Beginners and Beyond


RR - Covenant Health Knoxville HM w/pics (Read 98 times)


Miles to Go

    Short Version:

    We did it !!!!  2:24 :10 for DW, 2:24:11 for me (nice guy).  PR's on first try.


    DW: 1547/2434, 14/46 AG, 716/1344 women, 555/2434 age graded.

    Me:  1551/2434, 26/45 AG, 832/1087 men, 906/2434 age graded.


    2434 participants in HM, 700 in marathon,1546 in 5K

    plus the teams, relays.


    FM 1st place 2:22;15 M, 3:01:49 F

    HM 1st place 1:06:44 M, 1:17:39 F



    About 50F at start, about 60F at finish, zero wind and sunny.  Couldn't have been a better day.



    This was our debut HM for DW and myself.  So, how did we end up in Knoxville?   Last fall, I asked my niece (wife of DW' nephew), if they were in the Des Moines race, where they live.  They did not, but were thinking about a spring HM race as their first.  Coincidentally, I had the same idea and was thinking of Knoxville where my wife's brother lives, so the stars were aligned and the 4 of us agreed on a spring rode trip for a first HM for all of us.  Only flaw in the plan was that I didn't realize it was a hilly course and we don't do hills here in the Midwest and we had never run anything close to 13 miles.  But, we had time to train and we all signed up.


    CHKM started in 2005 has a 5K, HM, FM, 2 and 4 person relay, so pick your poison.  It is organized by non-profits; the Knoxville Track Club, the City of Knoxville, UT and Covenant Health.  It was very well organized, lots of volunteers and a scenic course. The Expo and Start are at the Convention Center near downtown (convenient hotels, parking, and facilities) and the races finish on the 50 yard line at Neyland Stadium, about a mile away.  The HM and FM run together going west and the FM goes on east of the stadium.


    Pre Race

    Since this was our first "big" race, I can't compare to other races.  CHKM provided lots of information, and the packet pick up was very organized and fast.  Seemed like a lot of vendors, music and presentations, but it was too nice a day to hang around a convention center.  Our nephew cooked us a really good pasta dinner on Saturday night.  Turned in early, but didn't sleep much, excited about the race.


    Race Day

    Arrived at the Convention Center about half hour before race.  Long lines at the portapotties, so looks like we will have a pit stop.  Kind of chilly, so glad we went with the long sleeves. Started in corral C (est 2:15 finish). Race started on time on a bridge and it was up and down small hills the first mile around UT campus.  Kept pace slow and hills were no problem, yet.  Seemed like everyone was passing us at our 11:04 first mile.  Lost the niece/nephew after a few miles due to pit stop and didn't see them again until the finish, so it was just me and DW.  Course flattened out miles 2-3 so we got in a 10:09 and 10:25 mile.   Race then went into the beautiful Sequoya Hills residential area. Nice homes and roller coaster, tree lined streets.  Lots of great spectators and volunteers.  Hills kept us running between 10:30 and 11:00, but we did not have to walk.  Got to the10K mark in 1:07, so we were on our target pace.


    Then the hills started to get the best of us at the end of the Sequoya Hills area.  When we were running uphill at about the same pace as the walkers, it seemed like a good time to start walking.  Luckily, we then headed onto the Third Creek Greenway for 3 miles that was relatively flat and curvy, but the narrow path made it a little congested for passing, so we couldn't pick up the pace much.


    About mile 10, the pace and distance on the Garmin started to look alike, and I thought we had 2 miles to go when it was more like 3, so we had prematurely picked up our pace, and once out of the Greenway, we hit more long, steep hills near the UT campus, and the walking became more frequent and the downhills were getting painful.  Even the last mile was a steep uphill and downhill.


    Finally, we arrived at  Neyland Stadium and finished with at least a little gas in the tank.   It was a crazy race with splits ranging from 10:09 to 11:50.   We took some pictures and waited for our niece and nephew to finish, found my brother and sister in law, got our medals and food and sat in the stands for a while and took pictures.  Except for my nephew, we were pretty sore.  Nevertheless, we opted to walk the mile back to the convention center instead of taking the shuttle bus. That was a really slow mile.


    Anyway, huge thank you to my brother in law, and sister in law, for putting us up and shuttling us around Knoxville.


    Spent the afternoon at their house relaxing in the sun and Monday we went for a nice hike in the Smokies before heading home.


    Looks like we were the only RA/BF poster in the race, so hope y'all can make it down for next year's race.  Turns out there even was a world  record set in the HM by a 91 year old, but we beat him by 40 minutes, LOL.  See Runners World website.


    Now all we have to do now is find our next race.


    Sorry I didn't get any in race pictures. Just couldn't stop. Probably need lessons from Scottie.  Here's a few anyway.


    After Race food




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    View from the stands at Neyland Stadium UT

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    DW and me

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     Last::                    8/27    Fort2 Base 10NM, Great Lakes, IL   

     Next:                  10/22     ScotiaBank Waterfront HM       

    Jack K.

    uʍop ǝpᴉsdn sǝʇᴉɹʍ ʇI

      Jerry, great RR! Man, that read like a book, it was so detailed. It sounds like you and DW had a nice weekend and PRs are always nice! Great stuff, Jerry and DW!

        Congratulations on completing your first!  Sounds like the second half of the course was pretty tough- good job getting through it!  I wonder if that walk back to the start helped your recovery at all. Smile


        How fun that you got to complete your first race with family there, too!

        Better I Leave

          Allow me to congratulate you as well on completing your first. And thank you for sharing such a nicely crafted RR. Smile

            Not only did you beat a world record holder (LOL!), but you selected  a hilly destination marathon instead of one locally as your first HM. Kudos to you  and your DW for the adventuruous spirit.

            “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot


            Fear is a Liar

              Good job ! I agree that doing an out of town, unknown course for your first half is quite adventurous! Congrats!

              I'm so vegetarian I don't even eat animal crackers!

              Bad Ass

                Congratulations to both!



                "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

                It's always fucking hot in Miami!

                Mostly harmless

                  Congrats. It sounds like a fun time. :-)

                  "It doesn’t matter how often you do it or how much you accomplish, in general, not running is a lot easier than running." - Meb Keflezighi

                    Congrats to both of you. Are you doing the same one next year?

                    Dad on the run.

                      Awesome job to both you and your wife. Great RR, that HM sounds like a tough one with all those hills! Knoxville isn't to far from me, perhaps if you do it again next year Mitch and myself can come up there and run it with you. That would be a FE to remember!

                      My parents said I could be anything when I grew up, so I decided to be Awesome!


                        Congratulations to the awesome couple! Your first HM, how exciting! May you train together for many more races in the future!

                        PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                                Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                        18 marathons, 18 BQs since 2010


                        Barking Mad To Run

                          Nice report, Jerry!  Congrats to you and DW and way to conquer all those hills!

                          "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt


                            Hi Jerry!


                            I usually lurk on the forums, but I can't resist saying hello since you raced in my town. I loved reading your RR. I was at the race with my DH, and we had so much fun. We did the 5k and watched the elite half-marathoners finish in the stadium and then went along some of the downtown sections of the course to cheer on the distance runners. I live here and the hills are no joke. I regularly run a lot of the sections that are on the route for the half. I remember huffing my way up the trail in Sequoyah Hills when I started running last summer and swearing under my breath a lot. The only flat section of the 5k was the entrance into the stadium! I saw one young man lose his breakfast on the course. Tight lips


                            I hope you and DW enjoyed your visit, and I'm glad you enjoyed the race!


                              Knoxville is a very hilly town for sure.  Great job on your first half.  Does your wife brag about beating you by one sec?  Big grin




                                Congratulations to both of you on doing so well on your first half, especially given the hilly course.  Nice race report.