May the Fourth Be With You Virtual 5K

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On Saturday, May 4th , I ran in the appropriately named May the Fourth Be With You 5K.  This was a virtual race with proceeds being donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and was  geared towards the nerdier sect of runners.  May the Fourth is in reference to the Star Wars movie franchise and is a representation of “may the force be with you” which, if you have seen any of the movies, you have definitely heard this phrase before.  I ran the race on the streets of my neighborhood on cold and rainy day.  It has rained for six straight days here in Memphis, so finding a window to run outside was almost impossible.  Here in Memphis, May 4 the past two years have been record setters in the weather almanac.  Last year we hit a record high of 91 degrees, and this year we hit a record low of 36 degrees.  The 36 degrees also happens to be the lowest temperature ever recorded in the month of May in Memphis!

May the Fourth Medal

May the Fourth Medal

My run felt great, even though I was inches away from being plowed over by a car.  About a half a mile into my run, I noticed that I forgot to wear my RoadID bracelet but I didn’t want to head back to the house.  Probably two minutes later, I hear a car screeching to a halt to my immediate right.  I was running across an intersection with a stop sign when this happened and I certainly had the right of way.  When I approached the intersection, there was no cars in sight, so I ran on.  Then I heard the noise and noticed the car sliding towards me.  Thankfully it did not hit me, but the driver and I did exchange a couple of choice words with one another.  What the driver fails to realize is that if I hadn’t been running, he would have run the stop sign and would have met the front bumper of a truck traveling down the other road.  But, I do know for future runs, if I forget my RoadID, I will go back home to get it.  Besides my run in with this driver, my entire run went well.  This was my best run, in regards to pace, since returning from injury.  I completed 3.21 miles with a pace of 9:23 per mile.

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!

Big News for the Platinum Sombrero 5K

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There has been some major news on the Platinum Sombrero 5K (register here) front this week.  I am tirelessly trying to secure new sponsors for the event, with the hopes that every participant gets something besides a medal and the satisfaction of helping St. Jude from the race.  This morning Sweaty Bands agreed to donate some products to be given away to race participants.  Sorry fellas, this is just a give away for the ladies, but I’m working on other items as well.  From what I gather from fellow runners, these hair bands are great for sweat management and stay in place very well.  Check out their site for more info and like them on Facebook.

Sponsor #2

Sponsor #2

Thus far, I should be getting items from the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Oakland A’s, and Cleveland Indians.  I am still working on securing something from the other 22 MLB teams.

Also today, I created a Facebook page for the Platinum Sombrero 5K!  I hope that this will increase awareness and attendance for the event.  Head over the Facebook and like the page now, please.  Also, there are still plenty of race slots open, so register today!

First Sponsor for the Platinum Sombrero 5K

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I would like to send a huge thank you RoadID, the first corporate sponsor of the Platinum Sombrero Virtual 5K (click to register for the event)!  RoadID has generously agreed to donate coupons to every participant in the event as well as 7 gift cards valuing $15 apiece that will be awarded to 7 participants at random.

Sponsor #1

Sponsor #1

I always wear my RoadID bracelet, and I have for over two years now.  It has my name, brief medical info, and emergency contacts on it, as well as a short inspirational quote on it.  This is great info to share in case of emergency, especially for someone with a severe allergy, asthma, or contagious disease.  I went with the RoadID elite and I actually wear it all day.  It has a black, silicone band with a metal watch like buckle and a metal information plate.  There is also apparel, reflective gear, and several variations on the RoadID bracelet over on their site.  Also, go like them on Facebook.

Gear

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Every runner knows that you can’t achieve your goals without the proper gear, so here is some of my equipment that I use for every run.  I guess I should mention that all of these items have been purchased from retail vendors and I do not get compensated in any way to plug these items; they are just what I currently like to use.

When you run long distances, you tend to have to shop for shoes quite often.  Most runners get 400-500 miles from a pair of shoes (according to info I found) and having a backup plan is a good, but expensive idea.  I tend to overpronate when I run, so I went shopping for a pair of shoes that helped with this running style.  After some extensive research, I settled on the Nike+ Zoom Vomero 7.  It is a light shoe with great cushioning and numerous color options.  I chose the gray/orange combo against the protests of my wife.  I also have an old pair of Asics that I wear in muddy trail runs and a pair of Nike+ Livestrong shoes that I occasionally use, but the Vomero 7’s are my curreny and primary running shoe.

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For my most recent birthday, my wife got me the Nike+ Sportswatch GPS with Nike+ Sensor.  The GPS is powered by TomTom and it is very easy to upload data from the watch to my computer.  Whenever and wherever I run, I can record data with this watch.  The watch utilizes its GPS function when I’m running outdoors and the sensor (which slips into the shoe of my shoes) works perfectly when I decide to use the treadmill.  The watch tells me my current pace, average pace, distance traveled, calories burned, Nikefuel earned, time elapsed, and current time.  If I don’t run for a few days, the alarm goes off as a gentle reminder to get back out there.  After uploading the data to my computer, the Nike+ website will track my runs so I can see my progress or regression, as well as keep track of my weekly, monthly, and yearly miles.  I also can add notes about the weather, which shoes I wore, how I felt post race, and any notes I might want to write to refer to at a later date.  My personal records and trends are just a click away, as is my routes.  This is the perfect device for any runner, especially a nerdy runner like me.

nike tomtom watch

I wear numerous brands of tech shirts and shorts, and I really can’t tell much of a difference in any of them.  My Nike shirts seem to be a touch bigger than the others, but not enough that I need to buy a different size than the other shirts.  Being a heavy sweater, and bald, I need to wear a hat while I run.  The problem is, every hat will be sweated through between miles 3 and 4, regardless of the temperature.  I will say though, my Under Armour hat dries quicker than my Nike dri-fit hat, so I do prefer to wear the Under Armour one.   I don’t have any specialty running socks that I use, but I may investigate those this year.

I use the Yurbuds Inspire earbuds and they are excellent against sweat and the weather.  The company claims that they are guaranteed not to fall out, but that is not quite 100% true.  You must find the proper size to wear and insert them into your ears utilizing the proper technique.  Yurbuds has great customer service and is very dedicated to getting customers into the proper head gear.  I had a size 5, but after consulting with them, it was determined that I needed a specialty size 4.  They exchanged my earbuds free off charge, even though I was well beyond the warranty exchange period.  My Yurbuds do stay in my ears better than any other product that I have tried, but I have had an issue or two with them falling out when I get extremely sweaty.

I carry my iPhone with me when a run and use an Armpocket XTREME i-30 to hold it.  I chose this product because I’m asthmatic and it can hold my phone, inhaler, gels/GU’s, and keys.  It is comfortable and keeps my stuff dry, but it was not designed for the iPhone 5.  When I had my iPhone 4, the phone fit perfectly and I could store everything with no issues, but now, the headphone jack juts out a little bit.  It isn’t that big of a deal, just a minor inconvenience.  The printing on the product is reflective and once I put on the arm band, it never moves.

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On my longer runs, I use a Camelback pack for my water.  I went with the 70 ounce version that is used by the military basically because it is what I already had.I’m sure wearing a backpack full of water isn’t for everyone, but I do prefer it to carrying a water bottle.

I don’t always carry my id on me, even though I easy could in the Armpocket, but I do always wear my RoadID bracelet.  It has my name, brief medical info, and emergency contacts on it, as well as a short inspiration quote on it.  This is great info to share in case of emergency, especially for someone with a severe allergy, asthma, or contagious disease.  I went with the RoadID elite and I actually wear it all day.  It has a black, silicone band with a metal watch like buckle and a metal information plate.