Date & Time: September 28, 2013 @ 7:00PM
Goals: It’s always my goal to finish under 2 hours. But other than that, I really just wanted to finish and maintain a comfortable race pace.
Weather: Beautiful. It was a clear day, with a cool morning. It could have been a smidge colder for us runners, but I’ve been running in much warmer weather so no complaints here.
Worst Mile: 2-5. I don’t know if it’s my training or what, but I feel like the first few miles are always the worst for me. I get the “I’ve only gone that far? I have so much further to go” mentality and it can really mess with me. That, and the beginning is really where the majority of the hills in the race are. A steady incline of about 200 feet.Best Mile: Everything after 8. I was feeling good, the course was mostly downhill or flat, and was on my game. I had a 7:59 split at mile 12 (what??) and although I became utterly exhausted near the finish, I managed to never let up.
Fuel: Due to my stomach being fussy this week, I had half a banana and a half a plain mini bagel (compliments of the race) before I started. I also drank Gatorade throughout the course and a vanilla GU at mile 7.
How did I feel: Fantastic. It was such a beautiful day and the course was as well. I started off strong, lagged a little bit for a few miles after, then got in my groove.
Best part of the race (besides finishing): The volunteers were plentiful and so supportive and there was plenty of people out cheering on. I normally don’t care too much about stuff like that, but it was a real big boost every time I stopped for water or Gatorade to have someone tell me how great I was doing.
Worst part: The expo took place at a hotel in downtown Nashville. Fine, dandy, but just an FYI parking in Downtown Nashville is ruthless. Some jerks wanted to charge me $10 to park for a lousy 10 minutes while I went in to grab my goodies. I have no problem paying $10 to park somewhere if I will be there for a significant amount of time (such as the race, where I happily paid $10 to park at LP field for the 3 hours I would be there) but for a few minutes? No. I found parking at the library, was in an out, and paid a buck.
Weirdest thing I saw: Somebody was handing out running skirts on the course around mile 1. I’m unsure if it was for a store and it was a promotion thing or what, but then I suddenly saw about a dozen girls wearing or holding these skirts for the next 12 miles. Chicks will do anything for free running swag.
Final thoughts: I loved this race. It was a bit expensive between the registration and parking and traveling but it was very well organized, started right on time, and I felt like I actually benefited from the price. Plenty of on-course support, Gatorade & GU’s, a massive medal, and a solid post-race party. Seriously – there was a beauty lounge where I could wash my face, put on some deodorant (ain’t nobody smelling sweet after 13 miles) and make myself somewhat presentable. Also there was a cookie bar, a live band playing, and CHAMPAGNE! I promise you, some of the best sips of champagne you will ever have will be following a particularly good race.
It was nice to get “back in the saddle” after taking a racing hiatus while I train and what a great way to do so. I would recommend this race to anyone but register early before the prices increase.