Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

A day late, but whatever.  Life has been busy, I've been eating too much junk and Mary has had a lot of homework.  Country Music would have been a perfect "final" race but I have ten weeks to go.  Anyway, yeah, you should watch Lincoln Lawyer.

Lincoln Lawyer has an all-start cast with Ryan Phillipe, Matthew McConaughey and Marisa Tomei.  McConaughey plays cheap attorney and Lincoln lawyer, Mickey Haller.  A Lincoln lawyer is a struggling attorney who takes whatever case he can and pretty much lives out of their Lincoln town car. As you can guess, Haller doesn't make much money, he doesn't exactly have high class clientele until one day he believes he has a shot at making it big.  He's hired to defend Louis Roulet (Phillipe), a rich, partyboy, who is accused of brutally beating a woman.  The case sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime.

Well, it doesn't turn out like Haller expects it to.  The case starts to fall apart and both the suspect and victim are not who they appear to be.  If Haller expects to survive, he has to use his own street smarts as well.

This is also a book written by Michael Connelly, who is an author I really enjoy.  It's one of those few movies that is nearly as good as the book.

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 22nd-28th Training

Monday: 9.1 miles (6:44); 5.9 miles (7:10)

Tuesday: 10.2 miles (6:39); 6.0 miles with 6xhill blasts

Wednesday: 4 miles (6:40); 10.5 miles with 6x800m with 400m jog. Orginally was planning to run these sub 2:15 and then run 4x200m sub 30 with 200m jog afterward.  Legs felt heavy and tense from the get-go and just wouldn't move.  Aerobically, it was fine and I didn't get tired as the workout went on.  Ended up averaging 2:16.5.  A bit of a bummer but you have to learn how to hang on and run just as hard when things are going poorly.  I axed the 200s because I wanted to work on my speed some but my speed wasn't there, so how can I work on it>

Thursday: 5.9 miles (7:05); 6.3 miles (7:17)

Friday: 8 miles (6:57); 3 miles with 4xstrides (7:12)

Saturday: 27.8 miles with Country Music Marathon in 2:22:41. Original plan was to run 2:25:59 at the fastest.  I wanted to get the win without doing too much damage so I can came back and race well in the USA 25k Champs in two weeks.  Caught up to Daniel LePage about 1000m in and ran with him for a mile or so.  I then went to the front and was hoping to break the other marathoners.  I was splitting my watch but didn't look at my splits until about seven or eight miles in and after that, only looked at them occasionally.  Halfway, I saw there was a guy about 200m back, so I did a small surge for about three or four miles, hoping he would drop.  Legs were a little flat heading into Shelby Bottoms and the hills through there were somewhat tough.  Felt really good and controlled.  Feel like I could have run about 10 seconds a mile faster if I would have raced it.  It was 50 degrees and raining the entire way, but fortunately, the wind wasn't too bad.  Huge puddles all over the course but the weather actually felt ok.

Sunday: 3.3 miles. Ran randomly with my kids doing the ING Kids Rock Nashville Run.  Tightness in calves and IT band but nothing else noticeable.  Was planning on 12ish today but didn't feel like getting the rest of the mileage in.

Week Total=100 miles.  A bad workout with a good long effort.  I wish I would have run a little bit slower but I actually felt really good.  Next week will be interesting.  

Murray Half-Marathon

For the past few months, I've been looking forward to racing this weekend (April 13th, still two weeks behind).  Only I was planning on racing the Boston Marathon instead of the Murray Half-Marathon.  But money went to the top five runners and based on prior years, I felt like I had a shot of finishing in the top three.  I was pretty bummed about missing Boston and they say money can't buy happiness, but at least it can help a little bit.

I knew Daniel Kirwa was going to run this race.  Daniel won last year and I was 0-2 against him.  I got whooped by him over the last couple of miles at the Convenent Knoxville Marathon last year and a few weeks later, finished about a hundred yards behind him at the Derby MiniMarathon in Louisville.

Patrick Cheptoek finished second in this race last year and recently beat Daniel at the Germantown Half-Marathon but he wasn't going to be able to attened because of class.  Bad for him, good for me.  Second place would net me $750, so I was hoping to nab that.

On the way there, I texted my super distant polish relative, Wojciech Kopec, to see if he had arrived in Murray yet because he was going to get my race number for me.  He arrived, got my number and told me there were several Africans in the field.  I debated heading home and instead showing up to defend my Purity Moosic Dairy Dash title and go for my 12 free ice cream coupons again but I shut that idea down.  If it would have been the Kroger Private Selection Dairy Dash or the Bluebell Dairy Dash, I maybe would have taken my stab at the 10k.  But I decided to press on and take my shot at 5th place and $150.

It was a little bit over a two hour drive and unfortunately, I didn't have any cell phone reception for about half of it.  Goodbye Pandora.  I did find a bluegrass station and while I'll never grow to like country music, I'm starting to become a fan of bluegrass.  After a couple of hours, we arrived in Murray and instead of heading straight to the dinner, Mary and I went straight to dinner.  My co-teacher at work has always talked about a Mexican place called Los Portales and Murray had one of those.  I decided I had to check the place out, so that's where we ate.

I'm usually a creature of habit and normally in Mexican places, I will just get a chicken quesadilla.  I'm not a fan of mexican rice (I used to love it when I was little but caught a puke bug once and threw up way too much of the stuff and haven't been able to eat it since) and the beans aren't worth the extra couple bucks, so my usually four buck quesadilla is my go to pick.  But Los Portales had a really good menu with cheap food, so I decided to be adventurous and eat something else.  I went with the Texano Chipotle, which was shrimp, steak and chicken covered in chipotle sauce and served with tortillas and rice, beans and guacoamole salad.  It was really good and despite originally planning on a margarita and banana burrito for dessert, I was stuffed.  Finally headed to the hotel for some good ol' shut eye.  I got the names of the other top runners in the race and did my best Google stalking.

I felt like George Towett would be the toughest.  He's a pretty consistent half-marathoner and can regularly run in the 64s and faster.  I pegged Daniel Kirwa as the number two guy.  Boniface Biwott ran 64:14 earlier in the year but has been racing a ton lately, so I was hoping he would be tired and maybe if he fought for the win, I could hang back and catch him later.  Deus Rwaheru was entered and he has sub 14 5k credentials but he hasn't raced since last year, so I didn't expect him to be in top form.  Lastly, we had Micah Tirop, who is an old buddy of mine who used to run consistent 65s when he lived in Murfreesboro but he now coaches at a college in Texas and doesn't run as much.  I felt like I had a shot at a money spot with that field but was doubting myself of nailing a top finish.  Wojciech reminded me that he didn't have a shot on paper to win the Knoxville Marathon but he ended up dropping all of the guys and winning the whole thing. His positive attitude was the positive slap in the face I needed before the race and I fell asleep with a better attitude.

After waking, I downed a couple of Powerbars and was on my way to the race.  Wojciech and I warmed up for a couple of miles and then I took my spot on the line.  I was hoping the leaders would take it out really hard and I planned on hanging back a little bit.  If it was a marathon, I could give them a bigger cushion but in the half, no one hits the wall, so I wanted to stay somewhat in contact.  Unexpectedly, when the gun went off, I found myself in the lead with a half dozen guys right on my butt.  After a few minutes, George went to the front and threw in a couple short surges. I thought, "here we go" and expected some people to go with him but no one responded.  I guess he was testing the field or something and I would just let him go ahead and then catch back up.  It was way too early for those kind of moves, not to mention small surges like that don't make any sense.


We went through the mile in 4:54 and I was back in the lead.  Over the next mile or two, I kept the lead with Boniface, George and Daniel on my tail.  Daniel slowly dropped and when we passed some overly excited cheerleaders I told George and Boniface they were cheering for me.  I will sometimes talk during races out of boredom but also as somewhat of a front.  I like to see how the other runners respond and try to appear like I'm really fresh.  They didn't say anything to the crazy mzungu and just stared ahead.

I was getting tired of doing all of the work and we were running a faster pace than I felt like I could hold, so I slowed down a hair and tucked in behind George and Boniface.  We climbed a long hill and the pace started dragging.  I felt really good and I didn't want to give Daniel an oppurtunity to catch back up, so I took the lead again.  However, Daniel caught us shortly afterward and when he caught up, I told him that I was beginning to miss him.  More mind games.

George was the next to crack and around six miles in, Daniel fell again.  It was just me and Boniface.  My man code states that when you are running with two other runners, you may draft, as long as you share the work eventually.  When it's just two people, you can only "acceptably" draft if you share the work later or if you are dying and hanging on by a hair.  Boniface broke those rules and was right on my butt with no signs of help.  We ran down a long, country road with a headwind.  I was getting really annoyed with him because I was tired of fighting the wind while he tucked behind.  I decided if he did that the rest of the race and then beat me in the last mile, I would exchange some words with him after the race.  Heck, with him running right behind me, I could have used my old MMA training and threw him with an Uchi Mata.

Right before nine miles, I could see a long hill made up of three short uphills.  The idea of fighting the headwind and having to run uphill got me really annoyed, so I turned around, motioned for him to move forward and told him he needs to help out with his share of the work.  He didn't respond but fell back on the hills.  Good.

I was getting pretty pumped at this point.  I was expecting to run around 66:00 but I knew I was probably going to break 65.  Most encouraging of all, I never had to make any moves.  I just ran and they fell back one at a time.  Since I was running for place, not time, I didn't want to kill myself and compromise next week's training.  I shut it down a hair because I was making up a lot of ground over everyone else.  There were a lot of hills in the last 5k and I felt really good over them.  That was a really positive sign because hills normally kill me, especially late in the race when your legs are tired.  I was able to just coast up them and still run under 5:00 pace.

When I was close to the final turn, I almost became emotional.  I expected to get beat like a drum today but I ended up getting the win, beating a tough field and not even have to dig deeply to do it.  I knew when Mary saw me come around the final turn, she would be really happy and proud (but would have been even if I were last).  I could see the clock in the 64:20s, so I picked it up some to get under my PR of 64:39.  I crossed the line in 64:35, with Boniface just under 66 minutes and Daniel and George a little bit over 66 minutes. Man, I didn't expect to win by that much.


This was definitely one of my favorite victories and the $1000 will help, even though Uncle Sam will take some of that.  Until the awards started, I hung out, drunk too much coke, ate too many rice krispie treats and cookies and just enjoyed life.  Then it was back home with some more bluegrass and a nice meal at Cracker Barrel. What an unexpected race.

Balanced splits: 4:54, 4:51, 4:50, 4:56, 4:51, 5:05, 4:56, 4:59, 4:55, 4:59, 4:59, 4:57, 4:56,

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Petey's 5k Face-Off

Petey's 5k Face-Off Against Parkinsons (April 6th) is a first time event taking place in my backyard of Hendersonville and benefits the benefits the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's.  Well, not really my backyard being that it's about four miles up the road, but close enough. I had my eye on this race since they announced the winner would receive a year's supply of Chick-fil-A.  Since they have been one of my wife's number one pregnancy cravings, I was a man on a mission.

I wasn't sure how hard I would run here.  I was slowly getting my mojo back after getting a little overfizzled and had a decent moderate workout a few days before.  But moderate workouts don't really show the chinks in your armor, so I wasn't sure how my body would respond to the intensnity.  However, my goal was to run around 10k effort and then see where that took me.

I was one of the first people there and started out on a warm-up of a few miles. I got to the starting line a few minutes before the race started and there were a lot more people.  When the race finally started, the usual youngans' started out really hard.  After a couple hundred meters I finally took the lead and tried to get a fast but slightly controlled effort.

After leaving the Streets of Indian Lake, the course ran down the left side of Saundersville Rd. before making a U-turn a little bit over a mile down.  Everytime I run a race on Saundersville Rd., I always get tricked. I run at least a couple easy runs a week on it and it always feels pretty flat without any noticeable hills.  But everyime I race on it, I am surprised to find myself struggling up the long, very gradual hills.  Today was no exception.
My wife actually knows that guy

The first hill started just before the mile marker and I could tell I was slowing down.  I went through the mile in 4:49 and felt like if I got focused, I could break 15:00. Running anything under a half-marathon takes a lot of mental focus and energy, so I had to keep reminding myself to keep the gas pedal down. I tried to not lose too much time on the hill, but I started struggling.  Finally I crested the top and was almost at the turnaround.  I went through two miles in 9:43 (4:54 split) and felt like my shot at sub 15 was out the window.  I knew I could make it if I ran flat out, but I didn't want to kill myself in this race. 

Fortunately, the uphill was now a downhill and I was gaining back a ton of time.  I was using my GPS to see my current pace (rarely ever use it in a race) and saw that I was under 4:30 pace for almost half of a mile.  I felt like my shot at sub 15, while running at 10k effort, was coming back in my favor.
Decent book, terrible movie

I made the turn back into the Streets and had to run up a long, ever so slight hill.  I started to get pretty tired towards the end of it but once it was done, I knew I would recover quickly.  After making the final turn, I saw the clock and knew sub 15 was about to become a reality. 

I crossed the line in 14:50 (4:40 last mile) and felt good at the end.  It was a huge confidence booster and made me feel like I was getting back on track.  A kid I coached for 1.5 years in high school, Tyler Taplin, finished second overall and another former athlete, Eric Rangel, was towards the front as well.  I may have whooped them today but they are insanely smart and will have the last laugh in a few years, come paycheck day.

The post-race refreshments were really good (I will say that about any race that serves fruit snacks) and then my expectations were exceeded when they brought out Chik-fil-A chicken biscuits.  I then did a five mile cooldown and came back just in time for the awards, where I gladly claimed my 52 Chik-fil-A vouchers.

This is an excellently run race that I see really growing in the future.  While the course is certified, my only gripe is that they only closed off one lane of a four lane road, so it was hard to run the tangents (had 3.20 on my Garmin, when a certified course is usually around 3.16 or so) but they said next year, they will close off the entire side.

I really enjoyed this race overall and plan to come back next year.  For a first year race (I'm pretty sure it was their first year), they did a better job than many annual races do. It's definitely a race to check out next year.  I'm also burning through the vouchers so quickly, that I'm now well recognized there.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

Most people have already seen Limitless but it's one of my favorite movies I've ever seen over the last few years and it's still hanging around on Netflix. 

Limitless stars Bradley Cooper as Eddie, a struggling writer who is also having trouble making ends meet. He can't get anything done, doesn't meet deadlines and isn't happy with where he is in life.  He runs into an old friend, who introduces him to the pharmaceutical drug, NZT, which results in the user being able to reach their full potential and use 100% of their brain potential.

Eddie hangs onto the pill and then finally decides to use it.  When he does, his whole world changes.  He can recall everything he sees and hears, learns insanely fast and even develops strong people skills and street smarts.  He reminds me of Neo in the Matrix, when computer programs are introduced into his brain.  He then decides to take on Wall Street and he rapidly increases his fortune.  

Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix (1999) (actor)

He quickly rises to big wig status and people are catching onto the real reason behind his sudden rise.  Those same people want his stash of NZT and will do anything it takes to get it, while Eddie does his best to not see it happen.

April 15th-21st Training

Monday: 5.9 miles (6:59); 9.1 miles (7:10)

Tuesday: 10.2 miles (6:49); 6 miles with a few strides (7:15ish)

Wednesday: 4 miles (7:08); 12.7 miles with 16x1/4 mile with 1:00 jog rest. Was shooting for 16-20 at sub 70.  Ended up running four miles worth in 17:20, ranging from 63.92-66.00.  Felt really good and smooth.  My fatigue never got too progressive and I felt just as good at the end as I did in the beginning. Decided to cap it at 16 because I  haven't done anything this fast yet and I wanted to play it safe.  Also had an annoying couple on the track.  They were walking in the middle of lane one and the outside of lane two and I had to swing around them on every single interval.  As a result, I'm calling these guys quarters instead of 400's.  Normally I would have just run these in lane three the entire time but I was hoping flying by them with an inch to spare and then immediately cutting over would send a message to give me at least half a lane. Speed is ahead of schedule, which hopefully will serve me well for my track 5k in six weeks.

Thursday: 4 miles (7:10); 12 miles (7:10)

Friday: 5.9 miles (6:56); 9.6 miles with 6xstrides (6:48)

Saturday: 11.4 miles with 4800-3200-1600 with 3:00 jog rest.  Was planning on at least 14:45, 9:30, 4:30 and ended up running 14:40 (4:51, 4:54, 4:55), 9:24 (4:42, 4:42), 4:28 (straight 67s). First portion was really controlled and relaxed.  The second one took some focus the last 1k and the last one was pretty tough the last 300m.  I had to remind myself that digging deeply is my weakness, so I needed to make sure I pushed to stay on pace.  Good workout, except for a strong homestretch wind and a big blood blister underneath my big toe, which was being pinched the whole workout; 3.5 miles (7:24)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:06).  Felt pretty sluggish for the first 10-11 miles before I finally loosened up.  Last seven miles were all under 6:00, without any intentional pace pick-up.  Drained blood blister came back with a vengeance.

Week Total: 114.3 miles. Pretty decent comeback week, post half-marathon.  My legs felt really flat and drained on Tuesday and Thursday but I think doing squats the night before may have played a role there.  With an important 25k in three weeks, next week will be tricky.  I'm signed up to do the Country Music Marathon. I was planning on running somewhat hard before signing up for the 25k but now I have to adjust. I almost decided not to run once I found out they dropped the prize money (was hoping to get $1500-$2000) but I'll at least attempt it.  If the weather is perfect, I'll shoot for a 2:25:59, which is a $250 time bonus, which shouldn't do too much damage. If it's warm, I'll run 2:30ish.  Also will do a shorter 5k specific workout  on Wednesday to further work on my speed. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Runnin' to Beat the Blues

Man, I need to catch up on my race recaps/reviews being that this race was like four weeks ago.  Laziness I guess.  But anyway, this was my third year running the Runnin' to beat the Blues 5k, which benefits the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee.  I was really nervous about running this race because my training had took a huge nose dive.  At the bare minimum, I wanted to run around tempo effort but I really didn't know how fast that would be.  Prior to the nose dive, I was planning on running around 10k effort, followed by either a short, intense fartlek or coming back to double in the mile a little while later.

The race is run entirely through Centennial Park, which means it's pretty much dead flat, with a ton of turns. During the portions with the long straightaways, you can really get moving, but there's too many turns to make it a PR type course.

I've been fortunate enough to win this race the past two years, but you never know who will show up.  This year, two guys stuck out to me.  Ted Towse is always pretty tough but I knew he wasn't in his top shape.  I was hoping that if I set a hard pace and bluffed a bit, he would let me go. The other guy, Max Paquette, is a sub 70 half marathoner who has run a fast 1500m before.  I met him a couple years ago at the Crazy 8's 8k and felt like he could be tough to beat.  My plan for him was the hard from the gun and hope he focused on his battle with Ted rather than trying to chase me down.

When we got going, I shot out pretty quickly.  The first mile makes a loop around the park and is by far the fastest mile in the park.  I wasn't feeling too hot but was really surprised when I went through the first mile in 4:42.  I had about a 30-40m lead and knew I couldn't get too mentally complacent.

I couldn't remember the course too well and the biker with me wasn't expecting to be the lead biker because the other two shot off like maniacs at the start of the race and they weren't in site at all.  Who knows what that was about? He was really nervous because he didn't know the course either but fortunately, there were signs everywhere, which made it easy to follow.

I lost a bit of time in the second mile and came through in 4:56.  Well, a lot of time I guess.  At this point, I had a somewhat comfortable lead, so I tried to keep it around tempo effort and not overdue things, ran the last mile in 5:06 and finished up in 15:15.

I was happy with my performance because I felt like 15:30 would be tough.  One of my favorite things about this race is that they always have decent post-race food.  I chowed down on pastries, yogurt and heck, they even had a cotton candy machine which is major bonus points.  All in all, this is a fun and well-run race that I plan on coming back to.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I hate this time of the year.  My eyes ache, my throat gets scratchy and I always think I'm on the verge of coming down with some hardcore sickness when it's really just allergies.  If you need to stock up on allergy meds, here's some good deals (I like my value shopping).

365 generic Zyrtec pills for $12.99

365 generic Claritin pills for $9.99

120 generic Allegra for $23.99

Great Boston Read

Here's a great read written by one of my Nashville running buddies, Jeff Edmonds.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

As most of you know, yesterday was a crazy day and there were more important things to update my blog (which I've been lazy with anyway).  This week, I went with a movie I wanted to watch for quite a while but I finally got around to seeing it.  Ghost Dog stars Forest Whitaker (as Ghost Dog), a hitman who works for the mafia.  Ghost Dog follows the code of the samurai and is very strict with his interpretation of it. He isn't bad with a sword, uses messenger pigeons and the movie score is by Wu-Tang.

As samurais served as protection way back in the day, Ghost Dog has sworn his allegiance to a mafia boss, Louie, who once saved his life.  Unfortunately, the higher-ups decide Louie has to go and Ghost Dog has a problem with that as he lays down a lot of samurai whoopings.  That results in the mob now hunting him down.

Ghost Dog 1

The movie is not very in-depth and is pretty mindless, but it's a decent watch. And hey, how intriguing is watching a movie about a samurai Forest Whitaker?

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 8th-14th Training

Monday: 5.9 miles (6:43); 10.2 miles (6:46)

Tuesday: 9.9 miles (6:33). Attempted a 12x400m hill session but after about .20 miles on the first interval, I knew my legs weren't ready for hard running.  Looking back, I had a hard, long session Wednesday, a hardish 5k Saturday and bombed long run Sunday.  Too much, too soon.; 6.1 miles (6:57) with 6xhill blasts

Wednesday: 4 miles (7:04); 12 miles (5:50) with 11 mile medium progression (5:42). Goal was four miles at 24:40, 4 miles at 23:00, 3 miles at 16:00.  I slowed it down about 5s a mile because it was 82 degrees and I don't think I've run a fast workout over 62 degrees all year. Ended up at 24:43, 22:34, 15:30. Started out too fast in the beginning, then put on the brakes, and had some hills.  Second portion felt rough at first but better the second half and the last section wasn't bad at all.  Didn't have to force the pace but was getting pretty thirsty the last couple of miles.  Faster than two weeks ago, with an easier effort and much warmer temps.

Thursday: 4 miles (7:14); 10.9 miles (6:55)

Friday: 8 miles (7:15); 4.7 miles with 4xstrides (6:57)

Saturday: 17 miles with half-marathon in 64:35. Great race.  Wasn't expecting much and felt like I would finish 3rd or 4th with a good race but ended up winning by almost 1.5 minutes. Planned to hang back, watch the race and then pick off people the last half but lead at the gun.  After about two miles, I was leading a pack with Daniel Kirwa, George Towett, and Boniface Biwott. Dropped Daniel and then he caught back up around 4-5 miles. Then dropped George, and dropped Daniel again, so it was just down to me and Boniface. He ran right on my butt until a little over nine miles in and then I turned around and asked him to help out because I was sick of doing all of the work into a headwind for the past three miles.  He then dropped and I kept my rhythm until the end. I was really pleased with the effort level and I feel like I could have ran 20 miles with a sub 5:00 average.  I know I had a lot left because the last 5k has a lot of climbing and since I'm really bad at hills, they should have beaten me up.  But I didn't feel anything running up them.  Definitely think I could have broken 64 if I pushed the last four miles all out. I never made any moves in the race, just ran a steady effort. Great confidence booster.

Sunday: 5.4 miles (7:25); 9.6 miles (6:48)

Week total= 107.7 miles. Because of the race, it was a motivating week.  I haven't done much specific work lately, so running a PR with a controlled effort and being five pounds over my racing weight was a huge confidence booster.  I've been pretty bummed this week with the whole Boston thing. I hated reading anything about it and secretly wished it was 100 degrees with 100mph winds. Instead, it was very good conditions. And to make matters worse, the race unfolded exactly as I was hoping.  Other than some Nashville friends and Fernando Cabada, who is always an interesting guy to watch, I just tracked Michael Eaton, Craig Leon, Tim Ritchie and Daniel Tapia.  Leon and Tapia were my darkhorse picks to surprise some people and I felt they were a little out of my range but I had the possibility to maybe get close at the end (sort of like Mike Reneau and Sergio Reyes at Houston).  I felt those four guys would be somewhat close to each other until the Newton Hills started and I wanted to keep them within 20-30s at halfway.  They were all together through 25k and came through the half in just under 66:40 (I was planning on a little under 67:00).  On the rolling hills from 16-21, I figured one of them would fall back, just based off the logic that at least 1/4 would most likely drop. My plan for that section was to try to close the gap on 1-2 of them and then hammer home the last 8k. One of them fell back on the hills and another fell back in the last 8k.  Frustrating that it went like that, but plans are just plans and aren't a prophecy or definite reality. After Tom King, I got too greedy with my workouts and jumped into it too quickly.  The plan for next week is to wait until Wednesday to do anything "fast" and then get in a good, solid workout on Saturday and a token long run Sunday.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

Well, I must confess, I've been cheating on Netflix with Hulu Plus all weekend.  I normally use Hulu Plus to catch the network shows I miss during the week.  They also have a lot of the older seasons, so it's worth the $7.99 monthly fee.  But recently, they added The Shield, even though it's been off the air for years. Whenever I hear people talk about the best shows/dramas of all time, The Shield frequently comes up (along with Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Wire, occasionally Lost, and other random shows).  I've always enjoyed cop shows, so I decided to start it on Saturday.  When it was time to head to bed on Sunday, I was already through nine episodes.

The Shield starts Michael Chiklis as Vic Mackey and is about an inner-city Los Angeles police precinct where cops have no shame breaking the law, if they feel it makes the streets safer in the big picture, as well as preserves their own indicidual goals and interests.  Mackey is the leader of the Strike Team, which is a four-man anti-gang team with a tight bond.  Mackey is definitely the alpha in the show and frequently butts heads with the more "moral" cops in the precint.  At first, I hated the guy but as the season wears on, he's begun to grow on me as he appears to view himself as a good guy, even though he frequently appears morally broken.

While Mackey is the star of the show, you also find yourself identifying with the other characters and become intertwined in the other subplots as well.  Even though some people may call it blasphemous, from what I've seen, it somewhat reminds me of a faster paced Wire, while focusing almost entirely on the police, rather than focusing on the criminal's story as well. 

The show has an excellent storyline, has plenty of action while pushing what's appropriate for cable TV and most surprisingly, Mary occasionally, somewhat tolerates it.  If you've never seen the Shield, I suggest looking around the internet for a free Hulu Plus trial and doing your best to cram it in as quickly as you can.

April 1st-7th Training

Monday: 5.9 miles (6:37); 9.1 miles (7:14)

Tuesday: 10.2 miles (6:38); 5.6 miles (6:50)

Wednesday: 4 miles (6:51); 13.6 miles with 10 miles of fast/medium (5:19) over hills. Since I'm getting back to "normal" I decided to run a hard workout, but run it as a fartlek so I had less pressure.  As always, I didn't know my pace and only had the 3:00 timer counting down on my screen.  Ran from the bottom of Jenkins to almost Stop 30 and back, which includes a lot of rolling hills with literally less than a couple hundred meters of flat ground.  Wanted to run a little harder then half-marathon effort on the fast portion and keep a somewhat steady jog on the recovery.  Gradually worked into the pace and really struggled a little over halfway through because of a couple tough hills on the fast portion.  On the steady jog, I felt like my quads were about to explode but after that, it got better.  Had to stop for about 10 seconds after my second to last fast portion because I thought I was going to puke (ate three roast/banana pepper sandwiches literally a few minutes before the workout).  Pleased with the workout because I was expecting to average around 5:30 pace. Averaged right around 5:00 pace for the fast part and a little over 5:40 pace for the moderate (the moderate was around 6:00 pace the last few).

Thursday: 4 miles (6:41); 12 miles (6:46)

Friday: 5.9 miles (6:55); 9.1 miles (6:52)

Saturday: 11.6 miles with 5k in 14:50 (4:48, 4:54, 4:40, 28).Ran a local 5k and was planning on running in the 14:50s.  Let some little kids lead for a while before I took the lead and ran solo the rest of the way.  Felt good on the first mile, which included a little hill. On the second mile, I struggled running up a long, gradual hill and on the last mile, I got rolling and was sub 4:30 pace for a while.  Got pretty tired in the last half mile running up another gradual hill but was fine at the finish.  Pleased with the time, based on the effort I put out.  The course was certified, but they only blocked one of the lanes of traffic, so you couldn't run the tangents that well; 3.4 miles (7:41)

Sunday: 16 miles (6:16). Plan was 21 miles and I got rolling pretty quickly.  Felt hungry/low blood sugarish from the get-go but figured it would pass.  It never really did.  I cut off a section of the run, which would bring it to about 20 miles, but at 16 miles, I felt really weak, so I stopped. Unfortunately, it was four miles from home.  I saw on the park bench waiting to see if there were any runners I knew so I could use their phone to call Mary.  All I saw were some families and I didn't want to come off as a creepy guy, so I walked a half mile to Wal-Mart and called her then.  Luckily, the free sample cookies were out and I devoured more than my fair share.  Frustrating run but the long run isn't as important when you're not training to race the marathon.  I was going to run later, but was too lazy.

Week Total=110.4 miles.  Feel like I'm coming around.  Had a solid, strenuous workout on Wednesday, which was the deepest I've had to dig in a few months.  Saturday was ok but bummed with having to end the long run so early.  This week, I'll probably throw in a moderate workout and will either run a 10k race as a tempo run or race a half-marathon.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Races

Each month, I will highlight some of my favorite races that I've run in the past or plan on running in the future.  Maybe you'll find a new favorite race!

I ran the Knoxville Half-Marathon last year. The course is pretty rolling, but it's in Knoxville, so what do you expect? The course has a little bit of everything: long straightaways, neighborhood running and you even knock out a few miles on a greenway.  The post-race food is served in a big gym and I remember scarfing down more than my fair share of chips and pizza.  Being that it's an hour ahead of Nashville, I had to get a hotel, but it was only like $60.  If you're running the Country Music Half or full Marathon, this would be an excellent rust buster, assuming you kept your foot on the brakes a little bit. 

The Dairy Dash is one of my favorite Nashville races and I always encourage everyone to run it.  The course is flat and fast, there's plenty of people to run with, and you can choose the 5k, 10k or even run both! As you could have guessed, there's post-race ice cream and milk, they serve a hot meal and their shirts are always among my favorite.  Everyone needs to check out this race.


I ran this race in 2005 and hope to run it again.  This is a huge 10k that takes place in Charleston, SC.  Over 40,000 people run this race and running on the Cooper River Bridge is a pretty cool experience.  If you're a Nashville runner, this could be a good race/beach weekend trip. 

Most people either love this race or hate it.  It's hilly, crowded and the weather is usually terrible.  But over 30,000 people run the half-marathon every year and it's the most well known Nashville race to regular runners and non-runners alike.  I got second in the marathon in 2011, which ended up giving me a lot of street cred.  I've run much faster times since then, but I get asked if I plan on running again at least once a week by a parent at school.  I really enjoyed the big race experience, there's a lot of crowd support (at least until the half-marathoners branch off) and it's a race that I feel every Tennessean should run at least once.  My gripes against this race are that parking is a nightmare, the post-race baggage pick up is WAY too far away (it literally took me about 30 minutes to walk/limp to it) and it's pretty pricey. But hey, if people pay the price, I can fault them. If you sign up to run the marathon, you need to understand that this is a half-marathon race, with the marathon as a side-show (but that doesn't bother me). 

I set my still standing half-marathon PR at this race last year.  The half-marathon is midsized and flat without many turns, so it's definitely a place to go if you want to run a fast time. It takes place the same day as the Country Music races, but with a faster course, cheaper entry and typically better weather, it could be a better option for many.  My gripes with them are that they blurred out my Saucony logo on their homepage and they never answered my pre-race emails/Facebook messages, etc.  The post race festivities take place in a big, open field (fairgrounds maybe?) and they had a decent amount of food.  Yeah, that's not very helpful but after walking around in a singlet for 45 minutes in cold rainy weather trying to find my friend, I just wanted to get out of there.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

Since finding Psych on Netflix, it's turned into one of my favorite shoes.  I'm a sucker for most crime-type shows (Criminal Minds, CSI, Rookie Blue, Law and Order:SVU and the list goes on).  I'm also a fan of goofy comedy (What the Office used to be, Community, Big Bang Theory, etc.).  If you take the best of both of those shows and combine them, you have Psych.

The main charcter in Psych is Shawn Spencer.  Since a very young age, his uptight policeman father, Henry, trained him, in the art of fine awareness (not sure if that's a real term). Shawn can be put in an environment and pick up every tiny detail, which makes him a knack for reading people and additionally, solving crimes. 

Now, you can't just join the police force without any formal training, so he has to find another avenue to help out with the police.  He decides to play off his keen observational skills as having psychic ability and opens up a freelance psychic/detective business with his best friend Gus (my favorite character).  The duo frequently work with the Santa Barbara Police Department and solve the toughest crimes, much to the dismay of lead detective, Lassie, who is frequently annoyed by Shawn's comedic antics. 

Since discovering this show, it's become one of my favorite current shows on TV. It's clean, funny and I love the chemistry between Shawn and Gus.