Last summer my little neighborhood decided to put together a running group. We all got together several times to run but as many things go time and life sometimes get in the way. I posted in October or so on our facebook group asking if anyone was interested in running the Country Music Half Marathon. I got a few responses but nothing really happened. Fast forward to January. A lady in our neighborhood who had put together training schedules for other runs in the past, and competes in triathlons, put together a training schedule and set a meeting at our local coffee shop. A plan was formed, payments were made, and training commenced. We started with 4 mile runs and tried to do long runs together on Saturdays. Of course, when you have kids playing basketball on Saturday mornings you don't always get to run with the group.
One thing I did not anticipate in training was injury. In my head I am still 20 and can bounce back quickly from whatever I am doing. I had some severe sciatica that started right before our 7 mile long run. I went to the chiropractor who adjusted me several times and told me not to do the long run that weekend. So, I rested. I went back for the 8 mile run and ran when I could and walked most of it. I ended up with some horrible blisters on the bottom of my feet that weekend.
Nashville has a pretty extensive greenway system to run on, which is fantastic! However, most of us were getting a little burned out running the same roads so we decided for our 9 mile run to stick close to home. We were able to do a 9 mile route that included seeing the dam, the lake, horses, bald eagles, deer, and a runaway puppy. It had a couple of hills but was pretty flat for the most part. I wrapped my feet in camouflage duct tape and was happy to see that I did not have blisters by the end of the run.
We did our 10 mile run at a lake where we ran in circles for two and half hours. I was tired and sore but didn't injure myself. All of us skipped the 11 mile run due to all kinds of commitments. Then came the week of the 12 mile run. By mile 7 of that run the side and bottom of my right foot were killing me. I have had a stress fracture in my foot before and that is what this felt like. I made it to 10 and a half miles before Bobby came to pick me up. No, not because I couldn't have finished the 12 miles but because we had to take Munchkin to the doctor. She had strep the week before and had come home from school on Friday with a fever of 104. We were getting her checked out to see if she had a strep relapse. The nurse saw me limping and said I should rest. So I did not run anymore until the day of the race.
Two days before the race I went down to the convention center and picked up my race packet. If you have never been to an expo like this, be warned, it gets busy! We were there early though and were able to get through most of the exhibits fairly quickly. I won a bag of runner shaped pasta at one of the booths.
Not only did I get to pick everything up, I also got to have lunch with my hubs at Satco. Delish!
The evening before the race our little group (which was down to 5 at that point) had our carbo load dinner at our fearless leaders house. It was sweet of her to have us all over for dinner. We had whole wheat pasta, garlic bread, and orange chocolate chip cookies. I whipped those up earlier in the day to take with me.
The day of the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon finally arrived along with rain....a lot of rain. Our little group met up at 5:30 to ride together downtown. Unfortunately, our fearless leader was suffering from and injury and didn't get to run with us. She still graciously drove all of us down and gave us great tips on dealing with the rain. Each of is had a garbage bag to cover us for most of the race.
Having never run a half marathon before I didn't know how long it would take me to run it. So, when I signed up I put in 4 hours. This put me in corral number 29....3 from the end. By the end of training I was really hoping to run the race in 3 hours. I did it in 3 hours and 20 minutes. My first few miles were pretty good and I ran quite a bit. I had a few favorite aspects of the race. One was my sweet family came to see me. They found a way to several spots along the way where they could cheer me on take some pictures. For them to come out in the pouring rain was really special. I really liked running down Broadway and in the Gulch. The main things I did not like about this race were the hills (I didn't train on enough hills), the rain (during training I only ran in the rain once), and the leg cramps. In all of the months of training I did not have any kind of cramps in my calves. During the race though, about mile 7, my calves started cramping in crazy ways! I had to stop and stretch several times to work them out. A few days after the race I saw an interview with a guy who runs all the time. He talked about cramping as well. It sounded like it had to do with how cold it was from being soaking wet. It made me feel a little bit better about my time when he said that he was much slower than he normally could have been.
I love that my kids have umbrellas in this picture because it didn't matter. They were both completely soaked as well.
By the time we got to Bicentennial Mall I was ready to be done. I knew I only had a couple of miles left though and ran a little bit through the mall. I got to see my kiddos and hubs again at the end of the mall. One of the ladies walking near me said it was so sweet that they were out there to see me in the rain. Mile 13 was really, really hard for me. My legs did not want to go much more but when I saw how close I was to the finish I got another spurt of energy and ran to the finish line!
My final time was 3 hours and 19 minutes. It was a little longer than I hoped for but I finished and that was what was important. You would think that after running a half marathon I would just go home and crash but that was not on the agenda for the day. We walked/limped about halfway to where the car was and Bobby left me and Munchkin at a hotel to wait while he and Little Man went to get the car. Munchkin and I both had dry clothes to change into but forgot towels. We found an empty clean bathroom to change in and used paper towels to dry off with. I wish I had thought to bring a jacket and a change of clothes for Little Man and Bobby.
Munchkin did a great job at the festival. She ended up with a superior rating for playing part of The Good Life on her French Horn. 5th graders were not required to play at the festival but she and several of her friends did anyway. The adjudicator gave her some very helpful tips and good constructive criticism after she played. We thought we would wait for scores but according to other parents it was taking a long time to get them. That was OK though as we were all hungry and it was a perfect opportunity to head over to Burger Republic and replace all of the calories I burned off during the half marathon. We were able to pop back over to the festival just long enough to see Munchkin's score and then we headed for home. Some ibuprofen and an Epsom salt bath later and I was a happy camper.
Overall, the race was a good experience. I would like to do a full marathon and complete a goal I set for myself back when I was working on my Master's degree. Next race on the docket though is the Color Run in October! Munchkin, Little Man, Bobby and I are all going to do it this time! I am sure it will be fun. :)