Monday, May 8, 2017

Running Nashville: The Great, The Funny, & A little Ugly

It has taken me a week to just sit down and do a quick recap of Running Nashville. It has been a whirlwind of my life since getting back from Nashville and I have not really been able to relax all week.

First off want to say that Nashville is an amazing city. It is so awesome, I seriously want to go back and vacation there again for much longer and it would be a city I would consider moving too, if I ever had to move.

The city is filled with music after music, after music. Musicians start playing at 11:00 in the bars and go to the early morning. Each bar has at least 2-4 floors and on each floor there is another bar and live music on that one too. It is like getting 4-5 bars in one bar. Crazy I know but the coolest thing. And each level will have a different variety of country music playing, with a little rock and maybe some pop mixed in.

We instantly loved Nashville once we went downtown. The downtown life is not only filled with bars but museums and fun atmosphere to do so much. For Thursday and Friday we literally walked around Nashville all day.

We took in all the sights that downtown had to offer, such as The Bridgestone Arena, The Ryman Auditoriam, The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Johnny Cash Museum, we walked up and down Broadway and found different roads that lead to more and adventures. We seriously got some major steps in those days and we were tuckered out at the end of the night, which was great because it made for some great sleep.

I have to admit I was super nervous about all our walking because my leg and calves were feeling really tight and having to run the Half Marathon on that Saturday, I wasn't sure how I would feel. Then I just said the heck with it and had fun anyway...

Friday night I got ready by laying out my flat Angie and had James do some last minute foam rolling and stick action. My right calf was driving me absolutely crazy and was so tight...

I knew it was going to give me a bother, but I tried my best anyway.  I was going to show up and run the race anyway no matter what. I was not ready for this race physically. I have to admit I felt super fluffy, thanks to Mother Nature and it was throwing my whole mental game totally off. I didn't feel like the super confident person I am when it comes to races. And my leg was bothering me, making that even harder to concentrate. But I got up that morning with some super pep in my step, I had slept really good the night before and I was ready to take on the run.

Nashville was going to be my first real destination race. Okay, well my Marathon was my first real destination race, in PA. But I went to college and lived in that area, so it wasn't that much of a destination because I knew everywhere I was running. Nashville was a whole new world to me, cue Aladdin song!! But I was so excited, nervous and seriously could not wait to get running.

Okay so instead of breaking it down I am going to break it down into some highlights with The Great, The Funny & The Ugly...

The Great

1. I signed up to run this race with St. Jude to be a St. Jude Hero, meaning I raised money to run and I got an entry fee for free for doing that. Being a St. Jude Hero was so rewarding. It was actually really amazing. But even better there were so many people doing the same thing and knowing I was apart of that and raised a ton of money for a great cause, made this race probably my favorite. There were St. Jude stops all along the course and at the end, St. Jude people were there cheering you on the loudest.

2. The volunteers and spectators along the course were AMAZING!!! I mean the best I had ever been at. Every water station had people high living, spraying us down with water because it was very, very hot and unlike those high temps this time of year there. While I was used to hot weather in Florida, running a long race like that, later in the morning, made it really difficult. They also had salt packets along the way too.

3. The spectators were giving out candy, water, fruit and even popsicles. Yes popsicles.

This was at mile 10 and I thankfully was not passing it up. Usually on races I am so concerned with my pace or the miles and this time I just wanted to have some good old fun. So if a mom and her kids are giving those out I am going to run and eat it at the same time. And it tasted amazing and gave me the perfect amount of jolt. 

4. Pink Starburst and pretzels. Like I said these people know how to treat runners!! I had taken my GU with me and I had one or two, but when it is hot, dannnnngg it does not taste great. So I was happy with the sugar and the salt.

5. The views along the way were amazing. We started running right down Broadway which is the big area in Nashville, with all the cool bars and Country Music Hall of Fame, we ran Music Row and I saw where Bobby Bones broadcast from, we ran past recording studios that all Country Music stars record and signed with. We ran past colleges and ended at Nissan Stadium and walking back from the race we had the best view going over the Cumberland Bridge. The views were amazing on this run. Everything was so exciting and new.

6. The expo for this race was so much fun. Lots of stands, no lines and I got to get a coffee mug to come home with AND you could exchange the size of your race shirt. Mine was way to small because race shirts suck sometime and you could actually exchange it right there. YES! And it was sponsored by Brooks, my running shoe.

7. The music was great. Rock and Roll Marathon series have live music along the miles and there were some really fun, high energy performers. It was so great. I paused my headphones at every live music station.

8. There was food before which was great because I was staying in a hotel and they didn't serve breakfast that early. So a mini bagel and banana. Also my LYFT driver was phenomenal, got me there super early and was very encouraging. 

The Funny

1. The funny was the signs people made. There were so many good ones that I forgot to take pictures. but the best was the one That had a picture of Donald Trump and it said I thought it would have been easier. If you watched the news that week that make perfect sense.

2. At mile 5 there was a live band that was dressed up and singing and dancing and blowing. bubbles. They made it so much fun.

3. I was just having so much fun that I didn't even care that my GPS was totally off or I was running a 15.00 minute mile. I was more concerned with the 30,000 people around me. I was dancing in the street, looking at people dressed up and having a blast.

The Ugly...

1. Well the really really ugly was all the hills. I knew Nashville was going to be quite the hilly race BUT I was in for a really big surprise, like really big. The WHOLE race was elevation, seriously there might have been one area at was flat. Here is the thing, running in Florida is FLAT. Sure we have some bridges and some change in elevation but nothing like this. EVEN my marathon wasn't this hilly. It was just constant up and down.

2. Lots of people walking. Which wouldn't seem all that bad right, well it messed with my head a bit because when I saw other people walking then I felt I had too, even though maybe I didn't need too. The idea of running the hills got in my head and when they walked them so did I. Which slowed me down but I never once quit.

3. Chaffing. Seriously it was horrible because of the KT tape I had wrapped practically my whole body in and my legs and well it was hot. I know TMI but it is the real deal when you are running and I was hurttttiiiinnngg. Seriously couldn't wear jeans for days.

4. Headaches. I didn't have any caffeine except for my Spark in the beginning of the morning and later that night, I had the worst headache all night long. I was having withdrawals from caffeine.

But this race was truly my favorite race. James was at the finish line taping me as I was coming in and I was so happy to see him. It is so awesome having him on this journey with me and smiling and waving at me as I go by. He was so close to the finish that I was able to run right to him and high five him.

The end of the race was great. They gave you wet towels, water, Gatorade, pretzels, beer and cookies and a live band that was out of this world good. We opted for my beer, a picture opt and then I went and got a Big Old Burger and a nap.

I highly recommend running Nashville because it is a HUGE race, there are so many people and it makes for quite the experience. It gave me the confidence of running more destation races in the future.

We are even considering Savannah, GA next..until then....

#10 is in the books!!!