Sunday, April 1, 2012

Race #169 - Knoxville Half Marathon - Knoxville, TN - 04/01/12

It was the second annual grandfather-grandson reunion race for me and my now 24-year-old grandson Ryan. We're hoping to make this a tradition and keep it going for as long as we can. This year we decided to run separately. We started out together along with Bobby Aswell, who was running his 176th full marathon (and his 6th this year). Last year when I ran with Ryan I was more concerned with him just finishing since he hadn't trained much for it so somehow I didn't notice the course was loaded with hills. This year, running on my own, I noticed it's one hill after another.

This was my 3rd half marathon in the last four weeks and the 4th in the last six weeks (with another coming up in two weeks). I feel fine but it's a little troubling that I've been a minute or two slower each time. Thinking about it though, each of the races has been a little tougher race than the previous one so maybe I'm not too far off track. The marathon and half marathon started together and stayed together until the 12th mile so there was a crowd up ahead of me and I wasn't sure where I was in my age division.

I hit the 10k split at 44:30 and felt pretty good although throughout the race I had a hard time keeping my heart rate in the 166-168 range where I like to stay in a half marathon. It seems that every time I looked at my watch I had dropped to around 162. When that happens I try to tell my legs to move faster, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. Still, I felt okay but around the 12-mile mark all of a sudden I was caught by a runner who looked like he might have been in my age group. I asked him in my not-so-subtle way, "What age group are you in?" and he said "sixty," to which I replied "Uh-oh." I turned it up a notch but he seemed to have more in the tank than me at that point. I thought about trying to stay with him until the end but that would have taken me out of my comfort zone, and that's a place I don't like to be. There's no doubt that I'm competitive, but it's really just up to a certain point. I have no trouble running my own race and letting everybody else run theirs, and if they beat me, then good for them. We're all just doing our best. For me, once I start leaving my comfort zone to go faster it's more than I really want to do. I feel like one of the reasons I don't get injured is that I don't push it too hard. I think there are times that I could do more and possibly finish a little faster in some races, but at what cost? I'm happy doing pretty well in my division and staying healthy.

When I reached the finish line I was met by 61-year-old Jody Hinds, who beat me by 42 seconds. He shook my hand and thanked me for pushing him that last mile, telling me he wasn't sure where I was so he gave it all he had. Of course, he was way ahead of me by then but it's nice that I had him worried a little bit. Things worked out well for both of us as Jody ended up winning the Senior Grand Masters award, which bumped me up to 1st place in the 60-64 age division. Checking out Jody's stats on Athlinks, (beat me and I'll stalk your stats!) I saw that in all of his races listed, he hadn't finished lower than 2nd place in his age division since 2005, so he's a tough guy to beat, and I have a feeling even if I had turned it on in that last mile I might have had a hard time catching him.

Click Here for Race Results


Click Here for Official Race Photos from Brightroom







My Stats:

Time:  1:37:42
Pace:  7:28
Age Group:  2 of  42  (bumped up to 1st place AG)
Overall:  101 of 2,613

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* RACE RATING  (100 Possible Points) *
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Note: With my new rating system (started in December 2011) there's not a chance of any race scoring near 100. If it's important to you, look at each individual category to see how points were earned (or not). Just trying to be more objective with the details. I generally like all of the races I run. If there's something that really rubs me the wrong way I'll mention it in the summary above.

RACE COURSE  (20 possible points)
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (at least 1 for 5k, 2 for 10k, 4 for half marathon) (2 points)
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
2 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)pretty good to excellent
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION  (6 possible points)
1 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS  (3 possible points)
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS  (13 possible points)
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
1 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (1)top 3 or better
1 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (1)yes
1 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (1)yes

AWARDS  (9 possible points)
2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes
3 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (1)yes  (3)really cool medals

POST RACE  (7 possible points)
5 - Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (2)adequate  (5)a feast!
1 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS  (4 possible points)
1 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS  (8 possible points)
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice
2 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY  (12 possible points)
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
2 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
2 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes

PARKING  (8 possible points)
0 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE  (5 possible points)
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
x - No dedicated site but separate page on other site (organization, running store, etc):  (0)no  (1)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER  (5 possible points)
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (1)yes, some  (2)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes


TOTAL:  81