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2013 Knoxville Half Marathon Recap

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.

before the race

The race started at 7:30am in downtown Knoxville, next to the famous Sunsphere.

sunsphere

There were over 5,000 people there for 3 different races – 5k, Half and Full Marathon.

crowd

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.

endomondo half

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.

finish line

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

race results

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.

after the race

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.

endomondo app

As soon as I got home, I knew the best thing for me was an ice bath.  No, it doesn’t feel good.

ice bath

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!!!

catfish dinner

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????

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Weekend Update: It’s Been A While

Wow – has it really been 3 weeks since I posted???  Sorry, guys.  Life has gotten so crazy lately.  Plus, the germs have been running rampant in my house.  Hubby is just now getting over a virus he’s had over 2 weeks!!  I managed to get the crud, too, just before the big race.  (I’ll get to that later).

I’ve been taking pictures and constructing blog posts in my head, they just never made it to the computer screen.  In fact, when I logged in just now, I realized that I had 3 working drafts for 3 different posts that I never finished.  Oops.  Part of the problem, though, is that when the pictures don’t upload quickly or WordPress is being difficult, I just walk away.

So I’ll try to catch you up quickly, through pictures:

protein waffle mix

One thing I’ve been doing every weekend is making protein waffles!!  The kids love waffles, but I hate buying the frozen kind with sketch ingredients.

homemade protein waffles

So I’ve been having fun with some recipe testing!  Once I perfect the recipe, I’ll post it.

The first batch was vanilla, and the second batch used chocolate protein powder!  Yum!

chocolate protein waffles

I did enjoy a Girls Night Out one weekend!  Half price sushi and $10 off bottle of wine at the Stir Fry Cafe on Saturdays!  Gotta love that!!

sushi at stir fry cafe

me and gretchen

Niki and Jennifer

My weekends have mostly consisted of a lot of studying …..

studying

… And eating!!  Since everyone in the house was sick, I made a pot of Chicken Noodle Soup, which lasted for days.

chicken noodle soup

I love salmon.  It might be my favorite food.  I also attempted to make mashed cauliflower, but it didn’t turn out so “mashed”.  It looks like rice on the plate.  But with a little garlic, salt and pepper, it tasted pretty good.

salmon dinner

Homemade Chicken/Black Bean/Spinach Enchiladas.  Even the kids devour these.  A pan like this lasts for days.

chicken enchiladas

Being sick meant we spent a lot of time on the couch….

sweet kids

…. watching movies together….  We watched ‘Wreck It Ralph’ (twice!), ‘Hotel Transylvania’, and some other random Redbox find that wasn’t that good.

watching a movie together

But THIS weekend in particular, I was getting ready for my Half Marathon….

I woke up on Monday with horrible sinus congestion, but I was determined not to let it stop me from running the race.  So I asked all my FB friends what their best remedy for nasal congestion was.  Half said Mucinex D and the other half said a neti pot.  So, I decided to do both!!

cold remedies

That Mucinex D really works!!  It didn’t completely dry me up, but enough where I didn’t feel like my head was in the clouds.

So Saturday, we headed downtown to pick up my race paket from the Expo…..  I was starting to get a little nervous.

downtown knoxville

I chose Trader Joe’s spinach tortellini as my carb-loading pre-race meal.  Yum.

pre-race meal

I’ll save all the details of the race for my next post.  (Which I promise not to take quite as long to post)

Here’s the starting line….  The temperature was 54 degrees.  It was the perfect day!

the starting line

I was hoping and praying my new shoes would carry me to the finish line!  Yes, I said BRAND NEW shoes!  I know that’s totally crazy, but that’s just how I roll.

new shoes

And after the race …..  boy, was I glad it was over.

after the race

The first 10 miles were awesome, and the last 3 were pure hell.  But I made it, congestion and all.  And only 3 minutes behind last year’s PR!

Final chip time:  2:19:18.  I’ll take it.

Stay tuned for the details.  It was a GREAT race.  I’m already wondering when my next one will be!

So that’s what’s marvelous in my Monday.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

From WordPress:   Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Weekly Photo Challenge of 2013!

Resolved. This is that time of year, isn’t it? Full of resolutions and good intentions. Why not share a photo which represents one of your New Year’s resolutions? If you don’t make them, what about sharing a photo which represents something you’d like to get better at in photography this year?

Share a picture which means RESOLVED to you!

To continue my post about my 2013 goals, I will put them into pictures:

new shoes

I resolve to put lots of miles on my new shoes. Combined with plenty of cross training. Hopefully they will be ready for replacement much sooner than usual.

race medals

I resolve to add another race medal (or two) to my collection this year! And I resolve to set a new PR as well.

ace fitness

I resolve to have my ACE Personal Trainer Certification completed during the first quarter of the year.

New to The Daily Post? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’re invited to get involved in our Weekly Photo Challenge to help you meet your blogging goals and give you another way to take part in Post a Day / Post a Week. Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Subscribe to The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.

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Autumnfest 8k – New PR

So I signed up for this 8k over a month ago.  I’ve been looking forward to it and preparing for it for weeks now.  And then wham! I get hit with some sort of cold/sinus infection this week.  I can’t breathe through my nose, my sinus cavities hurt, and overall I just don’t feel good.  But was I going to let that stop me from running in this race?  Heck no!!  I just took some Sudafed and put my running face on.

The kids had a “Little Gobbler” run before the 8k.  It was only about 100 yards, but I signed Luke up for 2 reasons.  1- He got a t-shirt, and 2- I wanted to get him excited about running.  This would be his first race and since it was a short one, I knew he could do it.  He usually complains about his legs hurting when we walk more than a mile in our neighborhood, so I need to toughen him up.

I love that a Director of the KTC dressed up like a turkey!!  That’s awesome.

So, they changed the course this year and I didn’t have a chance to even look at it before we started the race.  I had no idea what to expect, other than I knew we were running through the streets of downtown Knoxville.  So I really shouldn’t have been surprised by how hilly the course was.

OH MY GOSH.  It’s Knoxville, people.  I guess if I want flat, I should move to Florida.

The start/ finish line was at World’s Fair Park.

endomondo app

I started off FAST.  The crowd, the excitement, it always helps me run a little faster than normal.  My first mile clocked in a 8:37.  But then there was a hill.  There were lots of hills.  I hate hills.

This was one of the last hills around mile 4.  It was also the worst hill.  Felt like it went on forever. There is a hill in the Knoxville Marathon around mile 7 at Noelton Drive.  If you know what I’m talking about, well, this was WORSE than Noelton.

Anyway, I got behind the turkey at the end and just had to snap a pic while we were running.  This was the home stretch.

Official chip time:  47:30

I placed 496th (of 929 runners).  I don’t believe they give awards that far back.  🙂

I was 33rd of 64 in my age group.

As a runner, I’m not competing with anyone but myself.  And I am very proud to say this was a PR for me!!  Despite the cold weather and despite the fact that I felt like crap, doped up on Sudafed, I still managed to push myself through the hilly course.  The distance isn’t a common one – 8k.  The last time I ran this race was in 2003.  My time was 54:52.  (I also seem to recall I had some IT band issues then too).

Regardless, it was a PR!!

I am very thankful that the whole family came with me for support.  The kids got to dance in the lawn and enjoy the post-race snacks.

That’s the post race tent.  And the building you see in the background (with the eyes), that’s the Knoxville Museum of Art.

We had a great time.  And I’m pretty sure I earned that pumpkin pie!!  🙂 🙂 🙂

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