I heard many “fun” stories about the Whitestone 30k, so I was skeptical to sign up. We’ll say that peer pressure helped push me over the edge to actually press the enter button for the Whitestone 30k. The folks at the Foothill Striders running group mentioned that Whitestone 30k was even more difficult than the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon, which I thought was VERY tough, despite running a personal best half marathon time. Granted, that was my first real half marathon attempt at racing in a long time.
Check out the Map for the Whitestone 30k.
I ran in the following items at the Whitestone 30k:
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.
Running Shorts: I decided to go for the all blue Smurf look that I had at Strawberry Plains, running in my 1990s UMBRO shorts that were passed down to me about 20 years ago from my mom. Thanks, Mom! The shorts can be seen in the racing pictures in this post or similar shorts can be seen HERE, too!
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 am looking to eventually get something a little newer, like a Garmin 235, which some of my running partners have.
I’m very pleased with how the Whitestone 30k turned out.
I knew going into the race from what other folks had told me that it was not going to be an easy race. Going into the race, I told myself that I needed to start conservatively and see how I felt as the race progressed. I did just that. The gun went off and we all started. I held a conservative 6:35-6:40 pace the first few miles. Within the first mile, I sat comfortably in 10th place or so and I was enjoying myself, talking with some of the other runners.
About 5 miles into the race, I started to notice that some of the people ahead of me were starting to fade already. I still felt pretty good, so I pushed on. By the 8.5 mile out and back section, I saw I was sitting in what seemed like 8th place and was not very far from a few spots ahead of me. It looked like spots 1-4 were locked in, so I focused on the ones right ahead of me. I turned around and within the next 1.5 miles moved past three people, so I thought I was sitting in 5th place overall with about 8 miles to go. I still felt really good, so I wasn’t really worried about people catching me, but I wanted to try to move up one more spot at least if I could!
I could see my teammate, Nick, ahead of me by about 45 seconds around mile 11. There was a stretch of rolling hills that were very deceiving as it looked like I was making progress at the crest of the hills, but then he’d disappear on the downhill as soon as I would on the hill prior, so that was mentally tough. Nevertheless, I pushed on. The hardest part of the race came around miles 13 to 16 when I clearly had made up some ground on the person ahead of me, but I couldn’t quite catch him. A revelation happened with about 1.75 miles or so to go when I could see Nick and then one person ahead of him, too!
There was one final turn and then just over a mile from that turn to the finish line. The two guys slowed down into that final turn as they grabbed some water from the aid station. I did not slow, I simply grabbed a cup of water, sipped it, tossed it down and then CHARGED HARD. I moved up another slot and was about 10 feet behind Nick after the turn. Within a few seconds I caught up to him, congratulated him on running so strong. Then I asked him what position he was in, he said THIRD. I exclaimed, “OH F**K!” The fire was ignited and I ran a fast last mile up the hills to the finish.
I finished THIRD place overall at the Whitestone 30k and happened to break 2 hours on my first attempt, too! That scored the Health Shoppe Team 7 team points for the Whitestone 30k, so I felt like I really earned my place on the team at the race.
In the picture above, left to right: Alan – 2nd place, Nick – 4th Place, Yours truly – 3rd Place, and Ethan – 1st place!
Here is a link to the Whitestone 30k results on RunSignUp.