Throwback Thursday: Revisiting a Rant

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I do not usually post Throwback Thursdays pictures or statuses on social media, but today a post of mine was received some traffic that sparked an interest in me to revisit the issue.  Last March, I wrote a post complaining about Memphis not getting any national obstacle races and having a shortage of distance races.  I guess someone listened because 2014 is a much more promising year for the Bluff City.  While not landing one of the big three obstacle course events (Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, or Warrior Dash), Foam Fest will be coming to town in May.  Of course, as of today, I am not registered for that event, so I may be a part of the problem, but at least it is a local option.  There are also two new half marathon/marathon events this season in Memphis, both of the trail variety.  One is at Shelby Forrest in two weeks and the other is at Stanky Creek during the first weekend of March.  Promotion has been slight for both events, but hopefully the organization has not been.  I will probably run the latter of the two events, provided that it does not sell out before I get a chance to register.  Also, the Navy Ten Nautical Miler has been reinstated for 2014, and of course, I still can not participate in it this year.  It is slated for Sunday, June 8, which is the day after my running of the Tough Mudder event in Nashville.  Whereas I could work both events into my calendar, I am very wary of running these events on back to back days in the June heat in Tennessee.  Battered and bruised from Tough Mudder and then fighting heat and humidity may not be the most fun I have ever had at a race.  Maybe my running of the Spartan Sprint this weekend will reduce some of this trepidation.

Memphis

Memphis

On a side note, of the national races that I mentioned on my prior post, one, Tap ‘N Run, came to Memphis in October 2013 (great premise that was spoiled by an unseasonably warm day), and two, Hero Rush and Run For Your Lives, are now defunct.  From what I read, the two race series that folded were popular, but had some financial issues that led to their demise.  You can surely Google each race and get the full story, or click here for my take on what happened with Run For Your Lives (Note: the new race is no longer coming to Memphis).

Run For Your Lives, the Resurrection

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A few months ago, I wrote about my disgust with the Run For Your Lives for how they had kept changing the Tennessee event and ultimately canceled it.  You can read about that here.  The price structure also kept changing and I felt that their time was limited.  This year had already seen the demise of the Hero Rush event series,  and those events did not seem to have nearly the amount of issues as Run For Your Lives.  Earlier this week, I noticed that my previous post about the event saw an incredible amount of traffic.  I thought it was weird, but did not look into it too much.  In fact, I only thought that I was rather lucky that my event was canceled in May so I got a refund.  Then, on Halloween, I saw a post on Facebook about people talking about some confusion about the event coming up in Phoenix this weekend.  Apparently, all registered participants for upcoming events were sent emails this week that the events were canceled and they should contact their bank about getting a refund.  That’s right, the event was folding and not issuing refunds!  This is exactly what I expected from the people in charge of the event.

New RFYL logo from the Facebook page

New RFYL logo from the Facebook page

Then enter Human Movement, the company behind events such as The Color Run, The Ugly Sweater Run, and 5K Foam Fest.  Human Movement not only took over for Run For Your Lives,, but they were honoring all previously scheduled events.  Obviously there were some changes to what people were expecting, but the bottom line was that everyone was going to have the opportunity to run in these events.  If your bank gave you a refund, so what, because you were still registered since the previous race organizers did not issue the refund.  Now that is great customer service!  You can learn more about this week for the event here.

Sunday, I checked the Facebook page again because I was curious to see how yesterday went.  While visiting Facebook, I noticed that Human Movement has decided to organize more Run For Your Lives events for 2014, with Memphis being one of the locations!  I am going to be very interested to see how this plays out in the future.  I am posting this for general information, and nothing more.  I was given a free entry to The Color Run in the past, but that is not why I am posting this.  Rather, this entire situation intrigues me.

Run For Your Lives, Not So Much

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So my six month quest to run in the Run For Your Lives event has come to an end.  I got an email today saying that the event in Tennessee has been canceled.  For those of you uncertain what this event is, it is an obstacle race in which participants run from zombies while maneuvering through obstacles like a maze, blood pit, and smokehouse.  The event was originally scheduled to be ran on March 30, 2013.  This date led me to register for the Germantown Half Marathon on March 17 and skip the Oak Barrel Half Marathon on April 6.  Then, the race was rescheduled.  I got an email stating that there was a scheduling conflict and the event was moved to April 13.  This wasn’t an ideal date since I had a wedding to attend that evening, Warrior Dash was the following weekend, and I still couldn’t register for the Oak Barrel Half, but I stuck with it.  I also noticed that it must have been one heck of a scheduling conflict because events in Texas, Missouri, and Florida were also moved.  Then, two months later, I got another email stating that the event was moved again.  There was no real explanation of why, they just moved it to November 9!  Really, postponing the event seven months later than the first reschedule.  I really wanted to do this race, and I had already paid for it, so I stuck with it, even though it is quite unprofessional to continually change your event like this.  Also, the Oak Barrel Half was now sold out, so I could not participate in that race either.  Today’s email simply said that “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will no longer have our Tennessee event…”  Circumstances out of our control?  Really?  If they could have got their stuff together in the spring, we would have already run the event, had some fun, and we would be eagerly awaiting next year’s event.  Now, they have left a very bitter taste in the mouth of numerous perspective Tennessee participants.  Their response on Facebook was “I don’t have all the details, just know the circumstances were out of our control this time.”  This time?  So they basically confirmed that their laziness/incompetence were the previous two detriments.

Email/Facebook from Run For Your Lives

Email/Facebook from Run For Your Lives

It is so frustrating that a national race cannot get their stuff together to host an event, and constantly use vague verbiage to cover for their ineptness.  Oh well, I need to find a new obstacle race now.  At least my money was refunded, and that money will probably go to another two races.  Yeah, I forgot to mention early that even with early registration, this event was about twice as expensive as Warrior Dash, and after the first reschedule, prices dropped, but early registrants were not given the difference in the discounted rate.  Even if the race returns to Tennessee, I will probably skip it.  I just cannot accept that with a six month window, nothing could be worked out.

Get Off Your Ass Memphis

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So while putting together my race itinerary for this year, I noticed a shortage of fun and inventive races in this area. Memphis cannot or refuses to get Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Hero Rush, Tap ‘N Run, Ragnar Relay, Run For Your Lives, Foam Fest, or any of the numerous other national themed races. These races will all come to Nashville, some will come to Little Rock, AR and Jackson, MS, and some won’t come within 200 miles of the city. And my question is why? Memphis has venues for these events and I’m certain people chomping at the bit to participate. It gets quite expensive and annoying to drive seven or eight hours round trip to run a race. Now I don’t expect to get every race (like Nashville seems to), but at least a couple of them. I am not sure what has to happen to land an event, but Memphis should explore the procedures. Tough Mudder and Spartan Race are not coming to the Volunteer State this, or any year, so it would be very encouraging to snag one of these events next year. Also, getting the Navy Ten Nautical Miler back next June would also be very good news.

Furthermore, there is a complete lack of distance races in this town. From online searches, you find five half marathons within fifty miles of Memphis, and one of those five may not be happening this year. Conversely, there are eleven half marathons within fifty miles of Nashville, twelve to Chattanooga, ten to Knoxville, and even seven for Huntsville, AL! If there were 100 races here, the St Jude Marathon and Half Marathon would still sellout every year. It is a great event, for a great cause, so if that is a part of the reasoning, then it should be ignored. I know that we are a city that prides itself on BBQ and quality southern cuisine, but that should not deter us from hosting some premier races.

I’ll get off of my soapbox here, it just is quite frustrating that Memphis has such shortcomings in this area. The Greenline was a great move in getting healthier, as are the bicycle lanes in Midtown. It would be great to continue to improve in this area. I can only hope.

A Little Bit of Everything

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Yesterday I did not workout.  I didn’t run nor do my TRX workout, I instead went to an early dinner with the wife and played trivia at our local watering hole, Brookhaven Pub.  Our team, Rum Ham, plays there weekly and, not to brag (because who would brag about something like this?), but we routinely win first place there.  We are currently in the city and region wide finals for bar trivia.  Yes, I am a dork, and yes, this is a real thing.  The payoff is a huge cash pool to the top finishers and free bar tabs at your local spots.  It passes the time.  But, since I skipped my workout, I am “punishing” myself by taking the stairs.  My office is on the eighth floor and the courtroom I work in is in the basement, so there will be plenty of stairs for me today.  Actually, it will be 244 stairs per a one way trip, with a minimum of six trips today.  Add in transporting files up and down from court, and it is a decent way to stay active today.

I ran in a virtual 5K a couple of weeks back called the Chilly Cheeks 5K, hosted by fellow blogger http://bigandysrunning.wordpress.com/ as a fundraiser for a run he is doing.  I finished in a PR 5K time of 26:30, but I guess that comes with an asterisk since it was on a treadmill and not a fully sanctioned event.  But, I’ll take it, none the less.

Yep, there is a bare ass on my wall.

Yep, there is a bare ass on my wall.

I got an email from one of my upcoming races stating that the race date has been rescheduled.  This is the second reschedule for the Run For Your Lives race in Tennessee.  The original date was March 30, which was very convenient for me because I will be closer to Nashville that weekend for Easter, but there was a scheduling conflict on that date apparently and it was pushed back two weeks.  And now today, the date has been moved to November 9, due to another scheduling conflict.  It kind of pissed me off.  I could understand one reschedule, but not two.  Also, the original price structure was set up to reward people for signing up early with lower registration fees.  I signed up on Cyber Monday along with a friend after the first reschedule, the prices lowered and a rebate was not offered to any of the early registrants.  I didn’t get my refund and simply register again for the race race last time, because it was honestly just $5, but I probably should have.  I am tempted to just get my refund and go about my business due to the schedule turmoil.  If they cannot get the schedule right, what else are they going to mess up?  Also, with the wife’s family being season ticket holders for the Ole Miss Rebels, if I decide to still run the race, I will be putting her out a little bit.  What also irks me about the reschedule is that I wanted to run the Oak Barrel 13.1 on April 6, but couldn’t because three races in a row was a little ambitious, and now that I can, registration is closed.  There will be a brief opening of the last 100 spots, but that happens during the Germantown Half Marathon.  We shall see.  At least now I will not have back to back weeks of obstacle races and I won’t be late to my friend’s wedding on the 13th.

I will post about today’s workout later this evening or in the morning.

My running plan for 2013

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My plan for 2013 is simple. I want to actually have a running plan.  I don’t want to train for one race for a couple of months and ignore running the rest of the year.  But, I also don’t want to set ridiculous goals (like an marathon every month) for the year that would lead to injury or apathy.  So, I thought it would be fun to do a race each month of the year.  Each race was be of varying distances and design.  I would do some 5K’s, 10K’s, a half marathon or two, a couple of obstacle races, and anything that looks enjoyable and feasible.  The 2013 schedule is as follows:

Jan1 – Resolution 5K (a virtual race for Fortheloveofthekids.com)

Feb 16 – Move It Memphis 10K – Memphis, TN

Mar 17 – Germantown Half Marathon – Germantown, TN

Apr 13 – Run For Your Lives (Obstacle race in which I will run from zombies) – Chapmansboro, TN

Apr 20 – Warrior Dash (obstacle race) – Jackson, MS

May – TBD Maybe Memphis in May 10K or Zoom thru the Zoo

Jun – TBD Maybe Navy 10 Nautical Miler – Millington, TN

Jul – TBD No clue yet

Aug – TBD Probably the Elvis 5K

Sep – TBD The Tupelo 14.2 is tempting, but damn will it be hot, especially during training. The Cooper Young 4 Miler is another strong choice.

Oct 20 – 4 Bridges Half Marathon – Chattanooga, TN – This is how Susan and I are spending out first anniversary.  I probably will have to get her a REALLY good gift!

Nov – TBD True Blue 5K + a new race

Dec – TBD This is still up in the air. I want to do the St Jude half again, but I would like to try something new as well.  Am I ready for a full marathon yet?

I will do a write up of each race, including my thoughts on the event, pictures, my results, my weight on race day (this is a blog about running while large after all), and any swag that I might get.  The only drawbacks to this plan is races are expensive and there is not much variety in Memphis area races.  If I lived in Nashville, I could run anything I wanted to, but I shall make the most of it.  Or, at least within reason.  The cost factor is quite restrictive and has already altered my plan.  In a perfect world, would run the Flying Pig Half in Cincinnati in May and catch the Braves vs Reds the following night.  And then in July, I would trek north to Chicago to run in the Rock ‘n Roll Half and catch the Braves vs White Sox.  But this is not a perfect world, and despite my lofty goal, I am not going to go into the poor house to achieve it.  My plan is going to still be completed and will give me a great idea about future years.