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Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon - RunMarathon

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Knoxville, Tennessee
United States
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon
50F / 10C
Total Time = 4h 02m 40s
Overall Rank = 224/648
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 23/80`
Pre-race routine:

I had the alarm set for 4:45am but ended up waking up at 4:30am. I didn’t sleep great, waking up a few times to pee on top of just being restless. Perhaps I was a bit nervous about the lack of training that has gone into this marathon. I made a bowl of oatmeal and got dressed. When I put my HRM on I noticed that my RHR was 68! Hmmmmm. That is not a good sign. Sat down on the toilet and played a few games of solitaire on my phone, trying to eliminate the “emergency” stops. Saturday morning was 32 degrees and when I went to bed the sky was clear so I was assuming it was going to be another cold morning. I brought tights with me, a couple long sleeve shirts, sweats, etc. When I got in the car the thermometer read 50 degrees, cool!!
It was a 45 minute drive to the start and I found a spot in a ramp in between the start and finish line. As I parked the car I felt the need to find a bathroom QUICK! I left my stuff and started running to the start line where there was a line of porta-johns and ducked into one just in time. Played a few more games of solitaire and relaxed for a few minutes. Jogged back to the car and decided what I was going to wear, decided on my optic yellow Boston Marathon long sleeve shirt and shorts. I left a bunch of cool weather clothes in my dry clothes bag for after the race.

Event warmup:

I walked around drinking water for a while before the race and talked to a bunch of different people that were doing their first marathon. About 15 minutes before the race I found a bathroom and got rid of some of the water I was drinking then headed back to the start line. Of course 5 minutes before the gun goes off I need to pee again. Great!
  • 4h 02m 40s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 16s  min/mile

The gun went off and everyone started moving forward. The first mile was all uphill and I was already looking for a bush or something to pee behind. I felt like I was moving at a very easy pace but my hr was waaay higher than I was hoping it would be. I was just running, keeping my effort very easy and not thinking about a pace at all. After the second mile and still no porta-john my eyes were starting to water. Right about this time I met up with another runner named Michelle, I started chatting with her thinking it would take my mind off my small bladder. I asked her if she had a goal time in mind and she responded that this was just a training run. I said "Oh, you must be a triathlete". She gave me a surprised look and said "How did you know?" Like any other fool would use a marathon as a training run. The conversation wasn't working as far as taking my mind off my bladder like I had hoped so I excused myself when I saw a wall to hide behind and "emptied". A few hundred yards later I caught back up to her and we ran together for about the next 20 miles.
She was great company and we were just in front of the 4 hr pacer for the entire time. Somewhere around mile 7 or 8 my bladder got the best of me again and I waited for a porta-john. After a minute I was still 3rd in line so I said forget that and started running. We were running through a very nice neighborhood and I just couldn't bring myself to go on someone's property. Luckily, there was a lone porta-john in someone's driveway that had my name all over it. Felt great after that stop and another ½ mile down the road I met up with Michelle again. The next few miles took us through a running/biking trail and the miles were just clicking away. My HR was still in the 160's but my effort was very comfortable. We were coming down a hill heading back to the Convention Center and 13.1 miles when my bowel said I better start looking for a stop. I excused myself and thanked God for sending a lone porta-john and no one inside! Whew, that one was close! I spent my 45 seconds and caught back up to Michelle right at the 13.1 mile mark. Boy did it thin out at this point. Of the 6000 people running today only about 500 of them were in the full marathon. Onward and upward we went. Did I mention that there were a few hills in Knoxville?
I had planned on wearing my fuel belt with 1 flask of diluted gels but when I went to get it ready Sat night I noticed that it must have fallen out being thrown around by the airline crew. I decided that I would just use my water bottle for the gels and just keep diluting it when I came to the water stations. This worked surprisingly well and I never really ran out of fuel. When I couldn't taste the gel anymore I just grabbed a few from the aid stations and put them in my pocket. I had a bunch of packets of Enduralytes in my other pockets that I was handing out to people throughout the race who were cramping. I took a few when I woke up and a couple more just before the race began and hadn't planned on working hard enough to need them throughout the race. It worked out pretty well, I gave out my last pack around mile 19.
We crossed over a big bridge after mile 19 and into a neighborhood called Island Homes. Very friendly people, many of them were handing out fresh fruit and water from their front yards. I walked through an aid station and grabbed some gels and saw Michelle ahead. I hung back with Jack, the 4 hr pacer for a couple miles and chatted with him. He was doing a great job keeping peoples spirits up for the last 19 miles and hitting the checkpoints right on a 3:59 pace. I tried leaving him a few times to catch Michelle but the legs didn't want to have anything to do with running faster. She was picking up the pace and I was barely holding on at this point.
Mile 22 is where things started to get interesting. Up until this point the weather had been very nice for a marathon. It was around 55 degrees, overcast with some wind. There were a few brief rain showers that felt great and I mentioned to Jack that a little bit of rain would feel great right now. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR!!! About 5 minutes after I said that the wind picked up, the temp dropped and the skies opened up. The next 2 miles were into a strong headwind with heavy rain pelting us at a 45 degree angle. Then we had to go up a hill and turn over a bridge and take the crosswind only to turn back into the wind and rain for the last mile and a half. UGH!!! We were still on pace for 3:59 at this point but there was a nice size downhill at mile 25 ½ followed by an uphill climb to the stadium. I saw that downhill and just started to walk. Jack the 4 hr pacer tried to encourage me to run but I told him that breaking 4 hrs wasn’t as important as being able to walk the next few weeks. My quads would have been toast if I had run down that hill just to break 4 hrs. I walked the last ½ mile to the stadium and ran onto the field just to look good for the jumbotron! 
I got my finishers medal and hat and walked over to the dry clothes area. People were changing in there and I noticed some showers. Why was no one taking a shower? I walked in, turned the showers on and let warm water dump on me for about 10 or 15 minutes while I stretched. That felt great!! After I was warm I put my dry clothes on and headed to the post race party (about ¼ mile away, UP ANOTHER HILL of course!!). The food tasted incredible! Pizza, cookies, tomato soup and 4 ½ pints of CHOCOLATE MILK!!! YUM!!!

What would you do differently?:

Train more
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around, walked back to the car and drove home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of training.

Event comments:

This was a very well run race, the people of Knoxville are as friendly as they come. Having homeowners handing out fresh fruit was awesome!!

Last updated: 2009-11-22 12:00 AM
04:02:40 | 26.2 miles | 09m 16s  min/mile
Age Group: 23/80`
Overall: 224/648
Performance: Average
HR was waaaaay too high. (160's for most of the run)
Course: Hills, hills, hills, wind, rain, heavier winds, heavier rain, more hills.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2010-04-12 2:03 PM

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Binghamton, NY
Subject: Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon

2010-04-13 3:52 PM
in reply to: #2785954

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Binghamton, NY
Subject: RE: Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon

Loved the people of Knoxville! Make sure you get some hill training in before doing this race. The RD announced that this was an official Boston Qualifier. I would say that it's not a very easy BQ race!

2010-04-14 3:52 PM
in reply to: #2785954

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Horseheads, NY
Subject: RE: Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon
Nice job getting it done Bob.  Check another state off the list!
2010-04-15 1:36 PM
in reply to: #2785954

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Sunny Binghamton
Subject: RE: Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon
Heck of an effort without a lot of miles in training....way to go.
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