Strawberry Plains 10K Recap…

Whew, I finished! The 2020 Strawberry Plains 10k (and 1/2 marathon) is done.

Strawberry Plains 10k-1/2 is a favorite around this area. The timing falls just right to be a training race for participants in the late March Knoxville Covenant 1/2 and full marathon. For the rest of us, it is a great race to test our running stamina.

The course is held on 2 lane country roads in the little community of Strawberry Plains. Lots of open pastures, views of the Holston River and distant mountains. Today this scenic route was visible under a cover of grey and clouds. For most, the race was complete before the rain fell but some of the 1/2 marathon surely got drenched and cold. The temperature hovered around 41F.

My race prep began with bib and shirt pickup on Thursday before the race. It was a bit of a hassel for me to drive to Academy Sports, the pickup location but by the time I arrived at the race location in Strawberry Plains this morning, same day pickup lines were 50+ persons long. I was happy I had made the Thursday effort.

Me with my cute (and tough) personal trainer from the YMCA. My race bib is black for the 10k, Gina’s bib is white for the 1/2 marathon. She finished 2 minutes behind me. Ha!

Race day parking had also been rumored to be difficult, limited space and recent rains flooding grassy parking areas. John offered to drop me off and pick me up. I was glad he did so. I get very anxious when I race (one of the reasons I don’t do it too often) and struggling with parking would have been difficult for me. On the other hand, I was out in the chill dressed in tights and a running top because I had longingly left my down jacket in the front seat of the car. Obviously that jacket was not needed during the race but oh it would have felt good before!!

The 10k and 1/2 marathon were run concurrently, beginning at a 9:00 am start. Both distances were out and back. The 10k had 1 water stop that was located at 2.5 miles out and 3.8 miles back.

This is the only picture I took…from the back of the pack. I thought about taking others but knew that my energy would be limited so I didn’t. Not this time anyway.

I started near the back of the pack. The miles passed quickly, early on. I ran in a gap between people for a mile or so which was really nice. A lady who was walk/running caught up to me. She was wearing a watch with a very audible timer. Beep, beep, beeeeeep-time to start running, beep, beep, beep-time to walk. At first I thought the sound was coming from a vehicle until I realized it was coming from her. After a while, I began to anticipate and dread the unwelcome beeps. Nothing wrong with her method, just wish she had turned the volume down. Finally, in the last few miles, she didn’t start running when the beep cycled around. I was able to finish my race without the distraction.

The last mile was tough for me. I haven’t run 6 miles since mid December. I did pick it up for the last .2 miles. I was so pleased to run most of the miles almost a minute faster than my “round the neighborhood” time but it was still very slow.

The post race breakfast was massive-biscuits and gravy, bagels, muffins, pancakes and syrup, sausage and, of course oatmeal for those who still had space on their plate and in their stomach. I paid a little extra for a plate for John and we sat in the car enjoying our meal.

Serious hardware for this race. The barn piece in the center spins with something else on the back. I almost forgot to get the medal, I had forgotten that everyone gets one for running. l am glad one of the race volunteers stopped me and put it in my hand. This medal is really interesting.

I have been relaxing and snoozing this afternoon. At some point I got chilled and have had a hard time getting warm. That aside, I am pleased that I signed up and followed through with the run. I am thinking about signing up for an upcoming 5k next.

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