I love Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville! This was my 3rd time here for the event (previously called Country Music Marathon & half). My first ever half marathon was this race two years ago, and my first full marathon was last year’s race. After PR’ing at the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon two weekends ago, I knew that beating that time would be pretty impossible since the elevation gain on this course is so much more. My mom said this might be her last time doing the race, so I decided to stick with her no matter what so we could finish together like we did the first time.
We got down to Nashville’s Music City Center for the expo at about 3:30pm. I love how organized R’n’R races are. Not just the expo, but communication about race day details. Here’s a picture of where we picked up our bibs.
You move into another area after that to get your shirt, and then there was the official race merchandise in the next area with Run Happy Island, and then you leave that area and enter all the vendor booths. I went to Run Happy Island to do the shoe fitting and gait analysis I order to get the big zipper bag, only to find out something wasn’t working right on their iPad and I ended up just getting a bag handed to me. Wohoo! Last year I had to ride the shoe bull, do gait analysis, and this mountain climber stepping race thing to get a bag. So that was awesome considering we didn’t want to spend too much time there and wanted to get to the hotel.
I bought 4 more Hippie Runner headbands at the expo (I’m addicted) + a pint glass.We arrived just in time because there were only 4 glasses left when we got there. I noticed as we were leaving they had restocked but they weren’t the race specific glasses, they were just the general R’n’R series glass. So I’m happy we got the Nashville one!My mom wanted a shoe charm and ended up getting me one too. I picked out the “tri” heart. I just put it on my Nike shoes, which are my designated triathlon running shoes since I can run sockless in them no problem.
After the expo, we went to our hotel to check in. This is the craziest thing ever…we had reservations at one hotel and they called us when we were on the way to Nashville and said that someone flooded the 4th floor of the hotel because they put a hanger on the sprinkler head in the room. So they transferred us to their sister hotel and PAID FOR IT! We saved $700 thanks to that mishap and ended up closer to the race start. How’s that for customer service?! Wohoo!
We got up at 5am race day. I had my usual race day breakfast of GF toast and a banana and got dressed. I had a hard time eating it though since it was so early. I threw out part of the toast. We were on the road heading to Nissan Stadium where we had a reserved parking pass a little before 6am.
I showed some Nuun love on my calf with a temporary tattoo. The big n is backwards because I took the pic in the mirror ;).
While waiting in line for the portajohns (which were all out of toilet paper — I usually bring some but forgot this time. OOPS!), they made an announcement that they were going to delay the start of the 5k and half/full marathon. I started to feel hungry and my stomach starting growling by this time, which worried me a bit. I ate a couple of my organic pitted dates that I brought for running fuel and hoped it would help. The threat of lightning diminished, and we crossed the starting mats at about 7:55am.
I had a bit of a stomach cramp early on in the race and felt so sick when I hit 3.8 miles on my watch that I was really worried about the rest of the race. I was dry heaving! Really thought I was going to puke, but thankfully that feeling passed as soon as I got some more food in me. Pretty sure that was a combination of the humidity and the fact that it had been a while since I had breakfast since the race got delayed. So unbelievably thankful for the crowd support. I was able to get a small cup of oranges and a chunk of banana along the course (NOT official fuel/water stations…just nice Nashville residents on the side of the road — I love you guys!). I felt 100% better at some point in mile 4 and that feel good feeling lasted all the way to the finish. My mom unfortunately didn’t feel good for basically the entire race, so I tried ‘pulling’ her along when she wanted to walk. I felt bad for her because I totally have been there before…it’s such an awful feeling to feel sick and feel like your legs just won’t move during a race. So it was definitely a struggle but we made it through!
As far as fueling/hydrating goes, they had some paper cups out for water and they were bigger than most races I’ve been at. I drank one cup and dumped another one over my head at most of the water stations. The sandwich bag that I had put a bunch of pitted dates in worked wonders for me for fuel (I quit using energy gels). I ended up eating all of them during the race. Maybe partially why I felt so good?? I have never consumed so much sugar during a race. They also were handing out another energy product in a large pouch (name??), which I didn’t take. Post-race I drank some Nuun and ate my GoMacro bar I left in the car.
Even though I was feeling really good, seeing this sign and knowing I didn’t have to go left this year was such a relief!
There were bands along the course and this fun Brooks blow up that we ran under towards the end of the race.
I tried taking a pic by the ‘I eat hills for breakfast’ sign that was around mile 12 and got my big head in the way lol. Then proceeded to run INTO the sign 😂haha! Just having some fun along the way 😉.
Official finish time: 2:27:23 (11:15 pace). I love the finishers medals! They are always so cool at this race!
After getting your medals there was a long path filled with all kinds of food goodies (water, chocolate milk, gluten free chips, pretzels, bananas, etc.). They really should pass out bags at the beginning of all this. I somehow missed the bags they had at the end of it.
What an adventure that one was! Really had a great time. And, with how strong I felt during it…I really think I want to come back to race it hard! We’ll see…I might be back, Nashville (even though the unpredictable weather is scary!) ;).