This week was filled with unexpected fitness challenges. I am glad to have embraced them for what they were and look forward to moving forward with the enthusiasm I garnered from them as I look ahead in my training.
Hiking with a pretty heavy pack up and down the AT on Wednesday and Thursday was really eye-opening for me. It is a type of exertion my body is not accustomed to; its one thing to run up a mountain, but it takes a different type of endurance to hike up a mountain with extra weight on your shoulders. Mad props to all the thru-hikers we met out there, and to those who are, have, and will hike the AT...
Melissa ran her first half marathon this weekend in Knoxville. She ran super strong and confident the entire time; she is truly the greatest running partner I could ever ask for! At the packet pick-up my dad and sister, running the half and 5k, respectively, convinced me to run the 5k the following day and I conceded, though I always feel uneasy about running 5ks given how little I practice running quickly.
The 5k was a blast, though. It was a hilly course through Knoxville, I breached the startline a few seconds behind the gun, bogged down by the go-get'em-start-off-sprinting people that tend to lead 5ks in the first couple of minutes. Not wanting to fall far behind I kicked the pace early on through the first climb and within a mile I had passed all but 5 people in the race. A mile later, on another long climb I passed another, but as it leveled off a woman blitzed by me on the inside, I glanced back to see a pack of 8 runners a few strides off my shoulder and continued grinding through the straight-away. In the end I was unable to reel in the woman, who proved to be two-time reigning champ of the women's Knoxville Marathon, but staved off and improved the lead on the others trailing behind. The finish on the 50 yard line of Neyland Stadium was a blast. I managed a PR on a tough course in a time of 19:07, and finished 6th out of 1,776 runners.
After the run I dashed over to the Tyson Greenway to catch my dad and Melissa at mile 10.5 of their half marathon. They both were running strong and went on to run their personal bests at the distance! A great time was had by all. We then drove to the beaches of NC, where I sit at present. I certainly won't be getting in much elevation this week, given the terrain, but I do wonder if that 5k PR of mine will be lowered this Saturday...?!
Cheers! The week in review:
PM- 4 miles at Azalea Park with Adam, 1 mile barefoot, 35 minutes
AM- 8 miles with Mel and Luna in Turkey Pen, 1:45, 1,300 ft. Lots of swimming!
PM- 7 miles hiking to the start of the Bartram Trail with Adam, Mel, and Luna. Stechoa Gap to Cheowah Bald plus some in 2:20, 2,300 ft.
AM- 5.5 miles in 2:15, 900 ft back to Stechoa Gap
PM- A misadventure from Wayah Bald, back up, back down to Harrison Gap on the Bartram Trail, 9 miles, 1:35, 1,500 ft
AM- 1 mile warm-up, Knoxville 5k, 3 miles after cheering on Mel and my dad in their half marathon, 300 ft?, 1 hour
Totals: 40 miles, 9 hours 30 minutes, 6,300 ft