My thoughts on the 6th annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon…
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon
March 28, 2010
My Run: Overall, the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon was my third full marathon. For a number of reasons, I came into this race with very few expectations. I had been battling significant shin splints during the week leading up to the run, and feared trying to navigate a hilly course while dealing with an injury. Also, my fourth marathon (The Country Music Marathon) is only 4 weeks away, so I was unsure of how hard I wanted to push it. My marathon PR was 3:42:22 at the St. Jude last December, so I decided that I would just join up with the 3:45 pace group and then take it from there.
That plan was quickly foiled when I arrived at the expo on Saturday, and found that there were no pace groups between 3:15 and 4:00 (more on this later). I decided Saturday night that I would just start off at a 3:45 pace (8:34 per mile), and then see how I felt. The forecast for Sunday was for rain throughout the race. Luckily we caught a break, and the rain let up just as the marathon started, and the sun even came out occasionally. The temps were in the mid 50s. As planned, I started off conservatively until we came to the Tennessee River (about 2 miles in). I was feeling fantastic. No shin pain, great running rhythm, high energy level. I carried this throughout the first half, and was able to maintain an 8:12 per mile pace.
Once the 1/2 marathon runners split off and headed toward the stadium at mile 13, I felt pretty good about my chances of holding this pace to the end. I continued to feel good through mile 20, 21, 22, 23 … with my overall average pace fluctuating between 8:12 and 8:13. As I approached the 24 mile marker I could feel my legs getting heavier, but I still felt like I could hold the pace. However, just as I reached the marker, the heavens opened and a torrential rain followed, accompanied by high winds.