I can’t believe we made this trip again! 🤣 However, this time, I think it really was the last time I run this race. My family isn’t into the long distance races anymore, and I just can’t see coming back for it unless it was a family event. This was my 5th time experiencing Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville (4th time with the half, and did the full once).
We spent the night at my parents house on Thursday so we could get up early and leave from there. We were on the road just after 6am on Friday and were on the road about 9 hours with stops about every 2 hours (’cause hydration = potty breaks 😆). We drove straight to the Music City Center for the expo.
The expo was a bit smaller than it’s been in years past. The Brooks Run Happy Island area wasn’t there anymore, which was a bummer. I was hoping my daughter could have taken a ride on the running shoe “bull” 😆. But, we still had fun exploring all the booths and checking out all the products.
I set out all my gear the night before. It’s a ritual!
Due to the NFL draft also being in town, we were all a little nervous about parking. So we opted to take the complimentary hotel shuttle into downtown on race morning…which was awesome! It went so smoothly that we wondered why we never did it in years past!
We got down there pretty early but were able to go inside a building by the 5k start to stay warm before the race.
I walked over to the starting line of the half/full and was shivering, which totally makes me laugh at how different this year was weather wise compared to most of the previous years that we were here! This nice lady that was wearing a sweatshirt and a garbage bag handed me her garage bag to put on and stay warm. So nice! I didn’t even think to bring a mylar blanket or trash bag because it’s usually so warm at the start (the first year we did it was comparable to this year as far as the starting temperature). The half/full started a little late because the UPS vans were on the course transporting all bags to the finish line gear check. I ended up starting at 7:29am.
We started off and I had severe stomach cramps right away, which lasted for the first 3-3.5 miles or so. 🙈 I put my hand on my side and squeezed it and clenched my stomach for a while to help ease the pain.
After I made it through that it was ok. Midway through mile 10, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to continue at this pace. I did something I haven’t done in years…I started walking and counted to 8, and then continued running. I was making some pretty miserable sounds and I think that’s when this guy started talking to me. He just encouraged me. We continued together for a while and I said, “Don’t feel like you have to run with me.” And he said, “Oh I’m not breaking any records. I want to make sure you finish.” 😭 How incredibly kind is that?!
At about mile 12.6 (?) I looked at my watch and he said, “What are you doing? The finish line is this way!” 😂 Tough love!
When we approached the finish line I saw my family on the corner and threw my arms up and waved and told the guy, “That’s my family!”. The guy said, “Oh now you have energy!” 😆
Seeing supporters and the finish line always gives me a burst! I ended up finishing the last .28 at a 7:26 avg. pace 😆. Sure wish I could have that kind of energy for longer than the finishers chute 🤪.
I saw the man at the finish and thanked him for his support during the race. Runners can be some of the nicest people! I’m so grateful he pushed me! I don’t know if I would have finished under 2 hours again if it weren’t for his encouragement!
As tough as those last few miles were, I have never felt stronger on those hills as I did this year. There were a few points where I still was hoping the hills would stop, but overall it was so much better than years past. Weight lifting definitely has changed my running game! And of course getting some good hilly training runs in before race day definitely helped…I definitely did more of that compared with years past.
I would recommend this race to everyone! Just go in knowing you’re going to have to do some hill training and know that it’s often times very hot and humid, BUT the city is amazing! There’s always people sitting outside their houses cheering and handing out sliced fruit, water, and sometimes donuts and beer (haha!) when you run through the neighborhoods. We were blessed with perfect race temperatures and that made the course much more manageable this year! I love the crowd support along the half course though and if you’re considering it, I’d say do it! You’ll feel like a real champ after crossing that finish line, and have a great city to explore and dine in post-race!
Thank you Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville for more wonderful memories!