Knoxville Expo 5k

Saturday, 28 May 2011
I used to joke that the only reason you'd see me running was if I was being chased. As a cheerleader in high school and college we were forced to run for exercise and I grew to see it as a chore. Therefore, I don't run from recreation and never have.

Despite that, I threw all caution to the wind and signed up to run in the KTC Expo 10,000 and 5K because my employer, 6 News was sponsoring the event. My plan was to train in the two weeks leading up to the event but I did not. In fact, last night as I was going to bed I was still debating whether or not I'd even participate in today's race. I was wide awake by 6:15 a.m. I looked at my clothes laid out, ready to go. I put them on without thinking and got a cup of coffee. It was on!

I made it to the race site with five minutes to spare so I stretched and made my way to the back of the line of runners where the walkers would begin. The atmosphere was great. The weather was perfect and I could feel the energy in the air. Our chief meteorologist, Matt Hinkin was the master of ceremonies and after a man sang the national anthem, he gave us a count down, "One, two..." BANG (that was the pistol)!"

After everyone started moving, I decided to begin the route jogging. And get this -- I jogged for an entire mile without stopping. Who knew that was even possible? When you run a 5K, race organizers put out helpful mile marker signs and I was surprised when I saw the number "1."

While jogging, I tried to pace myself with others. One of the groups running near me was a mom and her two children. They were literally 5 and 7 years old. It was hilarious (kind of) because one of the kids would yell, "I can't take it anymore. I need to walk!" She would say "NO! Do you want pancakes or not?" and they would keep running. Because tiny children were doing so well in the race, I made up my mind to stay near them but finish first. I snapped a shot while running. Notice the little girl and little boy ahead of me. The mom is in front and they are trying to keep up.

About half-way through the 5K there is a drink station. People hand you a cup of water or Gatorade. It was welcome hydration but I was surprised that it was only a sip. I was thirsty by then but luckily had downed a bottle of water before the race, following Kingsley's advice.

The second mile went really well. I felt great and enjoyed seeing Knoxville on foot. I walked quickly when I wasn't jogging and tried to always jog while going down hill. Feeling so good about things, I made sure to say "Good morning" to all of the KPD officers helping to direct traffic. Maybe they thought I was lacking oxygen to the brain but they all replied. My adrenaline was going and I was just so surprised that I was keeping a great pace and not even tired.

Then we hit the hill. Going up Hall of Fame is a substantial hill. I couldn't jog but kept a good stride going and leaned into it. Swinging my arms helped and I kept thinking encouraging thoughts and doing a bit of self-talk, "You're doing great!" Before I knew it, I had a quarter of a mile left and was approaching the finish line. I jogged down the hill to finish and wish I would have ran to shave off a few seconds. All-in-all for my first 5K, I felt like I did pretty well. 42:25 is my time. I came in 333rd out of 374. Haaa! Bottom line, I made it.

With WATE's chief meteorologist Matt Hinkin after the race


LetsTalkAndWalk said...

Great first 5K Denae! Congrats!

Christine said...

Congrats! What a great time!

I've done the Race for the Cure with my daughter for a few years. Two years back, when she was 11, we had stopped so she could tie her shoe on the sidewalk. She'd been complaining for a while about how long it was and how hard, and how tired. As she was tying her shoe, a younger boy came up to her, patted her shoulder, and said "You can do it - you're doing great! Don't give up now!" Kids are wonderful sometimes :)

And is that picture seriously AFTER the race? No fair - you look too good to have just run a 5k!