After considering a number of options for our run in Tennessee we decided the Zen Evo Chocolate Lover’s 5K would be a good choice. Our goal was to coordinate so that Amelia could run a race with us. Knoxville is about a 3.5 hour drive from their home in North Carolina so it was a good option. We met Amelia there and drove to Knoxville along with their sweet pup, Jameson.
We had booked a house for the weekend through Airbnb and couldn’t have been happier with our decision. The home was spotlessly clean, cozy, and full of welcoming details.
Judy, our host, even left a goodie bag of treats for Jameson, as well as goodies for the humans in our group. The pint of Bluebell ice cream in the fridge with a note saying “in case of emergency” really made us feel pampered-and luckily we did experience an ice cream emergency. Thanks, Judy!
Since the race didn’t start until 10:00 on Saturday morning, I had plenty of time to put the finishing touches on our couple’s costume.
Mike’s enthusiasm for wearing any sort of costume is non-existent. He prefers to stay out of the spotlight and he worried that agreeing to run with 6″ conversation hearts on his back may not allow that anonymity. Undeterred, I persevered with my project in case he relented but I, uncharacteristically, refrained from pestering him into agreeing.
When this wording popped into my head I thought I might have a chance.
He decided with that disclaimer he would go ahead with yet another of my whacky plans…definitely “true love”.
The race was held at the Victor Ashe Park which was about a 20 minute drive from the house. The forecast sounded dire.
It is was dark and threatening rain when we arrived.
We opted to take our requisite awkward selfie before the race.
The course was an out and back on the paved path through the park.
We appreciate out and back courses when we run with Amelia because we can watch for her on her way back while we are still heading out. When we found her she was the third woman but she pushed it up the last hills and ended up coming in as the overall second place female finisher! After completing her race she looped back to us on the course and then dashed back to the end to snap a few photos of us finishing.
The rain picked up after we finished so we were grateful the awards ceremony was held under a pavilion. We thought the addition of several heaters was brilliant and wished more races offered this luxury.
Apparently stuffed bears are a signature feature of this race. We were handed a bear after we finished. We received one for placing 4th in the couples’ costume contest. Mike placed second in his age group and I got third-and we each got another bear.
But even more exciting was Amelia placing as the second overall female and receiving this gigantic bear. It plays a Shakira song and has flashing red lights! I love the sequence of her expressions as she received the bear.
There was a post-race party at the Hexagon Brewery later in the day which we happily attended.
Although the crowd was a bit small when we were there we enjoyed talking to the bartender/owner who impressed us with the number of activities at the brewery and with the variety of beers they are producing.
Our plan was to venture out into downtown Knoxville for dinner. When we inquired about restaurant recommendations our bartender had enticed us with a multitude of options. However, as we drove back to the house for the afternoon through a downpour the thought of walking around the city in the rain became less appealing despite our sincere desire to explore and experience Knoxville. Eventually we somewhat reluctantly conceded that the option to have dinner in our cozy house and watch the Olympics sounded the most appealing.
We awoke the next morning confident that our decision to stay in had been the right one but feeling really disappointed to be heading home without having visited the center of Knoxville. A quick trip into the city for donuts and coffee gave us a tiny (and sweet) taste of the city. Thanks to Amelia’s research we arrived at a perfect donut shop, Makers Donuts.
They had a delectable array of options.
Although they didn’t sell coffee they were connected to another hip establishment that did.
Amelia and Matt drove us back to Charlotte while we enjoyed some more quality time with Jameson.
As we waited in the security line at the airport Amelia sent us this shot of Jameson looking out the car window after us.
We were sad to be leaving, too.
Date: February 10, 2018
The Bottom Line: Although our plans to experience Knoxville didn’t transpire as we had hoped, we loved having a chance to spend the weekend with Amelia, Matt, and Jameson. Our Airbnb home made the weekend exceptionally comfortable. The race was fun and filled our suitcase with more stuffed bears than we’ve ever traveled with. Mike was a great sport by once again putting up with my crazy ideas and showing his “true love”. What a guy!