Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Country Music Half Wrap Up

Destination races can't rightfully be compared to hometown races. Nashville is no exception.

Take people from Chicago and insert them in to the rolling hills of Nashville - A challenge within itself - and we haven't even started talking about logistics.

As if I didn't know what we were getting ourselves in to, or, more likely, forgot to remember what the course was like, we landed in Nashville on Friday morning optimistic.

My goal was to show up and run a decent race.

The question is, how is a decent race defined?

Walking around Nashville on Friday, in addition to attending the completely packed expo, caused uneasiness on Friday evening. Which lead to some anxiety Friday night that carried in to Saturday morning.

4:40 a.m. came pretty fast. Kim, Tracy and I got ready and met Brian at LP field at 5:40.

We boarded shuttles to take us to the start line. It was a cool morning. We talked on the way to the corral, hoping for the best. It wasn't until we stood on the side of the corral #13 gazing at the flag for the National Anthem that it really hit me.

I'm remembering more of this race now. Shit. This is going to be hard.

We walked our way down the massive hill to the Start line. Once crossing the start line, we would work our way up a hill for close to a quarter mile, then down, then back up, before crossing the first mile. This pattern repeated itself, in it's entirety, for the first 8 miles.

What started off as a cool morning seemed to get warm awfully fast.

Very early on, I could tell my 2:15 goal time was not in the cards. I'll admit it, I could have focused more (ok, maybe the right word is 'some') efforts on hill training. I probably could have ate better. It would have been great to not have been sick for a few weeks. Or for it not to have rained every day in the last two weeks. Or if the Easter Bunny hadn't been so good to me with those delicious Cadbury Eggs.

All excuses set aside, none of it matters when you're running the race. In that period of time, you're just trying to get through it. That's the part that was tough. Somewhere after 3 but before mile 5,  I had an overwhelming feeling to stop. I felt like my body was not acclimating to the conditions. I remember thinking to myself, 'The next medical tent, you're out.'

But here's the problem - Brian was next to me. Brian was having an easier time than I, but he admitted it was by no means an easy race for him either. So in this race, more so than in the marathon, I found myself mentally defeated early on. But it was Brian who guided me through it, whether he realized it or not.

We decided later on the in the race that we were in fact pulling each other through the race. Eventually we would reach the end. Most importantly, thank God we weren't doing the full. Those people are truly crazy.

In the end, I beat my course P.R. in 2009 by two minutes. Maybe it's not the win I was thinking of, but it's certainly not a loss. And four people in our group, including Tracy and Brian, had P.R.'s at the half marathon distance. Just goes to show one person's bad race is another person's 'A' race.

Now, entering May, I have a half under my belt for 2011. Not a bad position to be in.

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