2014 Panerathon Expo 10k
This was my 11th Expo race, the 10th consecutive one for the 10k flavor. My very first Expo in 1998 was the 5k distance when I was but a noob runner. I had only started running 3 months prior. The Expo is a long standing race in the Knoxville area with a choice of a 5k or 10k distance, this year was the 37th running of the Expo. It has had different sponsors throughout the years (like News Sentinel Expo) as well as different course routes. Here’s a picture from 1981-82 when it started on Gay Street downtown.
This year the sponsor was Panera Bread (hence Panerathon) with benefits of the race going to one of our local food banks, Second Harvest.
Expo 10k PR Time 51:11 (but not for this particular course)
2 weeks leading up to Expo, I started a Sugar Detox eating change in an effort to lower my sugar cravings and cut back on my sugar intake. Expo fell on Day 13 out of 14. If you were to ask me a week before I started my detox, “Hey Terry, what do you think your Expo finishing time is going to be?” I would have replied, “about 52-53 minutes”.
However, I was having some energy and leg hurting problems. You can look at the archives for May 2014 and see my blog entries for my detox. Leading up to Expo, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be under an hour. I had come to peace with the change in finishing time because of my detox, it just was a timing (pun intended) issue.
As with just about every KTC race that I run, I sought out a volunteer spot I could do before the race and still run the race. This time is was Course Setup: Water Stop Edition. I helped fill the big coolers of water and gatorade and take them out to the spots on the course. Apart from getting wet trying to handle the leaky coolers, it was straightforward work and earned me another coupon to go toward a future race. Also, I knew exactly where they were located on the course beforehand.
One of my taekwondo friends was going to be running the race and looking to finish under an hour. So, I figured that I might hang with him as long as I could. For anonymity sake, since I haven’t asked permission to use his likeness, we’ll just call him, Mr. P for now. I found Mr. P hanging out in the courtyard and we chatted for a while waiting for the race to begin.
Earlier in the week, one of my runner friends posted on Facebook about something call a sQoosh. It was some sort of wristband, sweat picker-upper type of thing and I commented that I would probably like it because I sweat profusely. I was even thinking about using it more for taekwondo because I’m like a faucet after sparring with my gear. To my surprise, he sent me one to try out and it arrived Friday, just in time.
This year’s course was something quite different. Instead of going down the long hill, we were going to go up it… twice. It was a two loop course, with running up a fairly challenging hill right at the start and then again in the middle. Just how I like it.
I noticed that there seemed to be ALOT less people at this race than last years. Looking at the Results Section on the Knoxville Track Club website, there were 878 finishers for both races in 2013 and only 679 finishers in 2014, so it was a big difference.
We had the National Anthem, the runner’s count and then we were off. I was going to try to run with Mr. P, but in about 20 yards, he was ahead of me and I thought it would be better for me to conserve at the start and let him go on ahead.
I struggled a bit up the first big long hill, I just didn’t have the energy to surge up the hill. At the top of the hill, the fact that I had been hydrating well became reality and I soon started looking for places that I could ditch and do my business. I peeled off and took nature’s call. Since I wasn’t concerned too much about time, i worked my way out of the brush and got back into my pace.
The first loop went well, or rather I didn’t die. On the way up the long big hill for the second time, I just churned my legs. Something weird was happening on this second loop, my shoulders and arms were starting to hurt, like hurt-hurt, painful hurt to move them. Then at the water stop, I was feeling my legs getting heavier and heavier. It was a struggle back over the Henley Street bridge.
At this point, there was a little more than mile in the race and I wasn’t sure how I would do. My legs were lead weights and my arms were aching badly. I saw my friend Mr. P up ahead and realized that both of us were going to make under an hour. The turn off Henley Street was a slight up hill and I didn’t had the energy to maintain my pace and slowed down.
I kept up a slow but steady pace, basically all that I could muster until the Mile 6 marker and made my assessment of how much I had left in the tank. I was in quite a bit of pain in my arms, and my legs still felt heavy. On the last turn with a little more than 0.1 mile left, I made my plan.
My plan was that I would start my ‘kick’ with about 50 yards left to go. I would bump up my pace and if I had anything left, I would open the throttle.
After the turn, I had to hold back because even though I was hurting, I was all-business. I saw runners ahead of me and I wanted to pass them, but I couldn’t kick from the turn, there was too much course left. I didn’t want to overtake someone only to have them surge past me just before the finish line. One runner ahead of me was fading and I didn’t need to worry about him, I would pass him.
However, with about 300 feet left in the race, there were a couple of runners ahead that might be within my reach. I skipped the water stop that was about 250 feet from race finish (it also served during the race) and surged forward. I ended up passing one of my KTC friends who ALWAYS finishes before me (because she’s inherently faster) but was having a slow day. With just mere feet between me and the finish line, I surged past my friend Mr. P and then crossed the finish line just ahead of him. This was a race, not a fun run.
Chip Time: 56:06
Overall Place 184/404
Age Group 15/26