Bartlett Parks & Rec Valentine’s Day 5k & 10k

AKA, “The race I am totally bummed I am missing this year”.

The Bartlett Parks & Rec Valentine’s Day 5k & 10k was one of my favs last year. This year it is on Saturday, February 12, at 9am. For the cost of a normal race ($20/ea or $30/couple) you get a comfy sweatshirt, hot pizza afterwards, fleece blankets for overall prizes, toboggans for age group prizes and if you are a lady you get a red carnation when you cross the finish line! Now, that was last year, so they could change it up some this year.

There is some cool novelty too in that you can run with your sweetie in the Couples 10k Division. You both run the 10k and they will add your times together. Then they average your ages to see what age group you are.

Not a lot of folks ran this race last year – Good one to medal at. I’ve gotten my one and only award here: 2nd in my age group in the 5k at 29:07!

I’ll be missing it for the New Orleans Half Marathon. There’s always next year! and More on the Greenline Harahan Bridge

I’ve owned the domain for a while now and have mostly used it for data storage and a design playground. But have yet to design myself a site. Too many choices – where to begin! This same problem plagued me when picking out the color to paint our living room. Frozen by choices. And no time to work on it. Anyway…

Slowbutt now is hosted on!

Also, the historian in me couldn’t help doing more research last night on the Harahan Bridge which will (hopefully) provide a greeline/boardwalk over the Mississippi River for pedestrians and bikers. I found another fantastic Harahan Bridge site ( which says an estimated 20 trains cross the bridge daily. That’s almost 1 every hour. Not ideal – Hope they reinforce that walkway!

John Weeks’ site also has more photos of the roadway, including one showing some beautiful coblestone-work. Let’s preserve this! BTW: Some of those inclines look pretty steep – Hill work anyone?

A Greenline Across the River?

The Greater Memphis Greenline announced that it wants to turn 2 unused roadways on the Harahan Bridge into pedestrian and bike paths.

The Harahan is a Union Pacific railroad bridge built in 1916. At the time, there was no bridge dedicated to auto or horse-carriage transport across the river (in fact, there was only 1 bridge going across the river, the 1892 Frisco railroad bridge), so 2 single roadway lanes on either side of the bridge were added. The wood planks that made up these lanes were pulled up in the 50’s when the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge (The I-55 or “Old Bridge”) was built solely for automobile traffic. But, the metal beams that held these planks are still there, waiting for new wood, asphalt or whatever is going to be used.

The Greater Memphis Greenline says they will only build back the north lane, which will lead into the Downtown Bluffs and onto Riverside Drive. There are many grants available that will cover the majority of the cost and they hope to have everything started and finished in a few years.

More historical information on the bridge:

What the bridge looks like today (very interesting!)

Belts on Parade

My current water belt is a freebie, given generously to me by Keshia last year. But it has a strap that is broken, isn’t the prettiest, and is really small. I can barely get it around the smallest part of my waist, so wearing it around my hips (where I really wanted it) isn’t even a consideration.

So I asked Bobby for a new water belt for Christmas. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention when I sent him the Amazon link and asked for a Large Nathan Speed 4 Waist Pack with Four 10-Ounce Nutrition Flasks instead of a Small. Trying on the belt, it was just a little too big around my hips. That actually surprised me; I thought I would need a small. But later I tried on a Medium belt at the Fleet Feet store and it felt perfect.

Note to everyone: Unless you want to wear you water belt right at your natural waistline, order 1 size bigger. And listen, I don’t want to wear my belt around my hips just to look cool (well, maybe a little), but because when I wear my current belt at the waist it bounces so much and feels like it is pulling my shirt up and riding up to my boobs!

Bobby sent back the large and got Amazon credit. Today I am ordering my new belt! And of course, I am getting it in pink. And of course, I found something else I needed too.

I have chosen the Nathan Speed 2 Waistpack with Two 10-Ounce Nutrition Flasks in Medium/Pink. Love the color! The pouch looks roomy, but not too big and reviews say it holds a Droid/iPhone, has a key ring and is even compartmentalized to keep icky used Gu packets separated. This one only has 2 10-ounce flasks, but I don’t see myself using all 4 anyway. Maybe if I’m running in the super hot summer. But my current belt only has 2 and I never thought, “Oh my God, I need more water!”.

Being the smarty pants Amazon’s suggestion engine is, they said, “Hey pretty lady, why don’t you take a look at these GoBelts?” I said, “Amazon, how did you know I had been thinking about getting one of these for races when I don’t need water, but just something to carry Gu and my bib so that I don’t have to pin everything to my pants!?” Amazon tipped its hat and disappeared into the night. So I purchased a GoBelt in Neon Pink. The photo shows the silver version and yes, that is my stomach, I am a GoBelt model. It has slots for 4 Gus, straps to attach your bib, and a small pouch that is big enough for a Droid/iPhone. Perfect!

Now to sit by the front door until they arrive…

I’ll never complain about the COLD again!

“I’ll never complain about the COLD again!”
(Part 2 of my post from yesterday…)

In response to the Antarctic Ice Marathon, a coworker sent me a link to The Marathon Des Sables. This is a 6-day, 151-mile endurance race across the Sahara Desert in Morocco each March/April. That’s equivalent to 5 and a half marathons! In addition to that, competitors have to carry everything they will need for the race (food, clothes, medical kit, sleeping bag, etc, everything except for a tent) in a backpack while they run. Water is rationed and handed out at each checkpoint. Cost to participate is 3,200 Pounds ($4,962.56 American).

2011’s 235 race spots are already taken – sorry, I know you wanted to go. And guess what? The wait list for 2012 (which opened in 2009) is also already full! Who knew getting sand in your shoes was so popular?

I’ll never complain about the heat again!

“I’ll never complain about the heat again!”

This is what Bobby says now that the weather is cold again. And it will get colder before March.

But at least it isn’t as cold in Memphis as it was for the runners in the Antarctic Ice Marathon a few days ago. This race is run during the height of Antarctica’s “summer”. 37 participants ran over ice and snow. The wind chill is -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit!). The altitude is 3,000 feet, so not quite a mile high like the Denver Marathon (5,280 feet). Winds blow at 10-25 knots (12 – 28 miles per hour).

Don’t expect a PR here. The course record is 4:20:31. Still faster than I could probably ever run and they are doing it in -4 degree winds.

For only 9,900 Euros ($12,984.84 American) you too can take part in this race and never complain about the heat again! (Yes, that amount includes some air fare, lodging and food in Antarctica)

PS: If the idea of a marathon in Antarctica isn’t enough for you, they offer a 100k (62 miles) race too. Whaaaa?! *Head explodes*

53 Rules for Running

Some running buddies sent along 53 rules for running:

“Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.” is one I need to remember.

“Never run alongside very old or very young racers. They get all of the applause.” made me laugh – so true!

St. Jude Marathon Report

I did it! I finished and survived the St. Jude Marathon relatively unscathed and in a reasonable time. Here’s a play-by-play of the day (Warning – it is long!):

So the song goes:

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you can call him a man?

It’s a little known fact the song originally went:

How many times must Bethany change her clothes
Before she runs in this dern marathon?

First it was the long-sleeve coral Saucony shirt with long black tights. Then the long-sleeve awesome purple Nike shirt with long black tights. The answer truly was blowing in the wind because it was warm and windy that morning. I walked out on the front porch in the long sleeve outfit for a test a realized it would not do. So I changed to one of my favorite short sleeve shirts (Breakaway’s “Run for the girls”) and knee-length black tights. Later on in the race I would have liked to have on a tank top and shorts!

Here is what I predicted for race day using my Totally Unscientific St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weather Spreadsheet:

  • Min Temp: 38.2
  • Mean Temp: 46.0
  • Max Temp: 56.6
  • Precipitation: 0.3 Inches
  • Snow Depth: 0.0 Inches
  • Mean Wind: 9.4 MPH
  • Max Sustained Wind: 15.3 MPH
  • Max Wind Gust: 14.1 MPH

Here is what it really was:

  • Min Temp: 37.0
  • Mean Temp: 54.3
  • Max Temp: 62.1
  • Precipitation: 0.0 Inches
  • Snow Depth: 0.0 Inches
  • Mean Wind: 10.24 MPH
  • Max Sustained Wind: 16.9 MPH
  • Max Wind Gust: 28.77 MPH

Not too far off! The max temp was higher, we ended up getting no rain instead of a little and the max wind was almost double. If you need me I’ll be in Tunica placing some bets…

My dad woke up at 3am and drove 2 hours from Selmer to see us run! I ate oatmeal and Bobby had a banana for breakfast. We headed out at 6:15am in separate cars since Bobby and I planned to have fun downtown all day long after the race (I laugh at this impossible idea now). Parked at Parking Can Be Fun, one of our favorite garages and headed to Autozone Park for bag check. I kept a hand warmer out while we walked down Fourth Street to see our corrals, the start line and stay warm in the FedExForum. Bobby discovered the idea of waiting in the FedExForum last year as he was waiting around for the marathon to start in the 28 degrees weather. In the Forum we met up with Yu, Patrick, Beth and Virgina. Used the nice restrooms (no porta-potties for us!) and at 7:45 we headed to our corrals. Bobby and Patrick were pretty much on the start line while the rest of us meeted and greeted our way back to the back. I saw lots of running friends and even the Russells from my church back home!

First half
Mile 4 we ran by my building at St. Jude and my manager Leigh snapped a photo of me. The Hashers offered me a beer at mile 7, but I was too nervous to risk anything! Loved the YMCA dancing group outside the Memphis College of Art at Mile 9 – just what was needed after the boredom of Overton Park (sorry trees). The first 13.1 was going by fast. Oh, and just a tip to spectators: Not everyone is running the half. Don’t yell out, “You’re almost done!” at mile 12. Beth, Yu and I had fun saying, “No we are not!”. My first half pace was around 9:30 – 10 minute miles.

Second half
Everything went well until a little past mile 13. Then the ghosts of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins jumped out Sun Studios as we ran by and stabbed me in the stomach with a knife…or at least that is what it felt like. I hadn’t had a cramp like that in a long time! I had to walk for a minute and my stomach wasn’t 100% for the rest of the race, though at least no dead musicians stabbed me again. Mile 13-16 were my hardest. I got so sleepy running down Peabody. I found myself thinking, “I could just curl up under that tree on the sidewalk right now and take a nap”. I began to wonder why I had registered for this race; I lost pace. Beth kept it up though and she pushed on. Seeing BR as well as Ron and Beth’s kids in their Suburban were some great moments on Peabody. As Yu and I got into Cooper Young at mile 17 the crowds made me feel better, and I realized that we were down to single digit miles left now. Second wind – You can make it now! But Yu was feeling a bit nauseous, and she decided to walk a bit. So from 19 onwards I was on my own. I would stop every mile, then forced myself to only every 2 miles for water stop/walk breaks. Seeing the Hashers again at mile 22 was a great pick-me-up. Luckily, no muscle soreness except for a tiny bit of upper foot pain and a little shoulder stiffness. Just a little stomach cramps. I was thinking, “There’ no way I’m making 4:45 and I do not even care if I make 5 hours!”. My pace for this second half was 11 – 12 minute miles.

That last mile was so long – what the heck – was there some kind of infinite loop portal I was unaware of? But once I got to mile 26 I picked up the speed from 12:00 to 8:00 and “sprinted” in. I had some energy left in me for sure. Crossed the first pad in the stadium and heard my named called – the best! It felt great to finish: 4:57. As I walked up the stairs I thought I would cry like at the Germantown Half, but by the time I got the top I was good. And Beth and Ron were there at the top – she wasn’t too far ahead of me. Just a few minutes later Yu finished: 4:59 – just in time! Tried eat pizza and drink a beer in the free food area, but after a couple bites I didn’t feel too good. Bobby also told me how he got ill after the race, and I think it scared me. But after a visit to the restroom and a change of clothes, I got my appetite back. It was so nice to rinse off my face – I could have filled a salt shaker with my saltiness! Dad, Bobby, me, Patrick and Yu all went to Rio Loco for some lunch. Afterwards Dad headed back to Selmer, and Bobby and I went home to spend the rest of the day on the couch.

Next time
What am I thinking about doing differently next time?

  • More medium distance (5-8 miles) runs during the week in increase speed and stamina.
  • No Gu packs with caffeine (Yu said they upset her stomach before so that could have been what upset mine – worth a shot)
  • No PowerAde (I usually don’t drink it while running and that is something I did different – could have caused cramps, who knows?)
  • Water at mile 3, then only every 2 miles (I was drinking too often at some points, slowing me down. I might adjust this if it is hot)
  • Gu at mile 5, 10, 15 and 20

Is it bad…

Is is bad that I bought brand new shirt specifically to wear for the race a month ago…and then replaced it just Wednesday when Bobby and I went on a taper madness shopping spree? But, THIS IS THE MOST AWESOME SHIRT EVER! It is a gorgeous shade of purple with a metallic gold nike logo (not that I’m all about brands, but it is shiny), long, the softest thing ever, and (the best part) has extra long sleeves with these little thumb slits for your…thumbs! Only problem is it hasn’t been field tested like my other shirt. It could burst into flames at mile 5 – who knows?
PS: I also bought new dri-fit, super soft, running-specific gloves. They have tiny pockets for a car key or whatever else tiny thing you could fit in there (Exactly one Sport Bean, perhaps?).

Is is bad that I have had my entire marathon outfit laid out on the guest bed since Wednesday night?

Is it bad I had a nightmare/dream about the race last night? I was running in the marathon with my girls (even Keshia was there, who isn’t actually running in the marathon). We were doing great and having fun. We were running through buildings and up staircases and were thinking, “Hmmm, this is a strange marathon course”. We were at mile 8 when Bobby appeared and said, “Listen, I’ve been done for awhile, and I’m bored and ready to go home, so let’s leave”. And then he grabbed my hand and made me leave without finishing! I was reaching out to the girls as they ran away on the course saying, “Noooooo!”. LOL – It was so ridiculous.
I think I had that dream due to my great fear of not being able to find my friends in the pace group marathon morning and having to run the entire race by myself – That would not be fun. I’ve had to run Road Race Series races by myself before because I got there late so it is not that crazy!

Is it bad that not long a ago (6 months?) the idea of an 8 mile run would have filled me with worry and dread. Yet last Saturday I found myself saying, “Yay, just an easy, short 8 mile run today!”. And it was an easy, short 8 mile run. My world has turned upside down.

The McMillan Running Calculator

Yet another way to calculate your expected finish time in a marathon – or any running event for that matter. The McMillan Running Calculator (WARNING: there is a video w/sound that auto-plays on the page – turn those speakers down) has got a lot more bells and whistles than the pace calculator mentioned in previous posts.

You type in a previous time from a multitude of different races, from 100m dash to marathon (for best results type in the race time closest to the one you are looking for). Click “Calculate”. On the next page the McMillan Running Calculator gives you so many estimates your tiny racer’s brain will explode with knowledge! Not only are you given estimates of how you’ll do (or SHOULD be doing) in various races, but also how fast you should be going in speed work.

I’ve shown my results when I put in my recent 1/2 Marathon PR from last Sunday of 2 hours, 13 minutes and 59 seconds (click the image for a bigger version). You’ll notice that the calculator is smart and doesn’t just take your pace and multiply it by the distance ran – It understands if you are running farther you are going to run slower.

For speedwork it says my 400s are over 2 minutes – I actually keep them under 2 minutes (it is one of my goals). For 5ks it says 28:59 – That is about my range, though I have done them quicker. For the marathon is says 4:42:34 – That was what I was planning on! I am going to get into the 4:45 pace group. I hope I break 5 hours!