I drove roughly 11.5 hours from Florida last Friday to get to Knoxville, TN. Once checked into my room, I immediately headed down to the expo in World’s Fair Park to share in the excitement of the Rev3 Glow Run. Rev3 goes all out with music, strobe lights, fog, neon shirts and glowsticks for this family friendly event. Participants can choose from a 1 mile run or 5k. My teammate Anthony and I (or Beeson as I refer to him) were the cheering squad for Rev3 and congratulated runners as they came in. It was great to see so many people having fun with their outfits as the sun set behind the hills.
During the event, I caught up with teammates and enjoyed the blood flowing in my legs after having sat in one position for so long during the day. Eventually we made our way to Downtown Knoxville and enjoyed some beers and food at Downtown Brewery. By my second beer, my eyes were getting heavy and I felt I had hit a wall. It was time to head back to the Holiday Inn and get some rest!
The following day was all about race prep. Once expo opened, I walked down with my wetsuit and swim gear to pickup my packet, swag bag and timing chip. Then it was time to do a pre-race open water swim in the river.
I had no idea what the water temperature was going to be but once at the dock where the Lady Vols Crew Team is headquartered I heard 71 degrees and for some reason I thought that was good! Little did I know I would soon be freezing even in my wetsuit.
As we all got our wetsuits on, Rev3 team members helped other participants get their wetsuits on more easily with Tri Slide. We had tons of samples to give out and everyone seemed appreciative of the extra glide. We also had Foggies which I used both swim times to prevent my goggles from fogging, worked like a charm!
Once on the dock, I watched as several guys got creative with their water entries from the dock. Eventually I just jumped in and had my breath taken away as I hadn’t been in cold water for quite awhile. I started swimming towards the buoys under the bridge but had to stop every once in a while to catch my breath. I was thinking about my Rev3 Maine swim and how I was determined not to have the same scenario play out. I made it under the stone bridge and turned around, not wanting to swim too much but rather to get a feel again for my Blue Seventy wetsuit and the river’s tide.
I hopped out and was warmed by the swim but as I began to dry off I got chilly and had to head back to the hotel for some dry clothes. Once done, it was time to rack the bike and make the trek back down the hill to transition. This walk was also our last mile of our run so I knew what the grade would be coming into the finish line chute, steep!
A nap, a coffee break with a professor of mine from grad school who is now teaching at UT-Knox, and some dinner with team mate Matt and his wife Kirsten capped the evening off before laying out all of my gear and readying things for race day.
It always amazes me just how much stuff is needed for these races! I had my pre-race ritual Reese’s cups before bed and was asleep sometime around 10pm, loving that I didn’t have a super early wake up call as I was in the very last wave and transition was open later for the olympic athletes. Definitely a perk of staying at the expo and transition areas. I slept decently, waking only once to use the restroom but noting that my legs felt achy which they had been since I got to Knoxville. As I headed back to bed, trying not to stub my toe on something in the dark and making the next day’s race that much more difficult, I headed back to bed hoping the aches were just pre-race nerves.
To be continued…