Knoxville HalfRev Race Report - No Quit

my Trakker's teammates at practice swim on Saturday before the race!

Race morning - let's make this snappy

It's never easy getting two kids to a race on time... add in all3sports commitments... now I should know by now just add in an extra hour...

I ended up in transition at 7am... transition was closing at 7am... that brake that needed fixing... that transition area set up list? The bike mechanics from Elite, came over to my transition area and fixed the brake, and pumped up my tires. I did the best I could with everything else...

Hurrying down to race start... find EC/All3Sports folks hanging out... they help me get in my wetsuit, and watch boys while I try to get myself together... (Alex had to deliver an all3sports rental wetsuit to a follow racer)

I'm a mess...

A quick goodbye to Alex and the boys, and I head over to where my wave is lining up... find Kristin (thank goodness) and get ready to go.

I spy my friend Marc walking by with a timing chip "found it" he says. Holy Crap, I DON'T HAVE MY CHIP ON!! I go running back to where I left alex hoping he is still there. Chip is exactly where I put it, grab it and run back to where Kristin is standing. Whew! Chip is on...

Now I'm ready, whether I am or not, because less than a minute later I treading water in the Tennessee river getting ready to GO!

SWIM (planned: 32:00 / actual: 40:00)

I've NEVER lined up in the front row before... but I did this time. I've been working on my swim a lot (thanks Dynamo Coach Maria) and wanted to give it an honest go. If you look at the swim time it seems really slow, but i HEAR the course was a little long, and the current was in the opposite direction of last year (meaning swim against current was longer than with). Compared to others in my AG, I swam better than I usually do and I'm happy with my swim.

I felt great in the water and SUPER fast in my new TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit! It was warm enough, flexible enough, and I didn't have a panic attach AT ALL. I think it may be a first for me!

I was looking forward to the current on the way back down the river, but once I turned at the bouy it got really choppy, and then when we hit the Olympic turn buoy we ran into the men from the Olympic WOW THOSE GUYS ARE ROUGH!!

I liked having the extra folks though, kind of felt like I could just float and get pulled along with them.

I felt like I'd been out there for awhile and there weren't many pink caps around me, so I was thinking it was a slow swim. When I looked at my watch and saw 40:00 (8 min slower than planned!!!) I was sure I had a slow swim, but when I got to Transition, a lot of the bikes were still there!


Transition was quick, I had everything set up fairly well and was out on the bike without issue.

BIKE (planned: 2:50 (19.7 mph) / actual: 2:59 (18.8 mph)

As I'm biking out of Knoxville - I have to say I really like the new start to the bike course, MUCH better than last year - a woman comes past me "that was a really slow swim, but there were lots of bikes in Transition" cracked me up that we had a the same thought!

She and I traded places a bit over the next few miles and traded some nice words. at one point I hit a HUGE pothole... my aero-bars tilted forward (almost to vertical) and I knew my water bottles had to have gone flying.

She passes me as I'm trying to figure out what to do with my aero-bars. "your bottles are gone!" that confirmed it!

Amazingly, I was able to yank my bars back into a more horizontal position and keep riding. I started laughing at that point... seriously, what else was going to happen with this bike?!?!?!?

I took some time to take stock of the situation... luckily the loss of bottles was not a huge deal as I was following my new MET nutrition plan and only had water and nuun in the bottles. I figured I could pick water up on the course, and I had my salt tabs in my bento box and gel flask with EFS Liquid Shot in my back pocket. So no big deal there...

The aero bars seemed to be okay where I had them... a little off, but I was still fairly comfortable and able to ride...

The only thing I was worried about was a new "clicking" sound coming from the front (still not sure what it is/was) and concern that I might have a slow leak in one or both of my wheels... Also, my shifting was off, so I'm not sure if there was something messed up there or not...

But the good news... I could keep riding (and upon telling someone this story, they told me I was lucky I didn't go over the front of the bike when the handle bars gave out).

So ride on a did... and I was actually able to settle into a nice rhythm out there. I didn't want to take it too hard... I was shooting for somewhere between half ironman and ironman pace because I wanted to really rock the run.

This is a great bike course, lots of long uphills with wicked fun descents! I can't wait to download my data from my watch to see what speeds I hit on the downhills!

I was able to see a lot of friends on the bike and even had a nice chat with "the Slayer" on one of the uphills (he pretty much toasted me on the downhill).

My pace on my watch (I have it beep every 5 miles) was looking good and my HR was exactly where I wanted it. In the last four miles though, I noticed I couldn't get the same power out of my legs on the hills and I started standing up more on the climbs. It was a tightness in my left hip/hamstring/quad/lower back that just seemed to zap all the strength out of my leg when I was in a certain position.

I've been battling a bit of an issue with my hip and muscle imbalance/twisting thing. but I think this was exacerbated with the aero bars being in the wrong position. I slowed way down in those last miles of the bike.

I was very happy to see the Volunteer Boat House and cruised into transition.

Note: according to my Garmin (and others) the bike was 57 miles, no wonder that last "mile" seemed so long!!! ha ha


This again went without a hitch. I was trying some new things on the run (socks, a hand flask, different nutrition plan) but because of the lists I'd made the night before I had a clear plan in my head of what to do. I did however forget to put my visor in my transition bag the night before the race, so I didn't have it for the run. The sky was overcast (absolutely perfect weather) so this ended up being no big deal. (especially lucky because in my morning rush, I had forgotten to put sunscreen on)

RUN (planned: 1:40 (7:40 pace) / actual: 1:51 (8:30 pace)

I was SO excited for this run. All of my runs off the bike recently have been wonderful and almost effortless. I couldn't wait to see what kind of pace I could put down, especially since I had been smart on the bike.

heading out on the run

As I got out on the road, I noticed my hip still felt really tight. I started talking to myself, reminding myself that I just needed to give it a few miles to come around.

When I hit mile 3 aid station, my lower back/hamstrings were screaming at me to stop. I seriously thought about stopping and curling up in a ball on the side of the road and just have a good cry. I really wanted to stop. But even with all the set backs, I knew if I could just keep the pace I was running I had a chance at a Half PR. It was that chance that kept me moving forward. I told myself to get to mile 6 and then I would be almost done. Less than 3 miles to mile 6.

I also took a moment to stop and try to stretch out my hamstrings and back. It helped a lot and I was able to run flats and downhills pretty well.

I started chanting my new motto "no quit no quit no quit"

I saw some all3 folks and trakkers teammates out there on course and all the kind words and cheers helped me a ton!

Shanks took this picture of me on the run, this was just after he said "wow, you look like your having fun" in a very sarcastic voice

And for all the "shutting down" I felt like was going on, I was, amazingly, still passing people.

And luckily for me the big hills are pretty much over after mile 9. As I hit the main stretch back toward transition before the final hill up to the finish line I glanced at my watch (I hadn't been looking at it much) and realized that if I started walking at all there would be no PR on this day. So in a chant that has unfortunately become my "last 3 miles of half distance run" standard I began to think

"if you walk, no pr, if you walk no pr" I mixed this in with "the wind is at your back pushing you to the finish line"

As I made it around transition and started up the hill to the finish line I was really worried about making it to the top. EC Coach Shanks had caught up to me from where he had been out on course cheering for folks and must have sensed that I was at the limit. I'm not sure if it was having a friendly face or what but I basically lost it. I started crying and at one point stopped and hung on to the railing on the side of the path to keep myself from falling over. I started to hyperventilate.

I had to get myself calmed down (this is the most emotional I've ever been in a race). As I'm hanging on to this railing I hear these guys in the parking lot across the way starting yelling "you can't stop now".

I hit the "pause reality" button and basically told myself I had to suck it up.

"I can do this"

and I started running again. I didn't stop again until after I crossed the finish line.

As I came down the hill into the finish line chute I saw Alex on the left with the kids. He let Jason and AJ start running to cross the line with me (love this part of Rev3) Jason took off, he ran that finish chute like he was Matty Reed ha ha.

I knew AJ wouldn't be able to keep up with Jason so I stopped to pick him up. Call it finish line euphoria or habit, I thought I would be able to run with him like I always can. As soon as I pick him up I started to fall over. I saw a friend of ours alongside the finish chute and handed AJ to him.

when I did that, it seemed like the finish line was still a football field away. The funny thing, a friend took a video of my finish, when I handed AJ off, I was only about four steps from finish line. haha

But finish I did! 5:34 was my final time (a two min PR btw)

At the finish line my cough that I'd been fighting with came on strong. I couldn't talk because I was coughing so much. Alex rushed me into the med tent thinking that something was wrong. I was just happy that someone was taking me someplace where I could sit down. They wrapped my in space blankets and took my blood pressure. I'd never been in the med tent before. quite the experience.

When I was finally able to stop coughing all I remember saying was

"I'm okay. I just needed to stop"

and now I could. So I sat and slowly came back to reality. Folks peeked their heads in to the tent to say congratulations which was nice. My trakkers teammate Kati came and sat next to me. I'm not sure what I said to her, I just remember saying "I just needed to stop".

I drank some Gatorade and sat. Once my BP came back down to normal, they gave me the all clear and I was able to walk around the finish area a bit. I went into the Recovery Pump booth and sat down with my legs in the boots. It was like a party in there and in no time I started to feel pretty human again. Met a really nice guy sitting next to me, he started shivering so badly, I was worried for him. We got him out of his boots and headed to the hotel for a hot shower and change of clothes.

After my stint in the boots I got some food and then I was back on mom duty :D

Folks let me know that it looked like I ended up 2nd in my AG! (So glad I kept running those last few miles, I know it's the only reason I was able to hold on to a podium spot). My boys were so tired, but I was bad mommy and made them stay for the awards ceremony.

Turns out, the first woman in my AG had placed in top 3 overall, so I had actually won my AG!!! It was a nice surprise at the awards ceremony!

So many people had great races on Sunday! I was so happy for everyone! Especially fellow Trakkers teammate Kristin who was super strong the entire day and nabbed 2nd in her AG!!!

Thanks to all my teammates (Trakkers, all3sports, EC, etc.) who helped get me through the race today and helped me all weekend!!!

Thanks also to Alex for being so supportive of me, even with everything he had going on that weekend. When I really needed him, he was always there. Thanks honey!!

I have a lot of lessons learned from this race, but I think I might save that for another time. Also, I want to put a post together for the nutrition plan I followed on the day. For all that went wrong on the day, my MET nutrition seemed to be perfect.

I have mixed emotions about my race Sunday. I was disappointed that my run was much slower than planned. I look at my paces and my time and it makes the dream of a sub 10:30 IM in Lou seem almost impossible.

I just can't dwell on that. I have to look at this race as a chance to determine what I need to work hard on, and how to change my training approach a bit.

I also just need to say I am so proud of my run. As much as it may have been slower than what I thought I was capable of, I held it together. I didn't quit. I kept myself moving forward the best I could, and that ended up being good enough to get me to the finish line. a PR is a PR; can't argue with that!


  1. Congrats again! You are a rock star!

    Seriously, I am so inspired by all y'all and am so thankful to be a part of this team :)

  2. First place, a PR. Can't get much better than that. Congratulations, again.

  3. 1st place, ag!!!! awesome awesome!! PR even more awesome! i have heard that course was absolutely brutal, so keep your head high...because you kicked butt!

  4. Awesome job! Look forward to seeing you kick butt in Louisville. I'll be slow enough that I'll make sure to cheer you on in the last miles while I am just heading out on the run:)

  5. You know how much I think you are awesome. And they way you held it together just goes to show you that no matter what you can push through and end up with a place and a PR. I'm glad you lined up with me in the front. I kept thinking where is were next to me the whole time. You
    are such a stronger swimmer than you think. You are a great roll model for lots of folks out there. It's amazing how we think we are having a rough day and in fact we can pull through in ways we never thought possible. I know this is just a stepping stone in your way to Louisville. Hugs

  6. Amazing race report and what an awesome athlete. You picked up the pieces and kept pushing! Great job!!!

  7. Jill, you did absolutely amazing. There was not quit in your body on Sunday! Congrats on a great race!

  8. PR and an AG win.. way to hang tough chica! and racing w/ the kids in tow and the hubs working! I"m just amazed you got everything (except your visor) in transition and your butt to the start line in time... :) Go Momma GO!

  9. WOW, that sounds like a tough race! You did such an amazing job though, even with all the setbacks. You are so inspiring to me. Today on my tempo run, when it was getting hard to keep pushing, your song came on. "My body tells me no, but I won't quit cause I want more!" That song's starting to be my own theme song too. :) It reminded me of you and that helped me keep pushing. I would be so happy to be as fast as you one day! Congrats on the AG win, that's so awesome!

  10. Thanks everybody for your comments and kind words! I've received so many supportive emails, etc over the last few days. I'm keeping the dream alive for Lou, and excited to see what I can do in the next few months to make it come true!

  11. Congrats on the PR and taking your AG!!

  12. You did AWESOME!! Way to stick with it..holy cow, 1st place age group, NICELY DONE!!! Just excited for you and I know you definitely hit some low points on the bike with handlebars and bottles, but you stuck with it!!!

    Way to ROCK!!!!

  13. First, congratulations on the awesome PR!

    Secondly, as a rule, I think you should NEVER ask yourself ".. what else could possibly go wrong?" haha!

    Way to muscle through to the end. Hope to see you at Quassay or CP?

    Oh, and love the "team" wetsuits. Hysterical!

  14. Way to go! Keep it up! You rock Jill!!

  15. Hey congrats again (I am always late to the party.) 1st place AG!! You are such a rockstar!


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"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift"
- Steve Prefontaine
"Shut Up Legs"
- Jens Voigt
"No quit in this body. No quit in this Mind"
- Jill Poon (inspired by Jason Overbaugh)