Well guys, I’m in double digits. Last Saturday I completed my TENTH half marathon – 9th in my 12 half marathons in 12 month project series. Point is, I’m starting to get up there. That’s over 130 miles just in races and although it’s really not that far in the grand scheme of things, anything over 100 still boggles the mind of this young runner.
And what a weekend it was. I couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the two days in Nashville were spent with great friends and fun activities. But first…race recap time!
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
Date & Time: March 9th 2013, 7:30 AM
Weather: I’m going to go with perfect. It was probably about 40 degrees when the gun went off and grew steadily warmer as the morning went on. It was sunny with little to no wind and by the time I finished it was about 60. For someone on the verge of buying a one way ticket to a tropical island, this weather was a welcomed delight.
1:53:11 – A new PR!! I will be the first to tell you I was not expecting to do this. But I can account for reporting on Friday that if I did, binge drinking good beer two days before hand may be a new tradition. Now I may actually have to follow up on that…
Worst Mile: For the first time, I am having a hard time coming up with a bad mile, because honestly there really wasn’t one. I had a small cramp at mile 3 that went away quickly and other than that I had no issues, physically or mentally, at all.
Best Mile: This is kind of a hard question as well because they were all pretty good. Split wise, miles 7-10 had me running an average of 8:10 – so technically speaking those were my best miles. But honestly, one of my favorites may have been mile 12. I was starting to get hot and the sun was shining on my face and it felt so good. It just felt like Spring and I new I was running well and it all came together and made me really happy. Yup, that crazy girl smiling like an idiot at mile 12 was me.
Fuel: This was a first for me. The race was well-stocked with both water and Gatorade, and around mile 4 or 5, I picked up a vanilla GU from a volunteer. I don’t really know why, but I hung on to it, in my hand for 4 miles before I decided to give it a whirl around mile 9. I rarely if ever eat fuel during my halfs but I was running so well, I figured it was a good time to experiment.Looking back, this seriously could have backfired, but thankfully it didn’t and as I slurped down half of the GU packet, I found myself not minding the texture and kind of enjoying the cake battery taste. Did it help? Hell if I know for sure, but I’m going to go with yes.
How did I feel: Amazing. Seriously, like really really good. I arrived in time to get a good long stretching session in, I was loose and energized and feeling pretty lucky to be running on such a perfect morning
Best part of the race (besides the finish): The weather. I know I keep coming back to the weather but I feel like a bear coming out of hibernation. The past few weeks I have seen nothing but falling temperatures, grey skies, and snow flurries. I am ready for Spring and this race seemed to mark the welcomed beginning of it.
Worst part of the race: Walking up the concourse of LP Field after the finish. Crossing the finish line, we received our medals and nothing else. We had to walk several hundred yards, up to the outside of the stadium to get water and post-race food. It really wasn’t a big deal, but I was ready for something cool to drink and the last thing I wanted to be doing was walking uphill. But again, this is just me being lazy I suppose.
Weirdest thing I saw: A non-Kenyan runner, running barefoot. Kudos to you, guy, you’re a braver soul than I.
The Hardware: Not going to lie, this is probably one of the uglier medals I’ve ever received. The color scheme is all kinds of fug but that’s just my opinion. Some people may love the 70’s-tastic combo of brown and yellow. Whatevs. I earned it.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this race. I’m going to try and write this from an objective point of view as the fantastic weather played a huge role in my enjoyment of it and others in the coming years may not be so lucky. So weather aside, I still really enjoyed this race. It’s smaller, capping out at 1500 and usually selling out. It was well organized, aside from a little starting line snafu and each aid station was adequately stocked with both fuel and volunteers.
I , in all my infinite wisdom, failed to research the course demographics beforehand. As I began to pass people, keeping an eye of my watch and seriously wondering if I was going too fast, I realized that it wasn’t me, it was the course. The majority of the race was on a Greenway and flat. Blissfully, unexpectedly flat. I train on hills and running such a flat course was a happy surprise. The race starts and finishes at LP Field (TN Titan’s Stadium) and so finishing on the field was pretty cool. They announce your name, put your beautiful mug up on the jumbo-tron, and there is something to be said about running into a stadium, knowing you’re almost about to cross the finish line, that is quite exhilarating.
Post-race fuel was pretty standard- water, bagels, bananas- but I didn’t linger. I had a nice guy snap this beautiful picture of me and was on my way.
All in all, a wonderful way to spend my morning. Great weather, a well-run and flat course. Thanks to all the volunteers as well as the guy holding the “You’re running better than the government” sign. I’ve never seen that before and found it to be pretty clever.
All you runners out there, what was your best race? What contributed to it? I feel like the weather makes a significant difference and even if I hadn’t PR’d I would have been happy to just be running that day.