About JB

Dude from Ohio but living in Memphis. I run, I write, I cook, I read and I ponder the great questions of the world, such as "what is the best flavor of Pop Tarts?"

Weekly Recap: May 8-14

Sorry for the delay in posting this, things have been a bit hectic (as they always are in May).

It was a fairly straightfoward week, four runs (including a race), a swim and a bike. The bike was meant to be easy and short, and I shortened it even more after leaving the house without my (full of delicious ice water) bottle. Left the damn thing right next to where my bike was. Fail.

Saturday, of course, was the Bluff City 10k, where I came up just 44 seconds short of hitting sub-50 at the 10k distance. I hadn’t really been training to do it, and I ran hard at Louisville only two weeks before, so I can’t complain. But I definitely could have gone faster if I had more energy. We had great weather for it too, so it’s a shame I wasn’t fully ready to go. Oh well.

Other than that, a pretty quiet week. I had a cold or allergies for the first half (still have a runny nose!), but doing much better now. Of course, now Ro is dealing with whatever I had! Poor girl.

Race Report: 2017 Bluff City 10k

Alternate Title: So Close!

This was the third year I’ve signed up for this race, and the second time I’ve actually ran it (last year…I uh….had too much fun the night before). It’s always right around Ro’s birthday, and it’s super convenient to our house. The course is essentially a massive loop that runs alongside our typical routes anyway, so we’re used to running on the terrain. Having just done the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and hitting a massive PR only two weeks ago, we didn’t have high hopes for this, though PRs were dancing in our heads.

Friday I picked up our packets, and then we headed to dinner for her birthday. Now, we usually have pasta before a race. But given it was her birthday, she wanted something fancier. So off to the Capital Grille we went. We munched on delicious seafood, crazy good steaks, a decadent dessert, a bottle of wine and some cocktails before. Absolutely delicious, but not the right meal before a race!

Saturday morning, we woke up feeling very heavy and not at all interested in eating any more food. We did the best we could and ran the mile or so to the race start.

We started a bit closer to the front than we had hoped, and right at 8AM we were off. My goal was to keep things as close to an 8 minute mile as possible, to hopefully hit a sub-50 finish time. Things were right on track for the first four miles, but then the course turned uphill for nearly an entire mile, and I started slowing down a bit. I was still keeping things close though; mile 6 was 8:11. I crossed the finish line in 50:43, so damn close!

Afterwards, I waited for Ro to finish (1:00:34! So close!), then we started walking back to the house. We stopped along the way to cheer on some other runners (did I mention the course literally runs in front of our house?) and a very dear friend.

All in all, a great race all things considered. I’m not gonna complain too much about a nearly two-minute PR, and coming just two weeks after a PR in the half; two PRs in three weeks! Not too bad!

That’s it for scheduled races until October (things tend to slow down after May here in the mid-south, given how damn hot it gets) and the MCM. Formal training for that begins in late June, though I’ll be keeping up my base workouts for the time being.

Weekly Recap: 5/1-5/7

The week post-Louisville (race report here) was pretty easy. We decided to take it nice and easy as we tried to revel in our new PRs and accomplishing a goal I set out to achieve nearly six years ago. Just a few easy weekday runs and 8 miles on Saturday. It’s getting hot already!

Weekly recap for 5/1 – 5/7

Friday morning I actually went to the pool and got in a swim. Now, this is the first time I’ve swam since June of 2015! And that was a single time; previously it was summer of 2014 shortly after my only triathlon. So yeah….second time swimming in three years. And shockingly, I didn’t drown. It was a decent swim all things considered: 4×100, 4×50, 4×25 and then a 450 yard straight swim.

Saturday after our run, it was time to hit up Memphis in May’s Music Fest, a three-day concert held at Tom Lee Park. We only had tickets for Saturday, since all I really wanted to see was Silversun Pickups. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS night out for it:

Sunday I got in a bit of a ride. Actually, it was the longest I’ve ever ridden outside (apparently my records don’t last long), just shy of 18 miles.

I head straight towards the river to see how high it’s gotten (we are a bit over flood stage at the moment):

Yup, pretty high!

Afterwards, it was time for some brunch at the pub

And with that, another week in the books!

Race Report: 2017 Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon

Alternate Title: Winning Despite Conditions

Sometimes things just click. They just work right, despite the conditions, despite circumstances beyond your control, despite wondering if you can really do it. This past Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky, was one of those times. While it wasn’t an ideal situation, I somehow managed to not only hit my goal, but I blew past it. Finally a sub-2 hour half marathon! I knocked off six minutes from my PR and over nine from Little Rock. But first…

Friday: The Expo
We left Memphis early Friday morning to make the 5.5 hour drive to Louisville. We swung by the expo to pick up our packets and shirts first, as this was outside the city a bit and made the most sense. Pretty standard expo, though very confusing to find anything. We had to drive all the way around the exposition center to enter our designated gate, then no real directions from there to find the specific hall we needed. We followed what looked like runners and eventually found it. Once you got your bib and shirt, you snake your way around to the exit. Odd thing: they had TWO different gutter guard companies. At a race expo. Since, ya know, when you’re about to run a marathon or half marathon, all you can think about are ways to keep leaves out of your gutters.

Yeah I’m a turtle all right

The t-shirt was actually pretty solid. Tech, a nice gray color, and I like these types of maps that basically show the course and different highlights around it.

Pretty nice (and wrinkled!)

After that, it was time to fuel. We had a pasta buffet at a nearby hotel (not ours, but next door). It had the standard stuff, but was pretty tasty surprisingly. And of course, you gotta hydrate!

Beer: the fuel for all serious athletes

And with that, we headed off to watch TV and go to bed. The weather had looked to be warm and humid, so we didn’t think any PRs were gonna happen. Additionally, there was a very slight chance of thunderstorms overnight, but the race twitter feed assured us everything would be fine. Oops.

Saturday: The Race and The Aftermath
We woke up and started getting ready. It definitely stormed overnight, as I was awoken several times by thunder (and the loudest A/C unit ever!). We ate, got ready, and headed down to get in our corrals. We made it to the lobby before we heard that the race was delayed 30 minutes. So we chilled for 30 minutes and started heading out to the corrals again.

A storm’s a’brewin’

We didn’t even make it around the block before we saw a tweet that it was delayed another 30 minutes. So back into the hotel we went. And after 20 minutes, they announced ANOTHER 30 minute delay. What was supposed to be a 7:30AM start was now pushed to 9AM. Which meant that we would be running in a hotter part of the day. Which meant those in the later corrals running the full likely were screwed if the race couldn’t keep the course open for the allowable time (note: they did not). Finally, at 9:10 or so, the race began and we were off!

The look of pure humidity

The race was very crowded for the first two miles or so, before it opened up. It took me until mile 3 to start getting close to 9:00/mile pace. The humidity wasn’t too bad surprisingly, and the clouds definitely kept the temps cool. I made the right choice in clothes for once!

The course

You run a bit downtown, then straight out towards Churchill Downs, the famous horse racing venue. You run on the inside portion of it, then the half and full marathons split, with the half (or miniMarathon as they call it) heading back up towards downtown. It was here, starting at mile 8.5, that it was basically uphill the whole way home. I was holding a good pace between 8:30-8:50 for most of it, which was awesome! I was alternating between water and powerade at each aid station, and took some Gu blocks at mile six.

I kept doing mental math the whole time, and when I hit mile 11 I knew I had my goal in sight. I managed to keep the pace until the very end, pumped my fists as I crossed and couldn’t believe I had hit 1:55:40. My goal coming in was simply to beat two hours, and I destroyed that goal. I was so thrilled with my performance!

Afterwards, I waited for Ro to finish, we took our official finisher photos, grabbed some waters and food and headed straight to the hotel. Sure, we were tired (she got a PR by two minutes!), but we had brunch to get to!

The best way to refuel!

After this, I felt human again

After food, it was time to do what they do best in Kentucky: bourbon! We went straight to the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience to take our tour and taste some delicious bourbon! It was awesome!

So good!

After that, we hopped around a bit more to check out other spots, had a yummy dinner, then went back to the hotel to finally crash. We both slept very well that night, then headed back to Memphis in the morning. That was not a fun drive.

All in all, it was a fantastic race weekend. We both PR’d and I managed to crush my goal and FINALLY get a sub-2, something I’ve tried unsuccessfully to do for several years now. Just goes to show that the work I’ve been putting in has made massive improvements. Now I just need to keep it up for MCM in October!