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Breaking the Rules in Knoxville (Marathon Weekend!)

Saturday night I drove up to Knoxville, TN in order to stay with Kelsey, watch her run a half-marathon (and PR!) and then cheer on my friend Julie for her first marathon. I was only gone for 24 hours total but I feel like I did so much in a very short amount of time.

On the way up to Knoxville I drove through a hailstorm on a windy little road and got pulled over by a cop. I had never even been pulled over before so I was freaking out. Turns out he just didn't want me driving in the hail and made me sit there until he deemed it appropriate for me to keep driving. I had no idea that he was a trained weatherman, too! How convenient.

Once I got to Knoxville (well, after I drove around for 30 minutes trying to find a place to park) I met up with my friend Julie, her whole support crew and later Kelsey at oodles uncorked. I'm a bad blogger, you guys. I took no photos. Forgive me?

Anyway...race morning. Kelsey got all glammed up in her finest race wear and we met up with her mom (who walked the half marathon as well!).

The half and the full marathon started at the same time so I wished Kelsey and Julie good luck and they were off! I did a little walking around Knoxville to try to find a coffee shop of some kind and nothing was open. I ended up calling Tim and having him Google a Starbucks location for me so I could read somewhere for a while. I went to the finish to wait for Kelsey and I'm glad I got there a little earlier than planned - she had a PR of 6 minutes (I think? Correct me if I'm wrong, Kelsey!) and came in strong at the finish.

From the finish (in the Tennessee Volunteers Stadium) I had to figure out how to get to mile 20. I later realized that mile marker 20 was on a bridge. Awesome. After several miles of running around Knoxville I got to about 19.5 just in time to run with my friend Julie. Yes, this makes me a bandit. I felt really bad about the whole thing. Mostly because I was afraid someone was going to publicly shame me in some way.

I also ran with a backpack (not intentionally - I just didn't have time to drop it off as planned) and that made it pretty hard, even at a slow pace. The 6 miles we ran together were certainly eventful. Let's just say it's a good thing I had some toilet paper in my bag because there was definitely an impromptu porto potty stop for the marathon girl in a house under construction around mile 22. She finished STRONG on a hilly course under her goal of 5 hours and was amazing.

After the race Kelsey picked me up from near the stadium/finish line and I got to enjoy my first trip to Mellow Mushroom for pizza. I ordered the Funky Q. Chicken Pizza which was topped with barbecue chicken, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce.

Have you guys noticed that there are no pictures of me yet? Can you believe it? How can I be a narcissistic blogger without my own mug in the mix somewhere? It's shocking, truly.

So, to recap, here are the rules I broke:
#1: Apparently, driving in a hailstorm means you get pulled over by the cops.
#2: Running part of a race you haven't paid for is probably not okay, even if you refused to drink any water on the course.
#3: I stole a handful of mints from Mellow Mushroom. Who takes just one?

Have you ever paced a friend or run in a race as a bandit?
Right before I left for Knoxville I read an article in the latest Runner's World issue about it and I felt pretty guilty, honestly. I didn't have any of the drinks set out on the course but I felt really awkward when people would cheer me on. For the record, I ducked out of the race a little after Mile 25 and let her finish on her own!

Where's the coolest place you have run a race/finished a race?
I think finishing in a big stadium like this would be pretty incredible - especially because the finish was broadcast on the jumbo-tron screen. I don't think I have finished anywhere particularly interesting before, actually. Trail races have been in very scenic locations, but that's it.


  1. Great recap! Your friends did wonderfully :)

  2. I love mellow mushroom!!

    I have never ran in as a bandit. I would deftly do it tho if my friend needed me.

    Coolest place would either be in the Fort Collins CO marathon or when I did the Goofy in Disney World this past Jan. It was a blast!

  3. Hilarious! Dean promised to be a bandit if I get into NYC!! Technically you're just going for a run on the same streets, right...? ;)

  4. Wonderful recap! I can't imagine driving in a hail storm, hell I'm scared to go on my balcony during some of our storms here.

    Ok ok, so I'm totally jealous you went to Knoxville to cheer on your friend. (and congrats to your friends on a strong time and finish) I had planned on doing this race before my injury. (plus my mom lives really close) and crap, if I was there we could have met up! :)

    I'm doing this race next year! :)

  5. Love the Funky Q! That is my favorite MM pizza.

    Great job on cheering on your friends! To me that is almost as hard as the race itself. Trying to time meeting up with them at different parts of the race. Wondering if you missed them, etc.

  6. My coolest finish was at the Green Bay Marathon. The course takes a lap around Lambeau Field (and a Lambeau Leap!!) before heading out to the finish line.

  7. If it wasn't a closed course, then you weren't a bandit. The marathon where I ran the last bit with Alyssa was an open course (meaning it wasn't blocked off) so they said that as long as you didn't cross the finish line, you could have extra people run with you.

    Not having any pictures of yourself?? Are you trying to be like me?

  8. My two best finishes were in the Bears stadium in Chicago and stomping grapes at the finish for a "Harvest Stompede" race where we ran through vineyards.

    I've never run with someone in a race, but I would be nervous too!!!!

    And I love, love, love Mellow Mushroom! As soon as I saw the picture, I got all distracted and kept looking at the pic and then going back to read your post and I thought it was MM! I've never had the one you got, but it sounds good….I might just have to try it next time :)

  9. What a great friend you are she did awesome!

  10. You are such a great friend and it sounds like a lot of fun. For the record the pizza looks freaking amazing. Yum!

  11. I think that's fine, I mean, they don't exactly own the streets, so running with a friend for a few miles is nothing like running the whole race as a bandit, especially since you took no water. That is a HUGE help in the end of a race. Finishing the Shamrock marathon on the boardwalk next to the ocean was pretty sweet.

  12. welcome to bandit running haha. I hope when i decide on my first marathon that I have a friend like you thats willing to bandit some of the last miles to help a sister out!
    Glad you finally had your first mellow mushroom pizza experience... so many great options.

  13. I dont think there is anything wrong with being a supportive bandit! What a great friend.

  14. I've never run an entire race as a bandit, but I've jumped onto a course to run a few miles with people before. I ran much of the last 5K of my friend's first marathon because she needed a friendly face and someone to keep her mind off the pain at the end (I brought water and sang songs to her...and got the crowd to sing happy birthday to her) and I ran a few miles of the run portion of my sister's half ironman. And I would have run that entire half marathon with her had she needed it...

    In both cases, I don't think what I did was wrong. I peeled off on the marathon well before the end and didn't take any course support. With the half-iron, it was an open course - so anyone could have run on the course.

  15. ummm, i'm sorry before answering anything i need to call attention back to that pizza!!! that thing is the PRIME example of the kinda crust i want...i want the crust to take up the majority of that baby....looks tooo good! :)

    okay, great job to ur buds and while i've never bandit paced before i'm not against rebels without a cause. ;)

  16. That sounds like a fun weekend! Congrats to them on their races!! :)
    I don't think you were a bandit. It's not like you ran the whole race, took aid, etc. You just ran with a friend for a while. :)

  17. Lots of fun! I don't think that banditing to run beside a friend, especially if you don't take water/fuel and you don't cross the finish is wrong, I think it's being a great friend!

  18. I ran with my hubby for a few miles during his first half-ironman. I didn't use any of the aid stations, but I did feel really bad when people would cheer for me. It was a small race and I don't think anyone cared, but I still felt guilty.

    The coolest place I have run was in Alaska for my first marathon (moose on the course!) and the best finish line was Ironman by far!

  19. omggggg. mellow mushroom = LOVE. i go there any time i am in TN. i loooove it! so fun that you got to hang out with kelsey for the weekend...i just found out she is going to come out this way in july so i cant wait to FINALLY meet her :) such a fun weekend friend!!!!!

  20. hahaha - I have never run bandit but plan to one day ;) ...for the same reason, pace my sis.

    I like reading a recap about someone else on your blog, but was wondering where that lovely face was ;) I don't know about you but I find blogging is a healthy outlet for narcissism ;)

  21. my husband said the same thing about looking for breakfast... nobody was open!! i did the half so he just had to sit around and be hungry while he waited!

  22. I have never been a race bandit but I would do it for a friend too, it isn't like you ran the whole thing and drank all the water or anything.

  23. yay to your friends! what a great race recap...and that pizza looks yummy!

  24. Eh, you were there running with a friend, & joined for just part of it. It's not like you were downing Gatorade & ShotBlocks & grabbing swag at the end. And, congrats to your friends!!

  25. I don't think being a bandit is that big of a deal, as long as you are not in the way or holding anyone back. My dad used to jump in at the last half mile, and then he would jump out right before the finish.

    At the CIM, if you get caught the real runner gets disqualified.

  26. Thanks so much for coming up to visit and for being the pappaazzi on the race course! I had a lot of fun and so glad you were here to share it with me and your good friend! I read the Bandit article too and the author's suggestion seemed to be to register for the race that you bandit ran...hint hint.


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