The Road to 10: Eightteen(ish) miles through Music City

Half number 8: back to Nashville! A few weeks before Nashville, Jess and I heard about the new “Music City Challenge.” Basically, you run the 5k, run about a mile back to the start line and immediately jump into the corrals and run the half. Why would one want to do this? For an extra free long sleeve shirt, of course! After thinking about it for about 10 minutes, we decided that we would do it and we signed up for the 5k! The stipulation: we would focus more on having fun, feeling good, and not getting injured than trying to get a good time.

When we landed in Nashville, we got a pink cab that matched my brand new suitcase!

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I flew in with the parents and we hit up the expo to get our bibs and things!

That night, we went to see Mamma Mia! the musical. This is, by far, my FAVORITE musical! I saw it for the first time in Vegas, then New York, then at a resort in Cancun (this one did not do it justice), then in Denver and now I was seeing it in Nashville! We got all dressed up for the occasion and the show was AMAZING as usual. IMG_5075

The next day, Jess arrived in Nashville!  We went to Margaritaville and enjoyed all the drinks we couldn’t have on our first trip to Nashville. What I enjoyed more than the drinks, was the ability to go into any restaurant at any time without having to worry about whether or not we would be allowed in. Nashville is definitely a scene for the 21+ crowd.

That evening, we met up with Briana as she was sharing the hotel room with us! She posts a Yoga pose of the day on Instagram (@matmilesmedals) and I REALLY wanted to be in her photo of the day! Here was attempt number one….

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I then learned that Yoga is hard and I lowered my expectations. We went for the classic “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” picture. Jess and I even wore pigtails to try to look like Briana. Her pigtails are much more volumous and I am very jealous. IMG_5088

We were having so much fun that we lost track of time and almost forgot to lay out our flat runners! After digging through my suitcase for about 20 minutes, I got everything together. Briana’s running stuff was packed in her Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Fitness Locker, so her flat runner took about 2 minutes to lay out. I now own a fitness locker too and it hasn’t solved my suitcase problem, but it does make my flat runner easily accessible and I’m less stressed about getting all of my race gear ready!

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When race morning rolled around, Jess’s alarm was on silent, my alarms were set for “weekdays only” and we slept in until the time we were supposed to be leaving the hotel. I was FREAKING OUT! Good thing everything I needed was laying on the floor and not lost in mu suitcase! We got ready SUPER fast and ran out the door. Here we are riding the elevator…  we had been awake for all of 10 minutes and one of us is in the wrong bib. We were prepared to change bibs between races. IMG_5103

As we hurried down to the 5k, I was shoving a Cliff bar in my mouth…

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or…a ziploc bag? Why is the Cliff bar in my hand? It’s supposed to be in my mouth! The morning was a struggle.

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Then it started to rain….and pour…We arrived at the 5k start 2 minutes after the scheduled start time, but everybody was still in the corrals. The race had been delayed. Luckily, the half was also delayed so they the music city challenge runners would still be able to do both. We took the extra time to warm up in the parking lot. After waking up late, we would have had to skip our warm up if the race wasn’t delayed…that would have been very bad.

At last, we were off! We were taking the 5k slower than usual to conserve energy for the half. Towards the end of the 5k, we were on the half course and there were some KILLER hills. I was not looking forward to running them again. We finished the 5k walked through the finishers area and then ran back to the start of the half.We found Briana  and took a quick selfie.  When we got there, our corral was walking up to the start line, so we hopped right in and we were off!

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The first 5ish miles of the half went great. Then, we had to stop for blister help at a med tent. Did I mention it had been pouring rain? My feet were SOAKING WET for the entire race. It was pretty miserable. Around mile 10 of the half is when my legs really started to give out. I was barely trained for a half so running about 18 miles was not something I was ready for. I did a TON of walking for the last 3 miles and I finally made it to the finish of the half in just under 3 hours:  2:57:08. This is another case where a picture is truly worth a thousand words… and I had to walk another half of a mile like that to get to gear check where my flip flops were waiting for me! IMG_5114

Here is a great before and after shot of Jess and I.  I think we look happier after…happy to be done!

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We found Briana to be in another Yoga pose of the day. This time, Acroyoga was successful!

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Back at the hotel, we cleaned up and I was comforted by this very nice pillow. I just laid there hoping my muscles would stop throbbing. My feet were covered in blisters. I even had blisters under 2 of my toenails…those toenails are now gone and I decided it might be time for bigger shoes.

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That evening, we went out to a bar where an old high school friend (Ricky Russel) was singing. He lives in Nashville and is bound to become a country music star. Check him out at RickyRussellMusic.com. On our way out of the bar, we saw a lady who had left the bar about an hour before us. She was lying on the sidewalk in a puddle of vomit. I felt bad for the guy who was having to take care of her. Lesson learned here is that Nashville seems to be a lot like Vegas. Drunk people and bachelorette parties EVERYWHERE. Again, this is very much a 21+ scene. If you ever go to Nashville (or anywhere for that matter) please don’t be that person on the side of the road laying in their own vomit…especially at 9pm!

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Overall, Nashville was a blast and I was very proud of our new accomplishment. My Garmin recorded a total of a little over 17.5 miles between the 5k start and the end of the half. While this was my slowest half so far, it was one of my proudest moments. I ended up earning 3 medals. The 5k, the half, and my Double Beat Heavy Medal for running 2 Rock N Roll half marathons in one year! IMG_5139.JPG

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