Well the big day finally arrived, ready or not. And I was not. Well, not as ready as I should have been. I knew I should have been training more, running farther. My longest training run prior to the race was 6.5 miles.
I had been looking forward to this race for months. I was determined not to let the lack of training or this sinus congestion keep me out of the race.
So I got up early, took my Mucinex-D before the race (which did not help at all), ate my oatmeal, and drank 1/2 cup of coffee. I left the house around 6:40am to drive downtown. I had a couple of friends who were also running the race, but we just agreed to meet in the corral.
The race started at 7:30am in downtown Knoxville, next to the famous Sunsphere.
There were over 5,000 people there for 3 different races – 5k, Half and Full Marathon.
The weather was PERFECT! In years past, it’s usually cold and foggy or drizzly, but this year it could not have been more perfect! It started out at 56 degrees and only improved from there.
The first 3 miles went great as we wound through campus onto Neyland Drive. Just after turning left on Kingston Pike, I took a quick bathroom break. There was a short line and I knew if I didn’t go then, the line would be longer at the next one. I was feeling really good as we turned into Sequoyah Hills and ran the length of Cherokee Blvd. I was happy with my 10k time at 1:01. The 7-mile mark is just at the base of the Noelton Drive hill. Imagine the tallest, steepest hill you’ve ever seen, and this one is taller and steeper. My strategy going in was to walk the hill. I even ate my GU while I walked up the hill. Sure I could have run it, but then I would have worn myself out and there’s still 6 more miles to go after that!
I felt a jolt of energy at the top of Noelton Drive, as we turned left onto Kingston Pike. I don’t know if it was the screaming crowd of people or the GU kicking in, but I got my second wind. I was still feeling good as we entered the Third Creek Greenway, and when I saw the sign for 9 miles, I thought it was wrong. I didn’t think I had gone that far yet. I started smiling. Only 4 more miles left.
And then WHAM! I hit the wall. Around the 10-mile mark, my knee joints were killing me. I feared my IT band would start flaring up as it has in the past. I just kept pushing through, but stopping to walk more frequently than I wanted to.
Those last 3 miles were pure HELL. I even stopped looking at my watch. I was no longer concerned about my time. Going into the race, I wasn’t expecting to PR. But I secretly wanted to try for it. At this point, though, I just wanted to finish. I just wanted this race to be over. Why did I think I could run 13.1 miles when I haven’t trained more than 6.5??????
And then I could see the stadium in my sights. There is no better feeling than crossing the finish line of a race! And this race ends on the 50-yard line of Neyland Stadium at the University of Tennessee! I’ve been in those stands many times, so it’s an awesome feeling to be on the field after such an accomplishment.
Only 3 minutes behind last year’s time. How is that possible?? Now I’m thinking – just imagine if I’d pushed a little harder on those last 3 miles. Just imagine if I’d had a few training runs at 8 or 10 miles. With a tiny bit of additional effort, I could have beat last year’s time.
So then I started wondering …. when’s the next race?? How soon can I try this again?
Here are my split times:
Mile 1- 9:24
Mile 2- 8:48
Mile 3- 8:58
Mile 4- 11:42 (included the bathroom break)
Mile 5- 10:29
Mile 6- 9:33
Mile 7- 10.02
Mile 8- 11:36 (included the walk up Noelton Dr)
Mile 9- 10:25
Mile 10- 11:06 (it just goes downhill from here)
Mile 11- 12:10
Mile 12- 12:06
Mile 13- 11:36
I’m always curious about what people are listening to while they run. And I’m amazed at the number of people who didn’t have headphones at all. For a short run, I usually let my mind wander and think about the things on my To Do list. But for a long run, the only thing getting me through it is my music.
I spent a few hours on Saturday perfecting my playlist. Here it is:
1. The Delta Saints – Company of Thieves
2. The Delta Saints – Death Letter Jubilee
3. The Delta Saints – Liar
4. The Delta Saints – Voodoo Walk
5. The Delta Saints – Swamp Groove
6. The Delta Saints – Boogie
7. The Delta Saints – Bird Called Angola
8. The Dirty Guv’nahs – Baby We Were Young
9. The Dirty Guv’nahs – Brown Little Bird
10. The Dirty Guv’nahs – Blue Rose Stroll
11. The Dirty Guv’nahs – It’s Dangerous
12. Big Head Todd & The Monsters – Resignation Superman
13. Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried
14. Zac Brown Band – Make This Day
15. Matt Nathanson – Faster
16. Matt Nathanson – Modern Love
17. Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise
18. Beastie Boys – An Open Letter to NYC
19. Beastie Boys – 3 the Hard Way
20. Beastie Boys – Ch-Check It Out
21. Beastie Boys – Time to Build
22. Shinedown – Diamond Eyes
23. LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem
24. Kanye West – Stronger
25. Foo Fighters - Best of You
26. Switchfoot – Stars
27. Skillet – Awake and Alive
28. Shinedown – Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide
29. Shinedown – Sound of Madness
30. Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire
31. Halestorm – I Get Off
32. Slipknot – Before I Forget
33. Eminem – Lose Yourself
Yes, I realize it’s a WIDE range there. Rock, Country, Metal, Rap. But they all motivate me in one way or the other. I made sure the harder rock songs kicked in around mile 7, which is when I would need a little more motivation.
I timed it almost perfectly. Eminem sang to me during the home stretch, but then the playlist started back at the beginning and The Delta Saints brought me home.
I was so glad hubby was there to watch me cross the finish line. And I don’t know if Little Bit understood what I had just accomplished but she seemed really excited for me.
As soon as I got home, I knew the best thing for me was an ice bath. No, it doesn’t feel good.
For dinner, we met my Mom, Aunt and Cousin at the Cracker Barrel. My post-race dinner included spicy grilled catfish, fried okra and green beans. YUM!!!
And now that I write this 3 days later, I’m feeling really good. I was really stiff the day after, but the DOMS are completely gone now. Might even go for a run tonight. (In the 85 degree weather)!
Question of the Day: Which race should I do next????