well, I could stop my workout much easier than running up and down the road.  Fridays at the gym are usually great since it is most people’s skip day from the gym, and you have free reign over the entire place.  Today that was taken to another level since the desk worker didn’t have any towels ready when I got there.  I guess it was his skip day as well.  I did an easy 2% grade on the treadmill, hoping to run four and a half miles followed up with some TRX or a Warrior Dash circuit.  But, during my run, I started to get dizzy and thought it was prudent to cut the workout short.  I ended up running 3.51 miles at a 9:30 pace, so I wasn’t terrible today.  Hopefully, I’ll feel a little better tomorrow so I can get in a quick non-running workout and be in good shape to tackle a ten miler on Sunday.  I haven’t had a long run in two weeks, and with the Germantown Half Marathon coming up in just over two weeks, I really would love to return to my schedule to help stay prepared for race day.

Currently, the Grizzlies are in a very entertaining game with the Miami Heat, with the Grizz trailing by only one after the third quarter.  And as a Memphian, I must say, I am sick and tired of Mario Chalmers hitting threes against our teams.  I’m cutting this post short to be able to catch the entire fourth quarter unabated.

Back In The Saddle

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After my impromptu rest day yesterday, I made sure to get in a run today.  The temperature never rose above thirty-seven here in Memphis today, so I decided to utilize the gym and the readily available treadmills for my run.  I ran four miles at a 9:34 pace.  I felt great after the run, and definitely could have pushed it a little harder, but I was pleased with the outcome regardless.  I followed the run with a couple of sets of diamond pushups and crunches.  This was all after logging 1,464 stairs while at work today.  I was going to do some TRX or  Warrior Dash circuit, but I was pressed for time and I wanted to make sure that I got my miles in first.  I may try to use the stairs for the rest of the week and see how that goes.

The Four Bridges Half Marathon I’m running in October posts lots of useful information and motivational items on their Facebook page.   They shared the following quote yesterday and I meant to include it in my previous post, but I forgot:

There are plenty of obstacles in your path.  Don’t allow yourself to become one of them. – Ralph Marston

That sums up marathon training fairly well, I do believe.  And I think it applies to my last two days very appropriately as well.  My gym has quotes posted all over the facility and I may have to suggest that they include this one.

After getting back on my workout track earlier, I’m now catching up on my DVR.  First up was the second best show currently on TV, Justified, and I’m now watching The Americans.  Tonight’s episode is tackling the attempted assignation of Ronald Reagan, which made for a very intriguing episode.  Each week, the show gets a little stronger, which gives me high hopes for The Americans comparing favorably to the other highly lauded FX shows.

And one last note, tonight was a goodnight for Memphis basketball.  The Grizzlies beat Rudy Gay and his new team, the Toronto Raptors 88-82, in large part because Gay played his usual selfish and turnover prone fourth quarter.  Toronto is not a good team, but when you part ways with a player, it is always good for morale of a fanbase to perceive that the right move was made.  The Memphis Tigers won for the seventeenth straight time this evening after dispatching the Houston Cougars 81-74.  Chris Crawford finished just one assist short of joining Penny Hardaway and Antonio Anderson as the only Tigers with a triple-double.  Of course Penny had two and is regarded by many as the greatest Tiger of all time and Anderson was in the senior class with the most wins in NCAA history and a Final Four appearance (both vacated because of Derick Rose’s bogus SAT), so including Crawford with that duo may have been a little dubious.

Thursday Run & Some Randomness

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I woke up today to sore calves and shoulders, so I decided to run after work, hoping that my legs would feel a little bit.  Sadly, after work, I was still sore, but I decided to run anyway.  And of course I have run outside twice this week and once indoors.  The temperature for both outdoor runs was in the 30’s and the indoor run was on a 55 degree day.  I sure scheduled those runs correctly…  And, if it wasn’t for my wife, I would have worn my beanie out for 2 minutes of my run, and carried it for the next 40.  So, thanks for that babe.

I hoped that my legs would loosen up a little during my run, but that didn’t happen until I hit mile four, but I still kept a decent pace.  I ended up running 4.21 miles at a 9:49 pace, which very close to what I have been doing the past few weeks.  And looking at my splits, I did notice that as my legs finally loosened up, my time drastically improved.  All and all, I felt that it was a good run.

This blog is primarily focused on running, but I had to celebrate a couple of big moves for teams that I follow.  First, the Atlanta Braves acquired Justin Upton form Arizona.  The move gives the Braves one of the top two or three outfields in all of baseball, and they didn’t have to give up too much to get him when you consider all the factors (salary, contract years, the top five Braves prospects didn’t get traded, his brother is a Brave).  But, I won’t bore you with my trade analysis.  And secondly, Zach Randolf was named to the Western Conference All Star team today!  He becomes the first Grizzly to ever be named to multiple all star games, so that is quite exciting as well.  Also, last night, when the Grizz thumped the Lakers, the only three Grizzly all stars ever were on the court in the form of ZBo, Marc Gasol, and playing for LA, Marc’s brother Pau, the first Grizzly all star.

I know I made fun of all the ads a couple posts ago, but Susan and I DVR’d The Following on Monday night.  We watched it last night after dinner, and where as it is not on par with Breaking Bad or Justified, it was still quite an intense show and I am intrigued to see if Fox can keep it up for fourteen more episodes.