Monday, April 27, 2009

Nashville Country Music Half Marathon

About 6 months ago Lisa heard that Nashville had a half marathon in the spring. It sounded fun and was a great excuse for a road trip. Tom, Lisa, Laura, Erin and I made a 3 day weekend of it as Lisa and I completed the half marathon. The timing and length of the race made it a great training run for the riverbank, but it was quite an event in itself.

The Nashville half marathon has to be one of the biggest in the country. Nearly 23,000 completed the 1/2 on Saturday morning, along with about 5,000 that completed the full marathon.

I loved the weather we had. It was in the 70s by race time and over 80 at the finish; light breeze and beautiful blue sky. The course was a different story. The website's elevation chart wasn't even close and the course was way hillier than I expected.

I started fast with a goal of 1:45. I felt great and tackled the early hills with a little too much gusto.

Mile 1 - 7:59
Mile 2 - 7:32 (downhill)
Mile 3 - 7:54 (uphill)
Mile 4 - 8:11 (uphill). At this point I began tiring and realized I started too fast. The hills were already taking their toll so I slowed down and prepared myself mentally for a 1:50 finish.

Erin is my best fan. She comes to all my races and supports all the training miles I have to run the months before a race. I was very glad to see her twice on the course. Tom and Laura also cheered me on.

Mile 5 - 8:13
Mile 6 - 8:14
Mile 7 - 8:05
Mile 8 - 8:10. At this point the 1:45 pace group passed me. They started a minute behind me so I knew I was slipping. I continued to mentally prepare myself for a 1:50 finish, but a lovely long downhill stretch kept me right behind them.

Mile 9 - 8:03
Mile 10 - 7:58
Mile 11 - 7:58. With 2 miles left I dug deep and did my best to stay with the 1:45 pace group, hoping to hold on to a 1:47-1:48 finish time.
Mile 12 - 8:18. Tough mile with lots of turns, sunshine, and uphills
Mile 13 - 7:50

FINAL TIME - 1:45:07!! I was really surprised to see my final time. I nearly caught up with the 1:45 pace group in the last 1+ miles and it turns out they finished a minute fast. My average pace was 8:02, and I was really happy with my ability to hold my speed at the end, even when I was worn down.

The course was beautiful and challenging. We ran through downtown Nashville twice and through a few nice neighborhoods. Supposedly we ran by many famous landmarks, but I wasn't looking around very much. The hills were constant throughout the whole race. Miles 3-4 were almost all uphill and miles 9-11 were downhill. 10-15 live bands were evenly spaced throughout the course but most weren't playing country music. I'm dislike country music, but even I think the "country music" half marathon should have nothing but country. The highlight of my race was running by a local Church that had a praise band going strong at mile 9.

This picture gives an idea about the density of runners.
We finished next to LP field where the Tennessee Titans play. Lisa ran an excellent 2:01:15 and we all enjoyed a beautiful sunny weekend in Nashville.

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Anonymous Lisa said...

You should have posted the "REAL" elevation graph. I about fell out of my chair!

9:59 PM  

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