Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon and Marathon Relay
The Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon and Marathon Relay on April 2nd was a great and long day! I was signed up to run the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon and then be the second leg of the Marathon Relay for the 3:05 Pacing group. I knew I could do it, it was just going to be a long day. If all went well, I would have run somewhere over 28 miles in less than 3 hours and 5 minutes.
The day before the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon and Marathon Relay, my wife and I spent time at the expo in downtown Knoxville, TN at the Race Pacing booth with some of the other pacers. I raced in my Altra The One shoes which have been awesome!
At the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon and Marathon Relay expo I ran into Dr. Scott and Lisa from SWORD!
Dr. Scott from SWORD has done the Knoxville Marathon each year since the race began around 12 or 13 years ago. He’s considered one of the only “STREAKERS” left, meaning that there are only a dew people in the world who have done this race since it began over a decade ago. How cool! I also had the chance to meet the Kentucky Runner, Brian, who runs a lot of ultra marathons with Scott.
On the morning of the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon and Marathon Relay I was feeling well rested and prepared for battle.
I went into the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon with a personal expectation that I would set another PR in the half marathon distance. Previously, my half marathon PR was lowered to 1:20:54 at the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon in early February. Going into the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon, I knew I could break 1:20 on that course. My training had been solid. I was feeling mentally ready, too, which can sometimes be the most difficult part of training and racing.
The Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon began.
I started out a little fast but I felt strong. There were many folks ahead of me who pushed on at a strong and steady pace, but I knew I had to race my own race. There were four hard hills in the half marathon. The first was within the first mile and a half, then around mile 3, then just after 7, and then a final hard section around mile 11. I managed to get through the first two sections strong.
When I hit the hill around mile 7, Noelton Hill, I was feeling just OKAY… I was hurting, but I managed to make up some time during the stretch after that hill until the next hill around mile 11. There was 2 man group ahead of me which I couldn’t gain any distance on, but I focused on myself and did not worry about anyone else. Up the last painful hill section, there was one dude who passed me. I lost probably 45-60 seconds on the last hill section, but I regained some of that on the last mile or so heading to the finish line.
I crossed the line for the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon with a new PR!
My new half marathon personal record is 1:19:13, which comes out to a 6:03 pace average per mile. I also crossed the line in 16th place overall, earning 2nd place in my age group!
As soon as I jumped over the finish line for the half marathon, I had about 10 minutes to make it from the finish to the Marathon Relay Exchange point, eat some food, change singlets, and continue on for another 13.5 miles at a 7:03 pace.
The relay exchange point was 0.9 miles from the finish. I met my wife there and changed gear, grabbed some SWORD and a granola bar. The first leg of the relay was supposed to come in at about 90 minutes after the race started. The 90 minute mark passed and he had not shown up. A few minutes later we saw the 3:15 pacer who said the first guy was suffering big time. I knew that if I was going to cross the line at the 3:05 mark I was going to have to make up some SERIOUS time.
The first leg pacer arrived to the exchange point about 8 minutes after our expected time. I told him no big deal, kissed my wife, and ran on. I was feeling strong and ran the first 5 miles of the 13.5 leg at about a 6:40 pace, then my stomach told me to use the next port-a-potty available. I did… then continued on. While I was taking care of business, some people I had passed carried on and passed me. I had to gather myself after the restroom break and push forward.
I passed those people again, and then tried to shave some more time off. Around mile 23, I knew the end was near but my legs would not run faster than about 6:55 to 7:00 pace. I was still making up time, but not enough time to get to the line at 3:05 like we were supposed to.
By the time I jumped across the line, for the second time, the clock said 3:11. So, despite running the second leg on tired legs after RACING the half marathon, I made up 2 minutes of the 8 minute deficit we were in at the exchange point. That’s not too bad.
Come to find out, Even though we were off our pace, we still managed to finish 3rd in the 2 person male Marathon Relay! The funny thing is that we would have won had we been on pace… we were less than a minute from taking first place! Oh well!
Check out the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon and Marathon Relay results here on RunSignUp.
I ran in the following items during theCovenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon and Marathon Relay:
Shoes: Altra The One Yellow and Black running shoes. Altra has made my list for the best zero drop running shoes. The Altra “The One” is a lightweight shoe made for running fast with light cushioning. So far, I’m very excited about how they’ve performed and I hope to race in these for many longer distance type races to come.
Running Socks: Ever since 2011, any time I have decided to race, I’ve almost always run in Injinji socks. They’ve always been phenomenal for me and thus far, I’ve had no blister issues with them regardless of distance and pace. Injinji socks are some of the best running socks!
Running Singlet: Right before the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon I was picked up by one of the local running teams in the greater Knoxville area, Team Health Shoppe. Team Health Shoppe is presented by Eddie’s Health Shoppe and Podium Sports Medicine. During the Half Marathon race, I wore the Health Shoppe Singlet, then switched over to my Pacing Team singlet which was yellow and white for the second leg of the Marathon Relay.
Running Shorts: I decided to opt out of the complete Smurf blue on blue look, as seen in the Whitestone 30k and go a different route. As seen in the pictures from the Warrior 10 Mile race, I’m wearing a sky blue colored pair of shorts. They’re not technically real running shorts, just short shorts in a color I really like. I wore some compression shorts underneath to aid in warmth and prevent things from moving around while running.
Running Watch: I used my Garmin Forerunner 310XT, which is still kicking and holding strong, regardless of being probably 10 years old! It’s definitely one of the best Garmin watches available STILL, even as old as it is. I purchased a Garmin ForeRunner 230, which just arrived (on April 10th!) so I will more than likely be racing in that moving forward!