Last weekend was race weekend. I signed up for the Knoxville half marathon back in November thinking I had plenty of time to train, and it was “only” a half, so no big deal! At least I wasn’t training for a full, right? I underestimated just how important my training would be – and this was a tough race.
Saturday morning, we started our short drive over to Knoxville. We were meeting up with Brooke and Bari. We were originally going to stay with Brooke, but about two weeks before the race, we made the decision to get a hotel room (smart decision, too. That might be for a different post, though.) We were delayed a couple of times because we forgot things like baby stuff and a cell phone. We made it to Knoxville close to 2 p.m., parked and hit up the expo. The expo was small, compared to most races I’ve run in the past. That said, I have run a lot of Rock ‘n Roll races (Nashville, Virginia Beach) so it isn’t really fair to compare this to those races. We were in and out of the expo pretty quickly and then got checked into our hotel room before trying to track everyone down.
We met up at Barley’s and then made the rounds at two other pubs in the area. (I drank a lot of water.) We then had dinner (spaghetti, for the win!) at Brooke’s before heading back to the hotel around 8. That’s where things got tricky. The baby fell asleep in the car, didn’t go back to sleep until 10:30 and was up at midnight, 2 and 4 – for the day. I had no sleep, and didn’t have high hopes for the race at that point.
I got to the start around 6:45. The boys were with me, as nobody was going to sleep at that point, but left me around 7. I met up with Brooke and Bari around 7:15 and just before 7:30, we found ourselves at the start line. (One note – before I met up with the girls, I ended up next to another runner – a guy – smoking outside of the convention center. What runner smokes before a big race?? So gross.)
Brooke left us as she was running the full, and Bari and I quickly jumped a barricade so we weren’t with the walkers. I felt we started off as strong as we possibly could. It was pretty congested, and the race started uphill (and felt like it was going uphill for miles.) About halfway through the race, we hit a series of steep inclines, but the music was fun and we had fun with pictures (and running backwards up a hill.)
Now’s the part where I steal our splits/pace from Bari’s blog. (I’m going to say these are loose splits, as she has an extra one in there, and my final time was 2:37:56.)
mile 1 – 11:11
mile 2 – 10:39
mile 3 – 10:59
mile 4 – 12:29
mile 5 – 11:39
mile 6 – 11:22
mile 7 – 11:57
mile 8 – 12:46
mile 9 – 11:24
mile 10 – 12:32
mile 11 – 13:18
mile 12 – 14:02
mile 13 – 12:20
rest of the race – 10:04 pace
The race was hilly, which I was prepared for because of running in Asheville. I just wish there had been a few more downhills. My plan of attack was to finish. Mentally, I kind of wanted to finish in about 2:30, but I really just needed to finish the race. I had been training by walking at the top of each mile, and Bari was fine with that plan. We walked at just about the top of each mile (sometimes mid-mile, if we were on a downhill.) And, really, we just walked whenever we needed to.
My body held up (for the most part) surprisingly well, considering my lack of training. Around mile 11, I started having some difficulty breathing. I just saw on Bari’s blog, though, that the air quality was a yellow yesterday, meaning some people may experience may experience respiratory symptoms. Totally explains that issue.
It started on time. And we were across the start line about 3 minutes after the gun time.
Lots of water stations – with Powerade and water. At least one (if not two?) stations had Gu on the half marathon course.
Spectators. I love it when people come out of their houses to cheer runners on.
Someone was announcing names of the finishers as they entered the stadium. That was pretty cool.
The medal. And the shirt. I haven’t tried my shirt on, so fingers crossed that it will fit!
There were a lot of uphills. I don’t know if this was a perk, but it was up.
Hills, hills and more hills. And they never really went down. 🙂
No mile markers for the first four miles. I saw a marker at mile 5.
The finish support. We went in search of food, which was outside of the stadium. When we got there, the lines were insane, so we left.
One not-so-pretty area that wasn’t through a neighborhood, but not necessarily a trail, either.
Several bridges that had signs that said they were slippery when wet. They were soaked, and we had an interesting time making it across bridges (and a few steep declines) without sliding or falling.
I had a hard time spotting any aid stations (a lot of races I’ve run have had first aid stations near the water stations, in case you need bandaids and such. I could have used vaseline for the chafing.)
Someone asked if I would run this race again. I’m really not sure. It was tough course. We were really close to the start line, but when we got back to the hotel after the race and wanted to get back to the finish line to see Brooke finish, we were 10 blocks away. I wish the start and finish were a little closer, or at least easier to get to. We (me and my family) ended up missing her finish because of having to check out and then the baby getting upset. (If he hadn’t been cranky, we still wouldn’t have made it back to her in time.)
I had a good time, though. And I’m so glad I had someone to run with. I really don’t think I would have finished in the time I did without Bari to help push me along (she may say I helped push her, but I think we helped each other.)