Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Hills of Nashville Have Been Conquered!

I've officially slayed those Nashville hills and added another half marathon finisher's medal to my collection.   And I've colored in another state on my 50 States-50 Half Marathons map!

Race day morning greeted me with clear skies and temps in the mid 60's.  I gave myself plenty of time to get ready, eat some Cheerios and a banana, get hydrated and the bathroom duties completed before walking out the door of the hotel.  I joined many other runners as we walked down the hill toward Country Music Hall of Fame on Demonbruen Street where the race was starting.  These inner-city races, where I can walk down to the start line just minutes before the race starts, are really awesome!  No hanging around, no chance I might need to stand in a portapotty line.

Borrowed shamelessly from the
Women's Half Marathon Facebook page
This is a primarily all-female race.  There was a smattering of men, most of them running with wives or girlfriends, and even a few wearing matching skirts and tutu's.  Gotta love that!  It takes a real man to run a half-marathon, surrounded by women, wearing a tutu! 

So given that the field of runners were mostly women, it was a fairly large race.  Based on the bib numbers at packet pickup, I'm guessing close to 7,000 entrants.  They had us divided into 5 corrals at the start line and, because it was mostly all women, I was actually seeded into corral #4 based on my estimated completion time.  How cool is that?!  In a standard race, where corrals are used, I'm usually in the very last corral.

The route was fantastic!  It went through the downtown area, up past Vanderbilt University, through Centennial Park, and then picked up the very start of Natchez Trace.  We ran about a mile of the Trace and then worked our way over to Belmont Avenue and ran until we reached the bridge over 440 and then turned around and backtracked down Belmont.  Down the hill, a couple of zig-zags including a little loop called Music Circle, and back to the downtown area, around the capitol building, along the river with a great view as we came down the hill, and then down the very historic 2nd Street back to Demonbreun to the finish line.  A huge crowd waited for us, even us slower runners.  It was great.  The announcer even pronounced my hometown correctly!

It was a great race for me.  I was warned by someone who'd done it last year that it was VERY hilly, so I was prepared.  I also think the hills two weeks ago at the Maple Leaf Half in Vermont were a good warm-up for me.  But I do know that running three half-marathons in less than a month is a bit over-kill.  Nothing muscular or joint-related hurts today - the day after the race.  But when I finished the race yesterday, the soles of my feet felt for a while like they'd been smacked with a 2x4.  All that pounding, I guess, with little recovery time in-between races.  Nothing that getting out of my running shoes and into some comfortable Teva sandals couldn't fix.

Here's the ridiculously huge finisher's medal:

The finish is a very shiny, mirror-like metal. Pretty!

And here's what my U.S. map looks like now:  Eleven states now completed.

Next race:  Wichita KS Prairie Fire Marathon/Half Marathon

1 comment:

  1. Awesome!! Great job. One more state down and another pretty medal.

    I've heard Nashville is a pretty town. I can imagine it is even better when viewed as a participant in the half marathon.