May 28, 2014

{race recap} RnR Nashville

So, it has officially been a month since my last post.  Wow.  Life just somehow finds a way to keep interfering.  And before I knew it, a month has gone by and I still haven’t written my race recap from the Country Music Marathon
so, instead of a multipart recap, youre going to get one long, full on recap, full of photos.  Grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfy.  Its gonna be a long one!

Marathon weekend was planned to be a girls weekend away.  Susan, Dana, Kelly and I all met up on Thursday afternoon, made a pit stop at Dick’s Sporting Goods for marathon shirts, lunch at Chick Fil A, then headed out of town. 
we made it to Tennessee.  A few hours later than we anticipated, but… almost there. 

On the highway, we frequently crossed paths with a truck with a marathon sticker on the back.  As expected from a group of giggling girls, stuck in a small car for 7 hours, we devised a story about the driver inside, and thought it would be funny if we ran into him in Nashville for the marathon.  A quick pit stop and snack break later, we found him in line at the Wendy’s counter.  We introduced ourselves to our “highway friend” and then headed back out on the road. 

Once we rolled into Nashville, we found our way to theDouble Tree Hotel and got settled in for the night.  The hotel had a pasta dinner, so we hunkered down and started carb loading.  
We had a mini Jamberry Nail wrap party {enter shameless plug now… get your very own runner girl wraps, right here…} and made sure our hands were race day ready.  We listened to Pandora, sang country songs and had a great time. 

The next morning we all headed out for one last short run to shake out our legs after being cramped in a civic for 7 hours (thanks for driving susan!).  We had grand plans of running the 2-ish miles to dunkin donuts, but when you leave me in charge of directions… well, lets just say we ended up driving to DD for our breakfast after our run.

Next up was the expo, which was hosted at Music City Center.  I have to say… I think the race expo is one of my favorite parts of running a marathon.  The excitement of the crowds, the vendors, the nerves… its all just part of the moment!  We got ourselves checked in, picked up our race numbers and headed into the expo.

I have been coveting a Brooks Rock n Roll jacket for a lot of years.  So, I bee-lined it right to the merchandise tent.  
Imagine my satisfaction when I found the race jacket, in my signature color!
after we were all sufficiently vendor'd out, we realized we were starving!  We asked one of the convention center workers where was close that had really good italian.  We were directed towards Demo's.  the food was uh-maz-ing.  like, so amazing i neglected to take any pictures.  hey, we were hungry... and carb loading was a necessity.  seriously... this place had bread that must of been made out of gold!  delicious!
we spent the rest of the afternoon napping, lounging by the pool and relaxing.  finally, it was dinner time again.  thanks to my trusty Yelp app, we found The Pharmacy Burger Parlor.  
 there was a 2 hour wait, but man... was the food worth it!

we ended our night early, setting out our race clothes and trying to get some shut eye before the race.  
luckily, i had purchased reserved parking at Titan Field.  best $15 i ever spent.  we were a little bit late due to some unaccounted for traffic.  we zipped right into a parking spot in our reserved lot, and headed over the pedestrian bridge to the start line.  
we found a man holding a sign that said "restrooms, warm and dry".  hip hip hooray! no port a potty! there was a church school right at the corral entrances, and they had opened up their doors to allow runners to use their facilities and were doing a great job helping to keep the lines moving.  
i hugged my friends goodbye and they headed into their half marathon starting corral, while i jumped right into corral 22.  I quickly found the pacer for the 4:30 marathon team.  i was still not entirely sure i was capable of running a 4:30 marathon, but i had trained hard and i was going to leave it in the pace group leader's hands (i think his name was dave, but i can't recall for sure).  
Dave (??) was running his 40th marathon, and his 11th year of the country music marathon.  i had faith that if anyone could keep me on track for my time goal, it would be him.  
and before i knew it, it was our turn to cross the start line!
the weather was warmer than i had anticipated, and i was already warm at the race start.  it was pretty sunny, with a predicted high of 85*.  i don't remember much of the beginning of the race.  i ran without any headphones, and i just sorta started taking it all in.  there were a few super nice people in the pace group, and we all spent the first few miles getting to know each other.  Around mile 3 (?) there was a little tunnel that we ran through and i lost signal on my garmin.  i was pretty sure my time stayed accurate but i wasn't sure about the distance.  again, i just decided to stay with the pace team and see what happened.  
i can't remember what mile marker this guy was at anymore, but i thought he was hysterical.  the crowds were still a little thick here, but we were hitting a pretty steady pace, at about 10:15/mile.  about mile 6, i started looking for a place to stop to use the bathroom.  the men were just finding bushes to pee in, and the lines at the porta potties were super long.  by about mile 9,  i found a perfectly placed construction dumpster in the front yard of a house remodel.  yes, i am not ashamed to admit, i peed behind a dumpster.  hey... i had a race goal to achieve here people!

up ahead, i saw the split for the half/full marathon courses. the course split just before mile 11.   i'll be really honest... it was an overwhelming thought to keep left and know that i had 15 more miles to go. shortly past the split, there were volunteers handing out orange slices.  they tasted SO good! the next 5 miles were super hilly.  i had teamed up with another runner in our pace group named susan (i think?! and this is why you shouldn't wait a month to write a recap...) she was from florida, and was running her 50th marathon!  We had paced pretty well together and spent the next few miles socializing.  somewhere at one of the water stations we accidentally got separated and i never saw her again.  Hope you had a great race Susan!

at this point, i stopped taking pictures.  it was hot.  it was hilly.  i was still feeling pretty good, but i didn't want to use the extra time and/or energy to stop and get my phone out of my spibelt.  at each corner we would turn and see more up hills.  i actually said out load at one point "how is this even architecturally possible to keep going uphill?!"

then, the next thing i knew... i was at mile 20.  i looked at my garmin and saw 3:23:xx.  i had run my two previous 20 milers in 3:20 and 3:26.  i knew that my goal was in sight.  i had paced well, and in  a typical 20 mile glycogen withdrawal state, i started doing math.  i figured that if i could keep my pace at 10min/mile or less, i would be able to walk some of the uphills and still remain in my goal range.  oh... had i mentioned that i lost the pace team somewhere around mile 15? oops.  

mile 21 was on a split street with mile 25.  i kept watching the runners over on the other side and thinking of how close they were to finishing.  i was really enjoying watching the different facial expressions and emotions on the runners faces as they crossed by the 25th mile marker.  

we ran through a park, and around a lake.  there was shade.  someone was handing out pretzels.  it was one of my favorite parts of the course.  i saw an adorable girl in a pink cowboy hat and almost stopped to tell her how cute it was.  i should have, because it turned out to be BamaGirlRuns, whom i follow on instagram.  I also heard an amazing story by one of the St. Jude Hero's.  She was competing  on her 1 year anniversary of becoming a marathoner.  She was running marathon number 10.  in a year.  and all for st jude's.  the other hero running with her asked if she had a specific connection to st jude's, and she said "no, but my father died of cancer, in my arms".  all the hair on the back of my neck stood up while i was running.  and it did it again as i sit here typing that.  that girl was amazing. and, her dedication pushed me through the last several miles of the race.  

i thought about margo.  i thought about drew.  i thought about all the little kids who have to face cancer, and don't get to be kids.  i thought about what it would feel like to face that with brody.  i felt all the emotions that come along with being a pediatric ICU nurse, and taking care of these amazing, but super sick children.  and with that... i turned the corner into my final 0.2 miles of the race.  I looked at my watch again and saw i have several minutes to spare before reaching my goal.  i picked up the pace, and finished strong.  under my goal.  by two minutes.  
and there were tears.  

i took this picture just moments after crossing the finish line.  i told the photographer about my PR.  i had tears rolling down my cheeks as i tried to balance a banana, a chocolate milk, a medal, my water bottle and all the while fighting to open the gatorade they handed to me.  
and that my friends, is what a 30 min PR looks like!
check out that bling!

we watched the band for a bit, then headed back to the hotel for showers and food!
we headed out to celebrate our accomplishments
there were beers with our "highway friends", 
and a visit to the candy kitchen.
and i earned every single bite.

and, up next on my agenda...
you know i couldn't make it very long without something else on my schedule.  


  1. Atta girl! I teared up a bit reading your recap, such an awesome race! Way to go!!!

  2. Ahhhhh I LOVE this post!! Congratulations. You are amazing. :) PS Love the Jamberry manicures - so adorable.

  3. Woohoo! Huge congrats!! An awesome post to go along with an awesome PR :)

  4. Way to go!! Congrats on the PR!