Last Saturday I was able to partake in the Nashville Country Music Marathon to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Another 26.2 miles down for me! I love that my sport benefits organizations. I get to do what I love and help someone in the process.
After a great night’s rest, I woke up bright and early at 4:00 a.m. to eat some breakfast. I had some tasty blueberry greek yogurt with granola and a slice of toast with some wonderful butter. After a few sips of water, I crawled back into bed to see if I could get another hour or so of sleep. To my surprise, I fell right to sleep and woke up 15 minutes before our ride left the house. I put on my clothes that I had laid out the night before. I wanted to make the morning as simple as possible. After making sure we both had everything we needed and wanted, we headed to the car.
We were lucky enough to have Brent’s brother drop us off near the beginning so we would not have to wait around before the race started. As we made our way onto the highway, we discovered that there was a ton of traffic all headed to the same location we were. My brother-in-law being so awesome drove around the traffic and slipped us in at the beginning of the line. He dropped us off as close as he could with 30 minutes for us to spare. We walked our way through the 33 corrals to the starting line. Brent dropped me off at corral 8 and went the rest of the way to corral 3 where he would be starting. From this point on, we were alone until we met back up after the race.
I hung out in my corral surrounded by hundreds and thousands of people waiting for the race to start. The time grew nearer and nearer and finally they played the national anthem and the gun went off. As my corral slowly inched towards the starting line, I was finally getting a little anxious. A little girl from St. Jude was there to send us all out and I began to run just shortly after 7:00 a.m. It was already 70 degrees out by the time I started running down the streets of Nashville feeling really good. My body was ready to run this race and I was glad it was finally here. The miles started to dwindle slowly as the sun started to shine high in the sky. There was music all along the course, but I must say it was nothing like the Portland bands. It was still nice to have the entertainment.
There were aid stations every 2-3 miles where they served up water and gatorade. I took advantage of these as I did not want to get dehydrated. My body was not used to running in the heat. I drank 2-3 cups at every station in hopes that by the end of the race, I would still be hydrated. I had drank a ton of water the day before so that I would start off the race in being well fueled. Drinking this much the day before and durning the race was one of my best decisions. It also made me need to go to the bathroom. Which I decided early on that it was a good thing if I needed to go. Normally on my long runs, I don’t need to go. I went twice which took away a few minutes from my time. My body was feeling great, so I knew that this would not hinder my time too much.
My sister-in-law got together with a friend to hang out and cheer us both on. They were hanging out between miles 4 and 5. It was great to see someone I knew and to get cheered on by family. It was the perfect spot for them to be as we would come back by a second time around mile 8. Unfortunately, I did not see them the second time. I was very appreciative of them taking the time to come and cheer us and the other runners on.
Shortly after the 10k mark, I was starting to feel the heat. Most of the race was out in the open without the shade. Even with the few moments of shade, there was the humidity that I was not use to. My body was not liking it either, but my muscles were still feeling great. I plugged away taking GU gels, apples, bananas and liquid as often as it was offered to me. At around mile 21, I finally decided to take a salt packet from the medical volunteers. Yes! A salt packet like one you would use on your food. Salt had never tasted so good before. That means I needed it, so I was glad I decided to take it. The miles seemed to get slower and slower as each one crept by.
Finally, I could see mile 25 and then mile 26! I was almost there. I was getting excited, but tired. I was ready to be done. I crossed the line at 4:01:32 just a minute and a half shy of breaking 4 hours. I was still extremely satisfied. A PR is a PR no matter what. One day I hope to break 4 hours, so we will see what happens. I saw Brent and then continued to walk through the finishers chute where they had ice cold towels! The best idea ever after a hot run. I packed myself full of water, gatorade, apples, yogurt, and my favorite chocolate milk. Overall a great race but I would still say Portland is my favorite and would highly recommend it for anyone wanting to run a marathon.
Thanks everyone for your support and prayers!