Waking up at 5:30 for a 7:00 AM start is rough. Realizing that it’s already 70 degrees out and rising, is enough to make me question my sanity. “I paid to do this” I thought as I disgustingly threw off my covers. Lord have mercy on my dehydrated soul…
Backtracking to the night before, I had spent my Friday evening carbo-loading on some scrumptious veggie pesto ravioli at Season’s Cafe and chugging all the water I could get my hands on. (side note: Season’s puts cucumber in their ice water – sounds slightly pretentious, yes, but cucumber water is where it’s at. Try it out.)
The weather has been HOT in Knoxville lately and I was making it a top priority to ensure that I did not pass out and become a dried out mummy on the side of the course. J and I took a ride out to where the race was to start so I would be able to get there the following morning without cursing my GPS for getting me lost (per usual).
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the race took place on the waters of Norris Lake, right off its namesake dam.
Let me take a moment to get all of my dam jokes out of the dam way – nothing is funnier to me then dam puns.
By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I felt adequately waterlogged and ready for my 2nd half. I ate my standard kid’s Clif bar & half a banana, made myself a mug-o-coffee to go, and was feeling good. I knew the heat, humidity, and lack of any significant training this time pretty much guaranteed that it would be next to impossible to pull off a new PR. Knowing this going in really made the whole race a lot easier to wrap my head around. My goal was simply to finish, without stopping, and not strain myself too much. You don’t mess around in heat like this.
The race started off very well. Much to my delight, the majority of the first 10 miles was under the shade of trees. The course was on marked roads that were open to traffic which caused two things to happen: 1. I was not allowed to wear headphones (surprise!) 2. My first experience running in traffic.
The traffic was not too much of an issue as the course was marked with cones and there were several police cars driving up and down with their lights blazing to alert oncoming drivers. As for the headphone situation, I took it upon myself to unplug my headphones and crank up my tunes. I needed some motivation and I think everyone in my vicinity really benefited from “Ni**as in Paris” blasting from my armband around mile 8.
Then came miles 11 and 12 – around 9 am. The course took us up a hill that overlooks the dam. There were two turnaround points, one on a paved path, and one on stone. Not just normal small gravel either – as that wouldn’t have been a problem – I’m talking a dirt and grass road with big ass stupid dam rocks. Now, I don’t run trails due to the fact that I can barely keep from tripping and rolling my ankle on a flat surface. My estimate is that the temperature was 185 degrees at that point and of course, there was no tree coverage whatsoever. That whole dam (sorry, I can’t help myself) part really sucked.
I did finish pretty strong (by my standards anyway), with an unofficial time of somewhere around 02:08. Not too bad considering the various circumstances.
I did learn something pretty valuable while running this half – I may not be the fastest, but I’m very consistent. I have no problem starting off in the back and working my way forward – and that’s exactly what I did for this race. I couldn’t help but notice I passed a pretty significant amount of people during the entire race, not just at the start, and I was proud of it. It also helps that I found this guy waiting for me at the finish line…
Now for the hardware: