Short version: 4.36 miles as measured by the Garmin;
36:45 gun, 36:40 garmin time,
15 out of 28 in age group,
123 out of 315 overall.
The Karen Lawrence 4-ish mile Run for St. Jude is an annual event in Chattanooga, TN. The race benefits St. Jude's Children's Hospital and is quite popular locally.
This was the 34th running of the race, and my second showing. The course changed after last year's slightly long (4.6 mile) run - this one measured out a little shorter, but had more elevation change. The course was a double out/back that started on Broad Street behind the Downtown Sports Barn in Chattanooga. From there, it turns east up third street and up the first hill, about a 75 foot elevation rise in one block. A little steep. The course then turns north up Walnut street and across the Walnut Street Bridge (pedestrian-only bridge) across the Tennessee River.
The north half of the bridge is a nice downhill slope, a slope which continues as the runners turn east again and then south into Coolidge Park where the first turn-around is located. Of course after the turn-around, the approximately 100 foot drop turns into a 100 foot climb back to the elevation apex approximately halfway across the bridge. The course follows the original path back to the start/finish line, then repeats. The downhill run down 3rd street, exceptionally slow going up, was exceptionally fast heading back down.
The hills were a bit of a burden, as expected. Not huge hills, but significant and steep enough that the pace took a hit. Still, my first mile, despite the slow climb up 3rd street, was completed in 8 minutes flat. A little too fast for me, but not terribly so. What I had lost on the uphill portion, I had more than gained back on the downhill portion of the run.
Mile 2, I took a bit more conservatively, primarily due to the fact that I was struggling with my breathing a bit. I paced myself more carefully heading back up and over the bridge, though I did open the stride up as I barrelled down 3rd street hill. Overall, mile 2 was a more realistic 8:30.
As mile 3 started, I was beginning to feel more fatigued. The legs were a bit fatigued, but my breathing was very labored. It didn't help that I knew I would have to attack the same 2 hills again. As I looped around and through the start/finish line (halfway point), I saw a time of 18: xx, so I was on pace to finish somewhere in the 36: xx range. I made that my goal and pressed on. Pushing up 3rd street hill, my breathing became asynchronous (I'm usually in sync with my footfalls - left-right-left-right = in-in/out-out) meaning I was maxing out on my wind. Cresting the steep hill, I got back in sync and continued to press on. I was a bit more conservative on this portion of the run because I knew that I had to handle one more hill in mile 4. Total time in mile 3 - 8:40.
Mile 4 began as I was finishing the downhill portion on the north side of the river. As I made the turn, I continued to pace myself heading up the long, slow climb to the top of the bridge. I kept my breathing in sync, but it was definitely labored. The legs were starting to feel heavy. The young lady whom I had been running with began to pull ahead slightly. But at the same time, i was passing a few folks that had apparently hit their limit. I kept pressing on, hitting it as hard as I could while still congnizant that I had a little ways to go yet. Mile 4, which was complete before hitting third street, took 8:43. Not a bad time considering it was more uphill than down.
The last 0.36 miles, I opened up all the stops. As we turned onto third street, I roared down the hill, taking huge strides and hoping that nobody would suddenly stop or move into my path. There were a number of walkers present in this part of the race, presumably folks that chose the 2.1 mile "run" instead. Fortunately, they were spread out enough that they didn't present a problem. I almost caught back up with the young lady that had pulled ahead going up the hill on the north side of the bridge, but couldn't quite get there. As we made the turn to do the final "loop" past the start/finish line, I continued to push myself maintaining a semi-sprint all the way to the finish line. I was totally out of breath at the end, but I did hold off one runner that couldn't quite get past me. Total pace for the last 0.36 - 7:40.
Overall, I'm happy with the results. Although I ran just a bit behind what my VDOT would predict, I was fighting the remnants of a cold and I know that the hills took a little out of me. I have no doubt that on a flat course, I might have finished a minute sooner, but so would everyone else. Considering that I hadn't really done a great deal of speed work lately, I think it was a good race.
The overall winner finished in 23:48! Can't touch that!
Tom (formerly known as PhotogTom)
5K - 25:16, 10K - 55:31, 15K - 1:20:55, HM - 1:54:54
Tom, that sounds tough with all the up/down and out/back stuff. Sounds like you did a great job though, congrats on a strong race.
What a great race, Tom! It sounds like you had a great time despite the hills and fact you were battling a cold. Well done!
Great job Tom! Odd race distance tho. Great job with the hills, they always kill me.
My running blog
Goals | sub-18 5k | sub-3 marathon
Great job, Tom!
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
It's always fucking hot in Miami!
Thanks, Mitch, Heidi, Dave, & Damaris!
Dave, this race seems to be known for changing courses a lot, and they don't plan very far in advance. They could have easily made it exactly 4 miles this time just by moving the turnaround point. But that's not really important. People race it, but a lot of runners just run it to support the cause and to do something "traditional" on New Years Eve.
Oh, I forgot to mention - I got a beer stamp which entitled me to at least one free beer after the race. I had only one, but there were a number of people that hung around the beer truck after the race for a while. I suspect that I could have had a couple more if I wanted, but I didn't want to drive home with even a hint of a buzz on Amateur night!
The cold wasn't too bad - I felt fine, though I did cough up a "loogie" on the first uphill part of the race. Glad nobody was close to me!
Great race, Tom! That course sounds challenging for sure!
But The Smile That I Sent Out Returned With You.
Sounds like you ran a great race, especially with those hills!
Great race, Tom! You sure finished it up in style it sounds even after all those hills. Congratulations!
"We do not become the people who this world needs simply by turning our backs on anyone we don’t like, trust, or deem healthy enough to be in our presence. " ---- Shasta Nelson
I was wondering how your race went. Sounds like you did great. Good job!
Thanks, Pink, Zelanie, Cherie, & Camille!
Definitely enjoyed it. I hope to run it again next year, even though the work schedule has me between 12-hour day shifts at that point in time.
Camille, are you planning on running any of the local Chattanooga area races this year? I'm signed up for the Chickamauga Chase 15K and the 4 Bridges half. A lot of races haven't been scheduled yet so I can't commit.