I won't do a mile by mile report because most of it was uneventful. There were around 1200 participants I think and as I have mentioned before it was split between a 5k and 15k. My husband and I ran together (he the 5k and me the 15k). We started off together in the 10 mm pace group. We stayed overnight in Chattanooga at a Super 8 that was less than 2 miles from the battlefield so we were able to have a leisurely morning, eat the unimpressive continental breakfast, and take a short drive to the battlefield. We only had about 10 minutes of standing around before the race started which was fine since we had all our race gear (including timing chips). This was the first time I used the disposable timing chip that only gives you a gun time and not a chip time. I'd rather know my chip time but realize that these things are far easier for the race directors to use. I did remember to borrow my husband's watch so I knew my overall time when all was said and done.
The start was slow but even before 1/2 a mile the crowd had thinned out and I had already left my husband. At mile one I had caught up to a 10:15 pace which was good considering the slowness of the start. But I forced myself to slow down so I wouldn't crash at mile 5 or 6. I was running next to a guy that had a watch that kept beeping every couple of minutes. He would run and then slow down to a walk so we kept passing each other (he being a faster runner but then me passing on the walks). I finally asked him if it was a heart rate monitor or something (it was actually getting a bit annoying to hear that beep going off all the time). He explained that he was running 2 minutes and walking 1 for the course so that he wouldn't get injured. He finally got far enough ahead of me around mile 3 so I didn't hear that darn thing anymore.
I had forgotten my iPod at home which turned out to be fine. The day was so nice that I enjoyed listening to the birds, breeze, and other runners. I can understand the arguments against running with music but I haven't been converted yet. Towards the end as I was passing 3 other runners one said, "oh it's so nice to hear the runner's footsteps." And since I could actually hear this comment I joked in return, "yeah, and our labored breathing." It was a moment to chuckle as we all struggled to get to the finish line. I only really chatted to one other lady as she passed me around mile 6.
Most of my early mile splits were 10:05, mile 8 was closer to 11, and I finished with an average of 10:14. I never took a walking break but did stop for about 10 seconds to drink water/disgusting Gatorade at the water stations. Honestly, what do they do to Gatorade to make it so gross?! But I figured the electrolytes were good for my system. I brought Sports Beans with me and opened up the package around mile 5 and had about half of it. They were good but made it difficult to breathe since my nose was so stuffed up (allergies in Southern springtime kill me). But they made a big difference towards the end of the race.
The first 6 miles were comfortable. I really watched my pace and it was easy to keep at 10:05. Starting around mile 5 or 6 though they had more rolling hills and I could tell where my lack of training at longer distances had affected me. I was able to keep going but it was a lot harder. Whenever I needed something to focus on I thought about my 4th-6th grade P.E. teacher Mr. B. (I'm not protecting his identity I just can't remember his real last name since we always called him Mr. B.). He was one of those old school P.E. teachers, meaning if you didn't excel at some type of sport you weren't worth his time. Thusly, I hated P.E. And I really hated the Presidential Fitness tests where we had to run a mile (I think at that time the cut off was a 12 minute mile). I could never do it. For one, we never ran unless it was punishment or sprints so I had never had a chance to build up endurance like that. And God knows it didn't come naturally to me. Actually, one year I think I did manage to do it but every other year this thing would cause the kind of trauma that kids today would go to therapy for. So here's to you Mr. B and your ability to make me hate fitness related things at such a young age. How do ya like me now?
At the end, right after mile 9 and closing in on the finish time, I came around the corner and found the people still cheering on the slower runners. I got one of those rushes you hear people talk about. Serious shivers down my spine. It was awesome. I came across the finish line smiling and forgetting how bad the last mile or so had sucked. Then I found that their post race food was a dinner roll and organic fruit. ??? Fruit, ok good but where's the bagels or power bars or anything else good carb/protein related? I was quite put out and my stomach was beginning to tell me that it didn't really like sports beans. We hung around for some of the door prizes (didn't win any of them) and then I insisted that we had to leave to find real food. I also stopped at the visitor's center on the way out so I wouldn't have to use the port-a-pots at the race line. I found it extremely amusing that they had a sign on the wall that said, "Please no bathing in this restroom. Sinks are for face and hands only. No nudity, this is a public restroom." You gotta wonder how many times they dealt with nudity before hanging the sign.
I wanted pancakes but my husband wanted a sandwich so we ended up at Wendy's. I crashed after the race. I was extremely tired and my stomach really didn't like those sports beans. Lunch was a blah affair except for the Frosty. Mmmm frosties. And my husband started to drive us back home. I leaned the seat back and slept. And sleep was good. Otherwise recovery was fine - not unlike any other long runs I do. I did notice some shin pain so I only walked on Sunday as a recovery and didn't run again until Tuesday. I haven't noticed any other pain since then.
So it was a great race. One I want to do again (despite the disappointment over the food at the finish line). I might even consider their half marathon at some point once, or if, I'm ready to do more than one half per year.