If a half marathon wants to get my attention it needs only one thing…the color pink. Kidding, but kinda not. I did this race two years ago as my second half ever, and this past Saturday brought my half marathon tally up to 10. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work the expo in an effort to promote the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. However I have a major commitment phobia and could not quite bite the bullet of registering for the race until the week before. I knew that I would more than likely be walking it and enjoying the crowd and socializing but I just wasn’t sure if I could mentally do it alone.
Fast forward to three days before the race when our marathon director emails me and asks me to find a friend. Yes, please. I frantically called my Big Sis and begged her to join me so she could do her first half and so that I would have a partner in crime. Thankfully she said yes and Thursday evening we hit the road headed for Nashville. But not after going to Wal Mart and stocking up on some yummy peanut butter goodness.
We were so lucky to get to stay at the host hotel so everything was in the same place. We spent Friday at the expo talking to so many lovely women and having fun with some of the other vendors. Vanessa and a few of her friends stopped by the booth for a quick chat so it was great to see a friendly face. Vanessa went on to break 2 hours…great job! I wore my classy overalls to represent Knoxville the best way I knew how. The boys from the booth across from us decided that there just wasn’t enough pink on me and crowned me with a feather boa.
Thanks to a time difference from Nashville and Knoxville we were able to gain an hour of sleep even after going to bed fairly early. I slept like a baby and was on my feet easy when my alarm went off. We spent way too much time worrying how we looked and before we knew it, we were off and headed to the start line. I had been emailing and texting blog friend Jordan in the weeks leading up to the race and we were able to meet up with her before the gun went off. Sweetest gal ever AND she had a major PR. Loved meeting her. She also introduced me to another blogger, Lisa and we had a group picture. Please excuse me being a tower.
We knew we were going to be walking the whole time so we needed to line up way in the back. The corrals were all gated off so instead of fighting our way through the crowd, we just let the gun go off and waited for our corral to pass us before hopping in. I didn’t bring my Garmin so I knew we wouldn’t have an accurate reading on where we were pace or time wise the entire way but I was okay with that. Sometimes it is good to enjoy the moment. We started picking ‘goal people’ to pick off. The main objective was to just keep walking.
We hit mile 3 at a really good time and we were both feeling good. Yvonne mentioned that we could shuffle the downhills to make up a little bit of time and that is exactly what we did. Shuffle shuffle scoot scoot. We stopped for a bathroom break around mile 5 and waited in line while our goal people passed us. After that we power walked our butts off to make up time and catch up. Then around mile 8, Yvonne had to use the bathroom again. We were in a neighborhood at this point and the sweetest young ladies actually let Yvonne go inside their house and use the bathroom. The other girls offered me mimosas while I was waiting. Southern hospitality at the absolute finest. We picked it back up and boot scoot boogied all the way until mile 10. Our original goal had been to simply walk it in under 3:30. As time went on, we set new goals. After mile 11 I knew that we had a big chance of breaking 3:15 and this was motivation to walk even faster and shuffle more downhills.
We made it down one final hill and I could see the 13 mile marker with the time clock above it. Holy moley we were about to break 3:10. This was major. We had one last tiny walk then we shuffled through the finish line with time to spare. Final official time (for both of us) was 3:07:08. Not bad for Yvonne’s first half and for some major power walking skills.
After finishing and flat out sitting down on the ground with pretzels and Powerade it was hard to believe we were done. It was so much fun and I kept telling Yvonne that if it wasn’t for her then I could not and would not have pushed myself that hard. Just goes to show that having a friend to keep you accountable and push you as much as you push them goes a long way. No pun intended. We listened to some music for a bit before heading back to the room and showering and packing up to head home. It was a great trip and I’m so thankful that I got to finish half marathon number 10 while Yvonne finished her very first. And I’m totally okay with our time too especially since we were women walkers.