Special thanks again to Josh Cox & CEP Socks for the opportunity to run Rock n Roll's Country Music Half Marathon on 4/30. What a great party all the way to the finish line! I had a great time despite the heat & enjoyed the city for the brief time that I was there.
I drove from St. Louis, & on the way I just happened to stop at a gas station in Metropolis, IL. It was apparently also a Superman museum of sorts, & I had to get my picture taken as Wonder Woman. You know, for my kids ;) It was a good trip, & I drove straight to the expo since I still had no clue where my friend Molly lived, & was waiting for her call.
When I arrived, I was thrilled to find that I would be starting in corral 2!! I know!! So excited that I had to take a photo. In talking to some of the girls at the start, since they projected right around the same time, it appears that it was due to my projected finish time & not Josh Cox's awesomeness! Even cooler, since there were something like 32 corrals. I chose what I thought was a conservative time, but it ended up being my actual finish time of 1:45. I was not too broken up about that because I know I did what I could with the fitness I had.
After getting my packet, I turned the corner to see Kara Goucher on the stage for a Q & A. I knew I would regret it if I didn't ask her a question, so here's what I said: "First of all, I am one of the 25 people to win a bracelet from your blog & I just wanted to say thank you. I love it!" So, she's all "That's great! Thank you for participating!" & she seemed genuinely excited to know that :) Then I asked her how she rebounds mentally after not reaching a goal. Like Boston. Her goal was to win, just a few weeks prior to her being in Nashville, & it didn't happen. She just said that her mother always told her that it's OK to be sad, & to cry, when you don't meet your goal. She said that she has her little cry & then she moves on, focusing on what she's going to do next to improve. Good to know that she is human & goes through the same struggles.
Here's a picture of baby Colt & Adam Goucher, who is on his way to a comeback it sounds like. You can hardly see a darn thing in this shot, but what a cute little baby!
My allergies were acting up big time, so I stopped at a drugstore right in front of Centennial Park, which is where the race would start, & is also right across the street from Vanderbilt. What a beautiful park, area, & campus. Stay in school, kids! ;)
Finally I made my way to Molly!! So nice to see her after a few years, & so happy to see that she is still the same. What a gracious host & amazing person. She insisted that I sleep in her bed while she was on the couch. I did nothing to deserve any of this. A free race entry, place to crash, & a day to spare. What a great weekend!
We went to a restaurant called Bricktops & had a great meal. I tried a local brew, Yazoo Dos Perros, since they had no Guinness (as is my pre-race tradition). Delicious!
Race morning was nice & relaxing as well. Molly had coffee brewed, so I had some of that while I read one of the books on her coffee table "And She Sparkled" by Joan Steffend. Perfect thing to read to set my mind on the task at hand. We headed to the park, me doing a warm-up jog & Molly as my bicycle escort. I still can't believe she actually woke up & went down there. I would have totally stayed in bed ;) I made my way to Corral 2 (I know, right?!) & did some drills, stretched, & talked to some of the girls. One girl forgot her hair tie & was freaking out, so I gave her mine since I had a hat on. My hair would stay off my neck & I would have felt bad about her the whole time. Crisis averted. Phew!
Aaaaaaand, we're off!
Knowing the elevation ahead of time, I decided to go out a little fast. My effort level was not hard, by any means, but my pace was a little fast because I knew I would need those seconds later in the race. I did not know, however, that what sort of looks like a fairly flat course would turn out to be a course filled with loooooong steady inclines. I have been doing my long runs on a trail with rolling hills so I though I would be prepared. I didn't really have the endurance for these long hills. Plus, it seemed like they had all the aid stations in the middle of hills so I had no choice but to walk through each of them. I had a "dump one cup over the head, drink the other" method that I used from the very beginning since I knew it would be a hot day & that really saved me I think.
I also NEVER race longer races without my Nathan handheld water bottle. Historically, I don't do well with the aid station cups (they make me nervous. what if I spill it? etc. ugh) & I don't like to slow down, or have the option to stop. In the future, as annoying as it is to cart that thing around, I will be bringing the water bottle. Without all the walk breaks through water stations (every single one!) I may have very well gotten close to that 1:42 in this race. Also, I had to use the inside back pocket of my running shorts for my gels since I usually put them in the zipper pocket of the handheld, & I had never tried that before. I had to deal with those things poking & stinging me in the butt as I developed a bad chafing. It is still there & bothering me more than a week later! Lesson learned.
Here are my mile splits:
Mile 1 - 7:33
Mile 2 - 7:24 (was downhill)
Mile 3 - 8:09 (starting hilly section)
Mile 4 - 8:08
Mile 5 - 8:07
Mile 6 - 7:47
Mile 7 - 8:18
Mile 8 - 8:42
Mile 9 - 7:52
Mile 10 - 7:46
Mile 11 - 7:46
Mile 12 - 8:08
Mile 13 - 8:35
.23 - 1:25 (6:15 avg pace)
For a total of 1:45:39 per Garmin & 1:45:35 official (7:59 avg pace)
After mile 8, I was fading. The hills were making me nuts, as it seemed like the whole darn thing was uphill, & it was getting rather hot. I noticed the 1:45 pace team & decided to stay with them & let that guy do the work, pulling me along. Smart decision. I needed to stop thinking so much & complaining to myself about the long hills. I stayed on his shoulder until the last aid station, which I walked through, & finished just behind them. Good enough for me :) I would have loved to get under 1:42, but I really wasn't worried about it. I was just looking to have some fun & see the sights.
The race finished at LP field, which, not being a huge sports fan & not really researching anything before heading to the race, I thought was a baseball field... ... ... Yes. So I'm hot & ready to get this thing over with, & I can see the finish line. I'm telling myself (in my head, thank goodness) "OK, we're gonna slide into home! Just a few more steps!" I get to where the stadium actually is, after getting salt from the medic tent & helping a girl who is about to pass out, & I see "Tennessee Titans" on the side of the building. ... ... ... FAIL. :)
I met up with Molly & her boyfriend B & we went back to her place where she made this amazing meal! Delicious :)
She also had these beautiful flowers for me. So sweet! I put my medal in front of the flowers, which you can hardly see, & it is the coolest medal I've gotten! Super-bling :)
I had an amazing time, & felt like I had the best race possible. Seriously, those hills... I mean, it reminded me of this 5 mile out & back that I do from my house all the time. I don't like that route. It makes me want to walk. & it's only 5 miles. I never actually walk, but I contemplate it every time. Maybe it helped me in Nashville, or maybe I just need to go a different way from now on for my 5 milers ;) Either way, I had a great time at this race & would love to do it again!