Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Eating in Memphis

Continuing my Memphis weekend recap from here.

I'm no food blogger, but today, I'm going to talk about the weekend's eats. In general, I always want to seek out the places where the locals go - and Memphis had so many amazing choices. It's a wonder that everyone there doesn't weigh 500 pounds, considering the quality of the food.

The Flying Fish
On Friday afternoon, I was wandering around downtown Memphis, looking for a place to grab something relatively quick. I noticed groups of construction workers, police, and businessmen streaming into The Flying Fish. As I walked by, someone held the door open for me, so I decided to go with the flow and head inside. The locals always know best!

I was met by this:
The story is if you bring in a Billy Bass trophy to contribute to their "adoption center," you can get a free basket of catfish, along with your name on a wall plaque. The restaurant promises "to house, shelter, love and protect each ADOPTED Billy Bass." Hilarious!

Here are a few more snapshots:
The food was fantastic. They had a terrific selection of very fresh and affordable seafood dishes, with some great healthy options. I had a tough time making up my mind, but ended up getting the grilled mahi mahi platter with sides of beans and rice; and grilled zucchini and squash. Note the ample selection of hot sauces available in the background, too:
The staff was very friendly and accommodating, and service was quick and efficient. If I ever go back to Memphis, I would definitely be happy to eat here again.

Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous
Memphis is legendary for its BBQ. I'd done a lot of research on places to try, and a suggestion that came up a lot was Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous. My understanding was that it was more on the touristy side, but still worth trying.

The location, while downtown, was a little hard to find. You had to go into a back alley to find the entrance. It felt a little sketchy.
On a contrasting note, there was some beautiful street art on the building opposite the entrance:
Once inside, you had to go downstairs through a dark hallway into a basement of sorts. Again, it felt a little sketchy. But once inside, the atmosphere was cool.
I got a smoked chicken breast platter, which came with rolls and sides of beans and coleslaw. My favorite part of the meal was the in-house barbeque sauce. It was awesome. Too bad the FAA has a liquids restriction for carry-on luggage, otherwise I would have wanted to fill up my entire suitcase with bottles of their sauce. (I learned later that Rendezvous sells their sauces at the airport at locations after the security checkpoint. Someone in their merchandising department is very clever. =) )

The Blue Plate Cafe
Adam joined me in Memphis very late on Friday night. On Saturday morning, we went for brunch at the Blue Plate Cafe, which was a stone's throw away from where we were staying.

The Blue Plate was very homey, cute, and pleasant with lots of unique artwork adorning the walls. The crowd was a nice mixture of families, couples, and groups.
The food was tasty, very Southern, and enormous. (Adam ordered unsweetened iced tea, and we were joking about how this automatically branded us as heathens!)
Western omelette, grits, pancakes, toast, two eggs over easy
The biscuits and gravy were true standouts, in my opinion. Everything was fresh out of the oven.
Adam noted that contrary to the name, the restaurant didn't actually serve their food on blue plates. =D That aside, we both enjoyed the food and service very much and walked out with an enormous box of leftovers. We were lucky we had arrived when we did, too, because as we were leaving there was a long line of folks waiting to be seated.

The Trolley Stop
After visiting Graceland on Saturday afternoon, we were looking for a place to grab a quick bite before heading to Sun Studio for a late afternoon visit. The Trolley Stop fit the bill perfectly. It was a very cute combination bar/restaurant/bakery/marketplace which featured local farmers' wares. As the name implies, it was close to one of the Memphis trolley stops.
The menu was very diverse and had an ample selection of healthful dishes. It can be so hard to find menus with lots of healthy choices, so I was thrilled at the range of options. I loved the vibe and the laidback atmosphere. Adam and I shared a salad and a barbeque chicken pizza, and both were excellent.

If I had more time and more room in my stomach, I would have liked to peruse some of the store offerings plus the bakery, too!

BB King's
Adam and I wanted to go to Beale Street on Saturday night to listen to some live blues. We decided to do double duty by having dinner at BB King's at the same time.

Adam enjoying a Yuengling while waiting for food and music.
BB King's had launched a new menu a few days before we were there. I went back and forth on whether to order a shrimp and grits dish versus getting a barbeque chicken dish. The waitress, who was very friendly, warned me that the shrimp and grits were very spicy. I don't have much spice tolerance, so I went with the chicken, which came with sides of mashed potatoes and collard greens. The chicken was good, but in retrospect, I probably should have taken my chances with the shrimp and grits. Note to self for next time.

Adam got a brisket platter, which came with a roll and a side of beans. His brisket was some of the best I'd ever had in my life - it was so tender it literally melted in your mouth. Yummy!

Central BBQ
I had heard Central BBQ was a joint that was frequented by lots of locals. It is very close to the Civil Rights Museum, so it was the perfect place to have lunch before going to the museum on Sunday afternoon.

Once again, I loved the laidback, down-to-earth atmosphere filled with happy people chowing down:
I got the smoked turkey platter, a side salad, and a banana pudding:
The platter came with mild BBQ sauce. You can see in the picture that I also tried a few of their other sauce offerings (a mustard sauce, a vinegar sauce, and their "sweet heat" sauce). I liked every one and it was a toss-up between the mustard and the vinegar for my favorite.

Adam got the brisket platter with sides of green beans and mac & cheese:
The barbeque dishes were both very delicious, but the mac & cheese and the banana pudding were both incredibly, exceptionally, extraordinarily good. I could have eaten both of those alone and gone home deliriously happy. I am now on a critical mission to recreate that banana pudding at home in my own kitchen.

That concludes the weekend's eats. Thank you, Memphis, for being so hospitable and for all of your amazing food!!! Until the next time, I'll be ready with my stretchy pants. =)

I am inaugurally linking up with Jenn, Arman, Meghan, and Laura for What I Ate Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Aug 22-28 weekly recap and my fall racing schedule

I'm going to do double-duty today by belatedly linking up with HoHo and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap, as well as with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.
Here are my workouts from the week:
MONDAY: 10 minutes stationary cycling, lift 40 minutes
TUESDAY: Yoga class
WEDNESDAY: Zumba class, Mobility 101 class
THURSDAY: Strength Max class
FRIDAY: Yoga video
SATURDAY: Run 3 miles on treadmill

A couple of highlights from the week:

Pearl Jamming
On Monday night, Adam and I got last-minute tickets to see Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field. I'm not a huge Pearl Jam fan. However, Adam had long been wanting to see them in concert, so I tagged along.

The band put on quite a show. Eddie Vedder is the quintessential rockstar!
Speaking of Eddie Vedder, we had some unexpected drama. Eddie literally stopped mid-song to throw a misbehaving fan out of the concert:
When Eddie wants you gone, you really have no chance, eh?

On Friday night, Adam and I took the second in a series of pasta-making classes at Cooking Fools. We learned how to make tortellini and farfalle from scratch. It takes a lot of time and effort!
Here's an action shot of me concentrating on making lemon sauce to accompany the tortellini:
The best part of the class, of course, was getting to eat our homemade creations afterwards. Gosh, I love pasta. Even when I'm not training for a long-distance running event, I am still happy to carb-load all day, all the time!!!

Now, let's move on to this week's Tuesdays on the Run Topic: Your fall race calendar

Ahhhh, fall! My favorite time of year to run and race. By my standards, my schedule is actually pretty quiet this year.

I'll be in Pittsburgh the weekend of September 23 when The Great Race 10K takes place; however, I haven't pulled the trigger on registering.
I've seen mixed reviews on The Great Race. A lot of folks have complained about painful, awkward event-day logistics. Many said this was a one-and-done event for them. Given that my running mojo is still low and that I've got a lot of other stuff going on that weekend, I'm debating whether or not this race is worth the effort. I'm leaning towards yes, but it'll probably be a fairly last-minute decision.

Next up - the Army 10-Miler on October 9 in Washington, DC.
I had heard this was a legendary race that usually sells out almost instantly. This year, a lot of participants have apparently been wary of signing up because the DC Metro is undergoing significant construction. I understand this could create enormous accessibility problems. But my friend Asheesh, who is in the army reserve and is also my best friend Vanitha's husband, inspired me to sign up. I am excited to run with him! Plus, my father-in-law lives nearby in Maryland and his birthday is on the 6th, so the timing is perfect for a visit. We're going all in!

On that note, I am reminded that I need to start amping my mileage back up. Both for the Army 10 and for...

The Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, baby! This takes place on November 13.
I've already talked about Vegas here and here, so we'll leave it at that for now. Suffice to say I am really looking forward to visiting America's playground again after a long hiatus.

And finally... I may or may not run the PNC YMCA Turkey Trot again this year in Pittsburgh. I do love the tradition of getting Thanksgiving Day started on the right note. However, Adam and I are flying in very late that Wednesday night, so running the race would require an extremely quick turnaround. This one will likely also be a fairly last-minute decision.
Other notes... Pending some potential travel plans, I'm thinking about running the Carrera de los Muertos 5K on October 29 just for the shirt. Originally, I was planning on running the Hot Chocolate 15K on October 30, but changed my mind since I don't like this year's race jacket. Yes, I pick races for all the wrong reasons.

That's all the races I've got on the brain this fall! I honestly don't have much desire to seek out or train for anything else - and I am comfortable with that. If and when the running mojo comes back, we'll go with it then.

Now it's your turn. What's on your calendar this fall, both racing and everything else?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Nike Unlimited Chicago Decathlon - Part II

Continuing my recap of the Nike Chicago Unlimited Decathlon.
The festivities on the grounds of Soldier Field
To recap, here are the ten events we did that night:
  1. 100 meter sprint
  2. Standing long jump
  3. Shot put
  4. Vertical jump
  5. 400 meter run
  6. 60 meter hurdles
  7. Medicine ball throws
  8. Sled pulls
  9. Javelin
  10. 1500 meter run
I talked about the first five events here. Now, let's talk about events 6-10!

6. 60 meter hurdles
For our event, we were using a shorter version of the hurdles than in official competition. The ones we used were maybe lower- to mid-thigh height for me, whereas regulation hurdles would be around waist-high (42 inches). Additionally, in the decathlon this event is 110 meters, but we were only running 60 meters.

The staff advised that we would be disqualified from this event if we knocked any of the hurdles down. Therefore, we needed to balance accuracy with speed.

Here's a sample picture:
I have never run hurdles in my entire life, and we didn't get a chance to practice in advance. We just lined up, heard the whistle blow, then took off.

I'm very right-handed, so I thought I'd always lead my jumps with my right leg. However, I actually found it more intuitive to lead with my left leg. During my heat, I definitely prioritized accuracy over speed. I don't remember my exact timing but I think it was around 14 seconds?

I did see a number of other participants knock hurdles over and/or take vicious tumbles to the ground, especially after the sun went down. Yikes! In retrospect, my team was very fortunate to complete this event when we still had ample daylight.

7. Medicine ball throws
This activity involved participants throwing a medicine ball from a starting kneeling position. Men and women used medicine balls of different weights. We were instructed to spring up from our heels, use our core muscles on the release, then feel free to fall forwards. 
I found it challenging to get leverage from a kneeling position. I was also jarred by the impact of the post-release fall. Hitting the ground knocked the wind out of me a little bit. 

By this point in the night, the fatigue and lack of dinner was definitely wearing on me, and I was already dreading the 1500-meter run later on. In an effort to preserve my energy, I only elected to attempt the medicine ball throw twice. I don't remember my results.

8. Sled pulls
Weight sleds were set up on the grass with a rope attached. Participants had to pull the sled towards their standing position as quickly as possible. Unfortunately I don't know the exact specs of the sled's weight or the pull distance.
Staffers suggested we do a hand-over-hand pull. They mentioned others also had success by doing a two-handed pull, then gathering the rope slack in between pulls.

I completed my first attempt in just over 12 seconds. A few of my team members elected to stop after one attempt, but I tried twice. The experience helped as my second attempt was completed in just over 10 seconds. I was pretty proud of that. Then, my perspective changed when I saw a man complete the challenge in literally 2 seconds, with just two pulls. WOW.

9. Javelin
Staffers demonstrated the proper form, grip, stance, and how to find the javelin's center of gravity. They joked about us using plastic Fisher Price javelins that night compared to regulation metal javelins.
By the time my team got to this event, the sun had set and the fields were quite dark. It was difficult to see the field marks. Additionally, nobody seemed to be clear on how the team heats were being run. 

Due to the confusion, we ran short on time here. I completed one set of javelin attempts but couldn't see my results in the dark. Unfortunately, two members of my team did not get to make any attempts.

10. 1500 meter run
I had been dreading this event all evening. I kept thinking about how torturous it was going to be to run a heat of this distance after already completing 9 other events. My hamstrings were still barking at me, and I was exhausted and ravenous. I considered sitting out.

It was a huge relief to learn that the entire attendee population would be running the 1500 meters together. This took a lot of pressure off, and we later realized we weren't being timed. Everyone was instructed to have their cameras ready for the finish line. Then the crowd lined up for a loop around Soldier Field.

Near the end, we turned inside a Soldier Field entrance and wove through a few hallways. Suddenly we found ourselves finishing out on the playing field!
Cameras were broadcasting the finish line action onto the scoreboards on either side of the stadium. Participants tried to find themselves on the screens:
Here's a snapshot of Erin and me in our post-decathlon triumph - and for me, huge relief! (By the way, check out Erin's decathlon event recap here.)
Everyone gathered for a participant photo:
Then, it was time to relax and celebrate! 

Post-Decathlon Party
The post-decathlon festivities were super cool. The event organizers announced the winning teams and individual performances. All participants were treated to various food and beverage choices from the concession stands. Live Olympics television coverage was broadcast on the scoreboards. We had the entire stadium to ourselves.

Unfortunately I was completely wiped out, so I didn't feel like sticking around too long. 

I am very grateful to Nike Chicago and the Windy City Bloggers for giving me the opportunity to participate in such a marquis event.

This experience has increased my respect for decathletes a million times over. They make it look so much easier than it really is. The next day, I was so sore that it hurt to walk.

I now believe that Ashton Eaton is quite arguably the most incredible all-around athlete on this planet. Enormous congratulations to him on his Olympic decathlon gold medal!

Linking up with MarCourtney, and Cynthia for the Friday Five.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Walking in Memphis

I have a lot to share about my weekend travels to Memphis.
There's way too much to cover in a single post, so I'm going to do a two-part series. (Yes, it's Two-Part Series Week for me since I'm also writing up the Nike Unlimited Chicago Decathlon in two parts!)

Today, I'm going to talk about the local sights/sounds I experienced in Memphis. In a separate post, I'll cover the Memphis eats.

Let's get started on the sights and sounds!

The Peabody Hotel
The Peabody Hotel was my first stop when I started exploring downtown Memphis. It's a historic luxury hotel that is famous for the Peabody Ducks, which live on the hotel's rooftop. Every day, the ducks are led by a Duckmaster on a march to and from a large fountain in the lobby. During the days, they spend their days splashing around and living the duck life in high luxury.

I didn't see any of the ducks marching, but I stopped by during the daytime to see them in their "office." They are very cute!
L: The Peabody Ducks enjoying themselves in the fountain
Upper R: Plush ducks for sale in honor of the Peabody Ducks
Lower R: Duck hall of fame on the hotel's surrounding sidewalks
Rock N Soul Museum
This museum, which was developed by the Smithsonian Institution, showcases the stories and history of many pioneers in the Memphis music industry.

I learned so much from visiting the Rock N Soul! It was enthralling to discover more about the economic, racial, and social obstacles the musicians faced along the way. Those musical artists have had an enormous impact upon modern-day culture and society. I also loved that the museum had dozens of local artists' songs available for visitors to listen to. The audio selections really helped enrich the experience.
Upper L: Poplar Tunes was a record store that Elvis Presley frequented, and was also the first store to sell his records.
Lower L: Displays depicting rising blues musicians
R: Orange Mound was the first African-American neighborhood in the U.S. to be built by African Americans
Thou shalt not go to Memphis without visiting Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. Admittedly, I considered skipping Graceland because I thought it would be very touristy and kitschy. However, I ended up enjoying my visit tremendously. Elvis was such an iconic figure in history, and Graceland was a fascinating glimpse into his life.

Here are a few of the rooms in the Graceland mansion:
Elvis's grave is onsite, as are graves for his mother, father, grandmother, and brother. Many visitors paid extremely solemn homage to the grave sites. 
The premises also included displays showcasing the hundreds upon hundreds of awards he received for his music.
This is a tiny, tiny, TINY sampling of Elvis's awards
My appreciation for Elvis's music has definitely increased after visiting Graceland! My newly identified favorite Elvis songs include Suspicious Minds and Hunka Hunka Burning Love. SIDE NOTE: Lilo and Stitch is one of my favorite movies, and the latter is inspired by this scene:
I also love this remix of Blue Suede Shoes, which was being played at one of the Graceland displays:
Sun Studio
This is a legendary recording studio at which dozens of famous musicians recorded their works over the decades. Examples include Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis. Sun Studio remains as a working recording studio to this day, and continues to play host to both superstars and rising amateurs.
Upper L, Upper R, and Lower R: Scenes from the studio.
Lower L: Me doing my best impression of a recording artist using one of the original mics in the studio.
Beale Street
The famous neon party street and the center of music and entertainment in Memphis. Beale Street has a lot of storied history dating back to the early civil rights movement.
Top: View while approaching Beale Street
Bottom L: Table artwork depicting singer Rufus Thomas
Bottom R: Musical hall of fame walk on the Beale Street sidewalks 
Admittedly, I've heard the Beale Street venues are considered very touristy and that you needed to venture outside of downtown to visit the true local clubs. But when you're in town for the first time, you still gotta check it out, yes?

Side note - Beale Street had a heavy police presence when Adam and I were there on Saturday night. At some point in the evening, folks had to go through security and pay a fee to enter the area. (Apparently some portion of that fee could be credited for use in certain venues.) We later learned that there has been some recent gun violence on Beale Street leading to the increased security measures. As a result, the restaurants and clubs were not very crowded.

BB King's Blues Club
There were dozens of blues clubs and other music venues to pick from on Beale Street, but I had heard good things about BB King's. I definitely wanted to check out the namesake of the famous BB King.

Here was our view of the performance stage:
Civil Rights Museum
As the name implies, the Civil Rights museum chronicles the history of the Civil Rights Movement. The museum was built around the former Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. The Motel has been designed to maintain its same appearance from the time of murder.
The wreath in the left picture marks the approximate spot that MLK stood when the assassination occurred.
As a child growing up, I had learned about the civil rights movement in history class. However, I realize now how much I did not comprehend as a child. The exhibits were incredibly moving and really drove home the magnitude of the struggles. It made me contemplate how our society simultaneously lives in very progressive times while also remaining plagued by ongoing centuries-old challenges.
Upper L: A depiction of Rosa Parks
Upper R: Depiction from the Sit-In Movement
Middle L: Protest signs
Middle R: Depiction of the Memphis sanitation strike
Bottom L and Bottom R: Exhibits describing civil rights beliefs; the one on the right depicts a jail cell
I think this museum should be a requirement for all Americans to visit. It was one of the most impactful sights I've ever seen.

...and that concludes my recap of the weekend's sights and sounds! Coming up: The Memphis food.

I will be inaugurally linking up with Chris and Heather; Lauren; Ashley; Amanda and Brian; and Carolann and Macrae for Weekend Wanderlust.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Nike Unlimited Chicago Decathlon recap - Part I

Last Thursday, thanks to the Windy City Bloggers Collective, I was part of a team of seven folks competing in the first-ever Nike Unlimited Chicago Decathlon.
From L to R: Caitlin, Zachary, me, Erin, Ali, Sheena, and Aleisha
NOTE: All forthcoming photos in this post are official event photos.

Here's a cool event photo of our team's pacer, Ervin, taking our photo:
Nike Chicago was hosting the event inspired by USA Decathlete Ashton Eaton, who was competing in the Olympic Decathlon finals that same evening.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the event. I thought we'd be doing a decathlon-inspired group workout of some sort. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at Soldier Field on Thursday night and saw a plethora of decathlon stations set up around the grounds.

Nike Chicago was so generous to hand out sneakers to all of us, plus the white "Unlimited Chicago" event shirts that some of us were wearing. After donning our gear, we gathered with the crowd of attendees to receive instructions. We learned that we would indeed be competing in ten different track and field events that night. Each team would submit the two best results for each event by gender, and the results would be assigned point values on a per-team basis.
The crowd of competitors gathered for instruction.
Some of the events were actual decathlon events, whereas a few events were being modified or substituted for practical reasons. In case anyone is curious, the listing of ten official decathlon events is available here. Comparatively, here are the ten events we underwent that night:
  1. 100 meter sprint
  2. Standing long jump
  3. Shot put
  4. Vertical jump
  5. 400 meter run
  6. 60 meter hurdles
  7. Medicine ball throws
  8. Sled pulls
  9. Javelin
  10. 1500 meter run
Since it would be overkill to try to talk about all 10 events in a single post, I'm going to split this recap into two separate posts where I cover 5 events in each. Here are the first five:

1. 100 Meter Sprint
After watching Usain Bolt and the other Olympians complete the 100-meter sprint in less than 10 seconds a few days earlier, I had been wondering how long it might take an average person to run. (My guess was 20-25 seconds.) Now was my chance to find out!

We ran a series of heats with four other teams, where each team sent one person to compete at a time. Ali was the brave soul from our team who elected to race in the very first heat of the entire night. Here is a picture of him (he is the runner farthest to the right):
The sprints were supposed to be chip-timed. Unfortunately, the event organizers experienced some technical issues, so we didn't realize until afterwards that the first heat didn't get timed. Poor Ali ended up having to do the sprint twice! He did take several minutes to recover in between his two heats, but even so - that must have been brutal.

I was very nervous going into my heat. I hadn't fueled properly, hadn't warmed up, and had taken a Strength Max class less than 90 minutes earlier - so I knew I had some handicaps coming in.

Despite the short distance, my plan was to try a negative-split-type strategy. It was harder than anticipated to get momentum going at the start, and made me realize the importance of the spikes and blocks that sprinters use! Then, about halfway through, my hamstrings started screaming bloody murder at me. It was killer.

I did my best to push through and finished in 16 seconds flat. Not too bad, but definitely could have been better with more adequate preparation.

2. Standing long jump
Each of us was measured on the closest distance between any part of our body touching the ground versus the point of our jump. Each attendee had two attempts.

Here's a sample picture from the long jump station:
The jump was a lot harder to do than it looked. Many folks, myself included, ended up taking a step backwards after our jump. As such, we were instructed to try to fall forwards, which was also difficult.

I don't remember my exact long jump results, but I think it was somewhere around 6 feet.

3. Shot put
We used shot puts of different weights for the men and the women. Assuming the shot puts were regulation weights, the men's was 16 pounds and the women's was 8.8 pounds. A Nike staffer demonstrated suggested proper form to us, including how to hold the shot put, how to step off with our feet, and how to release. He emphasized that we should try to use our core muscles instead of our arm/shoulder muscles on the release.

Here's a sample picture from the shot put station:
This was my first time ever throwing a shot put. It was much more slippery than I expected, and was tough to get a grip on it. I also found it tricky trying to get the footwork down.

Each of us rotated as many attempts as we could during our allotted time. I tried twice. Unfortunately I don't remember what my result was. However, I think this is definitely an event in which some extra practice would have been very beneficial to get the proper form down.

4. Vertical jump
The event organizers had a electronic pad that we stood on, which measured our vertical leap electronically. Here's a sample picture:
I figured the machine would track the highest distance that any body part reached, so I assumed we should try to bend our knees during the jump. However, a Nike staffer indicated that knee bends were not beneficial, and that we should just jump with straight legs.

We were given one practice jump, then two recorded attempts. On my practice jump, I ended up landing off balance and stepping off the pad, which skewed my results. On my recorded attempts, I decided to attempt one jump with a knee bend and one without. Sure enough, my jump without bending my knees resulted in a better result - but again, I don't remember my exact results here.

5. 400 meter run
By the time we got to the 400 meter run, I was already feeling fatigued both mentally and physically. I couldn't believe we weren't even halfway through the night's events yet. My hamstrings were barking voraciously at me so I was very apprehensive about doing another sprint-type event.

I don't think the event photographers shared any action photos from the 400-meter event, so here's another snapshot from the 100-meter (you get the idea):
A Nike staffer gave us some suggested strategy. She said the 400 meter run was her favorite event from when she ran track, and described it as being a "long sprint." Her instructions were essentially to make sure we didn't start out too fast, and then to push harder and harder with each subsequent 100 meters we passed.

Being a true believer in the negative split strategy, I followed this guidance as best as I could. Shortly after the start, I was alarmed to be in last place in my heat. Then, as the distance progressed, I sped up and did manage to overtake several others before I finished.

Based on the top speed at which I thought I could run one mile (around 7:30?), I thought maybe I'd finish around 1:40. I ended up finishing in 1:25, which I was pretty happy with. Again, it definitely could have been better with more adequate preparation.

Five events down, five to go! To be continued.

Linking up with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.