Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nashville: Country Music Half Marathon

I am going to break my Nashville post up in two.  Mainly because two very distinct things happened in Nashville.  I ran my 3rd Half Marathon...and Honky Tonked it up with some of my best girl friends.  They both definitley need their own posts!

I was nervous for the half all week.  I get super nervous for big races for some reason even if I have done this distance before.  Then my stomach starts to get all weird.  Then I get even more nervous that my stomach is all weird.  Even Friday as we left I was so nervous.  We were watching the weather like hawks and the 80% chance of rain was not helping to calm my nerves! 

Friday we arrived in Nashville and had a nice lunch and then caught the bus to the Expo.  The Expo was fun.  I like nothing more then to be surrounded my running gear!  I didn't buy much but I definitley added bluetooth headphones to my wishlist!

Friday night we went to sleep pretty early because we had to catch the 5:30 bus.  I felt pretty awesome in the morning and was ready to get to that start line.  When we stepped outside to the bus it was already pouring but I was still trying to stay positive.  I've run in the rain before, right? I can do this.

Ellen, Anne and I snuck into corral 16 so that we could start a little earlier (sorry Amy and Brenda!).  The sounds and feelings of this race were different at the very beginning.  There was a constant rustle of garbage bags that everyone was wearing.  It was raining so hard I was worried the first mile that I was going to lose a contact.  My clothes were completely saturated and it had rained so much that it was impossible to not step in huge puddles and soak your feet.  We separated from Ellen before mile 1, and I ran till mile 3 with Anne before I lost her at a water stop. 

I mentally struggled from miles 3-6.  I was looking for ways out. If my contact fell out, I could quit.  If my knee starts to bother me just a bit more, I could quit.  Was that lighting, I can't run in the lightining.  But I kept going.  The volunteers, police, and spectators were amazing.  The signs kept me going at times.  The smiles kept me going at times.  My own inner dialouge kept me going at times.  The hours and miles I put into training kept me going at times.  My Run Now bracelet for Boston kept me going at times.  If ever there was a time to run... Run Now!

Around mile 6 I saw a little girl that looked a lot like Rory.  And I thought, Rory doesn't deserve a Mom who is a quitter.  I want to make her proud, so I kept running.

It got easier around mile 7.  I was over halfway and physically I felt great.  I started to look around at my surroundings a bit more and noticing all the cool things Nashville had to offer.  We ran through Vanderbilt and Belmont and through all sorts of neigborhoods and shopping areas.  Depsite the rain, it was a great tour of all of Nashville.  There weren't a ton of bands along the route due to the rain, but the ones that did show were great.  Toward the beginning there were two girls singing with umbrellas that were awesome, they were pretty much standing on the street and just belting it!

Around mile 10 I started talking to a girl running next to me.  I made a comment that we only had a 5K left and I could run a 5K in my sleep.  She said that was great way to look at it and told me that she likes to list off all reasons that she is doing this when she starts to feel like stopping.  So we decided to list a few reasons outloud to each other, complete strangers!  We both said fitness and health and our kids and family.  It felt good to recharge and then we parted ways and finished our own races.

At mile 12 there was a huge flash of lighting and thunder and everyone moaned and groaned.  We soon parted with the marathoners and it was fun to cheer and wish them well with the rest of their race.  The last mile seemed fast, I tried to finish strong and somehow I still had some energy left to sprint the last half mile.

My phone wasn't working so I had no idea how fast I was going.  I was trying to do the math and look at the clocks and I had set a goal to finish before 10:00.  I thought that would put me under my goal time of 2:23 - which was beating my fastest half.  I must have gone through the timings in my head 20 times during those last couple miles.  I finished at 9:57 but my math must have been off because I missed my goal by a little less then 2 minutes.

I am trying not to be be upset about it, running in the rain with all that extra weight slows down even the elite athletes.  I still ran every step and finished with a great time!

After we finished I was on a runner's high for about 20 minutes, but as my body cooled I became miserable and freezing in the pouring rain.  We had to wait for shuttle for about 45 minutes and I don't think i can even begin to tell you how miserable I felt in that moment.  I kept trying to figure out ways out of the situation, I was crabby and complaining and really not doing well. 

Finally we got on the bus and I change my shirt and instantly felt a little better.  Once we got back to the hotel and warmed up, ate and slept we all felt human again and very proud of our accomplishment!  Anne, Ellen and Lindsey also rocked the half marathon!  So proud of you girls!  We celebrated like rock stars that night - I'll tell you all about it later!

My Complete training plan...

What should I sign up for next?  I am thinking Minnesota Half Marathon on Aug 3.  Running is so addicting!

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