Strawplains Race Report

A Little History:

19th Annual
Official Race Page: (http://www.ktc.org/RacePages/strawplains07.htm)
USATF CERTIFICATION NUMBER: HALF MARATHON TN 9000 WN

Course Records
Bill Kabasenche 1:08:15 (2000)
Doris Windsand-Dausman 1:23:29 (1993)

Overall Finishers
1998 375
1999 420
2000 302
2001 321
2002 319
2003 217
2004 295
2005 391
2006 257

Terry’s Results
Date Time Overall Age Pace
Feb-09-2002 2:37:04 316/319 19/19 11.99
Feb-15-2003 2:01:40 153/217 10/10 9.29
Feb-21-2004 2:16:35 267/295 17/18 10.43
Feb-18-2006 1:58:56 169/257 13/16 9.08

Race Day Goals:
Stretch Goal Time: 1:58:48
Goal Time: 1:59:59

Pre Race: Day of Race Registration

For the 3rd straight race, I worked the Day of Race registration which is a great way to volunteer for the race as well as being able to run the race. In fact, the 4 of us at race day registration were running the race. It was a very busy day signing up people, partly because this race is part of the training program for the Knoxville Marathon. Seemed like the line was long all morning long, no matter how fast were were processing people, of course the overall time actually processing people was only like an hour. Couple of interesting points:

  • We had two people pay their race registration fee with $100 bills. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just out of the ordinary. Day of Race fee was $25 with shirt, $15 without, but the shirt was a coolmax technical shirt. Not a super neat design, but enough to get the shirt.
  • I was able to use my trademark “And what age group will you be participating in today?” line to the lovely women who blatantly absentmindedly forgot to include their age on the entry fee.
  • We ran out of Small shirts very quickly, Medium shorts quickly, Large shirts were gone after a while leaving only XL shirts. Is ordering shirts the hardest thing to do? Can’t someone come up with a Chaos theory on this?

After my stint was done, I ran up to my car and got my running shoes on as well as another layer of clothing in anticipation of the imminent weather (calling for snow). I grabbed my iRiver, Carb-Boom, energy bar and a little water to wash the bar down with when I was done.

The crowd had started to gather outside the school as some of the pre-race announcements started, I on the other hand, had to go use the restroom. Now, at this point, I had my iRiver recording and thought that I would just edited out any strange and unusual noises during the visit, but while I was in there, I caught some interesting audio between a (high school/college) runner and his coach. It’ll be on the podcast assuming that there’s not alot of gaseous background noises or toilet flushings to drown out the conversation.

Once everything was ready, I walked outside just 10 seconds before the National Anthem, which give the KTC credit, has found some decent singers for the national anthem. In the past they have had a recording that sounded like a copy off of a vinyl album. Not that there is nothing wrong with that, but that it have a live singer is so much nicer. Marianna will be delighted that I did not engage in any wardrobe maintenance (except for removal of hat) during the anthem. Next, they gave the runner’s set and BANG!

The Race
The instant, that the gun went off, a light flurry of snow came to the area. Now, it’s always fun to run in some what challenging conditions, especially if you are dressed for the occasion. I sure was ready. I had a coolmax turtleneck, a long sleeved coolmax shirt and a fleece outer covering. Plus hat and gloves.

What I wasn’t expecting that within a half-mile, I would be very warm and have difficulty monitoring my heat for the rest of the race. I ran the first mile with Solange (Marty’s wife) who was there sans husband because a vicious cold had smacked Marty upside the head and he was home sick. So, I had to do some on-the-fly race strategy on how I was going to run the race by myself (for all practical purposes).When I had talked with Marty on Thursday wehad talked about running 9:00 min miles but he did sound a little stuffy, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that he skipped the race.

Mile 1: 9:10
I said adieu to Solange as I was now behind a little on pace of staying with 9:00 minute miles. Not that I was too far off, but I needed to pick the pace up or I would be very comfortable running at her pace and running a 2:10ish race. Which would be a PR for her.

I pressed on started talking with this couple who was wondeirng were the water stops were on the course. Since I was very familiar with the course, I volunteered the answers to them so they need not worry about the conditions up ahead.

Mile 2: 8:52
At this point, I am going from hot and cold, hot and cold. The cold wasn’t all that uncomfortable, but the hot was unbearable hot. But once I tried to cool myself down, I could feel my arms getting cold, so I would zip back up.

Mile 3: 8:47
The snow isn’t much of a problem. It’s a light flurry and the roads are in good condition. The hills are going to start in the next mile and I try to prepare to attack the hills.

Mile 4: 9:30
On this section of the course, it follows a circle and hooks back up to the main road. When I was passing the connection, the leaders were getting ready to get back on the main road. The cop car that was in front of the leader took a turn a little slow and threw the leader off pace as he rounded the turn. The leader was visibly irate and even yelled at the cop to speed up. A group of us discussed this a little later after witnessing the event. I don’t think that guy won overall either.

Mile 5: 8:50
Who turned on the wind? This was probably the worst section of the race, mainly because you were unprotected from the 10 mph crosswind. The only reprieve was that it was downhill for most of the time and so it was a give and take. I seriously thought about taking off my middle layer to regulate my heat better. I was getting really hot and was getting concerned.

Mile 6: 9:04
This mile included taking a small water/gatorade break before heading out for the other out and back loop. By this time (54:11 since race start) the flurries had died to a trickle and we would be protected from the wind until the top of the hill at mile 8.

Mile 7: 8:55
It seems like a very curvy and hills section of the course. I think that’s just my perception. At this section, most of the early finishers are making their way back to the intersection to head to the finish.

Mile 8: 8:48
This mile is basically a long winding hill. It goes up and up and up, there really isn’t a very steep part to it, but the fact that it is continuous is the catch. I tried to keep my legs working and promised them that they could take a breather on the way down the hill.

Mile 9 and 10: 18:27
It’s downhill… Somehow the mile 9 marker was lost or got knock over, but there was not a mile 9 marker and I know that I didn’t run a 7:23 mile when I looked at my watch where a mark was spray painted on the road. 8:23 maybe… NOT 7:23.

Mile 11: 9:02
At the waterstop in mile 10, I could tell that my legs were getting tired. And sure enough, they were starting to fade a little. I did my best to stay on the flatest best patches of road as I headed toward the finish. Towards the end of the mile, I was starting to mentally lose it. I knew that a sub-2 hours would be very tight given my condition.

Mile 12: 10:05
The last water stop is at the beginning of mile 12. At this point, I was in my marathon survival mode. I stopped at the water stop, drank some water, let about 10 runners pass and got some more water. I stretched my legs and headed back out. This is how out of it I was while running: A large truck was passing us from behind. I remember hearing it and moving over to let him pass… the next thing I remember about the truck was that it was way up the road. I don’t remember it passing or anything! I knew that I needed to buckle down if I was going to make this sub 2hour thing happen.

Mile 13: 9:38
Since I had a good knowledge of the course, I knew that the last 0.8 of a mile is (for all practical purposes in East Tennessee) flat. So, when I stopped twice when it was still hilly to stretch my legs, I didn’t sweat it. I knew that it would help me in the long run. My biggest motivation was to not let the runners behind me, pass me in the last 0.25 mile but I could hear them get consistently closer.

When I could hear (but not see) the finish line announcer, I knew that I had to give it all I had. I could see the 13 mile marker, but I had nothing in my tank to hold off anybody trying to pass me. My legs ached but mentally I was still think “Sub 2, Sub 2, Sub 2” and as I ran into parking lot for the last 40-50 yards, I could see 1:59:52 on the clock. It wasn’t until that point that I knew I would be over 2 hours. Perhaps if I had had some extra juice, I could have sprinted to cover that last yardage in a sprint, but it wasn’t there. It was just me cranking my legs to not let anyone pass me. I couldn’t look at the clock, I could only focus on the finish line to stop my own personal competition with myself.

Crossing the line, I hit the stop on my watch as I reached for the tag on my running bib. I wasn’t all that winded (I didn’t sprint that hard) but I was very tired and knew that I had to get home asap. As I discovered that the previous finishers had already dried up the coolers of water/gatorade, I wandered into the gymnasium to score some bagels.

The only liquid in there was hot water (for chocolate) and coffee. There may have been regular water, I didn’t see it. I grabbed a donut and a chocolate chip bagel, oh, I may have grabbed a banana, but that part is a little hazy. Heading back to my car, I remembered to look at my iRiver… it was off. Huh, I sure hope that I recorded something of the race. Oh, yeah and I looked at my watch. It was stopped at 1:59:53… so unofficially I ran a Sub 2hour half marathon. Officially, I was the very first runner with a “2” in the hour mark with a time of 2:00:06. I finished 204 out of 298 finishers and 14/16 in my age group. (aside: my age group did really well, the overall winner (1:13:47) and the 3rd place finisher (1:17:16) were in my age group, which left the Age Group winner with a time of 1:21:00)

For a distance that I wasn’t really trained to run at that pace and the large gaps of not running due to company, weather, etc… I don’t think I did all that bad. My next race won’t be until mid march and will be something considerably shorter… a 5k.

post race thoughts:
In regards to my clothing. I don’t think that I needed the turtleneck and fleece sweatshirt. I think the two of them combined were too much. I think that instead of the turtleneck, that I should of had a mock turtle neck OR if I had worn the turtleneck, I should of had a lighter jacket on. I don’t contribute the up and down temperature to inhibiting my running, but it would have been nicer to have had an easier time regulate my body temperature.

I think the iRiver recorded something like 1hr 40mins and failed due to lack of electrons.

About planet3rry

I'm a husband, father and runner in the Knoxville area. I love the way that running makes me feel and how it has changed my thinking. I am always looking for the new PR whether in the 5k or the marathon