Strawberry Plains Half Marathon

strawberry plains half marathon 2017The Strawberry Plains Half Marathon was a cold, crisp morning for a run. One of my training partners, Mark, and I carpooled to the event together. This would be my first race for the new team I had joined, Eddie’s Health Shoppe, which is a local team in the greater Knoxville area.

I heard that the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon was a tough course. I was nervous about it as I hadn’t raced a half marathon in years. I paced the Gobbler Half Marathon in November 2016, but pacing and racing are two different monsters.

Before the start of the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon, I did a 1.5 mile warm up and my legs felt pretty good, despite being cold! I wore running tights, shorts, a long sleeve shirt, the team singlet, gloves, and a running beanie during the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon. The temperature was supposed to stay somewhere around 29-33 degrees almost the entire race.

The Strawberry Plains Half Marathon began.

I started out running a little fast, the first mile was around 5:55 or so. I really wanted my pace to be somewhere around 6:10 per mile. After the first mile, I slowed things down a little bit, as I knew there were going to be many hills to come.

I settled into a group with a few people. We cruised along for a few miles, then the hills started to come. We could barely see the lead group ahead of us, as they became very strung out almost in single file.

About halfway into the race, I  was kind of in no-man’s land. I was about 15 seconds behind a group of two people, but couldn’t quite catch up to them easily. At the mile 8.5 turn around, which was a beast of a hill, I could basically see everyone that was ahead of me. I could also see the people who were trying to hunt me down and pass me. Since we ran up the hill to the turn around, we had to run down, then back through some rolling hills to the finish. I tried to let my legs open up and bring down the pace. I was around 6:13 per mile at this point, with about 3.5-4 miles to go. Those hills really hurt!

I was making up some ground on one person ahead of me. With about 1.5 miles to go, I caught him and we ran together for a little bit, then I ran ahead of him. On the final turn, with about 0.75 miles to go, I tried to turn on the boosters to catch the person in front of me, who is a fast Knoxville area local named Gina. She was just ahead of me, but my legs just wouldn’t let me sprint! When I crossed the line, I was a handful of seconds behind her. I knew I at least finished third in my age group, but was unsure of some of the age of some other folks.

I finished the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon in 9th place!

The Strawberry Plains Half Marathon was a tough race and I jogged back on the course for a short cool down. After the race, there was food available for us to consume. At the awards ceremony, I ended up officially 3rd in my age group. Not half bad for a race I didn’t really have intentions of doing! This was also a new Half Marathon PR 1:20:54. I’ve only done a handful of half marathons, but I’d really like to do more. I’m sure for the Covenant Half Marathon in Knoxville I can set another new PR, under. Hopefully I can run a 1:16 or so!

Later in the day, after the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon, I went out for another run to loosen up the legs some more, as they were pretty tight from racing. The run was nice and easy for 5.5 miles. I’m pleased with how the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon turned out!

Results for the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon on RunSignUp.

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