Race Report: Knoxville HM

I signed up for this the Knoxville HM in November, shortly after I found out I was moving to Ohio. It was right before Aidan's spring break started, and a halfway point to visiting my parents in NC. To prep for this, I started Hal Higdon's HM Advanced plan, and stuck with it almost to the letter until a few weeks ago (just wanted to have fun and race on the weekends).

Pre race

Aidan decided he wanted to do the kids run, so I signed him up for it at the expo. It was a cold and rainy day and the 6pm run for him was no exception, but he still wanted to do it (and I needed to get my shakes out too). We had a prerace dinner at Panera Bread (gee, we always go here for prerace) and made our way to start line a couple hours later. It was really cold and rainy still, but once the gun fired, I let him set the pace and told him not to start out too fast. We finished on the 50-yard line of the TN Volunteers football stadium in 10:35! He got his finisher's medal after dusting me to the finish line (we promised to finish together, but that's ok). He was very excited and proud of his accomplishment, and so was I.

Race day

I woke up around 545 and ate my Panera chocolate chip bagel and drank some water, then got dressed and relaxed before heading out of the hotel. The start line was right down the block, so I had an easy time getting there and did about a mile of warm up with some strides at pace mixed in there. I went inside the convention center and talked to a local who had done the race a few times and he gave some insight to the course, particularly about a huge descent at the beginning and a hill on top of a 10% graded hill at mile 9. I asked myself "how bad can it be?" and was about to find the answer.

The gun goes off, and so do I. My first split was right where I wanted it to be, then we hit the downhill, and I took it too fast. I knocked 14 seconds off my pace here, and wasn't happy about it. And that decision caught up to me at mile 3 when I saw a sign that said "hope you trained for hills, because here they are." The hilly neighborhood we ran through was nice enough (moonshine wealth?), but it was a rollercoaster of hills. It was maddening and very demoralizing. Normally, I'd be in my stride at this point of the race, but for this one, I just wanted it over with. The only other thing that made it somewhat amusing was a series of signs that went on for about 1/4mi that were themed with that "what does the fox say" song. The signs were 3x for each animal (maybe 10 animals) and then there were a few that led up to the fox, and instead of a sign with a fox, there was an aid station with a person dressed up like one and they were blasting the song and dancing like crazy people. Oh, the stuff you see at these things :) Also, I believe I took my Gu around this point, and man did it mess with my stomach. Normally they don't do this to me, nor do I really take them during runs, but it was a mental thing.

After 2 miles, the hills tapered off at mile 5 or so, and now I was on the lookout for mile 9. The next two miles were relaxing and I made back some of my time. Well, it turns out that mile 9 was actually mile 7.5. The signs leading up to it were just a miserable concoction of fearmongering and **** talking and messed with my head for some reason. I could see up the hill, and I could see where it ended, but then I saw specks of runners on another hill right above it. The bad part was being able to see all of this, even worse was running it. Once again, my splits dropped off, and again, there was a similar descent after.

Into the bike path we went after that hill on top of a hill. The signs said "entering duck country" and sure enough, there were people dressed in camo in the woods on either side of the path blowing duck calls at the runners. The bike path was a much-welcomed flatness with gentle hills where I caught some more of the fatigued runners and was passed by a few who managed their pace better than me.

Out of the bike path and back into the city - it was almost done. We hit a city street that I recognized from driving around earlier Saturday. And then we ran past Panera. We took a steady hill back to within 1/2mi from the finish, a nice fast descent, then one more climb until we hit the stadium. At this point, I didn't have much left to give beyond a 7:09, and it was adrenaline, stupid, and the smell of pizza that got me there.

Time: 1:36:19, a new PR for me
Placed 92 out of 2487 (3.7%) overall, 18 out of 165 (10.9%) in M30-34 age group, and 75 out of 1139 (6.6%) men. I'll take this all day.

I'll be back here next year. I want this again!




  • jessmastrilli
    jessmastrilli Posts: 203 Member
    Congrats to you and your son! That's so wonderful you got to share the experience with him. Congrats on your PR as well :)
  • sjohnny
    sjohnny Posts: 56,142 Member
    Very cool. Love the pic :love:

    That elevation profile looks mean.
  • sinister2014
    sinister2014 Posts: 92 Member
    you crushed that race! awesome job!
  • RunConquerCelebrate
    RunConquerCelebrate Posts: 956 Member
    Great recap, man that course sounds scary. Congrats on the PR and love the picture of your son. That is awesome that he ran, he looks so happy.
  • Zekela
    Zekela Posts: 634 Member
    love this! Congrats again!
  • Linli_Anne
    Linli_Anne Posts: 1,360 Member
    Congrats on the PR and look at how proud your boy is of his hardware!
  • southerndream24
    southerndream24 Posts: 303 Member
    Congrats on your new PR! Totally loved reading this since I went to college at UT. I had few friends from undergrad who ran this one.
  • Cooriander
    Cooriander Posts: 2,848 Member
    great job, awesome time!!!
  • fleetzz
    fleetzz Posts: 962 Member
    Great job! Awesome pace. Congratulations! It is fun to get the kids involved too :-)
  • valentine4
    valentine4 Posts: 233 Member
    that was fantastic, congrats! the wee man looks proud as punch :)
  • lorierin22
    lorierin22 Posts: 432 Member
    Congrats to you and your son! Sounds like an awesome race...except for that whole Tennesee Volunteer Stadium part :wink:

    I wish they would let us run on the field in Athens...but the finish there is just a lap AROUND the inside of the stadium. Still cool though.
  • mlogantra76
    mlogantra76 Posts: 334 Member
    Congrats! I am looking at this race for next year. I live in TN but as far as you can get from Knoxville and still be in TN.