Staying Active in the Ice

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Currently, Memphis and much of the mid-south is experiencing some intense ice coverage, which limits what can be done. I currently do not have a gym membership, but I can go to the student rec center when it is open. But, of course, with this ice, comes school closings, and thus, the student rec center is not an option. Likewise for boot camp since it follows the University of Memphis’ decision to cancel classes and activities or not. I could try my hand at running along the streets, but with my propensity to fall, that seems like a huge gamble. Especially with the Mercedes Half Marathon coming up this Sunday. Therefore, I must find ways to be active within the confines of my house.

We may see a couple of these on the Memphis roads.

We may see a couple of these on the Memphis roads.

Last night, Susan suggested that I try an interactive program called GoNoodle that they use at her school. It is a way for students to learn while being active. The learning fractions was not of my concern, but the activities were. I did a combination of indoor running, Zumba, yoga, and calisthenics. It was a better workout than I was expecting, and it was a great way to keep moving.

TRX-Banner

Tonight, I am going to do some TRX and other body weight exercises. TRX is always a quick and easy way to stay active at the house, so if this ice maintains for a few more days, I should be covered. I should be able to reach the end of my ice induced hibernation without gaining an obscene amount of weight.

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.

Weekly Recap

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I did a better job of working in some cross-training this week, even if I did not do quite as much as I wanted or needed to.  After last week’s weather reprieve, the temperatures crept back up this week, but thankfully the humidity did not.  Hopefully the temps will trend back down next week, and the humidity will remain low because I am about to embark on my biggest stretch of races of the year as well as approaching new distance territories with my marathon training.

Monday: This was a designed rest day.  This was the beginning of my busy week of work, as well as a full week of class assignments, so every extra second was appreciated.

Tuesday: An early morning run to get the day off on the right foot.  I felt good on the run and used it as an easy forty minutes away from worrying about school and work.

Wednesday: On the exercise front, I was a complete slacker.  I had every intention to do some TRX after class, but I just zonked out instead.  I did, however, get my second A in my Wednesday night class, which is my most difficult class!  Therefore, 9% of my grade is an A, which is great, but now I have more pressure to keep up with the momentum.

Thursday: Another early morning run at an easy pace for four miles.  This is going to be my routine for the foreseeable future, and yet, waking up by 5:30 am is not getting any easier!

Friday: I finally did something besides run or be lazy!  I did an intense, all body TRX workout after work, and I immediately noticed that my recent slacking was taking its toll on my body.  This was a jarring reminder that I am better served with a couple of non-running workouts per week, and that I can find time for these.  After my TRX routine, I decided to embrace my Spartan Race training advice and headed outside for some burpees.  I wanted to do thirty since that is the penalty for skipping a Spartan obstacle, and while I attempted thirty burpees, twenty-five of them would be in the running for the worst burpee of all time!

Saturday: This was my “long” run day, and since I am following the Jeff Galloway training plan, this called for a four mile run.  No worries, next week will be a fifteen miler, so I will definitely be building my mileage base!

The rest of the day consisted of college football and some beer.

Sunday: No workouts, but I stayed busy working on a paper for class this week.  It is my third writing assignment in this same class, and the pressure is on to make another A.  We shall see how it goes.

Best show on TV

Best show on TV

Sunday night marked the end of the best TV show of all time, Breaking Bad.   I am not going to spoil the episode, but I must say that Vince Gilligan knows how to end a show.  It was a perfect ending to an outstanding show and certainly lived up to the hype.

Weekly Recap

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My updates have not been coming at an acceptable pace, this I know.  I am going to try to do a better job of writing this week. I think that I have finally gotten into a rhythm with class, work, my personal life, and running.  So to get back into the swing of things, let me catch you up on my last week.

Monday: I did not run, but I did one of the Spartan Race Workouts of the Day that focused on my core.  I did some side crunches, planks, pushups, bicycles, and such for about half an hour.  Focusing on my core will be vital moving forward for my marathon aspirations.

Tuesday: I woke up early and went for the first run of the week.  I completed 3.81 miles slower than I was expecting, but the heat and humidity was insane.  At 5:30 am, the temperature was already over 80 and the humidity was close to this number.  Can it be December yet?  Also, Sons of Anarchy returned and while it is not as good as Breaking Bad or several other dramas on TV now, it still is one that I am rather addicted to.  Hopefully season six is better than season five was.

Wednesday: My first grad school paper was due and I am very eager to see how I did on it.  It has been a considerable amount of time since I graduated from college and I am having to learn a new style of writing.  I am cautiously optimistic about how I did.  After class, I was mentally zapped, so I watched It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League, and did no workout.

Thursday: Another early morning run in high heat and humidity.  My pace was a little better and I logged 4.24 miles.  After work, I rotated homework for my Monday night class and some TRX.  It was not my best TRX session ever, but it was better than nothing.

Friday: I ran in the Cooper Young Festival 4 Miler (my recap will be posted sometime this week) and I had a great race.  I beat my previous four mile race PR by about four minutes!  The weather was great and the race was well organized.  I will leave it at this until I post my full recap.

Saturday: No workout, but I did do quite a bit of walking at the Cooper Young Festival with Susan and one of her friends.  We did not buy much, but I did score one of my favorite shirts of all-time!  Susan and I had seen a picture of the shirt before, but acquiring it proved to be quite elusive, but I knew it would be at the festival and it was my mission to find it.  After the festival, we went to Local on the Square, where I had some amazing chicken and waffles.  College football was not kind to the Tennessee Vols or Memphis Tigers, but Susan’s Ole Miss Rebels looked good against Texas.

This is such a great shirt!

This is such a great shirt!

Sunday: Another early morning run, but since I am doing the Jeff Galloway plan, it was a short one.  However, I really should not have done a run at all, but only running three days a week, especially on the short weeks is hard to do.  That might change as my mileage ramps up.  It was a cooler morning than my last couple of early morning runs, which was greatly appreciated.  And it made my 4.28 miles very pleasant.  My neighbor did deliver some bad news when he said that someone tried to break into his house this week.  Wednesday around 7:00 pm, his daughters caught two minute lurking around their front window.  This same night, someone knocked very aggressively on our door, but Susan did not answer. Having a loud dog probably helped urge the people to move along.

Not a single team that I root for won today, so that is a bummer, but hopefully the Braves can win at least two of their next three games so they can clinch the NL East in Washington.

I am not sure my heart can handle two more weeks of Breaking Bad if they are going to be this intense!  The show is without a shadow of a doubt the best show in TV history.  I would also like to thank the NFL for the one hour weather delay that perfectly coincided with Breaking Bad tonight.

Week in Review

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This was my second week of grad school and the first week after the Tupelo 14.2, so I am getting back into my fall routine, even if the weather is not.  And I am going to go ahead and say that I am already over the required reading for my classes.

Accomplished!

Accomplished!

Monday: It was Labor Day, and a recovery day.  I went to the gym and rode the bike for about 45 minutes.  It was great to do a little bit of something to help my legs feel a little bit better after the race.  I spent the bulk of my time reading text books, so there was nothing exciting happening on my day off.

Tuesday: I woke up at 5:30 am to get in my run and completed 3.5 miles at an easy pace.  The Jeff Galloway training plan for the Walt Disney World Marathon calls for two 30 minute runs during the week and one longer run on the weekend.  I am used to running 45 minutes to an hour on my shorter run, so we will see what happens.  Work was terrible, because missing a day of court leads to a backlog of new arrests and violations.  Afterwards, I went straight to class to endure three hours of being one of the four people in class that had read the text.  That makes class discussion a little tedious.

Wednesday: I was lazy and did no workout.  I did have another grad school class and was released twenty minutes early, so that was a positive.

Thursday: Another early morning run, but this one was a little bit longer and I completed just over four miles.  Work was busy, but uneventful, and I do not have class on Thursday nights, so I use it as a study night.  Also, this week marks the beginning of the NFL season, so after the never ending weather delay, I watched Peyton destroy the Super Bowl champs.

Friday: No run, but I did some TRX at the house.  It was a typical all around routine and was a reminder to keep focused on my other fitness needs besides running.  I also launched my second virtual race, the Festivus 5K (register here), which is a virtual run with a Seinfeld theme that benefits St. Jude.

This is the proof for the race medal

This is the proof for the race medal

Saturday: I picked up the Galloway training plan in progress this week, which meant that I was scheduled to run eleven miles.  I usually run a much shorter distance the week after a race, but with the marathon being my ultimate goal, and the fact that I still have three more half marathons this fall, I made sure to run the eleven miles.  It was not my best run, and by the end of the run, it was very hot and humid here in Memphis.  My time was atrocious, but I completed all eleven miles, so it was still a success.

Sunday: I woke up with the goal of finishing the rough draft of my first paper (due on Wednesday) and that is exactly what I did, albeit after a couple of hours.  I ended up missing the first hour of the early NFL games and the Braves game, but class comes first I suppose.  I might work in some core exercises this evening, but with the Sunday night game and a new episode of Breaking Bad, as well as my DVR finally recording It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League today, I have some TV watching to juggle with studying and working out.

Last Week’s Recap

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This post might be a little late, but it is finally here.  Last week was officially my first taper week, and honestly, I did not know how to juggle my taper long run and the Breakaway Bardog 5K.  All and all though, I had a good week of training, and hopefully this will translate well for my race.

Monday: It was a rest day since I had just completed thirteen plus miles the day prior.  I was active around the house doing chores, but that was it.

Tuesday: I ran just under five miles, but they were slightly split about.  The first half a mile was a dead sprint with Beau, up and down our street.  Running with Beau can be a little treacherous since he likes to go side to side and explore everything that comes along the path.  His ADD has caused me multiple tumbles over the past few months!  After dropping him off at the house, I hit the street again to complete my run, even if the lack of a pace dog had an adverse effect on my time.  Since last week was a bit cooler than the norm for August, I was able to do this run post work, allowing me to sleep in a bit in the morning.

Wednesday: I ran four and a half miles after dinner, which is something I do not do often.  I do not like the feeling of running on a full stomach, but I wanted to make sure to get in some miles.  I also deviated from my running norm by working in a few exercises during my route.  After mile one and a half, I did ten burpees and fifteen pushups at a local elementary school on the route.  After mile three, I stopped at a park to attempt some pullups.  While I was unable to do one (no surprise), I did get some  good core work in during my attempts by hanging on the bar and pulling my knees up.  I finished the run with ten more burpees and twenty more pushups.

Thursday: I only ran three and a half miles because I was having some complications with my asthma.  This has been a recurring theme over the past week or so.

Friday: No run, but I did a TRX routine focusing on my upper body and core.  I wanted to give my legs a little bit of a rest.  After the workout, I went to my sister-in-law’s birthday dinner at Paulette’s, a local favorite that I had never visited before in Harbor Town.  The best thing anyone ordered was the peach crepe made with fresh, local peaches from Jones Orchard that Susan ordered for dessert.  Even though all of the food was good, she definitely won the food ordering battle with that selection.

Saturday: The day started with a return trip to the Memphis Farmers Market, which led to some fresh okra, grouper, squash, zucchini, purple hull peas, and Susan getting reprimanded.  Apparently bringing your dog to the outdoor market is frowned upon.  This was news to Susan since the previous two weeks there were dogs everywhere.  You live and you learn, I suppose.  That afternoon, before grilling up some grouper tacos, I did a full body TRX routine.  My TRX home kit is a lifesaver.  I do, however, need to start going to the gym more often to justify my membership fees.

Sunday: The day started with the Breakaway Bardog 5K, which you can read about here.  After the race, we took Beau to my in-laws for a play date with their dogs.  That evening, my trivia team vied for the the title of Memphis Champions, but we fell short of that goal.  Due to a lack of sci-fi knowledge and some Van Halen hubris, we fell out of contention, and this round of trivia finals has now concluded for us.

Weekly Recap

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I usually try to post this update on Sundays, but yesterday was quite busy for me, so here it goes a day late.

My last week of Tupelo 14.2 high intensity training is now over.  Now all that is left is is a couple of weeks of tapering and then it will finally be race day.  It has been quite a humid week here in Memphis, and very uncomfortable for the longest run of my training.

Monday: I went for my run after work, so the heat I encountered was completely my fault, but the humidity was insane that morning and I needed the extra rest.  The first half mile or so, I ran with my dog.  He is a miniature labradoodle, and I never run hard for more than this distance with him.  After dropping him off, I hit my normal course and had a good run.

Tuesday: No run, but I did a forty-five minute TRX routine.  I rotated through the upper body, core, and lower body exercises.  I really wish I had a place in my yard that I could suspend my TRX straps overhead so I would have the full gambit of exercises at my disposal, but I still can get a great workout in regardless.  I am, however, considering getting a pullup bar that you can put up in a door frame so I can work on doing something that I have never been able to do in my entire life, a pullup.  I feel that it will be very beneficial for my upcoming Spartan Race.

Wednesday:  I was lazy and did not get out of bed for a morning run.  After work, my in-laws decided to take Susan and I out for an early birthday dinner.  We went to Side Street Grill in Midtown for their steak night.  Steak night is a fantastic deal, with two steaks, two sides, two salads, and a shared appetizer for $28!  And we are not talking sirloins here, but rather filet mignon in generous proportions.  It very well may be the best deal in town.

After dinner, I did not feel like going for a run, but I did not want to have an off day completely.  I tried the Spartan Workout of the Day from a couple of weeks ago called the Spartan Ab 300.  The workout goes as follows:

  • 15 Crunches
  • 30 Bicycles
  • 30 Back Scratchers
  • 30 Rotating Crunches
  • 15 Leg Lowers
  • 30 Scissor Kicks
  • 30 Side Crunches
  • 30 Bicycles
  • 15 Crunches
  • 30 Back Scratchers
  • 15 Leg Lowers
  • 30 Side Crunches

This was a very comprehensive routine, but there was quite a bit of a learning curve for the majority of the exercises, and the next time I do it, there will be quite a bit more speed to it.  I will say that my soreness factor was not what I was expecting, so I do feel the pauses to verify my technique was a part of that.

Thursday: I woke up early and finished four and a half miles on a brutal morning.  At 5:30 am, it was 80 degrees, the dew point was 75, and the humidity was at 88%.  Welcome to Memphis in August!  Actually, I guess I should be thankful since there has not been an official day at 100 degrees or higher here in Memphis yet, which feels like a record.  I was drenched after my run and was definitely feeling the wrath of the weather when I returned home.  All I can say is at least I was not running in the blistering sun, so it could have always been worse.

Friday:  It was Susan’s birthday, so I did not workout.  I opted to spend the day with her.  I took a long lunch and met her at work so I could have lunch with her, I gave her some birthday presents, we went to dinner, and then we watched a movie.  I was going to take her to a movie, but she wanted to stay at home and watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  It was her birthday and her choice, so I can no longer say that I am in the minority of the world to never see or read any of the Harry Potter stories.  Oh well.

A Memphis institution

A Memphis institution

Saturday: Honestly, I should have gone for my long run, but we had already made plans to meet some friends for breakfast at a local institution, The Arcade.  Susan has lived here her whole life and I have lived here for about a third of mine (wow, I have been here that long?), yet we had never tried the place out.  I will say that after eating there, the place is worth the hype.  I had what is called the “Eggs Redneck” which is biscuits and sausage smothered in gravy with hash browns and eggs.  It was not the healthiest meal of my week, but it was very delicious.  After breakfast, Susan and I went to the farmers market around the corner.  The place was packed with vendors and shoppers, and there were some local food trucks there as well.  We bought some locally made hot sauce, a pound of triple stripe, some tomatoes, olive spread, and hummus, which led to a fantastic grilled dinner later in the day.

This is what we came home with.

This is what we came home with.

I could not stand the thought of two days in a row without a workout, so I did another TRX routine.  This was a shorter one, and I finished with my last set a mere twenty-five minutes after I began my warmup routine.  It is very convenient to have the ability to do TRX at home.  But this convenience also eliminates any excuse that I might have about finding time to exercise.  After my TRX routine, I mowed my yard, so that hour plus of pushing that mower around the yard can be attributed to being active as well.

A great place to spend a Saturday morning.

A great place to spend a Saturday morning.

Sadly, the Atlanta Braves incredible win streak came to an end with a wild pitch in the top of the ninth inning against the lowly Miami Marlins.  The Braves had rattled off fourteen consecutive wins, and opened up a commanding fifteen and a half game lead on the Washington Nationals!  It has been a fantastic couple of weeks of Braves baseball, and hopefully this will be parlayed into a long October run!

Sunday: I did not choose well for the day and time for my long run for the week.  I woke up at 5:30 am, but the weather outside was already soup like.  The humidity sat at 87%, the dew point was 73.9 degrees, and the temperature sat at an even 80 degrees, so I knew I was in for a challenge.  I took a very long time to get prepped for my run, trying to get psyched for the weather, and by the time I hit the sidewalk, I was already sweating.  I thought that my day, and possibly the next couple of months was over just after mile three.  Memphis is a city with numerous trees which is awesome for aesthetics and shade, but can be brutal on my allergies and the local sidewalks.  My allergies were mostly in check this morning, but I was not being as mindful as I should have been to the ever changing topography on the sidewalk.  I came down very awkwardly on my left foot, causing it and my ankle to pop very loudly and roll inwards.  I let out a string of expletives and thought the worst.  It took me a couple of minutes to be able to put any weight on it again.  After a few more minutes of hobbling around on it, the pain subsided enough for me to take off once again, albeit at a much slower and controlled pace.  By the time I reached mile five, there was no more pain in my foot or ankle, which made me extremely happy.  I kept sluggishly pushing forward in the hot and humid air until mile eight, when the skies opened up and started pouring some much appreciated cold rain upon me.  This lasted for about two and half miles, and they were the fastest two and a half miles that I ran all day!  I only had three negative splits for the day, and they were miles eight. nine, and twelve.  Thank goodness for that rain!  Not only was it refreshing, it also gave me reassurance that my recent lackluster times are more weather related than fitness related.  I ran a total of 13.11 miles on Sunday, and since that is a half marathon distance, I used it for a virtual race that I had registered for.

The Walking Dead Run Medal

The Walking Dead Run Medal

The race was The Walking Dead Run, and I only registered for it because the medal company made an error in the color of the race medals, so they were redoing several of them.  The race organizer was trying to get rid of the extra medals, and was asking for a $10 donation to their race charity.  I love the show The Walking Dead, and I actually like the incorrect medals better than the correct ones, so I pledged my $10.  I will say though, that unless a race blows me away in the next few months, that this is my second to last virtual run for the foreseeable future.  I am sure Susan will be happy with this.  I mean, I have to start saving for Disney in January and finalize which races I want to run next year, so the extra capital would be great.

My friends and I play trivia at a local bar on Tuesday nights.  It is an excuse to get out of the house for a couple of hours a week, and an easy way to make a few dollars for our tabs each week.  Each week, the winners get a $50 gift card to the bar, second gets $20, and third gets $10.  Since May, our team has amassed a little of $600 in bar cash, which definitely puts us in the black for our trips there each Tuesday night.  And twice a year, there is a tournament of the area bars that play trivia through Challenge Entertainment.  Three years ago we placed second in the area tournament and netted $1,000.  Now, second would land us $5,000, and first place gets $10,000!  Last night we had our first semifinal round and we placed seventh for the night.  We could have won last night since we finished twelve points behind first, got the final answer right, but wagered zero points.  We did that because there were no prizes on the line last night and as long as we finished in the top twenty, we would move to the next round.

Best show on TV

Best show on TV

After trivia, I immediately went home and fired up my DVR to catch the premier episode of the new, and final season of Breaking Bad.  It is easily the best show on TV and very intense.  It is one of the few shows that I will watch live on TV and if I miss it live, I have to avoid Twitter and Facebook until I get to watch it.  I will not give any spoilers, but last night did not disappoint one bit!  I do not know what the outcome will be for Walter White will be, but watching his evolution over five plus seasons has been staggering.  There are only seven weeks left in his story, and certainly several twists yet to come.  Can it already be 8:00 pm on next Sunday night yet?