April 30, 2011, Nashville, Tenn., I can't believe that this is my sixth race of the year & fourth Rock n' Roll race of the year! Time flies when you are having fun :).
If you don't know about the FIT Project, check this out. I'm attempting to run all 20 Rock n' Roll Half Marathons in 2011. Along with a few other races too :).
When I flew into Nashville I thought the pilot had flown us to the Amazon. EVERYTHING was a vivid and gorgeous, sparkling green. But it was indeed Nashville! They had been having record rain & storms. Thankfully, race morning was clear and sunny.
But first, a quick shout-out to my sponsor, Sears Fitness. If you haven't checked out Fit Studio, well, you simply have to! It's a wonderful community where you will be encouraged, inspired as well as workout plans, nutrition advice and of course fun! Go visit: Fit Studio now!
5 a.m. on Saturday came. And I rolled out of bed. Had my usual pre-race breakfast of oatmeal. I am very particular in my race (and training) routine.
Friend Elizabeth picked me up at 6 a.m. and the rest of the gang (six!) piled in the van. For once I wasn't on a school bus heading the start. Change is good!
It was an absolutely beautiful morning. The sun was giving us a spectacular sunrise show. And not a drop of rain in sight (although we would wish for some later!)
This is a pretty large race (close to 30,000 between the full & half races I believe.) Thankfully I was in Corral 5. After the National Anthem, the gun - really sound horn - started the race and we were off!
Now, I have to tell you, I don't think of Nashville as having hills. But I was quickly reminded that Nashville is in the Smokey Mountains. Having just run the American River 50 Miler three weeks before I was hoping my legs wouldn't punish me on this race! My verse for this race was Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things in Christ which strengthens me." I was really tired and this verse kept me going. And you know what? I saw this verse on a few shirts while I was running. And then at the end of the race, it was quoted to me. I guess I really did need it :)!
The course starts on a slight downhill and then starts climbing. We ran by Union Station and several other key landmarks.
My ideal temperature to run in is around 45 degrees. So I knew it was going to be a warm day for me. I haven't raced (much less trained!) in the sun for about eight months. I think my body was wondering where we were :). It was a great change & I was happy to bask in the sun!
At the bottom of mile three, there was a water station and then a pretty good uphill section. I lowered my head ever so slightly and made it to the top. Score!
I always carry my own hydration and use the water/aid stations at smaller races (not ultras) as backup. I can't tell you how much mental time it saves! I didn't have to use a station once during this race. I run through the middle of them and keep running. I like to keep focused and keep running. There is an art in running through a water stop and grabbing a cup of water!
This course reminded me of the Boston Marathon. Lots of neighborhoods in the course route and families with half sleeping children in PJ's, college kids just getting home and wondering why 30,000 people were running in THEIR streets and others having a super early breakfast block party.
And this is the part I absolutely love about running races in towns. You get to see the culture. The people (half awake). The houses. The crazy signs people make (my favorite: "cause running a 26.2 miles would just be crazy"). The food they think we will like (at Mile sixish, I saw a guy who had about six dozen Dunkin' Donuts.) The cow bells. The kids eagerly awaiting a high five (I always make a point to give them one). This is what makes a city a city. Thank you Nashville for coming out to cheer for strangers!
Along the way, I thought I spied my friend Sarah Bowen Shea, so I picked up the pace & caught up with her. We ran together for a few miles, then got separated. Boo!
As the race progressed on, so did the sights and sounds. There were a lot of bands. My favorite was not an official race course band. It was the Belmont Church Worship Band. And they just happened to be playing one of my songs- "I Will Worship You." Thanks for being out there guys & gals!
It was fun to run down Music Street/Square. Lots of well known - OK famous - entertainment buildings all over. And then a bunch of naked "people." Sorry the photo is blurry.
I always like getting to Mile 10. I know I have 3.1 miles left. And that's a good thing :). It was starting to get hot and I was really thankful I wasn't running a full marathon today! And soon enough I was heading for LP Field and the finish line. Mile 11-12 was through a memorial. I really wanted to get some photos of it, but I just wanted to finish. A few more climbs (seeing the full marathoners at Mile 18 when we were almost done is always inspiring!) and the beloved finish line!
And after that oh-so-magnificent ice cold washcloth, receiving my medal and making my way through the finish line, it was over. Another race in the books (or legs). My goal was under two hours. And I did it. Mission accomplished!
Age Group: 200/2447