Race Recap: RnR Country Music Marathon – Nashville 2015

RnR Nashville Country Music Marathon Recap Race Recap

I’m still not sure I’m emotionally in a great space to write this, but the race was one month ago exactly, and after much reflection, I feel like I just need to get it out there.

My #RunCMM Takeaways:

1. Be sure to wear sunscreen.
2. Running a marathon is a mental game.
3. I might *always* cry at Mile 24.

The Weekend
We left Friday morning, and stopped in Louisville for lunch.  Did not do a good amount of research on where we were going to eat, and our first choice restaurant ended up being closed.  Sadly, we were in a touristy part of town, and had a pretty disappointing meal!  Womp womp.  On to beautiful TN!  We pulled in to our host’s house around 2:30 or 3:00 and checked in.  We stayed at an awesome house that we found on AirBnB in East Nashville.

AirBnB was great!

AirBnB was great!

Our hosts recommended a few restaurants in the area, gave us a tour of the house, and left us to our own devices for the rest of the weekend.  This was so much better than a hotel!

The Expo
Totally a money grab.  The lines for the bib pick-up were ok, then off to the t-shirt and bag pick-up.  Maybe I’m spoiled, but there was ZERO race swag – the bags had a Sports Authority coupon and that’s it.  I think the Rock and Roll Series has a lock on fun races in cool cities, but MAN do they nickel and dime you on every little thing that goes in to a race.  And because of the size of the race, and the huge amount of booths selling crap to people, the expo was packed so we were as in and out of there as fast as we could get!

Race Day Recap
The weather all weekend was calling for RAIN.  Storms, lightening, thunder, awful horrible rain.  We kept getting emails about staying up to date on race day conditions, and that they would decide whether or not to cancel due to storms by 5:30am on race day.  After meeting my run buddy and her husband for dinner at a great burger joint, we got back to our place so I could set out my things and do a last minute rundown of my checklist.  Waterproof bag for my phone, dry clothes for post-race, poncho, check, check, check!  Woke up, and it was still sprinkling but the race was ON!  I had breakfast and got ready to go, but I was feeling oddly “off”.  I was just not excited to get out there.  I chalked it up to being sleepy, and we headed towards downtown.

A Good Luck poster from my coworkers!

A Good Luck poster from my coworkers!

My awesome BF got up early with me and drove down, and we made plans to see eachother at one of the pre-arranged block parties on the course.  I have him a hug, he gave me a pep talk, and I went and immediately got in line for the port-a-potty.  (Hey, you can never be too frequent with your pre-race potty breaks!).  I made it to the starting area, and of course it was a total cluster.  I think there were 35 corrals and I was in 27.  When there are that many spectators and runners, it is impossible to get in through the barricades so I felt like I was fighting the crowd for a long time before I could even get in to any corral area.  My run buddy and I were texting back and forth to try and meet up and eventually I found her.  We chatted for a bit about the hills (so many hills) and then she asked if I was nervous.  And I finally admitted that, yes, for whatever reason, I was terrified.

When you race, do you have a ritual?  Or something that calms you down?  I usually do a mental checklist of things I have with me.  One thing I like to have is with me (aside from my phone, my iPod, GUs, etc.) is this headband that I got free at an expo.  Instead of using it as a headband, I twist it around my wrist and use it to wipe my face/forehead/mouth/nose etc. when I run.  Maybe that’s gross… but it’s my “thing.” And guess what?  I lost mine on race day.  The one I normally use was in the dryer at home, but I knew I had a spare in my pack.  As we were walking towards the start line, I was readjusting all my stuff and realized I had dropped it.  Poor run buddy, she walked with me for a few blocks, away from the start line, against a huge flow of people trying to start the race to help me find it.  We never did find it, and suddenly I felt like I was DOOMED.

Sadly, I don’t have a lot to say about the “during” part of the race.  On the plus side, it was a beautiful day.  It never rained, the sun came out, and that was awesome.  Except I decided to wear a tank top, which normally would be great in what ended up being about 75 degrees, except that I had trained all winter long in layers, away from sunshine.  By Mile 2 I was sweating.  By Mile 10 I was miserable.  By Mile 13 I seriously considered just quitting and going back to the car.  It got warmer and warmer, and I got more and more zapped from the heat.  I hadn’t planned my fueling/run:walk/hydration strategies very well, and so I spent the majority of the race in my head.  And my head was not a nice place to be.  Starting around Mile 20, I got emotional and was pretty much close to tears or actively crying for the rest of the race.  It was just… miserable.  So why did I keep going?  Because I had to finish.  I had to honor the training that I put in, and eventually I will figure out what went wrong.  Or hey, maybe I won’t ever know what went wrong.  I finished, I was happy to get the medal, and now I want to get BETTER.  My finish time was way off my goal, I finished in 5:38 which was 6 minutes slower than the Cleveland Marathon.  But I still crossed the finish line, which is impressive considering my state of mind at Mile 22.

Pre- During- Post-Race

Pre- During- Post-Race

I saw BF and my friends  right before the finish line cheering their hearts out, my run buddy had a GREAT RACE!  So proud of her!  I got my medal and stretched a bit, then assessed the damage.  One really jacked up toenail, a bit of chafing, and what ended up being one of the top five worst sunburns I’ve ever had.  We went straight from the race to a Kroger to buy aloe.  Heat was radiating off of my body, and I knew that must have had a little (or a lot) to do with my over all performance.

After I got over feeling sorry for myself, I had a GREAT time in Nashville.  Excellent food, great drinks, and we had a really wonderful experience with our AirBnB – it was in a cool neighborhood and we felt comfortable enough that we could relax there and enjoy it.  I don’t think I would consider running this race again any time soon, the hills really did kill me and the weather is unpredictable, but Nashville was a beautiful city and the race was well organized.  I would recommend it…. with caution and enough advanced warning to train on hills!