The weekend to follow racing the Covenant Health Knoxville {half} Marathon, I had planned on taking it easy.  Sleep in, maybe log a few miles in the early afternoon.  My head hadn’t hit my pillow the evening of the race, before I had already registered for another!

My previous 5K PR (from last month) was set on a warm afternoon when I hadn’t (still haven’t) had a chance to acclimate to the heat.  I did a piss-poor job of pacing myself, yet I was still able to pull out a 40 second PR.  When I signed up for the Running for Regen 5K, I was confident another PR was in my near future.  The race was held in the cool spring morning temperatures and promised a “flat” course.

What initially attracted my attention to the race was the fact that a few friends of mine from high school were running it.  Not to mention the proceeds benefit St. Jude’s.  Regen is a local kid who has been battling cancer for several months.  He got to come home Friday night (to the streets lined with people “rooting” him on), we raced Saturday morning.

Jay and I spent our first evening at the new cabin (blog to follow), so I was only 15 minutes from the starting line.  I forgot to pack a coffee pot, so I grabbed a Starbucks on the way.  (Unfortunately, this location is in a Kroger grocery store, so no drive through for future stops on the way to work.)  I had planned plenty of time in advance, so I arrived at the start line an hour early. 

After getting my packet (and saying hello to former classmate Blaik), Kim, Nicole, and I (also fellow class of ’98ers) sat around catching up, chatting about this and that.  15 minutes before start, I hit the bathroom, put away my good bag, and headed to the start line.  I hadn’t had a chance to warm up well, but since this race was about more than running, I didn’t mind.

I positioned myself near the front and waited for the gun.  As promised, the first mile was flat.  I felt strong, but I tried to hold back a bit because I didn’t want to go out too quickly and crash like I had at my last race.  I felt stronger, but turns out the mile was a similar speed to Barley’s. 

Mile 1 – 7:51

When I read about the flat course, I assumed we would be running in downtown Pigeon Forge on the Parkway.  Turns out, we started on Dollywood Lane and ran towards Veterans Blvd.  I’ve done many-a-long run on Veterans, and know its NOT flat.  The bulk of the hills are in the middle portion closer to Sevierville.  As I said on Daily Mile, compared to last weekend, I hesitate to call these hills, but I definitely felt the elevation change.

Mile 2 – 8:08

Around the start of the last mile, I noticed my shoe had come untied.  Not sure why I hadn’t double knotted them, but I was in the front pack and wasn’t about to stop to tie my laces.   I suspected the lady in front of me was in my age group, but didn’t think I had enough kick left in me to try to catch her – all the while praying I didn’t fall flat on my face thanks to my untied laces.

Mile 3 – 8:30

I tried for a kick at the very end, turning off Dollywood Lane, into the Riverstone parking lot.

Final 0.1 – {8:10}

My official finishing time was 25:50 – a 20 second PR from last month!  Over a minute shaved off my time from May of last year.  My time was good enough for a 3rd place a/g win.  Given the small field (115 people) they split the groups up in decades.

Age group (30-39): 3/33
Over all: 14/115

Also? Got to run it in with the girls from high school.  Class of 1998 rox!