≡ Menu

Cooper Young 4-Miler Recap

cooper young 4-miler

Cooper Young 4-Miler

Every September, the Cooper Young neighborhood hosts the Cooper Young Festival, a huge one-day outdoor festival which draws 100,000+ people and 400+ vendors to the little intersection of Cooper and Young. It’s a huge deal for the neighborhood and one of the best things about living in Memphis!

The weekend kicks off with the Cooper Young 4-Miler, a nighttime race through the neighborhood. This was my second year running the race.

The Course:

cooper young 4-miler course

The course is pretty straight forward with some small hills. What’s really unique about this race is 1) it’s at night and it’s dark unlike the summertime M-Town Series 2) the entire neighborhood gets involved.

Don’t believe me?

Cooper young 4-miler neighborhood

Nearly every house on the course had people spectating (and partying)! Some went all out — see above — and others just had a few lawn chairs. It was so uplifting to see so many people out having fun and celebrating the race and the neighborhood. The atmosphere of this race really makes it special! I love the community feel and seeing little kids cheering, hearing all kinds of music, being poured Fireball shots straight from the bottle, snacking on cheese and grapes and running through a chute of spectators to the finish. It’s not to be missed!

The Race:

Because the Cooper Young 4-Miler is so popular, it’s also extremely crowded. I checked the results and we had more than 2,000 finishers!
cooper young 4-miler crowd


The race organizers made a half-hearted attempt at corrals — I’m not sure if they were underprepared or runners just didn’t want to follow directions, but I was really disappointed in the way the start was organized and executed. I think larger signs (or just signs in general) would help people figure out where to line up for the race. I heard lots of people around us talking about how it was their first race, which is awesome and I’m so excited they’re joining us, but it might help people figure out how things work if they don’t have any race experience. I can’t even begin to count how many walkers I passed who started right near the front.

The party atmosphere is great for a fun race, but doesn’t set you up for a fast race or course. Just something to keep in mind!

After the race, there’s a huge party at Midtown Autowerks with pizza, Central BBQ, beer (including exclusively brewed Mile 5 from Memphis Made), chocolate milk, music and more.

The Results:

Last year it was 63 degrees and cloudy at the start. I remember wondering if I should have worn long sleeves and hoping the rain wouldn’t hold up. This year the high was 92 degrees and it was 83 and sunny at the start. Vastly different! Welcome to fall in Memphis.

The good news here is that despite the heat and humidity, I still managed to beat last year’s time! Last year I was still running intervals using the Galloway Method, and this year I ran (most of) the race without stopping.

Cooper Young 4-miler time

Smashrun says:

  • Was my latest run in a year.

All in all, we had a great time at the 2015 Cooper Young 4-Miler! I’m crossing my fingers for cooler weather and more organized corrals next year since I’ll be back to run it again for sure!


MRTC Road Race Series 10K #1 Recap

mrtc road race series 10K

Road Race Series Recap – 10K

After a few weeks off from racing, we’re back for the 10K! I’ll get right to it — this race was awesome. The course was great, the other runners were fantastic and the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

Because of Labor Day, we had two weeks off between our second 5-miler and the 10k, which meant we’d run the 10Ks on back to back weekends.

The Course:

road race series 10K

I love this course! We ran around and through Shelby Farms Park, which happens to cover more than five times the area of Central Park in New York City. This is one of the largest urban parks in the country, and we’re so lucky to have it in Memphis.

The Park is currently undergoing a huge renovation project, which means the 10K course had to be modified this year. Not a problem for me, since I’ve never run this race before! I’ve run through bits and pieces of the park before, but all 6.2 miles of this course was brand new to me.

While Shelby Farms has all kinds of trails available to runners, the entire race route followed paved roads and pathways. No trail running for us — yet!

A word of warning — there are hills! I’ve heard runners talking about using Shelby Farms as practice for their Nashville races, but I had yet to experience any of that myself until our 10K.

The first 1.5 miles or so have some giant hills (or what Nashvillians would probably call gentle rollers) but the course flattens out miles 2 through 4. The remainder of the race tackles those same hills a second time with a killer uphill finish.

The Race:

The race was awesome. It was 52 degrees at the start, which to me is perfect running weather. This was the first time we’ve had temps this low since May, and I was head over heels loving it. Fall is almost here!

I was both lucky and smart during this race. I happened to find a few other runners who were part of a training group and I stuck with the group running a 11:00 pace for the first 2 miles. I had no idea what was in store in terms of hills, so running with that group made it easier. If I hadn’t found myself with others right in my pace range, I probably would have walked early on in the race. This made me realize I really struggle with running a consistent pace by myself. Any tips for that?

The group fell back after the first water stop, so I set out on my own and managed to keep things together as we ran through the Penal Farm and down the Greenline back into the park. The views of the park are really beautiful — we saw lakes, horses, buffalo and the sunrise.

We hit the ‘small rolling hills’ again towards the end of the race and there’s a a nice ego-boosting downhill just near the finish. Of course that also means we’re left with one horrible steep hill to crawl up for the finish line.

I didn’t use any fuel during the race or bring a handheld. The temps were cool enough that I never felt overheated and we had water stations at miles 2 and 4.

The Results:

Not quite a PR, but close!

MRTC road race series 10k

Smashrun says:

  • Fastest 6mi in 6 months.
  • Fastest 10K in 6 months.
  • Longest duration run in 3 months.
  • Longest run in 3 months.
  • Coolest run in 3 months. (!!!)
  • Most negative mile splits in a month.
  • Best performance in a month.
  • Fastest finish in a month.

All awesome things! I’m so proud of this race.

Want to read my other Road Race Series Race Recaps?

5K #1

5K #2

5 Miler #1

5 Miler #2

1 comment

MRTC Road Race Series 5 Miler #2 Recap

Road Race Series Recap – the second 5 Miler

Here we are again for the second 5 miler of the MRTC Road Race Series! I’ve fallen slightly behind on race recaps thanks to the craziness of real life, but now that things have settled down I’m excited to catch up! It wasn’t until I sat down to write that I realized how much I’ve been running and racing lately, which is awesome!

The Course & the Race:

Road Race Series Recap - 5 Miler

For a more thorough recap of the course and race logistics, check out the recap of the first 5 miler of the series.

The Road Race Series is unique in that you run each course twice. After finishing both 10K races (more on this soon!) I’ve decided this is a gift and a curse. I enjoy running brand new routes and I also appreciate having some familiarity with the tougher parts of courses so that I can create a game plan for the second race of each distance. That being said, I did not have a game plan for this 5 miler — and it showed!

The Results:


I finished in 56:46 with an average pace of 11:14/mi. Compared to last week, that’s two minutes slower overall.

From the start I felt exhausted. Things that don’t usually hurt felt unbearable, and my legs didn’t want to move. I don’t know if I was dehydrated, hadn’t slept enough or just wasn’t feeling it that day. I decided early on to walk when I needed to and keep it easy.

I listened to one of my favorite podcasts for running — Ten Junk Miles — and powered through. Just like every run can’t be great, not every race will be your best race either.

Smashrun says:

  • Longest duration run in a month. (Thanks to those walk breaks!)
  • Longest run in a month.

Compared to my previous 5 mile training runs, this was my second fastest ever.

I ended up getting sick a few days later, and I was hit hard with a cold that just totally obliterated me for the entire week. I wonder if this race was the very early stages of the sickness.

Up next? We’re moving to Shelby Farms and tackling 10K!

Want to read my other Road Race Series Race Recaps?

5K #1

5K #2

5 Miler #1


How To Use Your Garmin Forerunner 220 Indoors

use your forerunner 220 indoors

Have you ever been tempted to skip a run because it was too hot, rainy or ice outside? Do you believe that a run un-tracked is worse than no run at all? (I can answer yes to both!) If you have a Garmin Forerunner 220, here’s a quick trick that will let you run indoors or on a treadmill while still capturing data — almost like you’re running outside!

How does it work? The watch includes an internal accelerometer which measures both pace and cadence, which means you don’t need a separate foot pod. (This is also helpful if you’re running through a tunnel outside.) It involves a few steps but it’s quick and easy once you get a hang of it!

How to use your Garmin Forerunner 220 Indoors:

1. Turn your watch on – your Garmin might lock on to the satellite while you’re indoors, but if you want an accurate recording of your run, keep following these steps! 

2. Press the down arrow on the left side of the watch to navigate to Settings. Press the purple ‘running man’ button to select.

forerunner 220 indoors settings
3. Scroll down to System (shortcut: press the up button once instead!) and press select:

forerunner 220 indoors system
4. Scroll down to GPS (or get distracted and explore Theme Colors, like I did) and press select:

forerunner 220 indoors GPS
5. Press the down arrow once and select ‘off’. This is what switches your Forerunner from outdoors mode to accelerometer only mode. Now you’re ready to run inside! Just a few more steps to get you back to the home screen.

forerunner 220 indoors GPS ON
6. Click the lap button (bottom right) 4 times to return to your main screen. My watch beeps and buzzes when I get ‘home’. You can see the satellite symbol now has a red line through it, which lets you know you’re no longer using GPS.

forerunner 220 indoors Main - GPS Off
7. When you’re ready to run, hit that running man button and your watch will begin recording your workout, just like normal:

forerunner 220 indoors Distance - Pace

A few tips for using your Forerunner 220 Indoors:

  • This won’t be quite as perfect as using GPS outside, but if you like to have as much data as possible it’s a great option.
  • The watch functions as normal when using it this way — you can still use alerts for pace, run/walk intervals, or laps.
  • You’ll get the best results after the internal accelerometer has auto-calibrated with outdoor runs using the GPS (so don’t expect this to be 100% accurate right out of the box).
  • Your watch is measuring cadence based on your wrist (not a footpod), so it may be impacted by things like drinking from a bottle or tying your hair up in a ponytail. If your wrist isn’t moving along with your body, you may see inaccuracies in your data.
  • This is also compatible with a footpod, which will give you even more accurate cadence and pace data

Here’s an example of a run I did on the treadmill a few weeks ago:forerunner 220 indoors example

You can see the pace isn’t quite as smooth or pretty as it would be while running outside. You can also see the increased cadence where I upped the treadmill’s speed around the 2.5 mile mark. While the data isn’t smooth, the average pace matched the treadmill’s average right on the mark.

If you want to learn more about the Forerunner 220 and see some in-depth analysis of the watch performance when it comes to treadmill running, check out this post from DC Rainmaker.

Do you ever run on the treadmill? I try to get outside whenever possible, but sometimes the weather has other plans in mind!


Weekly Training Summary: August 3 – 9

training summary august 3 - 9

Week of: August 3 – 9

This week consisted of vacation, travel and a race!

Let’s check out the highlights:

Wednesday –

  • 1 mile @ 9:54
  • Just a quick jog while we were in Pennsylvania visiting Dan’s family.
  • Was the coolest run in the last month — 67 degrees!
  • Sometimes it feels like all we do on vacation is eat — which is awesome, but makes it tough for me to run.

Friday –

  • 2 miles @ 10:42 average pace
  • Post-travel run back in Memphis!
  • This was the first run with my new Fitbit Charge HR! I love that I’m able to see heart rate data throughout the day and after my workout. The distance wasn’t entirely accurate, but I also haven’t calibrated my stride yet.

Sunday –

  • 5 miles @ 10:51 average pace
  • This was the Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series 5 Miler race! Read my recap here.
  • Not only was this my first 5 mile race, but it was also my fastest 5 mile run ever.
  • Finish time: 54:40 (Official), 54:44 (Garmin) – new PR!

Total Distance –

  • 8 miles.

Final Thoughts-

  • When I ran using the Galloway Method, I had the same pace no matter how long I was running. Now that I’ve moved away from that, I’m still finding my comfortable pace. I’d like to learn more about ‘easy runs’ vs. ‘race pace’ and begin working that into my weekly training runs.
  • Half marathon training starts next week! I’m not training for a goal race at the moment, but the Road Race Series does have two half marathons in November that I’d like to be prepared for!
  • How did you know you were ready to run a marathon? I’m uhhh…asking for a friend.