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.