First race of 2013 and I gotta say, it feels good to be back at it! I am ever so optimistic about running right now because this happened to be a really great race for me and a sub 2 hour one at that. Ah, the joy of a runner’s high..
Before my recap begins a brief side-note: My friend Amy ran this race as well (and PR’d, three cheers for Amy!) and her wonderfully supportive sister was our own personal paparazzi so the majority of the pictures below are hers. Thanks Angie!
Where: Strawberry Plains, Tennessee (just outside Knoxville)
Date & Time: February 9th 2013, 9:00 AM
Weather: Nice and cold. It really was quite pleasant. The sun was shining bright and it was around 40 degrees – in my opinion, perfect running weather.
Race Time: Unofficial – 1:59:17 per the picture below. This is slightly off as this is based on the start time and I’m never one to wrestle my way to the start line as the gun shot goes off. Either way, it was under 2 hours and I’m pretty damn excited about it.
Worst Mile: 7. It was all a gradual climb and it really wore me out.
Best Mile: 9. I had gotten through my wall and was feeling good. I was on a good track time wise and it became apparent that I may make it under 2 hours if I kept up my pace.
Fuel: Banana, Kid’s Clif bar (brownie flavored – not my favorite) and coffee.
How did I feel: I started off way too fast. The 10k and half marathon run the first 3 miles together before the race splits and I kept forgetting this as people passed me. My splits were somewhere around 8:15 for the first two miles – much too fast for the 11 additional miles I had to run that the 10k-ers didn’t. I got a hold of myself after that, though, and really started to enjoy my surroundings. This race is an absolutely beautiful country course and with the blue skies and the cool air, it really was a great day to be doing a long run.
Best part of the race (besides the finish): The scenery. Oftentimes, I feel the need to be stimulated during my runs and enjoy running in a well populated area. Other times, it’s refreshing to run in the middle of nowhere, take in the views, and be all ‘one with nature’. Yeah I just said that…
Worst part of the race: My silly GPS was about a half a mile off and kept telling me I was way ahead of where I actually was. So in actuality, my worst mile may have been 7.5. Point is, it becomes increasingly irritating when you keep hearing that you are on mile 1-13 only to actually pass the actual mile five minutes later.
Weirdest thing I saw: Ha! Farm animals of all kinds! Horses, donkeys, a freakin’ chicken coop – this was a country race, folks. Oh, and dogs:There were actually 2 of this pups – twins, I’m convinced. Apparently, they ran the majority of the race as the kept popping up along the route. They were very sweet, left the runners alone and were a nice distraction.
Final Thoughts: The race was very small, but well organized. It begins at a school so there is a warm place to go in before and after. If you enjoy a lot of crowd participation, this is not the race for you. It really is just you and your fellow runners for the majority of it. Kudos to the few people that were out cheering us on with fun signs. The aid stations were well stocked with water, Gatorade, & gel and the post-race food is awesome. Oatmeal, soup, biscuits, oranges bananas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – all kinds of good, tasty stuff. Definitely worth the price. Happy Monday!