RNR Nashville Race Recap: Saved by Salt Tabs

Oh Nashville …I still love you.  But that heat wave last Saturday was miserable.  I mean, 76* at race time {and almost 90* when we finished} is sort of overkill for April, don’t you think?We made great time on the 5 hour drive down and got into the city around 5pm and planned to head straight for the expo which closed at 7pm.  {SEVEN?!  Really??  That’s awfully early for a race that attracts people from around the world!}  Due to lots of traffic backups, we didn’t actually enter the expo until after 6pm and rushed through packet pickup, shirt exchange, and standing in line to get our shuttle tickets, concert tickets and beer garden bracelet. love that Brooks was a title sponsor and could have spent a lot more time shopping the expo, but still came away with two shirts and a free hat before heading off to a {late} carb-loading dinner at this fantastic little pizza place just down from our hotel.  {Bonus: their gluten-free crust was amazing!} Then it was to bed to prep for an early morning the next day!

Props to RNR and the race day volunteers – they were ready for the extreme conditions, passing out iced down sponges at one aid station and Rock N Roll towels at another, along with plenty of Gatorade and water.Race start time was moved up 30 minutes to start at 6:45am (the 5K started at 6:15am) but we started in corral 24 of 40, which meant we didn’t cross the start line until about 7:30.  We found plenty of things to do before the race though, like photo ops with an Elvis {or three!} And this pre-race photo … thanks for the Flower Love on your IG, Mel and Tori!With all that time before hand, you would think I would have checked to see if my watch was turned on more than once.  I did check it once, about 6am, made sure the GPS could find me and turned it off.  I tried to turn it back on minutes before crossing the start line and nothing.  It was on, but frozen at exactly 7:20.  Pushed all the buttons, in every combination, upside down and backwards before giving up and stuffing it in my belt.  I was heartbroken … and really mad … that I wouldn’t have a “Nashville” entry on my Garmin.

Admittedly, these girls had to give me a mini pep talk because I tried to continue my pity party right down Music Row.  Now, it seems like a ridiculous thing to be upset about – especially knowing that we had zero goals or expectations going into this race except to have fun.  It took me longer than it should have, but I rallied :)  Good thing too, because we might have missed some great photo ops! The first  6 miles were still relatively breezy and primarily in the shade.  The hills, which we had really worked ourselves up over, were mostly gradual and broken up by some flat areas.  {The hills of Lexington, by comparison, are much steeper and continuous!}

Then miles 7-8-9 happened.  Breeze had disappeared, the sun was out in full force and it suddenly felt like a dozen miles between aid stations.  These angel wings showed up at exactly the right time for a much needed break around mile 9.{I have never had multiple people stop to ask if they can take my picture before during a race – clearly we weren’t the only ones using the photo op/walk break plan!}

Somewhere between miles 10-11 we found a cooling bus blasting icy cold air and climbed on board.  It was here that we learned the race volunteers had been instructed to redirect any remaining marathoners who hadn’t come through yet to the half marathon course because the weather conditions made it unsafe for them to finish 26.2 at this point in the day.

A few days before we left for Nashville, our sweet friend Geri made sure we each had some salt sticks with electrolytes for the race.  Recommended by another friend, who happens to be our resident elite tri-athlete and co-owner of several local specialty running stores, they told us to take one before the race and another one every 45 minutes along the course with water.  We could handle being hot – but becoming dehydrated and overheating would have been so much worse.  Thanks Geri and Smitty!!!Mile 12 was downright comical.  It was nearing midday and the sun was bearing down.  Never in my life have I looked in front of and behind me at this point in the race and not seen one single person running.  Not one.  The marathoners who were still running were at mile 18 … also mostly walking.  We chatted with a few other would-be runners, also walking, who shared our sentiments.  It was so surreal.  I wish I had thought to take a picture. Imagine thousands of people walking slowly, heads down in defeat – that was mile 12.

Finally, at the 3:01 mark, we crossed the finish line.  I know I said we went in with no finish time goals – but our last “just for fun girls getaway race” had us finishing in about 2:30 including pictures and walk breaks on the hills, so I guess there was a part of me that sort of expected this to be similar. I’m also guessing my watch freezing before the race was the only thing that kept me sane because that meant that I had no idea what time it was and how long we’d been out there :)  After getting our medals {that light up and blink!!!!} and a fantastic tan, it was time for food.  Maybe it was the heat.  Maybe it was the post-race hunger.  But this sure tasted like the best burger and {spiked} milkshake I have ever had!  We explored Music Row, where I finally bought some authentic cowgirl boots!Stopped by The Stage for live music and drinksThen headed over to the FREE CONCERT put on by RNR for runners and their guests. I took this Sunday morning before breakfast.  I pretty much love this picture because it sums up our runner girl road trip in one photo: chocolate, body glide, almond butter, snacks, honey stingers, hairspray, Flowers, more snacks, Flip Belt, banana and jewelry :) If you’ve made it this far, you’ve successfully read my looooooongest race recap ever!  I have another one to share with you soon – but don’t worry, it’s no where near this long mostly because the race itself was an unexpected surprise that I didn’t know about until 2.5 days before!!  Here’s a hint ^^^ but if you can’t wait to find out where my Finish SWINE was, check {here}