Hooray! I’m back from Nashville with a medal from marathon #2!
Definitely a well-earned medal. The recap:
Mile 1: Rain
Mile 2: Pouring Rain
Mile 3:…well, you probably get it.
It poured down rain the entire race. Well, not quite. But I’ll get to that. This is going to be a bit long, since it was a whirlwind of a weekend! If you’re just interested in my finish time, you can scroll down to the bottom 😉 I do it too.
So, Friday morning, I packed up the car and went to pick up my travel buddy Jen for our 6-ish hour drive to Nashville! The drive was pretty uneventful; it’s actually a pretty scenic drive. We got in around 3 and got settled into our hotel before heading over to the expo. Here’s my one big complaint about the whole weekend – the price to park was ridiculous! I think we paid a total of $35 over the whole weekend, which is ridiculous IMO. Is that normal for a big city? I don’t remember paying that much ever, even in Chicago.
Anyways, there were tons of people at the expo, but it was pretty well organized.
We wandered around for a while after I picked up my bib and I tried every sample I could since I’m dumb. I know that’s breaking a race rule or whatever, but I like free stuff. I did buy one thing, this foam roller ball thing. I’ve seen a few reviews out there and Jen told me I should buy it. Hah. But it was pretty reasonably priced, and she was right that it would probably be better for rolling out my butt than a tennis ball. I’m a fan.
Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel since there would be an early wake up call the next morning. We wanted to make sure that traffic and parking at LP field wasn’t an issue, so we left around 4:45. We made sure that Jen had a good (safe) game plan for spectating and that we knew where to meet at the finish, then I took off for the start line shuttle. It seemed like there were plenty of shuttles, but I was there pretty early, so I don’t know how it was for the people who got there much later. The moment we got off the shuttle it started raining! Ug.
I had an old throwaway sweatshirt to keep me warm and a trash bag to keep most of my dry, but my shoes got soaked pretty quickly. I really liked that this race had food and drinks at the start line since there was still an hour and a half before the race start. This was good because I really didn’t want to end up hungry halfway through like I did at Spinx, so I ate a lot. Like 2 bananas, a peanut butter bagel, oatmeal and a Cliff Bar. I think that’s it. They had coffee too, which was awesome. I spent the whole time before the start wandering around, eating, using the port-a-potties, and chatting with random people. And it rained some more.
I really liked the corral start at this race. They started the first corrals almost 10 minutes late (was supposed to start at 7) and I was still across the start line a little after 7:30. I didn’t have to worry about dodging people at all, so that was really great. I decided not to wear my Garmin for this race, just a regular old watch, so when I got to the start, I ditched my sweatshirt and trashbag, started my watch and took off!
There’s alot of say about the race, but it’s kind of all a jumbled mess in my head. I’ll try and list them out as organized as possible!
1. There were so many spectators and volunteers! I really couldn’t believe how many people came out to stand out in the pouring rain and cheer. There were several places where spectators were handing out snacks and beers and it was just awesome. All the race volunteers I encountered were friendly and helpful. Those guys are great! Way to leave a good impression =)
2. My clothes and shoes were completely soaked by mile 2. This was kind of a good thing because I think it’s better to be totally soaked than to be that half wet/half dry sticky feeling that you get when it’s just sprinkling. The weather forecasted about a half inch of rain, but I’m pretty sure it rained like 4 inches (ok, maybe not that much). There were huge puddles everywhere and some of the roads were flooded. And it just would not let up…until mile 23. The moment I passed the mile 23 marked, it stopped raining and I was like, “Omgs, you’ve got to be kidding me”. I guess it was nice that I was slightly drier when I finished.
3. I made sure I charged up my little iPod shuffle before I left so it wouldn’t die on me again, and what happened? Low battery at mile 6. ARG! At that point, I decided to turn it off and save the battery for the last 6 miles when I knew I would need it. I thought this would be awful, but it was actually kind of awesome. I could hear the on-course bands and spectators better and I was more aware of the scenery than I usually am. Even still, I didn’t hear Jen at mile 10.
4. I did have to take a potty break. I hated it, but it was an emergency. The thought of having to peel off my soaking wet clothes was repulsive and I put it off for almost 5 miles before I could wait no longer. And of course, I picked the port-a-potty with a lock that didn’t work. Two people managed to walk in on me, but I feel like a marathon in the pouring rain leaves you with little dignity, so whatever.
5. I had very minimal chafing, thank goodness. There’s a few spots on one ankle where my sock slid (I had to stop and fix it), and a little line on my hip where my SPIBelt rubbed. I wore very thin socks, my compression calf sleeves, lulu shorts, a quick-dry tank I bought at Marshall’s last week, and my hat. I am SO GLAD I had that hat. So glad.
6. Unfortunately, I had other pains. My bum (the one that hurts) didn’t start in until 23-24, so that was good, but early on, my left achilles felt really, really tight. WHY? That’s never been a problem before! Makes no sense. It still hurts today, but it’s much better. Also, the outside of my right foot hurts! It didn’t start until a few hours after I finished, but I could barely walk on it later that day. Very annoying.
FINALLY, the finish.
I came in and finished in 4:55! Oh, thank goodness I got in under 5 hours! This is almost a 20 minute PR, and while I think I could have done better, I’m still very happy. This was a pretty hilly course, and my training was definitely not where it needed to be, so this is great.
I got my medal and got all the free food I could hold and went to go find Jen. She stood out in the pouring rain almost the whole time to cheer for me. WHAT A FRIEND! You are awesome.
I made her drive me back to the hotel since my legs weren’t working yet so we could have long hot showers before heading out to be touristy. The rest of the afternoon was fun (even though I could barely walk). We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame since it was still raining.
We also had an amazing dinner at the Merchant’s Restaurant downtown. Seriously, it was amazing. Go there. I didn’t take pictures because I was busy devouring it, but I had chicken fried chicken and peach cobbler and it was definitely one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to.
So, Nashville is a pretty cool city. I would love to go with more time and better weather to explore some of the sights I saw during the marathon. I am so glad I went.