First off, my race recap for the Mercedes Half Marathon should be posted on Monday morning. It has been a hectic week, and I just have not done it yet. In the meantime, I wanted to share with all of y’all the Music Highway medal that I received this week for running the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville and St. Jude Half Marathon in Memphis as a St.. Jude Hero.
While I was in New York, I got a bit of good news that I have failed to share with everyone here. I have been selected as a 2015 Rock ‘N’ Blog Ambassador! I do not have all of the details yet, but basically, I will be blogging about the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon series of events, and will be in attendance at a minimum of three of the events in 2015. I am looking forward to what opportunities that this position will create in 2015 for myself and my readers here. For my events, I am thinking that I will be running in the half marathons in Nashville, Chicago, and St. Louis. Dallas and New Orleans are other viable options, and I will be finalizing my race calendar soon. For now, I am just happy to be a part of the team!
This post is a little delayed, but I have been piecing it together since the event on April 26 as I take breaks from my final papers. I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with this semester and will get back to a normal running/workout/blogging schedule.
I arrived to the expo on Friday around noon and it was a madhouse. There was very little parking near the expo and the ones that were available would price gouging runners. Therefore, Susan dropped me off and made the block while I grabbed my registration stuff. The expo was well-organized, it was just a large mass of people in a small space. There were several vendors in attendance and if Susan was not waiting on me, I could have spent some time wandering around the various booths.
On race day, it was advertised that you needed to get to LP Field by 5:30 am or there would be no free parking available. We got there at 6:00 am and had no problem getting a spot, but the issue was traffic, as any trip to Nashville involves. I went the long way to LP Field and missed the vast majority of the traffic, so that did help. Parking was 1/2 a mile or so from the start line, so runners could get a little bit of a warm up before getting to the corrals. The lack of porta-potties was noticeable on my walk to the corral. The few that I did see had insanely long lines. Around corral 14 there were several porta-potties, but by that point most people had fought the crowds.
Prior to the race, all I heard about the event was how hilly it was and that the weather could be quite unpredictable. Whereas the course was hilly, especially on mile 12, that was not the most notable feature of the course to me. The most notable feature was the amount of runners on the entire course. There were over 19,000 finishers for the half marathon alone! This is the first race that I have run in that had a crowd for all 13.1 miles.
I did a fairly decent job of watching my pace early in the race, balancing the hills, sun, and crowds. In fact, it was not until mile 11 that I really started to feel the effects of the course. And at that point, I had not fueled besides my water and Gatorade stops, so I just sucked it up and gave it my best attempt to finish. There is a modest hill at mile 12 that felt like a mountain to me, and my splits reflect that. I did feel good as I crossed the finish line, and felt that it was a great race overall.
Course: B: It was hilly, but not overwhelmingly so. There were bands throughout the course and quite a bit of crowd support. Water stops were frequent and there was GU at mile 11, which is where the marathon and half marathon split up. The finish line, however, was a huge cluster. It felt like runners were being herded like cattle from receiving our medals to the various refueling options, around the corner to the beer tents. Honestly, the process would have probably worked better if the race could have use the facilities inside LP Field, not just around it.
And for those of you that frequent The Chive like I do, the water station around mile 7 was sponsored by Nashville area Chivers. It was great to see all those green and BFM shirts.
Swag: A: A nice looking tech shirt and two medals! One medal was for completing the race and one was for being a St. Jude Hero. The bonus medal was not from St. Jude, but rather the fundraising medal given to everyone running in a Rock ‘N Roll event for charity. The 2014 Country Music Half Marathon medal and race shirt were MUCH better than years past, especially the 2012 medal and 2010 shirt.
Overall: A-: Fun race with tons of support and upgraded swag. Weather in late April in the south can be quite unpredictable, but this year we really dodged a bullet. It was almost a perfect day for running, and I finished as the heat began to set in. I would certainly run in this race again.
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.
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.
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.
It has been a busy couple of weeks for me, but I wanted to share what Susan, I, and a couple of friends witnessed last Friday night. I should preface this post with the some background information about my history. I tend to witness and attract some craziness in my life. In college I came across a person passed out drunk in their car on the train tracks. I had to punch the guy in the face to wake them up and move their car before a train came. I have witnessed a bus boy and waiter get into a fist fight in the middle of dinner rush at a restaurant. I have seen a security guard at Target chase down a shoplifter, jump in the back of their truck, through the DVD player out of the back of the truck, shattering in the process, and the driver speed off with the security guard still in the back of the truck. Once at IHOP our waiter told us that at one point in his life that he has had sex with a dog. Like I said, I have heard and seen some weird things. That being said, this event ranks right up there.
Susan, two of our friends, and I went to Nashville last Friday night for the George Strait concert. It was George’s last in Nashville and we had free tickets, so it was an easy choice to go. Before the concert, we went Rotier’s in West End near Vanderbilt for dinner. Rotier’s is a famous eatery in Nashville and we wanted to try their famous French bread burger. About halfway through dinner, a couple of cops that were also enjoying dinner in the restaurant jumped up and headed out the door, apologizing to the owner. This caught my attention, so I wondered what was going on. A few moments later, we hear sirens everywhere, with the cars converging in the parking lot across the street. The we hear it. Pop! Pop! Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop! I am standing up, trying to go outside to get a closer looks. Susan is pulling me down onto the booth. Candace is asking if it is fireworks. The waitress is telling us that the glass in the restaurant is bullet proof. People are dropping to the floor, more cops are pulling up, and we all have questions.
Five cops had shot and killed a man outside a business across the street. The man was obviously dead, and a crowd was beginning to gather. There was glass everywhere, and police tape restricting several people from accessing their vehicles.
At first the speculation was that this was a robbery attempt gone awry, and that is what we thought for most of the night. After the concert, we checked the local news and got some information. The victim was Aaron Dino Smith, Jr., a 51-year-old Franklin man on parole with a lengthy criminal history. Mr. Smith was a suspect in a robbery from March 13 in Smyrna. Credit cards from that theft were used at a business in Nashville earlier in the day, and a detective went to the business to investigate. Mr. Smith arrived and was confronted my the detective, which ultimately led to Mr. Smith pulling a gun on the officer. At this point, the detective let the suspect flee on foot and it was then that Mr. Smith carjacked a lady in a Buick Enclave (same car as Susan). A high-speed chase ensued through rush hour traffic. Nashville PD decided to pull back due to safety concerns and just followed the car with their helicopter and by tracking the car owner’s cell phone. Mr. Smith made his way to West End, ditching the car in a parking garage across the street from us. Metro Police converged on Mr. Smith while he tried to enter a business. Mr. Smith aimed his gun first at his head and then at the officers. It was at that point that the officers opened fire and deprived this world of Mr. Smith’s presence any further.
We live in Memphis, which has one of the worst crime rates in the country. I have lived here for fourteen years and never witnessed a shooting this close before. Go figure that a one night trip out-of-town to a “nice area of town” in a city not associated with quite the criminal stigma that Memphis is would be the situation in which I witnessed an event like this.
This morning the St. Jude Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon released the medals for the event on April 26. This was the last piece of information to be released by the event since the shirt was released last month as well as the concert and new downtown starting line. So, for those who are running in the event, or want to, here is all of the released information.
Several people seem to be upset that it is gray, but I do not mind it too much.
The difference between the marathon and half marathon is a color variation. These medals reflect Nashville very well.
I just read a blog post over at The Smith Summary about some exciting news for my fellow St. Jude runners.
Starting in 2014, the 2014 St. Jude country Music Marathon and Half Marathon and the 2014 St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend are teaming up to offer some extra bling for runners. Runners that register as a St. Jude Hero for both events, and raise at least $100 for each event, will qualify for the extra medal. All participants that earn the medal will receive it at the December Memphis event. It is called the Music Highway Challenge, and it is a fantastic idea! In fact, it is something that I suggested on the Facebook wall for the Rock ‘N Roll Series. This idea is much better than mine since it involves fundraising for St. Jude, but I am happy that someone in a spot of influence had a similar idea.
I think that this is going to be a huge success for two very popular races. Now, I need to get to raising some more funds for the kids of St. Jude!
The last couple of weeks have seen some adjustments to races on my 2014 schedule as well as one that I ran last year.
Warrior Dash Mississippi. Sadly, this year I am no longer able to run in a Warrior Dash event. Last year I had a blast at the event, but yesterday I received an email stating that the venue and date for this year’s event has changed. The new date is April 26, which happens to be the same date of the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, so I had to forgo the Mississippi event. I could have transferred my registration to another location, but the other nearby events are on weekends that also pose conflicts. Therefore, no fuzzy warrior hat this year. Oh well, I still have a Tough Mudder and Spartan Race coming. And I guess I need to find a race for May.
Country Music Half Marathon. I have never ran in this event, but tomorrow morning they are announcing their new route. A few weeks ago, they announced that the start line will be moved downtown for the event. It should be interesting to see how the new route is received.
Tupelo Marathon and 14.2 Miler. I am not running in this event this year due to it being held on the same day as the Disneyland Half Marathon, but I found it interesting that this event is also trying a new course. The difference is that the new course for this event takes away one of the unique caveats that it offers. The new course is in a different part of Tupelo which means that the 14.2 miler is being replaced with a normal half marathon distance. The 14.2 distance was one of the features of this event that attracted me to this race, so I am happy that I was able to run it at least once before this change. I am certain that the race medals will be as impressive as ever.