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The Long & Short of Rock & Roll Nashville - 5k

It's really easy to become complacent in your city, to not notice all the little things and people and goings-on in the world around you.  You're comfortable, it's familiar...and then something shakes you up and makes you smile.  The Nashville Rock & Roll run was this weekend, and it did that for me.  Every minute was so exciting and wonderful, even the minutes that weren't part of the race.

I registered for the 5k with Heather - she ran both the 5k and the half marathon because she is a beast! - and we headed to Nissan Stadium far earlier in the morning than should be allowed...we were up at 4am.  I didn't even know when 4am was before this.  I am unimpressed with 4am.  Anyway, we arrived at Nissan Stadium bright and early, and Heather and I made our way across the pedestrian bridge towards Bridgestone Arena and Music City Center where the race was starting.  First, though, we needed bathrooms!

Heather and I got to potty like rockstars thanks to a couple of sports bras and a pair of shoes purchased from Brooks.  Finding them was difficult, though.  There was almost no signage from Brooks to show up where the rockstar bathrooms were, so Heather and I anxiously circled Bridgestone Arena twice trying to find them.  We finally did, though, with a little help from the race volunteers (they were the bathrooms inside the arena).  If you're wondering whether or not $100+ dollars is worth rockstar bathrooms, I'm here to tell you it is.  It so is!! - Heather here, just reaffirming the awesomeness of the Potty like a Rockstar perk! 

Flushing toilets with running water is Elysium, not to mention the cute volunteers in tuxedo tees and silver trays of energy gels.  Outside were tables and chairs and coffee and bananas and other yummies for all the racers.  If we weren't in such a hurry, it would have been nice to sit and enjoy.  We were minutes from the beginning of the race, though, so we hurried back to the start line.

Side note: One of the first things that made me happy that morning was walking past a church and seeing a sign that their bathrooms were open to racers.  Way to be welcoming! :-D That's what I like to see.

Right, so we made it to the start line aaaaaaaaaaaand time to hurry up and wait.  The rain started falling fat and heavy on us as we walked from the bathrooms, and lightning was sighted on the course.  Start 45-minute delay...

Look at all of that rain! It's literally dripping off of us. 
Panoramic of the crowds huddled underneath the Music City Center's overhang to try and escape the storm. 
Hooray!  The race finally started and we were off!  The rain made it cool and comfortable on the morning of what would eventually become an 80 degree day.  We ran down Broadway, but not the tourist-tastic part.  We were running down the back section of Broadway, under overpasses, quiet and isolated.  Then past M Street with Virago and Saint Anejo and Whiskey Kitchen and on through the Gulch.

The running came so easy.  My music was shuffling through some of my favorite songs - Project 86, Panic! At the Disco, Thousand Foot Krutch - and I had to keep myself from air-drumming because it would mess up my step count.  I had told Heather I wasn't good at running an entire 5k, and she had said to let her know if I needed to slow down.  She's such a good big sister. :-) I didn't need to, though, and I think it's because of all the great pre-prep Heather led us through: making sure we were hydrated and fed well.  She also directed us well.  In the beginning, we were weaving through the pack, her leading the way and me like a little duckling following behind.  She also tried to steer me away from massive puddles, to which I was oblivious. Heather here again -  I may or maynot have accidentally poked/stabbed her with my fingernail trying to save her life from an ocean-sized puddle.

As we ran up 10th Circle, a train trundled along slowly on a ridge to our left.  It toot-tooted at us, and we waved back.  Another point for Nashville's awesomeness.  One of our local news station's mascots was out as well, and we ran by to get high-fives.  The race was coming to a close before I knew it.  The hills had been gentle slopes, and the bands had cheered us on...lots of country, as you might expect.  We could see the stadium as we crossed the Woodland Street bridge, and it was just a turn or two from there.  When we came within sight of the finish line, Heather said she'd race me to the finish.  I ran fast and was all psyched afterward.  We got our medals and then went and found our mum.  And then we had to make our way a mile back to the start line for the half marathon. Heather here again - in a sprint where a tiger is chasing us, Dana will win. I was not prepared for the burst of speed she had waiting in the wings. It just reaffirms my belief - #NotASprinter

Selfie on the pedestrian bridge walking back to the start line for start of the half. 
After, Mum and I cheered for Heather as she started the half, we went to a little coffeehouse here called Crema and had a lovely chat over coffee and macarons.  As we left, I got Heather a coffee to go, and the barista, who I had been chatting with, wrote such a lovely message for her:

Yet another point for Nashville!  I think Heather was really chuffed by this.  I know I would be over the moon if I got this from a random stranger.

So how did I do?  Better than I ever have, I think.

I cannot tell y'all how excited I am about this.  It was such a great run!  Such a great morning!  Such a great experience!  I'm really pleased I did this.  I felt so good I actually wish it had been a 10k.  I could have kept running.  I won't do a half marathon, though; that's just crazy.  Anyone want to come run with us next year?

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