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).

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2014 Running Goals

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2013 was a successful year of running for me.  I achieved multiple goals and pushed myself to new levels.  But more on this in my year-end recap post, which will most likely be published sometime tomorrow.  Today’s post is about the upcoming year and what I hope to accomplish.  I am hoping to continue to build upon my successes in 2013 with my 2014 campaign.  These goals are going to be in addition to my 2014 goal of completing at least one RAK (Random Act of Kindness) per day in 2014.  More about this endeavor here and my progress will be tracked here.  Now onto the goals!

This is my ultimate goal!

This is my ultimate goal!

Run a Marathon.

        This goal will be realized within the first two weeks of the year when I complete the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12.  This is probably my biggest goal of the year and it will be reached to launch my year of running.  I read somewhere that less than 1% of the population has completed a marathon, so it would be some great company to be associated with.  I am already getting antsy about the race and I am really looking forward to the run.
This is going to take some getting used to.

This is going to take some getting used to.

 

  1. Redeem My Germantown Half Marathon.  I did not complete this race last year due to my peroneal tendonitis and had to walk the 5K instead.  This tends to be a race that several runners PR, but that is not my goal.  Rather, I just want to be able to complete the 13.1 miles that I could not complete last year.

    We shall see!

    We shall see!

  2. Become a Tough Mudder and a Spartan.  I ran the Warrior Dash last year, and I loved it.  I wanted to try some more obstacle races, but none come to Memphis, so there is the added expense of traveling to the race.  I have already scheduled trips to Nashville for Tough Mudder in June and Tampa for the Spartan Sprint in February.  These events seem to be even tougher than the Warrior Dash and will certainly push me further.  Susan is still not convinced that I should run in the Tough Mudder, but the registration has been paid for, so it is all systems go.
  3. Try New Races.  I presently do not have a set number of new races to try, but I already have six new races added to my schedule, with prospects for at least three more new ones.  We will see how this goal progresses, but I imagine being in double digits of new races in 2014.
  4. Run More Half Marathons in 2014 Than My Entire Life Prior.  I have officially completed five half marathons in my running history.  This number could have been seven, but due to injury in March and ice in December, the number remains at five.  I have already scheduled three half marathons with the Germantown Half in March and the Oak Barrel 13.1 and Country Music Half Marathon, both in April.  Also, I will be running the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon again in December and I hope to run the Disneyland Half in August and Greenline Half in October.  We shall see.  There are a few other attractive options as well.

    Log 1,000 miles in 2014

    Log 1,000 miles in 2014

  5. Run At Least 1,000 Miles.  This may be aggressive for the year, but I ran over 800 miles this year, which included an injury that sidelined me for a month and required a slow rehab to get to running again.  The monthly total this goal will require is 83.33 miles.  I was near or above this total in all months except February, March, April, and May, which coincides with my injury.  Spreading out my half marathons will help with my mileage goal as well.
  6. Focus On Cross Training.  I have TRX straps and get the Spartan Race WOD emailed to me so I do not have a real excuse for the lack of cross training that I am doing.  Cross training will aid in my running and overall fitness, therefore it should be higher on my priority list.  Also, with a Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, and Tough Mudder on my agenda, a focus on my fitness besides running is going to be paramount to my success.  I am also thinking about doing CrossFit once the WDW Marathon has been completed.  My uncle-in-law (is this a thing?) does CrossFit and he raves about the benefits.  Of course, most people who do CrossFit talk about it non-stop (like us runners, I suppose) and it seems to be its own culture.
  7. Continue My Race a Month Schedule.  I have loved running a race each month this year, and my current race streak is at 14 months, so continuing this streak will be added to my running goals.  I will probably run less races in 2014 than 2013 since I will be focusing on more substantial races and not incurring the cost of the several smaller races.  I will still run in a few 5K’s, but just not as many as in 2013.  Also, I will do very few, if any virtual races in 2014 this year.  They were a great motivator for me this year, but I do not need them anymore and the whole concept has jumped the shark a little bit.  They help raise money for some great charities, but the market is now saturated and the impact has been diminished.
  8. Complete At Least One Pull Up.  This will go with my focus on cross training, but I have never been able to complete a pull up.  We would have to do pull ups in gym class and football when I was younger, but I could never get my chin over the bar.  My peers would have a good time with the fat kid hanging on the bar, unable to even do one pull up, so for my personal pride, I want to complete at least one unassisted pull up by December 31, 2014.  This is not exactly a running goal, but it is associated with my overall fitness, so I included it.

This is my current slate of running and fitness goals for 2014.  I have scheduled several events already for 2014 and I am looking at multiple others as well.  I am hoping for another successful year in 2014, building upon my knowledge and experiences from this past year.

Forming My 2014 Schedule

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It is never too early to explore next year’s races, so that is what I am doing today.  Originally, I wanted to run the Disneyland Half Marathon next August to complete the Coast to Coast Challenge, but realistically, making that trip might be out of my budget next year.  My wife and I are in the early stages of exploring the purchase of a new house, so that is taking priority.  We are saving as much disposable income as possible, so that means I will be running in races a little closer to home.  This means that after the Walt Disney World Marathon in January and Spartan Race in Tampa in February, the farthest I will travel for an event will be a three-hour drive from Memphis.  I might just focus on running in every half marathon in Shelby County, and I will also be able to work in another state by running in a half marathon in Murray, KY, which is very close to my parents’ house.  So, let’s look at the potential races.

Paid in Full, Scheduled Races:

Jan 12 – Walt Disney World Marathon – Lake Buena Vista, FL – My first marathon and a genuine runcation!

This is my ultimate goal!

This is my ultimate goal!

Feb 15 – Special Ops Spartan Sprint – Tampa, FL – My first Spartan race that will allow for a visit with some family and friends in the Tampa area!

June 7 – Tough Mudder – Nashville, TN – Susan is against me participating in this event, but I want to prove myself.

We shall see!

We shall see!

Dec – St. Jude Half Marathon – Memphis, TN – This is my annual event at this point.

Nearby Races That I Am Leaning Towards:

Feb 22 – Oxford Run for Hope – Oxford, MS -Susan is an Ole Miss girl, so anything Oxford should be an easy sell.

Mar 16 – Germantown Half Marathon – Germantown, TN – I was supposed to run this event in 2013, but I was injured and had to limp through the 5K.  I want this to be a redemption run, plus it is here in Shelby County.

May 3 – Warrior Dash – Jackson, MS – I loved this event last year, and really want to do it again.

Oct – Greenline Half Marathon – Memphis, TN – I should be able to work this in for the first time in 2014.

Tempting Races on the Fringe:

Apr 5 – Oak Barrel 13.1 – Lynchburg, TN – Registration opens Oct 27, 2013, and this race has a very unique finisher’s medal.

Apr 12 – Murray Half Marathon – Murray, KY – It is near my parents and would be another state completed, but I can’t run it and the Oak Barrel 13.1

Apr 26 – Country Music Half Marathon – Nashville, TN – I have never run in  a Rock ‘N Roll event, but if I do in 2014, this would be it.

Aug 31 or Sep 7 – Tupelo 14.2 – I might make a return trip to this hot and humid event.

Pipe Dreams:

Mar 23 – Publix Georgia Half Marathon – Atlanta, GA – If this was a month later, I could work in a Braves game too, but both are just wishful thinking for 2014.

Jul 20 – Rock ‘N Roll Chicago Half Marathon – I have never been to Chicago and this would be a good excuse.

Aug 31 – Disneyland Half – Anaheim, CA – I want to complete the Coast to Coast, but my finances are not looking good for this.

I will also add in some local 5K’s, as well as some other events here in Memphis.  I will probably not run quite as many races in 2014 as 2013, but it is still early. At least the WDW Marathon will be partially encompassed with my 2013 budget.

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.

Races I Can’t Run This Year

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I got a Facebook update yesterday from the Navy Ten Nautical Miler stating that this year’s race is a causality of the Sequestration.  That means a very well received race in the Memphis area is no more, at least for this year, and any early registrants will have their registration fees refunded to them.  It is sad news, but honestly, I wasn’t going to be able to run the race this year anyway, but hopefully it will return next June.  But this got me to thinking about races I wanted to run this year but could not due to injury or scheduling conflicts.  The following is some of those races:

  • Germantown Half Marathon: peroneal tendonitis sidelined me for this, I might run it next year
  • Oak Barrel Half Marathon: peroneal tendonitis sidelined me for this one as well, but it would have been difficult to run it anyway since I was hoping to be one of the final 100 registrants for the race and those slots were sold in under one minute!  I will do my best to add this to next year’s itinerary.
  • Flying Pig Half Marathon: big race in Cincinnati, OH that I couldn’t financially swing this year.
  • Navy Ten Nautical Miler: travel schedule and the Sequestration eliminated it this year.
  • Hero Rush: fireman themed obstacle race with various locations around the country, but the one in Tennessee is the same day that I will be running the Warrior Dash in Jackson, MS.  Maybe next year.
  • Key East Half Marathon: Susan and I went to Key West on a part of our honeymoon and the town was a blast, so any excuse to return is a good one to me.  Maybe 2015 (WDW Marathon will be in January 2014).
  • Spartan Race: another obstacle race that I would like to do, but they don’t have any near Memphis, and traveling to one this year is not going to happen.  They offer three different distances (not at each location though) for different levels of competitors, which is a good idea.

There are a couple races not mentioned above, but it is no certainty that I run them this year.  Susan is a little skeptical about me running in either of these events, but I want to try both eventually.  They are as follows:

  • Tough Mudder: this seems to be the biggest and baddest of the obstacle runs out there, and even requires you to sign a death waiver!  Now the waiver is probably a mix of hype for the race as well as a preventative measure in case something does happen.  The problem is the three closest locations are at least five hours away, and the Georgia and Kentucky events pose scheduling conflicts for me.
  • Tupelo 14.2 Miler: Labor Day weekend this year, so the timing works, but it is very hot on September 1 in this area, even at 5 in the morning, and the training prior to the event will occur in even hotter temperatures.  However, I will be two months into my marathon training, so maybe working this in will be a little easier.

Just writing this post has got me itching to get this boot off even more and get back to training at 100% capacity.  I am exactly one month away from running my first Warrior Dash, and I don’t want to embarrass myself on the course.