March 12 Rode(s) trip by Tom Murrell

Louisville, Kentucky

Linda and I had planned to visit Louisville for her Mom's birthday on the weekend of March 12. Since we would be running anyway Linda thought a “group” run in Louisville would be nice. As it turned out the group she chose numbered 7953 plus the two of us, and it had a name: “Rodes City Run 10k” (

This race is ranked the 13th largest 10k in the nation according to the 2009 USATF rankings and it was bigger than any event I had ever participated in. No big deal for Linda who has run 20+ marathons including Chicago and Boston. We are definitely not in 10k race shape as we are doing a slow progression in training for Chicago in October. With this in mind we decided the proper “mind set” was to take “Rodes City” as low-key tempo run. A non-conversational pace but definitely not “race” pace. Though technically a race, we would be in a mob of people that we didn’t know so we both found this to be a realistic endeavor. No familiar age group faces, no King/Queen competition, just get in a rhythm, run fast, stay relaxed and enjoy the atmosphere.

To help avoid slipping into the race day mind set we dressed in our typical daily run attire. We skipped any pre-race warm up, strides or stretching. Well, actually we had a semi-warm up – a jog to the port-a-johns and back to the start area. Not much of a warm up as the port-a-john lines were long and the temperature was a cool 45°, so any real warm up occurred after the run began.

The start area was sardine style – packed!! Announcements were made but I couldn’t hear anything but crowd noise. I did hear a start horn and then a minute or so later I began to move/walk with the flow of the crowd toward the start – thankfully chip timing was being used. Once across the start mat it was still a half-mile later before I felt like I had my own semblance of running space. I was able to establish a nice “not too fast, not too slow” rhythm and settled in to enjoy the opportunity. New ups, new downs, and new turns, a new experience and Linda and I both had fun!! Shortly after I finished Linda came in and we headed to the Panera tent for a bagel. Our times exceeded expectations without ever getting into the race mode – so we were pleased.

The course was point to point so after a jog cool down back to the car our “Rode” fun run adventure in Louisville was concluded.

Next up is Mark Skelton’s Phipps Bend 10 miler. Another fun run and as Mark says, there is only ONE hill. We hope to see you there!!

smile often, speak gently, be kind.

Tom Murrell
March 2011

Tom MurrellNortheast Tennessee native Tom Murrell coached track and cross-country for Tennessee High School and King College for too many years to mention. Tom was the founder and race director for Bristol Cross now in its 19th year. He is a former editor of SFTC's Split Times newsletter and also managed the King and Queen competition. Tom re-joined the SFTC board in 2011 as Bristol rep.