We arrived in Nashville a little after 2:20pm on Friday. The ride down went smoothly. We stopped every two hours for potty breaks 😜. We were even more focused on hydration than we normally are because of the anticipated hot weather. It was hot and hazy from all the humidity when we arrived.
Our first stop was at the expo for packet pick up. The shirts are kind of neat!
We also picked up our reserved parking pass, and our The Band Perry concert tickets. I also bought the jacket I’m wearing in the photo below and a pint glass. I was a bit bummed out to find out the marathoners get finishers jackets now as they didn’t do that in 2015 when I did the full, so I figured this is mine now 😁.
I set out my things at the hotel to get organized.
We got up at 4:30am and were downtown by 5:45. We parked in the reserved lot and walked across the pedestrian bridge towards the starting line.
My dad walked the 5k, which started at 6:15 and had a different starting line. The race start times were all moved up a half hour due to the heat advisory. They started the 5k first because the courses were intertwined and they needed the 5k’ers to be off part of the course before the half/full started. This was the half/full starting line.
We got bumped up to an earlier corral to avoid the heat (and a TON of people did this because I was weaving around people for most of the race). I didn’t actually make it into corral 5 though because the port-a-potty lines were so long. Side note: this is the only race that I’ve needed my “back-up” toilet paper that I carry with me in my hydration pack haha!! With so many runners, many of the port-a-potties were out of it. So TMI, but yay for being prepared! We ended up starting at 6:53am after we made it out of there.
The words, “I always seem to forget just how hilly this race is,” came out of my mouth at one point during the race haha! There were a few really bad hills that just went on for what felt like days. My Garmin said the elevation gain was 604 feet and I had done that in training, so it must have something to do with the arrangement of the hills because it was so much worse than running the hills I did in Michigan.I was SO thankful for all the water spraying stations along the route and all the people out there with hoses. You can see in the picture below just how soaked the streets were (and this wasn’t a water stop). There would have been a lot more people carried off the course had those not been there I think. It was such a good feeling to be cooled down! I wore the hydration pack but took a cup of water to pour on myself at the water stations too. At one point I bent down and picked up some ice that was in a bag in the middle of the road and stuffed it in my bra haha! Whatever works, right?
I was also thankful for the ice cold water soaked sponges available on the course. I got one and squeezed it down my neck.
I was pretty fatigued the first half or so of the race, and wanted to walk really bad. I would take a few walking steps and then go catch up with my husband. I ate dates at mile 3, 6, 8, and 11. I also grabbed orange slices at two different spots along the course…I’m trying to remember but I want to say it was just community members that had the oranges. How nice is that? There were people in the neighborhoods passing out donuts too haha! I of course couldn’t par-take but I got a chuckle out of that.
Something happened maybe around mile 8 and I got a second wind and started feeling good. I felt like I could have pushed it a bit to the end, but we wanted to make sure we didn’t over do it since we wanted to feel good for the post-race concert. My husband started feeling sick that last mile because of the heat and humidity, so he wanted to walk a bit so that was our slowest mile. But, overall I’m pleased with how it went. And most importantly I didn’t get sick and I did enjoy it (well, most of it ha!).
I really wanted to finish together so we stuck together. We ended up crossing the mats holding hands. I was SO bummed that we hadn’t linked hands yet in the official photos as we approached the mats. It’s still early though, so I’m hoping there will be some posted that show that. All you can see in this pic is his elbow haha! I’d buy it if our finish together got documented though. 🙂 I have a feeling there wasn’t more cameras after this point though…booo!
I loved that they had cold water soaked towels available for the finishers too. They felt good to have around your neck afterwards.
Official finish time was 2:20:34 (10:44 pace)…so a tad bit slower than last week’s Gazelle Girl PR haha! But, obviously, understandable considering all circumstances.
My husband said, “That was harder than the Grand Rapids Marathon,” after he finished the half with me. I agree 100%! The course alone is a tough one, but with the heat and humidity it was such a challenge.
Here is the video my dad took at the finish line area:
The medals for this race are always really unique. This years medals light up like the neon bar signs down Broadway. So cool!
After going back to the hotel to get cleaned up, we went out to Taco Mamacita’s for tacos and chips/guacamole :). It’s the best! I was crazy hungry and ordered 4 tacos, but couldn’t finish the last one so I brought it back to the hotel room since we had a refrigerator. Side note: I did’t experience ANY side affects from eating the corn shells or the gluten free corn chips!! I was so happy!
We came back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit, then went downtown for dinner/drinks and the free concert that was included in our race registration (The Band Perry).
We didn’t stay for the entire show because we were so tired 😂. It was a good concert, but I was upset they started like 45-50 minutes late. We were about to leave when they finally took the stage. That always comes off a bit diva like to me when performers don’t take the stage at the time they’re supposed to, so I was a little turned off by that. I realize there could have been other issues going on, but still!
While we were waiting for the show to start, the lady next to me was talking about how they closed the course early and people were getting pulled from the course and they were diverting full marathoners to the half course. I’m not sure what time that happened, but there were a lot of people who did’t get to finish the entire course. I’d be so bummed! But, I realize it was a safety issue and that’s great the race organizers were on top of that.
Anyway, it was a weekend to remember! If you want to run a challenging half or full, THIS is it! Rock ‘n’ Roll does a great job with the planning and organization and if I were still running half and full’s, I’d definitely consider a different RnR event because of it. Just be prepared for “congestion” on the course with a race this large.
Have you ever run a RnR race?