Apologies as this is a long-winded post. What a great day it was! We were all so nervous there would be thunderstorms and the race would have gotten moved to Sunday. We were so lucky with the way things turned out. The local news had expected the storms to roll in early afternoon, so it was such a huge surprise to see the cloudy morning turn into a sunny 80* day! It was beautiful out! Very humid, but so much better than dealing with storms.
We got up at 4:15AM after a rough night. We ended up having to switch hotel rooms in the middle of the night because our AC unit freaked out and it sounded like we had a train in our room and it was so hot in there! Thankfully the new room was nice and cool and no weird noises. We were downtown sometime in the 5 o’clock hour. My dad and husband ran the 5k that started 6:45AM so we wanted to make sure we left early to avoid traffic, get our parking spot, and have time to walk to the starting line.
When my wave went out, I immediately had a side stitch in my ribs. Thankfully, it went away by about mile 3. My mom was in a corral just a few behind me. We originally were going to run together, but decided it was best to split up for various reasons. She caught up to me around mile 9 and I saw her a few times before seeing all the ‘Stay Left for Marathon” and “Stay Right for Half” signs around mile 11. I was staying pretty much on pace with my goal until the 1/2 point. Then I started to slow down a bit.
Mile 17 just hit me hard! I suddenly felt sick to my stomach and the aches/pains really started to set in so I started run/walking. I was so shocked because I never felt this awful during my training runs. I live in a pretty flat area, so when I trained I was hunting out hills to run on. Even with that, I never came close to the 950 feet elevation GAIN that this course had. I’m sure that was a large part of it, and the heavy humidity didn’t help any. At this point on the course, I was running right past the finish line. I tried so hard to put on the blinders and not watch as tons of runners were finishing the half, but it was impossible not to look away. I was so happy to see my family at this point. They knew I would be going past the area so they were watching for me. My husband ran along side me for a minute and tried to motivate me into not giving up.
Mile 18, I started crying because I felt like I couldn’t take another step. I tried so hard to think of something else, but my knees and hips were screaming. I don’t know who she was, but a girl in a red shirt (I believe it was someone with St. Jude) started running with me and tried to cheer me up a bit. She put her arm around me and was just so sweet! It really did help me get a little farther along.
Mile 20, the tears came back and a nice guy came up to me and said, “I’ve done 3 marathons, and I never think I’m going to finish them…but I do. You will too! Just walk if you have to. You’ll get that medal! Hang in there!” I wanted to walk right into one of the med tents and just quit so badly. But then, I thought about how disappointed in myself I would be if I just gave up. So, I kept pressing on continuing with the run/walking. The running happened mostly when going downhill and walking up most of the hills. I have to say that even though I was in agony, I really enjoyed the views in Shelby Park. My husband texted me a picture of him and my parents giving me thumbs up while I was in the park. I smiled and laughed about it. I glanced down at my pace band and then at my watch while in the park and saw I had just hit the 5 hour mark. My first goal was to finish, my second was to finish just under 5 hours. Well, goal 2 I was far from reaching. So I was a little sad at first when I noticed that, however I realized I only had a few more miles to go and I could finish it! I took out my phone and texted my husband as I got closer. He saw me right at mile 26 and ran with me for a few strides before going back up on the sidewalk. I heard my parents cheer for me too! It helped me push through to the finish for sure. I was so happy to see those mats on the ground and to have finished that last little stretch strong!
One of the great things about this race is how amazing the community is! There were people bringing out oranges from their homes and cutting them up for runners, handing out cups of water, donuts (yup!), and even beer haha!! The support along the route was amazing. The second half there was significantly less of that, but there were still volunteers out there.
After getting cleaned up and relaxing in the hotel for a little while, we headed out to Taco Mamacita. Seriously amazing tacos! And they are awesome for those with celiacs or gluten sensitivity too. So if you’re in Nashville, go stop in there for some great food!
Do I really want to do this again? YES! I absolutely want to run another marathon. Just not this particular one. I love Nashville, but I’d love to do a much flatter course next go around. The feeling I got while crossing the finish line was incredible! It’s a big reason why I want to continue doing road races. While hills are a great challenge, the distance alone is enough for me. So, I’ve got my eye on another one for next year in the fall. Until then, lots of other fun races and challenges in my future! For now, I’m just focused on healing and making a full recovery!
Thank you to everyone who sent me congrats and well wishes! I really do appreciate it.