Another Week of Training in the Books

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It appears that much to my dismay, the heat and humidity of a typical Memphis summer is here to stay.  This was my second to last week of full half marathon training before I taper for a couple of weeks before running in the Tupelo 14.2.  I’ll then have an easy week before ramping up the miles once again in route to the 4 Bridges Half Marathon in October, the St. Jude Half Marathon in December, and the Walt Disney World Marathon in January.  The last week looked a little like this.

Monday:  I woke up early and ran 4.24 before work.  It was an easy run a little faster than my PR half marathon pace.  I felt great during my run and was happy that I motivated myself to get out of bed.  After work I mowed and trimmed my yard.  The yard is small, and takes about an hour and a half to mow with my push mower.  Add in the trimming, and it is a two hour plus endeavor, so I will chalk that up as some cross training!  Especially lugging the weed eater around the yard and sweeping up all the grass clippings.

Tuesday: No run scheduled, but I did work in about a forty-five minute TRX session at the house.  I did not focus on any particular region, I just did two cycles of about twelve of my typical exercises.  I could definitely feel the burn twenty minutes in, especially in my abs, so I knew I was accomplishing something.

On a side note, the Memphis Grizzlies officially made a significant move on Tuesday by signing Mike Miller.  The Grizz desperately needed a shooter, and when healthy, Mike is very good at that.  He did play a pivotal roll in the Miami Heat beating the San Antonio Spurs this last season.  There is also a rumor that Mo Williams is considering signing with the Grizz to be the backup point guard!  It seems odd for the Grizz to be active in free agency, even if it is for the second tier of player.  Hopefully they can build upon the remarkable season that they just completed.

Wednesday: I was a bum and slept in.  I used the excuse that it was about to rain, but honestly, I was just tired and lazy.  I would pay for this laziness after work.  I tried to wait out the heat, but it did not work.  I completed 3.14 and that was it.  The heat got to me and I ended my run early.  Yet another reminder to get my lazy ass out of bed in the morning.

Jedi Challenge Medal

Jedi Challenge Medal

Thursday:  I did not want a repeat of Wednesday, so I definitely got out of bed.  As I mentioned a couple days ago, I ran this training run as a virtual race called the Jedi Challenge.  It was only supposed to be a 5K, but I extended it by a little over a mile.  The humidity was brutal and by the end of the 4.33 miles, my left nipple was bleeding, which is not a good feeling.  After work, I did another TRX workout.  This one was modeled more after a burnout routine with a single set of exercises at a high number of repetitions.  I am still sore from this.

Friday:  Another planned day away from running, but I did get in my third TRX routine of the week.  It was partially a stall tactic since we were having an early surprise party for Susan and she kept trying to ruin it.  Her birthday is not until next week, but we thought that if we did the party early, she would not expect it.  We had twenty-five or so of her friends and family meet us at her favorite Mexican place, Las Delicias.  They got there at 6:30 and I was to have Susan there at 7:00.  The problem was that she skipped lunch that day since they were gearing up for the school year and they were swamped with the last minute details.  I stalled her as much as possible and we got there at 6:55.  The only problem was that her parents showed up at the exact same time, with a birthday present no less!  Susan claims that she did not out two and two together, and did seem genuinely surprised when she walked into the room.  We had a great time with pitchers of margaritas, cupcakes and a dreamsicle cake from Muddy’s, and some great fellowship.  We ended up shutting the place down.

It was runner's Christmas at my house!

It was runner’s Christmas at my house!

Friday was Friday filled with presents for me as well.  I received my Runnersbox that I won a couple of weeks ago, as well as a St. Jude Heroes tech shirt for eclipsing the $100 threshold in my fundraising efforts, the September issue of Runner’s World, and my brand new Brooks Glycerine 11 shoes!  I also purchased two new pairs of running shorts, utilizing the tax free weekend here in Tennessee and a store coupon.  I felt like it was Christmas morning at my house!  I will be doing a stand alone post on the shoes and Runnersbox later this week.

Saturday: This was my scheduled long run for the week, and I will say this, Las Delicias is not the best prerun meal, especially when twelve miles are on the docket!  I managed to complete 10.73 miles before submitting to my stomach ssues and calling it a day.  As I did my finishing stretches, the rain came in full force, and my iPhone was grateful not to be out in it.  It sucked to not get in my miles, but I do not feel that it will hinder me any in the upcoming week.

Sunday:  Today has been a 100% rest day with that has afforded me the opportunity to recover a little bit as well as complete some laundry.  Once I complete this post, I am going to use the foam roller for a few minutes while watching the Braves on ESPN and the Cowboys in the first NFL preseason game of the season on NBC.

Tupelo 14.2 Just Around the Corner

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I am not going to lie, I am getting a little antsy for my next major race.  It has been two days short of a month since my last traditional race, a 5K, and until this morning, it had been about three weeks since I ran my last virtual race, my very own Platinum Sombrero 5K.  This morning I ran the Jedi Challenge, but more on that in a second.  Virtual races are great to stay motivated for training, but they do not have the same feel that a traditional race does. The crowd, both spectators and participants, just get them adrenaline pumping.  Even the smaller 5K’s produce this feeling.  My next opportunity for this feeling will be in a couple of weeks when I tackle the Breakaway Bardog 5K.  But the race that I am really eager to run is the Tupelo 14.2.

It has been since the St. Jude Half Marathon back in December since I ran a race in double digits and I really want to get back out there.  I am sure a part of this is because I did not get the chance to run in what was originally slated to be my third ever half marathon in March at the Germantown Half Marathon.  But, I had a case of peroneal tendonitis flare up and sidelined me.  At least I was smart in my recovery and was able to get back into action quicker than expected and did not miss the Warrior Dash – Mississippi.

I officially booked my hotel for Tupelo yesterday and I watched a couple of YouTube videos about the race, trying to get a feel for it.  It is going to be early, 5:00 am to be exact, hot, and humid, I am sure.  The last week and a half of training runs should be preparing me well for that aspect.   All the reviews I find talk about how great of an event the race is.  This is a little surprising considering that this is a small race in a small, southern town in one of the hottest points of the year.  The mascot is a skull and crossbones that varies in design from year to year, often with a Grateful Dead inspiration.  The idea behind the skull and cross-bones is simple.  It is hot, and you feel like death by the end, this the skull and cross-bones.  I cannot wait to see what the medal looks like this year, even if the 14.2 medal is just literally half of the full marathon medal.

Jedi Challenge Medal

Jedi Challenge Medal

I ran the Jedi Challenge as my training run this morning.  I was hoping to miss the heat, but there was no avoiding the humidity.  When I took my first step at 6:03 am this morning, the humidity was only at 91%!  By the time I finished my 4.33, it looked like I had taken a swim in a pool.  I even had the dreaded nipple chafing issue that usually only rears its ugly head on my long runs in this max humidity.  So that has been fun to deal with today.  The humidity and fact that I always start a little sluggishly in the morning resulted in a 10:08 pace for the race.  Also, this was a virtual run that I did not intend t participate in, but when some extra medals were discovered, I went ahead and gave it a shot.  I love the saying on the medal, and I must say that the light saber really looks good.

On a side note, my raffle for a free entry in The Color Run is still ongoing.  You can enter here.

Platinum Sombrero Race Recap

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Here is the overdue race recap for my very first attempt at hosting a virtual run.  I have constantly updated my blog with Platinum Sombrero 5K information and I know several of you thought I only had a blog for this event, I know Susan did.  Well, the event has come and gone, and this will be one of my last posts about PS5K.  You can find further information here if you missed any of the prior posts.  I learned quite a bit from this experience and will be able to use this new-found knowledge on my next virtual event.  The feedback that I have seen has been positive and I truly hope that everyone had as much fun participating in this event as I did coordinating it.  Susan joked that she was going to make one of those large, fake checks for me to present to St. Jude.  Now that would be awesome!

The Cause:

Another picture that is not mine, but rather St. Jude's

Another picture that is not mine, but rather St. Jude’s

I chose St. Jude Children’s Hospital to be the charity of choice for this event for several reasons.  First, I am running the St. Jude Half Marathon here in Memphis again this year.  The race has an option to run as a St. Jude Hero, and actually, all early registrants were required to be heroes.  My fundraising minimum was $500, so instead of asking family and friends for donations, I wanted to be a little more proactive.  Second, St. Jude is not a cheap place to operate, but they never charge their patients a dime for treatment.  This is no easy feat when your daily operating cost is $1.8 million!  I broke down the costs and benefits in a previous post.  Third, I live in Memphis, and St. Jude is probably the most positive thing going for this city.  Therefore, sharing this wonderful place with others felt like my civic duty.   And fourth, I was involved with St. Jude fundraising through the Up ‘Til Dawn program in college.  This involved quite a bit of patient interaction and several tours of the St. Jude facility.  After one tour of the hospital, you cannot help but want to raise money for these children.  Thus far, we have raised $709.77 for St. Jude!  This money is the product of $1,250 in race registration fees and one $40 donation from a very kind race participant!  The number can go up a little bit since Lock Laces has agreed to donate 20% of all sales using the promo code KYLEJUDE.  This promo code is also good for free shipping, so shop away!  The promotion is good until August 13, 2013.

The Swag:

I had to post this pic!

I had to post this pic!

There are countless virtual races being hosted out there and I wanted mine to stand out.  Therefore I worked tirelessly to get as many top-notch sponsors for this race as I could.  I wanted to reach as many people as I possibly could for St. Jude.  And since I had a baseball theme, I knew that I was not advertising to as broad of a fan base as I would with a Star Wars or Harry Potter them might do.  Also, it seems that the vast majority of virtual run participants are female (more on this in a little bit), so I had to find ways to reach them.  I ended up securing twenty-nine race sponsors for the event!  I honestly thought that I would be able to get six or seven sponsors, so it just goes to show you the power of hard work and a good cause!

Look at all that race swag!

Look at all that race swag!

With the medals and all of the swag that each race participant received, every participant ended up with more products than their original $25 registration fee could purchase!  In fact, several race participants eclipsed the $75 worth of swag plateau!  All race participants received a Road ID coupon, Banjee wrist wallet, KT Tape sample, Climb On! skin product sample, Ion reflective iron-on patch, one month subscription to Bulu Box, and an awesome race medal.  I also gave away had seven $15 Road ID gift cards, five Today’s Miles tech shirts, four Armpockets, one Trigger Point foam roller, one Nathan Quick Draw Plus water bottle, three Polar Bottle water bottles, two Headsweats hats, one pair of Pro Compression socks, two pairs of SL3S compression socks, three pairs of Balega socks, two pairs of Zensah socks, one FlipBelt, one SPI Belt, one medal hanger from Running On The Wall, two cases of Zola coconut water, six Bic Bands, two Sweaty Bands, ten Run Guard products, two Cyclone Cups, ten pairs of Lock Laces, and one Energy Bits sample pack!  Energy Bits, Lock Laces, Spriggsville, Hydrapak, Headsweats, Fuelbelt,  and Glimmer Gear all created discount codes for race participants, which can be found here.

Finalized race medal

Finalized race medal

I could not have been happier with how the race medal turned out.  I contacted the fine folks at Crown Awards, told them exactly what I wanted, and they nailed it!  I did not have to do any tweaks or changes.  The medal they designed was even better than what I had designed in my head.  I was nervous that the sombrero on a baseball was not going to work out, but there is no doubt what is conveyed in this medal.  I hope that everyone likes this medal as much as I do.

I also was able to get some fan packs and other materials from numerous MLB teams since this was a baseball themed race after all.  It was very interesting to see what each team would and would not donate for the event, and I am generally surprised by the number of teams that did not respond to my requests.  I would like to thank the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, , Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Seattle Mariners for sending fan packs to be used as race swag.  Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics would have sent something, but it required me to send them a self address, stamped envelope, and since there were no race participants that listed these two teams as their favorite team, I did not bother sending in the requests.  I did send in the request to the New York Yankees, but as of this date, I still have not received their fan pack.  I am sorry Yankee fans.

I also based the race bibs on the favorite team for the race participant.  The color of the race number, and the number itself reflected your team.  I wanted to get very creative with the design, but I decided not to push any copyright issues and played it safe.  I started on race numbers with the team’s retired numbers, and then moved onto the biggest stars currently on their team.  For example, the Baltimore fans got race bibs with an orange number eight (Cal Ripken, Jr.) and an orange number five (Brooks Robinson).  I also did my best not to double up on race numbers, but this was easier said than done.

The Participants:

Where yall were from

Where y’all were from

There could not have been a race without any race participants, so I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you.  There were fifty total race participants, including myself, and the vast majority of the country was represented in the race field.  As you can tell from the map above, we had participants from Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, Utah, Nevada, California, and Hawaii.  I was quite surprised with some of the states that were represented, especially having multiple participants from Hawaii and North Dakota! I was also shocked by the gender disparity in the participants.  The final count was forty females to only ten males!  I would have never guessed that prior to the event.  We also had at least four groups of mother and son teams run the event together, and one mother daughter race group, which is awesome!

Registration started off very slow, and I was getting discouraged, especially with the amount of work I had put in, but by late May, it was obvious that this thing was going to sell out!  Sadly, I had already ordered the medals or I would have tried to bump this event to one hundred participants.  I am still getting emails and Facebook messages about any race openings.

The race ended up having fifteen MLB teams represented by their fans, which is good for half of all of MLB.  I wish I could have given MLB swag to each participant, but with these splits, this was not possible.  The Atlanta Braves led the way with thirteen fans participating (go Bravos)!  The second most represented team was the Boston Red Sox with six, then it was the St. Louis Cardinals with four.  The Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees had three fans apiece, and the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, and Minnesota Twins came in next with two fans apiece.  The Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins, and Seattle Mariners all had one loyal fan in the Platinum Sombrero 5K!

The Race:

Being that this was a virtual race, you could run it on any day that you wanted to run it.  It was officially scheduled for July 13, 2013, and know that several people, including myself, ran it then.  This date also happened to coincide with the MLB All-Star Game 5K, which I guess they started to hear the good publicity for my event and wanted to piggy back off of it!  From the reports that I have gotten, the race went well for everyone.  Some completed it on an elliptical, some on a treadmill, some braved this brutal summer heat, and some had to break up the distance due to injury.  It was great to hear how many participants got out there and ran the race, with their race bibs nonetheless!

Captain America Runs

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I completed two Captain America themed virtual runs a couple of weeks ago, and I was delaying posting about the runs because I was I was waiting on a medal from a third virtual run that I had completed.  But, it seems that it is still going to be awhile until I actually receive the medal, so I am throwing them into this post.  I incorporated them both into my training runs, so despite being scheduled for July 4th, I ended up running both of them in June.

Both runs were hosted by the same people, and the proceeds went to St. Jude.  I was an early registrant and it is a good thing that I did because they closed the race early due to several complaints of copyright infringement.  Now these complaints were not from Marvel or Disney, but rather people on Facebook.  But to play it safe, the race was closed and since the medals were already ordered, those of us early adopters were fortunate enough to get our medals.

Susan & I differ on this medal

Captain America 5K Medal

The first race was the Captain America 5K.  I entertained the thought of counting my time at the Stars and Stripes 5K, but if I did that, I would just be buying the medal.  Therefore, I ran this race as one of my short distance days in June.  I ran 3.18 miles on June 18 in a time of 30:28.  This is not a PR, but is still a good time for me running on a makeshift course through my neighborhood.  Susan is not a fan of this medal, but to get the 10K medal, you had to register for the 5K as well.  The more I look at this medal, the more it grows on me to be honest.  And I must say that there was enough changes on the design to be safe on copyright issues.  However, the name Captain America is probably protected as well and that could be what the complaints were.  Oh well.

First Avenger 10K Medak

First Avenger 10K Medal

The second Captain America run was the First Avenger 10K, which I ran as my long day on June 9 when I returned from vacation.  My schedule was for six miles, so adding the extra tick to make it a 10K was not too difficult.  My time, however, was not stellar.  I completed the run in 1:08:45, which is ten minutes off of my other 10K, but since I only ran a mile or two daily on vacation and this was my longest run since the beginning of March, I felt that the time was great.  Susan really like this medal and would have preferred if I was able to run in this event only because of her preferences in the medals.

Races Added to My Schedule

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As I previously stated in one of my very first posts on this blog, my plan for 2013 was to run in at least one race each month in 2013.  Now, the races do not have to be any specific distance, they just have to be hosted events that I complete.  And thus far, seven months into this year, I have completed at least one race each month!  In fact, I have completed fourteen races thus far this year!  Some have been virtual races, one was an obstacle race, and the vast majority have been 5K’s.  I was to have one or two half marathons completed by now, but my right foot decided to start hurting and I was out of commission for about six weeks.  But even while I was hurt, I completed a race with my walking boot, and while I did not set a world record, I did not come in dead last or injure myself any worse, so it was a success.  So looking forward at the remaining five months of my race schedule, I have some holes to fill.  I do have three half marathons scheduled for September, October, and December, so my workload is about to increase significantly.  But August and November are still ghost towns, so I am changing that now.  This week I have registered for two more races, and I am making arrangements for five or six more.

Earlier this week, I filled the void for August by registering for the Breakaway-Bardog 5K here in Memphis.  The event is being held on August 18, and will benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which as you know, is a major bonus for me.  Also that weekend in Memphis is the Elvis 5K, which is a big event here, and maybe I get roped into running it as well.  But, full disclosure, I am not the biggest Elvis fan in the world, and I would never wear the short that the race gives out with his gigantic face on it.  I know my Memphis residency card was probably just revoked, but it is the truth.  Also, the Bardog race is at one of the best bars in town, raises money for St. Jude, is more low key, last year’s shirt was awesome, and the first 350 participants get a race beer mug (I was 335), and the race course downtown is in a better area than the neighborhood near Graceland.

The second race I registered for is a national race that I had been hoping would incorporate Memphis into its 2013 schedule.  And this morning, I opened up an email from Living Social that confirmed my hopes!  Not only was the race coming to Memphis, they were offering a discounted entry, so naturally I registered about as quickly as possible!  You can use this link to register as well!   The race is called Tap “N Run Beer Run 4K and is more of a fun run than a serious competition.  You run the 4K course and chug beer at three separate “Chug Stations” along the way.  And then at the end, you get another beer.  The race encourages crazy costumes and seems like it would be a blast.  I do not have a team or costume idea yet, even though I put this blog’s title as my team name, but maybe some of my friends will want to do this race too. The race is on October 5, which marks the one year anniversary of the worst infield fly call in the history of MLB.  It still pisses me off to think about it, so go here for more info.

November is still barren, but I already know that I want to run in the True Blue 5K on November 1, but registration is not open yet.  This was my first ever running event, and I have ran it every year since.  Why stop now?  I wear my races shirts from this race more than any other race I have ever ran, and I do not foresee that changing anytime soon.  Also in November, there is an event called Heroes in Recovery 6K on the 16th, that intrigues me because of the line of work I am currently in.  But we shall see on that one.

The Cooper Young Festival 4 Miler is a very popular race here in Memphis, and is one that I always seem to have a scheduling conflict with.  This year I do not, at least as of yet, so I might finally get to run it.  It is being held on Friday the 13th, so maybe that is a bad omen?  I am also looking at a couple of virtual races to run as a part of my training schedule.  One has a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (my all time favorite as a child) theme and I really want a Ninja Turtle medal.  Yes, I am a major dork.  You can register for a single race or for the entire series.  If you complete the series you get a medal for each turtle as well as Splinter!  That might be tempting, but I do not want to drop $100 for it, so I will probably just register for the Michelangelo race.  I am also planning another virtual race with a Festivus from Seinfeld theme for the winter.  Naturally, the event date will be on December 23, and I already have requested artwork for the medals.  I will post more details on here as they become available.  If you do not know what Festivus is, go here and here.

I am certain that other races will pop up over the next five months that I will have to register for, but my wife and bank account hope that it will not be too many!

Platinum Sombrero 5K Sponsor #29

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Yesterday, one more race sponsor was added to the Platinum Sombrero 5K! Climb On! has signed on as the twenty-ninth race sponsor!  Climb On! is a line of innovative skin care products that are very helpful for anyone running outdoors regardless of the conditions.  Climb On! will be donating an assortment of 100 product samples to be shared with race participants.  All products are made with 100% pure, food-grade ingredients, and each ingredient is chosen by its skin aiding properties.  You can like them on Facebook here.

Race Sponsor #29

Race Sponsor #29

Friday Roundup

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I have not posted much this week because I have been swamped at work (in fact, I’m neglecting some files right now to type this post) and Susan and I have four extra house guests with this week.  Add in the fact that I got a flat this week that required the purchase of two new tires, I have not heard back from the investigator that is handling my theft case, my mortgage company doesn’t want to update my checking account info, and my mother-in-law having to go to the hospital,  I feel like this week has lasted for about fifteen days!  But, it is Friday, and it is very close to closing time, so I’ll keep my chin up for a few more minutes.

Not the way I wanted to start the morning

Not the way I wanted to start the morning

On a positive note, I am still going strong on my Runner’s World running streak, which will hit 26 days this afternoon when I hit the treadmill at the gym.  This week is also the Boston Remembrance virtual run, so the running streak is helping with that.  I need to run 26.2 miles for the run, and I am at 18 thus far with a run today and this week’s long training run of 7 miles, so I should be good.

I am waiting for just a couple more items to be delivered in the next week or so for the Platinum Sombrero 5K, and then I can mail out race packets, so that is exciting!  I can’t wait to share the final total that will be donated to St. Jude!  I’m also working on a monster post (I hope) about the event.  Stay tuned.