Volunteering for this event never stops there though. I missed goody bag stuffing this year because we were out of town camping, however I was happy to volunteer at the expo the day before the race. I was helping with checking in our wonderful volunteers. My little 4 hour shift turned into a much longer (all day!) affair. I arrived around 8am and left just shortly after 6pm. Volunteering is one of my favorite parts of this event.
Race day -
Knoxville Endurance Ladies 4 person relay team before the race.
I was so excited when my friends and training buddies invited me to join them for the relay this year.
I was given the last leg. It was the shortest at just around 6 miles (or less). I got my "race plan" earlier in the week. I was familiar with this leg of the course because it's also part of another race in town we run. The hardest part I thought would be waiting around for a couple or hours or so for my friends to finish their legs.
Waiting on relay runner 3 to hand off to me.
I waited at the first exchange with my friends while my hubby ran his leg of his relay. Then he dropped me by Panera for a bagel and coffee. Hey! My 5am breakfast was gone by this point.
We then headed over to my exchange. I warmed up a little and used the porta potty. Within a few minutes it was time for me to begin my run. My friend handed the slap bracelet off to me and down the hill I went.
I felt really good for the start of my run. Except I looked at my Garmin as I was coming down the hill into my first mile and was going way too fast. I hit my first mile 45 seconds faster than my goal. Given my current issues with a long time injury I have had I paid for this in my middle miles and the one hill I had to deal with.
It was great seeing my friends running the marathon and cheering them on as I passed them on their way out. I didn't take water or need to gel but did grab water at one stop since it had already began to warm up quite a bit. My only goal once I realized I was off pace was to run as fast as possible and finish the race with my friends. My leg was roughly 6 miles. I gave it absolutely all I had. I was excited once the stadium was within view and amped up my pace a bit despite that gross hill going into the stadium (hills are not my friend, yet).
I could hear lots of cheering and looked up to see my friends! We all ran into the stadium together. We were stoked. We weren't sure exactly where we placed in the female relay division but we knew we had placed. We hung around a bit after the race to chat with friends and wait for a few others to finish before heading out and over to the Beer Market. One of our friends showed up later with these....
We finished as a group in 3:36:40 for the full 26.2 miles.
We were stoked to have placed and find out we got 2nd. Receiving an award was a bonus.
The best news is that we found out on Monday that we actually came in FIRST place in the female division. We'll be trading our lovely 2nd place plaques for first place plaques. YAY!
Posing w/our plaques and proud coach!
It was a fabulous day. I am so glad to call these ladies my friends and teammates.
And I love this race every year. I have done a different part of the race each year for the last 4 years. I loved doing the 4 person relay this year so much that I am convinced it is my favorite way to run the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.