Saturday, April 28, 2012

Country Music Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, April 28
Nashville, TN
State #45
Weather - HOT. HUMID.

We had originally planned to run the Country Music half marathon last year, but decided to postpone a year due to all the time we were going to be gone in May. This year, we really lucked out that the other L was going to be running also. It would have likely been a total disaster had she not been there to help us out.

We left the hotel a bit late for the airport. By the time we got there, we only had an hour until our flight left. OF COURSE the security line would be crazy long for the first time in ages. It took as a half hour to get through, we literally walked up to the gate right as "B" was boarding. Once on the plane, turns out there was some weather issues and we sat on the runway for 45 minutes before we left. Obviously we landed late as a result.

Originally we were going to take the shuttle to our hotel, but L just came and picked us up since it wasn't that far away. We dropped off our stuff at the hotel and then headed downtown to pick up our packets. We parked kind of far away so we didn't have to pay for parking. Gave me a chance to see part of the city:

AT&T "batman" building
The expo was a cluster. Holy cow. I have never been to such a crowded place IN MY LIFE. We had to wait in a line outside just to get in. Then it was one long winding line through the building, down a few escalators, into the hall. Luckily, we seemed to be in the only corral with no line for bibs, so that was nice. I was pretty psyched to get a red shirt. I really don't like the white ones they have been doing for all other races. It was way too chaotic to go too thoroughly through the expo, but I headed over to see Cheryl at Razzy Roo. She wasn't working, but her sister was there. I did notice that she changed some of her advertising... Look familiar??

I'm a celebrity! 
After leaving the expo, we headed over to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. We were really happy that there was no wait to be seated. Turns out that makes NO difference. Still took over an hour to get food. RIDICULOUS.

We walked around downtown for a few minutes, stopped at an ice cream parlor (where I shared a brownie with L)

And posed for a picture in front of a giant boot:

We were back at the hotel by 8, and we needed to head to bed early since L warned that there would be a lot of traffic and we had to take a shuttle from the finish line to the start. We decided to leave at 5 with a 7 am start.


Woke up around 4:20, and got ready. I had slept really well, but I felt tired. It seemed like we were leaving crazy early. Within 10 minutes, I knew we had probably not left enough time. Again, it was a good thing L was with us, because we would not have known alternate ways to get anywhere. Traffic was a standstill on the highway, she took us a back way into the city, and we managed to find FREE parking (all public lots were charging $20... crooks). We booked over to the stadium - the city looked pretty from the pedestrian bridge:

We found the line for the shuttle, and I checked the weather. The app lies, it was already over 60 degrees before we were even out of the car.

LP Field
So. Turns out we were in the VIP line, but we didn't know it for a few minutes. Then we had to run to the other side of the stadium for the "regular people" shuttle. The line was RIDICULOUS. We probably waited in line for 20 minutes. By the time we got dropped off at the starting area, it was already 6:25. We ran to the Parthenon for the half fanatic picture - and we were only one minute late!

Dave, L, Me
Pre-race, matchy matchy
Right after taking the picture, the other L ran into her speedy friend from work and they headed to the start line since we only had about 15 minutes until the start. L and I needed to use the bathroom. We were in line by where we took the picture for about 5 minutes and didn't move an inch. I called the other L and found out there were more bathrooms at the start, so we ran over there. This picture was taken AFTER the gun went off. Look how long all the lines still are. C'MON ROCK N' ROLL. AT OVER $100 A PERSON YOU CAN'T HAVE MORE BATHROOMS?????

As a result of the bathroom situation, we were not able to start in our corral. We had to start way back in corral 14. It was insanely crowded:

We started out slow, but that was fine by me since it was going to be a hot and humid day. And thanks to the other L having run it before, we also knew it was going to be HILLY.

Mile 1 - Already ROASTING
The first few miles were hot, but not too hard. L and I were chatting a bit and I didn't even turn on my iPod until probably mile 2. I heated up QUICK. With as much as I was sweating, I knew that I was sweating and wiping the sunscreen right off my face. I hate getting that stuff in my eyes, it burns so bad!!

The course got a lot harder after we passed mile 2. Miles 3 & 4 were probably the hardest on the course. We were looking for the other B who said she was cheering around mile 3, but we never saw her. She probably thought she missed us since we started over 15 minutes late.

We finally caught up to Dave around mile 4.5. He got a few pictures of us, then we went on ahead. I am pretty sure I have never run such a crowded race. It was really hard to keep a steady pace because people were running together and/or stopping to walk at every hill. Even the downhills!

Every once in a while, there was shade, and THAT was really nice:

About halfway
I really don't remember that much of the race itself. I did stop at three different tables for beer. I put ice down my bra because I was so hot. I dumped water over my head at every aid station after the first one. I did not walk a SINGLE hill. I got annoyed at the sheer masses of people that gave up and yet chose to walk in the middle of the course. I complained about the heat. A LOT. I will say that the course was challenging, but the first half was MUCH worse. Until about mile 12.5. At that point, L dug deep and was able to have a strong finish (like she always does). My legs were DONE, and it took every ounce of energy in me to NOT walk. Even the downhill finish didn't do much to improve my pace. I was wasted.

Typical for a rock n' roll race, it was a cluster finish that lasted about a quarter mile and took probably 15 minutes to walk through. We did get a wet, cold towel at the end, but other than that, I wasn't too impressed with this race. It seemed really disorganized and way too crowded. I did, however, enjoy that the course has AWESOME crowd support. I think just about every inch of the course had people cheering. That was really neat. The rest? Meh.

Bib #6595
Official Time - 2:18:11
Official 5K - 32:16
Official 10K - 1:04:57
Official Pace - 10:33
Overall Place - 8059/22326
Gender Place - 3897/14212
Division Place - 784/2518
Garmin Time - 2:18:12
Garmin Distance - 13.23 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:27
Mile 1 - 9:50
Mile 2 - 9:53
Mile 3 - 10:48
Mile 4 - 10:42
Mile 5 - 10:39
Mile 6 - 10:23
Mile 7 - 10:40
Mile 8 - 10:35
Mile 9 - 10:43
Mile 10 - 10:05
Mile 11 - 10:19
Mile 12 - 10:33
Mile 13 - 10:42
Mile 13.1ish - 9:42

We found the other L without TOO much trouble, then walked back to the car and headed to the hotel to shower. We drove back into the city, and met B for lunch at Pharmacy - a burger and beer garden. I had a delicious burger and sweet potato fries. YUM!!

Right after lunch, we had to head to the airport. Uneventful flight to Denver. We landed a few minutes early, got on the shuttle right away, and then we were the SECOND people dropped off. Awesome.


  1. Aw, dang, I thought I wanted to run this race sometime. Hmmm, must find a different one in TN that LJ would be willing to do.

    Great report, you guys looked fabulous in orange (again!). Sorry the race sucked for you, but you beat my Platte River time, haha. What was the GU tally for this race?

  2. if you can believe it, its even hotter today, bah! Glad to tour guide the best I could... you'll just have to come back sometime in the future for a better TN experience ;)

  3. Way to tough out the heat and crowds. love the matchy matchy outfits. So cute.

  4. Great job! I have noticed problems with porta potties at RnR races as well. They had that issue in SA the last time I ran that race.

  5. I intended to look for you guys but in the chaos I couldn't find anyone I knew at the start or finish. I couldn't agree more about everything you said regarding this race. There were parts on a hill where there were so many walkers there was no way to get through but to cut them off to get around. I highly recommend Oak Barrel Half in Lynchburg, TN!

  6. Wow, that sounds like (a) hotter than an armpit, (b) race logistics were mis-managed (competitor group is not on a roll over the last year).

    You certainly banged out a good pace with the heat.

  7. sounds like a huge cluster. i had no desire to do this one as my TN race because I am so over the RNR issues. glad you had fun with L though!

  8. I ran across your blog on Pinterest! We live in east Tennessee and I wanted to suggest a couple of half marathons that are worth trying. Here in Knoxville, we host the Covenant Health Marathon & Half Marathon every spring. It follows a lot of the greenways and goes through some historic neighborhoods in the city, finishing in Neyland Stadium (home of the VOLS) - great course! There is also the St. Jude's Marathon & Half Marathon in Memphis every fall, which is for a fantastic charity (St Jude's Children's Hospital). I can't speak to the course itself, but I have a friend who runs it to raise money for St. Jude and she has enjoyed the race. I hope you get a chance to check out one of these!


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