2014 Race Updates

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The last couple of weeks have seen some adjustments to races on my 2014 schedule as well as one that I ran last year.

The before and after pic

The before and after pic

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.

Awesome finisher's medal

Awesome finisher’s medal

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.

2013: Year in Review

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2013 was a busy year with quite a bit of running and several new experiences.  After this morning’s run, I have logged 835.12 miles total for the year and participated in 29 total events this year!  And I did all of this despite being injured for a portion of the year, and also battling a very hot summer here in Memphis.  I earned some great bling, tried new races, and achieved multiple PR’s.  I also hosted my first event, the Platinum Sombrero 5K, which helped me raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and gain a couple of new friends from the endeavor as well.  This post, if I write in great detail about each event and experience would be several thousand words long, and I am not going to do that to you.  Rather, I am going to do more of a Cliff’s Notes version of the year here with a monthly breakdown.  For in-depth descriptions of my races from the year, you may visit the 2013 page in my blog and click on each race recap.  Enjoy!

This is every race shirt that I received in 2013!

This is every race shirt that I received in 2013!

January: 1 Race (Virtual 5K), 81.59 Miles.  The year started off with my first virtual 5K.  It was the Resolution Run and the proceeds went to the Hole in the Wall Gang and started my year off right.  I ran no local races since I could not work them into my schedule, but I did run a race.

This was one of the better medals that I received in 2013.

This was one of the better medals that I received in 2013.

February: 2 Races (1 Virtual 5K & My 1st 10K), 65.52 Miles.  I started February with another virtual 5K, the Chilly Cheeks 5K.  This event actually netted me a PR at the 5K distance with an elapsed time of 26:30.  Of course, this is an unofficial time, so hopefully I will eclipse that time in an event this year to remove any ambiguity.  My 10K was the Move It Memphis 10K, and since this was my first 10K, it was an automatic PR.  It was a great event and one that I will run again in the future, just not this year since I have another event happening this weekend in 2014.

Approaching the finish at the Move It Memphis 10K

Approaching the finish at the Move It Memphis 10K

March: 1 Race (HalfMarathon 5K), 18.61 Miles.  This is the month that I was diagnosed with peroneal tendonitis in my right foot.  This occurred two weeks before I was supposed to run in the Germantown Half Marathon, so obviously that did not happen.  I did, however, walk the 5K associated with the event in my walking boot.  This caused a few second takes as I limped through the course.

This is me limping through the course in my walking boot.

This is me limping through the course in my walking boot.

April: 2 Races (1 5K & My First Mud Run), 34.64 Miles.  I was making the slow recovery from my injury throughout the month, but I was able to run a 5K, the FedEx St. Jude Classic Fairway 5K, hosted at TPC Southwind here in Memphis as well as my first Warrior Dash.  Warrior Dash was quite a bit of fun, and a nice diversion from your typical race.  Both events showed a nice bounce back for me from my injury.

This is the first race photo that I have actually purchased.

This is the first race photo that I have actually purchased.

May: 2 Races (1 Virtual 5K, 1 4 Miler), 49.71 Miles.  My virtual run was the May the Fourth Be With You 5K, which I obviously ran on May 4.  The nerd in me made me run this race.  My 4 miler was the Zoom Through the Zoo event, which benefits the wonderful zoo here in Memphis.  It was not my favorite event, but it did lead me to begin using Lock Laces, which was a positive development for my running.  Susan and I also traveled to Arlington, TX for her graduation from graduate school.  It was a great trip and I got some In-N-Out Burger from it as well!

May the Fourth Medal

May the Fourth Medal

June: 2 Races (1 5K & A Virtual Week Long Marathon), 75.56.  My 5K was the third race in the M-Town Series (I did not run in the second one due to travel) called the Gibson 5K.  It was a hot run, but it was worth it.  The virtual marathon was for the One Fund for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and required that participants run 26.2 miles over the course of the week.  It was a nice training tool for me and benefited a great cause.  I also spent a week Cancun, Mexico, which is always a great thing.  And I even kept my running streak active for the entire week that I was there.

Photo cred to my sister-in-law for the pic of the week

Photo cred to my sister-in-law for the pic of the week

July: 4 Races (1 5K, 2 Virtual 5K’s, including my 1st hosted event, & 1 virtual 10K), 89.33.  This was the most running that I had ever done in a month up to this point, and I earned quite a few good-looking medals.  I ran in the Stars and Stripes 5K here in Memphis, the Captain America 5K, First Avenger 10K, and Platinum Sombrero 5K.  All three of the virtual runs benefited St. Jude and my personal event netted $734 for St. Jude!

Finalized race medal for the Platinum Sombrero 5K

Finalized race medal for the Platinum Sombrero 5K

August: 3 Races (1 5K, 1 Virtual 5K, 1 Virtual Half Marathon), 77.11.  The hottest month of the year and I was thankful for the taper that came before the Tupelo 14.2 in September.  My 5K was the Bardog 5K here in Memphis, the virtual 5K was the Jedi Challenge (another Star Wars run?), and the virtual half marathon was The Walking Dead 13.1, which had a neat, but small medal.  I used the virtual half as my last long training run before my taper.  Susan and I also discovered the greatness that is the Memphis Farmers Market, which became a weekend staple for us throughout the rest of the year.  And I returned to the University of Memphis to obtain my MPA.

A great place to spend a Saturday morning.

A great place to spend a Saturday morning.

September: 3 Races (1 14.2 Miler, 1 4 Miler, 1 Virtual Half Marathon), 82.37 Miles.  The first day of the month saw me run the longest distance of my career up to that point in the very hot and humid Tupelo 14.2 Miler.  The event is known for their medals, and they did not disappoint again this year.  My four miler was the Cooper Young Festival 4 Miler, which saw me shave over four minutes off of my PR for the distance and my virtual half, the Heroes in a Half Shell Challenge (Teenage Ninja Turtles theme) was another great training run excuse.

Awesome finisher's medal

Awesome finisher’s medal

October: 4 Races (1 4K, 2 5K’s, 1 Half Marathon), 80.09 Miles.  I ran two events in one day, the Tap N Run Memphis event and Zombie Hunt 5K, both in the Memphis area, but with drastically different weather events.  The first race was very hot and the second one saw some rain.  The half marathon was the 4 Bridges Half Marathon in Chattanooga, TN, and despite a chip malfunction, I set a PR but nearly five minutes!  It was a fun event and the trip out-of-town served as a nice anniversary trip for Susan and me.  I ended the month with my first ever Color Run, an event in which I was an ambassador.

4 Bridges Medal

4 Bridges Medal

November: 3 Races (2 5K’s & 1 Half Marathon), 100.54 Miles.  I ran all three races over the first three days of the month, which is a great test of endurance.  My first 5K was my fourth True Blue 5K at the University of Memphis, which is my anniversary run, the half marathon was the Midsouth Championship Half Marathon in Wynne, AR, and the second 5K was the SCS Race For Education here in Memphis, but was actually just short of a 5K.  The half marathon was the cheapest ($27) that I have ever run, and was my second fastest half marathon ever!  Plus, Susan and Beau surprised me at the finish line.  This race qualified me for Neptune status in the Half Fanatics, which was cool.  November also saw another addition to our family when Susan and I adopted Molly.

Post race w/ Beau

Post race w/ Beau

Meet Molly

Meet Molly

December: 2 Races [1 Half Marathon (Canceled, But I Ran Anyway) & 1 4K], 80.05 Miles.  December was supposed to see me run my third consecutive St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, but due to the cold and ice, the event was canceled.  I decided to run the event anyway, as did several other fellow runners throughout Memphis.  I ran in the Starry 4K a couple of days ago just to guarantee my monthly race running streak.  My first semester in grad school ended with a 4.0 and I am now ending the month with my taper for the WDW Marathon.

This was me as I was about to head out for my 13.1!

This was me as I was about to head out for my 13.1!

All and all, 2013 was a very eventful year, both for my running and life in general.  I am looking forward to next year being an even bigger and more eventful year.

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.

Tupelo 14.2 Recap

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Yesterday I ran my third ever half marathon!  Well, actually, it was a touch longer than a half marathon, but I am still going to count the race in that category regardless.  The event was the Tupelo Marathon and 14.2 Miler that is held annually on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, which happens to coincide with some races with a little more notoriety, namely the Disneyland Half Marathon and the Rock ‘N Roll Virgina Beach Half Marathon.  While there were thousands of people competing at these events, I was in a small town in Mississippi with 676 other racers, battling the heat and humidity in a race that you probably have not heard about.

Race logo taken from my bib

Race logo taken from my bib

When I discovered this race, I knew that I wanted to run it for several reasons.  One, Tupelo is only an hour and a half from Memphis, so travel was a piece of cake.  Two, after getting hurt, I needed a redemption race to fill the void of missing the Germantown Half Marathon.  Three, where else could I run a race of 14.2 miles?  FYI, the distance of 14.2 miles is not just an arbitrary number to be different, but a necessity in the area that the race is run.  The full marathon is an out and back course, but where the race halfway point occurs is in the middle of a country street, nowhere near a suitable finish line.  The start/finish line for the event happens to be another 1.1 miles away, so that is tacked onto the race.  And since this is the only race of 14.2 that I have found or competed in, just finishing the race netted me a PR!

Susan and I drove up on Saturday afternoon because we both agreed it would be foolish for me to make the drive in the morning prior to the event.  Besides some construction on Highway 78 in New Albany, MS, the drive was quite pleasant.  Susan swears that as we got into Tupelo that she saw a goat in a dog kennel on the back of a car, but I could not confirm it.  Once in Tupelo, we went straight to packet pickup at a place I assumed was an ATV dealership by its name, but it turned out to be a running store.  The place was packed, but the race packet process was quite organized.  I was in and out of the place in under two minutes.  If the place was not so packed, I may have poked around the store a little bit, maybe even inquiring about a 14.2 sticker, but it I instead just headed back to the car.  We checked into our hotel, the Best Western Plus, which was one of the two race hotels and we were pleasantly surprised by how nice and updated the place was.  I have stayed in much worse hotels in bigger cities for a higher price with no HD TV.  The hotel was even running a shuttle to and from the race the following morning and hosting a breakfast for the runners at 3:30 am, both of which were much appreciated.  Our room was little noisy due to a combination of the road sounding like a drag strip all night and some random clicking from the bathroom that sounded like a mechanical cricket.

The shuttle process, sadly, did cause some of the racers some panic.  The driver was given bad directions and the shuttle that was slated to run every fifteen minutes was running every thirty minutes!  We finally got to the race location at 4:40 am, and of course I had to visit the head.  I stood in line for a port-a-potty for twelve minutes, but was able to take care of business and get to the starting line about a block away with a couple of minutes to spare.

There is a substantial drawback to the race and that is the weather.  Mississippi on Labor Day weekend is not known for being very temperate.  And this year was no different.  The race starts at 5:00 am to miss some of the heat, but the temperature was 76 degrees yesterday morning and hit 80 degrees before I crossed the finish line.  Couple that with 87% humidity and a dew point north of 71 degrees, and you have a challenging race.  Also, there was absolutely zero breeze all morning, so we were running in thick, moist, stagnant air.

When the race starts, it is still dark outside, and it stays that way for about another hour.  Several runners had on headlamps and glow sticks.  I did not, but I was able to follow the masses without any major incident.  It reminded me of back home when we were running down these country roads and I could smell freshly cut hay and hear cattle moving about.  Each mile was marked with a sign and a glow stick, and since it was dark, I did not even bother looking at my Nike+ watch, which is a bad habit that I have.  It was mile seven (for me) before I noticed the sun over the horizon.

Finish line

Finish line

I was able to maintain my speed well early in the race, and I had negative splits at miles seven, nine, and eleven, with miles four and five being virtually identical.  I think that is no coincidence that these miles coincided with the water stations.  Sadly, the last water station, at mile thirteen, did not possess the same luck for me.  I almost skipped the water there, but I knew that it was hot and decided at the last second to grab some.  A quarter of a mile later, I thought I was dying.  I felt that I was going to puke and had to walk for a second to compose myself.  My last mile was my slowest of the race by a considerable margin and once I finished, I could not understand what happened.  My legs felt good, I was running comfortably, but once I entered uncharted territory, my body immediately freaked out.  But I did finish, and I am still here to talk about it, so those are two victories in my book.  Also, I did PR since this was my first, and thus, fastest race of 14.2 miles!  The race did not have starting mats, so my gun time was 2:35:42 while my Nike+ time was 2:35:04.  Susan was at the finish line, and despite the fact there were not many spectators there, I did not see her.  I was focused on finishing and getting my medal.

Awesome finisher's medal

Awesome finisher’s medal

Medal: A+:  This is probably my favorite race medal that I have gotten thus far in my running career.  It was modeled after the iconic Boston Marathon medals, with the marathon medals being the Boston colors of blue and yellow.  The 14.2 medal was pink and white.  I meant to take a picture of the full marathon medal so I could put it side by side with a Boston medal, but from looking at my 14.2 medal, you will get the idea.  The medal is also the largest one that I have ever received.  The last couple of years, the 14.2 medal was just a portion of the full marathon medal, but I am thankful that this was not the case this year.

Back of the medal

Back of the medal

Swag: D: I usually include the medal in here, but I wanted to make it clear how much I loved my medal, and really got little else of value.  The website advertised “Long sleeve tie-dyed shirts, award-winning medals, and secret stuff we only share with our entrants.”  The shirt logo is great, but is tie-dyed in such a manner that it looks like there are reverse elbow pads on the sleeves.  I will still where it much more than a plain white race tee, that is for sure.  However, the “secret stuff” was so secret that I never saw it.  I just got some materials from the Tupelo Chamber of Commerce, all of which features Elvis since he was born in Tupelo, and an ad for another local race.  That was it.  Post race, there was plenty of water, powerade, and coke products, along with oranges, bananas, and cookies.  As I was getting on the shuttle, which was about three and a half hours after the race start, they were putting out some more food, but I have no clue what it was.

Race swag

Race swag

Course: B-: It was all country roads and the rolling hills were a little steeper than advertised.  The highest point was advertised as 351 feet, but that was about 100 shy of the truth. The course was open to traffic, and this only became an issue after 7:00 am.  In fact, after the race, a fellow racer told me that I should have been running on the other side of the road because I was holding up traffic, even when there was only one car on the road.  Maybe I was in the wrong, but I was on the shoulder, following the crowd in front of me, and running in the same lane as the majority of participants had for the race up to that point.  I need to learn the rules on this so I know I am doing what is proper and safe.

Overall: B: The race relies heavily on having great medals, low numbers, and a unique course.  I am not opposed to running this race again, but hopefully not next year since my goal is to complete the Coast to Coast Disney Challenge next year during this weekend.  But 2015 is a strong possibility.

Accomplished!

Accomplished!

I did take away a couple more learning moments from this race.  First, this race was good practice for the early start at Disney in January.  I now know a little bit more about what I need to do the night before the race.  Second, I need a new place to hang my bibs during a race.  The race claimed my Batman Under Armour shirt as a casualty.  One of the safety pins ripped a small hole in the shirt.  And third, when I go out-of-town for a race, I need to wear race gear, lots of race gear.  I was the only participant not sporting gear from previous events or runs on Saturday.  Come October in Chattanooga, I need to step my game up!  Maybe my Tupelo shirt will make the trip.

Now I see why Batman goes through so many bat suits!

Now I see why Batman goes through so many bat suits!

Also, I love the race slogan “Trample the weak, hurdle the dead.”  That slogan with the medals, shirts, skull and crossbones, and the tie-dye makes for a great race vibe.

Race Prep: Playlist Construction

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I know some races discourage you from using iPod’s and the such, but unless it is plainly outlawed or it is an obstacle/mud run, I use my iPhone.  I like the extra boost the music gives me, as well as the distraction it provides me.  For training runs I have started listening to podcasts and audiobooks, but for an actual race, I want the extra motivation.  I use songs on my iPhone versus Pandora or some other streaming application because it conserves battery on my phone and I will not have to fumble with changing songs that I am not that enamored with.  And when I construct the playlist, I subscribe to the Barney Stinson philosophy used for his “Get Psyched” playlist.  This philosophy is simple, there is no up and down with the list selections, the music is all up.  I even borrow several songs from his playlist.

All rise music

All rise music

I am not going to name every song that I am putting in the list, but rather a good sampling of the selections so you can get a solid idea of where I am coming from.  I listen to numerous genres of music, and most will be represented in my race playlist.  These selections are not necessarily what I listen to everyday, but give me a little extra adrenaline on a run.

  • You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi – this is the lead song in Barney’s playlist, and when it starts, you will bump your pace up a notch or two.
  • Thunderstuck – AD/DC – if you have watched a football hit montage, you have heard this song.
  • Panama – Van Halen – the 80’s will be well represented in this list
  • Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band – I listen to quite a bit of country, but not much makes this list
  • Don’t Stop Believen’ – Journey – it is always Journey o’clock, especially late in a race
  • Welcome to the Jungle – Guns ‘N Roses – the majority of their catalog will work here
  • More Human Than Human – White Zombie – this was one of my go to high school football songs
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor – if it is good enough for Rocky, it is good enough for me
  • Hump de Bump – Red Hot Chili Peppers – one of my favorite bands that is always well represented on my playlists
  • Icky Thump – The White Stripes – this song was made to workout/run to
  • Just Lose It – Eminem – most of his catalog works very well for runs, even if you don’t normally like his music
  • Whoop That Trick – DJ (Hustle and Flow) – it works for the Grizzlies and is basically the Memphis theme song now
  • Rock Superstar – Cypress Hill – even the opening xylophone gets me pumped
  • Crazy Train – Ozzy Osborne – if you watched any Atlanta Braves baseball with Chipper Jones, you are familiar with this song
  • No One Gets Left Behind – Five Finger Death Punch – their whole catalog will work here
  • Home Sweet Home – Motley Crue – less strip club anthem than some of their other stuff
  • Miracle – Nonpoint – a perfect song to walk up to as an UFC fighter
  • Regulate – Warren G – a classic from my youth
  • So Fresh, So Clean – Outkast – my favorite song from a group that has several solid choices
  • Stay Fly – Three 6 Mafia – in Memphis, you have to include Three 6
  • Bawitdaba – Kid Rock – another song that is perfect for a fighter
  • Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash – a classic from the Man in Black
  • Undead – Hollywood Undead – this genre of music is great for working out and fighting
  • Jukebox Hero – Foreigner – this song also gets the blood flowing
  • Going the Distance – Cake – a perfect run song

Several of the groups in this list will be represented several times, depending on the duration of my run.  And if you have not heard of the group, they probably skew towards the heavy metal genre.  They usually do not get radio play.  I really only listen to the groups when I run and workout.  They very likely are not your cup of tea, but they will get you going.

If you are fairly confident in your time splits, you can work in songs where you think they will fit best, say The Final Countdown as you approach the finish line.  Feel free to comment with any songs that you listen to during runs.  This is in no way a definitive list.

Motivation And My Weekly Recap

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Last week was a little on the uneventful side, so I am not going to waste your or my time with my typical daily breakdown.  I will say that I stayed on my taper schedule by running four times with only a six mile “long” run on Sunday.  The heat is rising here in Memphis and I want my legs to be fresh for Tupelo this weekend.  This week, however, looks like it should be much more eventful.  The following quote seems to sum up what my thought process needs to be going forward:

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. – Charles Darwin

Today marks the start of my return to school.  After work this afternoon, I am driving across the city to sit in class for three hours.  It has been a little over seven years since I graduated from college, so it might take me a few days to get back into the swing of things.  My schedule is three hours of class on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after work, so those are going to be rather long days.  Apparently nine hours is considered full time for graduate studies so I am going to juggle my full time school schedule, my full time job, my household duties, and my marathon training program.  Here is another quote that will help my mental approach moving forward.

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. – Michael Jordan

After the Tupelo 14.2 on Sunday, I am adopting Jeff Galloway’s runDisney plan, so most weeks I will run on Tuesday mornings before work, Thursdays before or after work, and once on the weekend.  I will also work in some TRX and other cross training to help promote my overall health.  It is going to be odd only running three times a week, and it is possible that some weeks I will run my typical four times, but I will try my best to follow the plan.  Also, I am incorporating my scheduled races into this training plan to maintain the plan’s structure to help prepare me for the main event in January.

This was a rather short entry, but as I get time this week, I am going to post some pre-race prep posts talking about what I am doing to get ready for Sunday.

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?