It's my birthday marathon! (aka, Knoxville Race Report)

Another marathon down. Another new state earned. And this time it was my birthday present. I registered for the Knoxville Marathon months ago when I found out that it was not only a new state for me, but also scheduled for my birthday, March 30th.

Scot and I woke up early Saturday morning and started our long drive to Knoxville. With no stopping, it would be a 7 hour drive, but we’d need to stop for lunch and gas at least once. There was some rain along the route, but better to have that on the travel day than on race day.

We drove straight downtown to the race expo and then to dinner at the Downtown Grill & Brewery, the restaurant associated with Woodruff Brewing Co. Our friend Sarah, a Knoxville local, organized the dinner and several of our Marathon Maniac friends attended. I ordered a sampler of the 7 brews, which were pretty good.  After dinner, several of us were off to Sarah’s house for a Maniac slumber party. Sarah and her husband Will were wonderful hosts, having breakfast items ready for us the next morning.
Our Maniac pre-race dinner at the brewery

Abbi, Scot and I before the start
The race started Sunday morning, March 30th at the Sunsphere, an icon of the 1982 World’s Fair. We would see the Sunsphere again at the halfway point where the half marathoners and full marathoners split. The course was very hilly, and I found myself to be out of shape for running so many hills. However, the first half of the course was beautiful, running through iconic neighborhoods and parks. The second half was a little less interesting, but did include a couple miles through a neighborhood called Island Home, with good volunteer support; they had even made up their own neighborhood t-shirts. The last mile of the race was through city streets lined with restaurants and other attractions, and the big finish was inside the Neyland Stadium, home of the University of Tennessee Volunteers.

Magenta with a Grumpy Cat sign before the killer hill at Mile 7

The Sunsphere
I saw many friends on the course, and several Maniacs like Wayne, Sarah, Diane and David were official marathon pacers. Abbi brought me birthday cupcakes! Scot ran with me the entire way and put up with my griping about the hills, my injuries, and my general lack of enthusiasm that day. And on that note, I realize that I really need to be training more so that I can get back up to my previous levels of fitness and speed. I finished the Knoxville Marathon more than two hours faster than last week’s Bataan Memorial Death March, yet it was harder mentally. The good news is that I earned my birthday marathon medal, t-shirt and a new state. Now I have almost a month until my next marathon. That’s enough time to train at least a little bit!

Roscoe, me, first-time marathoner Holly, Scot and Abbi at the finish



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