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The Long and Short of Rock 'N Roll Nashville Half Marathon

There have been half marathons with weather advisories, and I've always paid attention to them, and for the most part I've not run into any complications. Ha! Do you see what I did there? Ok, that might've been a terrible pun, but I'm still rolling with it.

Saturday, April 29th, was my 10th half marathon, and my third Rock 'N Roll Nashville half, and let me tell you - it was HOT. I mean, we were warned, I took precautions, but that still didn't make a difference to Mother Nature. She just cranked up the heat a little faster. Race officials moved up all the race start times by 30 minutes because of the heat, but then they ended up curtailing the race early, because of the heat.
Dana here!  No, but seriously you guys.  Tennessee heat is brutal.  It surrounds and sticks to you like hot, wet clothes.  It's horrible.
So Dana is going to give her commentary as well on this blog post, because she is a big reason I finished in such good spirits.

It was my slowest, and my hardest half yet, and while I had a moment of discouragement over my dismal time, I reminded myself that I still ran 13.1 miles in blistering heat. That's something. Running 13.1 is something. Doing it while you're showering yourself in your own sweat is a feat in and of itself.

So the morning started off stupid early, like 3 A.M. stupid. Dana and I were up, she helped my tape my torso so that my bra didn't chafe my back (again). We did our hair, and then we drove to LP field and parked around. 4:15.
Moaning on social media about how early it was.  That's what I was doing.  I didn't even know 3 am existed before race day.
Then we sat, ate breakfast, I napped, she did whatever she did, and then at 5:15 we headed towards the other side of the stadium towards the pedestrian bridge over to her starting line, and the bathrooms.

She wanted to hit the first set of ports-potties that we came too, I said nope, lets see what we find further on. To our fortune, the church that had offered bathrooms to racers last year, was doing it again, only this time they had water, bananas, and yoga classes as well to all of the racers. For FREE! What!?!?! A real bathroom and amenities and I don't have to pay extra for that!?! That's awesome. Thank you so much First Baptist of Nashville! You are amazing, wonderful, and a plethora of other positive descriptors. So after our amazing rest stop we walk a block back towards the Music City Center, to the 5k starting line.
I have so many strong feelings about this!  Want to get people through your doors, other churches?  Then be like First Baptist of Nashville.  Long lines of people inside the church.  Were they all just there for the clean bathrooms and free goodies?  Most of them probably, but it created an opportunity to show love to so many people.  The members of First Baptist saw the chance and went for it.  Kudos to you!

We get to her corral, and exchange well wishes, then I leave her about 10 minutes before her start time, to go find my corral. It was easy to find, because no one was in the chute, and all of the corrals clearly marked like they always are at RnR events. I staked out a prime spot on the rail on the right side of race course that she'd be running down. Even though, I looked for Dana in the throng of 5k racers, I still missed her. There were so many 5k racers that it was like an avalanche of runners, and I was really bummed about missing her. I had my camera all ready to record her running by me with lots of cheers and hollers, and I didn't even spot her green hair. Dana called me as soon as she crossed the finish line, and we made a plan and chatted the whole time she hoofed it back over to my start line.
I love the setup for RnR!  You can walk so many places downtown without the bother of traffic.  You can see so many places in one go it would usually be a pain to see otherwise.  If you want to explore your city (or other cities for that matter), attend a race!

It was already warm by the time my race started, and they started releasing corrals. I mentioned to Dana that I wasn't sure if it was actually that warm or if it was because of all the bodies in the chute. She camped out a good spot just beyond my start line, and somewhere between 30-40 minutes after the start of the race, my corral was finally getting their chance. It was go time!

  • Mile 1 - So the race started out nice and easy. I spotted Dana, and we both squealed like the young girls as I passed her. We were also on the phone at the time of our squiealing. We garnered some stares. Our call got disconnected so I then called the hubs to say good morning. My loveing husband was still in bed. So awesome to hear that since I'd been awake for 2 hours and I was an hour behind them. I called Dana back after that, and talked about running up along Music City Center and past her starting line.  PACE - 13:00
  • Mile 2 - Still chatting with Dana, and talking about what I'm seeing. She's very helpfully giving me the deets of what I'm seeing. It was like a guided museum tour with funny, snarky comments thrown in. PACE - 13:22
  • Mile 3 - Still continuing my guided tour, and chatting about whatever comes into my brain. The heat was also mentioned a lot. It was so warm, and I was already sweating rivers. I mention to Dana that I can't remember the last time I've sweated that much. She is dubious. PACE - 13:52 
  • Mile 4 - Our call gets disconnected, so I call the hubs again. I'm about to cross the 5k line, and the hubs asks if my pace is really that off......... I want you all to  imagine the disdain and sarcasm of my next comment, "It's freaking hot." I call Dana and get back to my running tour of Nashville. PACE - 13:57 
  • Mile 5 - Still feeling pretty good, despite the growing heat. I share the funny race signs I see along the course with Dana, and we discuss our faves. I also tell her about the awesome people who have come out to cheer us on and set up their sprinklers. I love all the people that set up their sprinklers and hoses. Thank you so much for hosing us crazy racers down. PACE - 13:53
    Bless all of you people that set up sprinklers!
  • Mile 6 - Still moving along well and keeping a pretty consistent pace. The sun is starting to burn off the cloud cover, and the heat is becoming more oppressive. Dana reminds me to hydrate. She's bossy when she wants to be. PACE - 13:57
    When I want to be?  I know some people in my life that would say I'm bossy all the time.
  • Mile 7 - The wall. Hello wall, how are you. I haven't missed you. I take my first gel, and my pace slows. It's getting uncomfortably warm, and I get chilled. Me getting chilled is  not uncommon so I dnon't think anything of it, but then a breeze comes along and I get proper goose bumps. I slow my pace, and keep Dana appraised of everything that is happening. She checks that I had my gel and otherwise ok. PACE - 16:05
  • Mile 8 - I give in to Dana's admonitions and get some water at the next stop. I end up with 2 glasses worth. I'm feeling better, and am able to pick up my pace a bit. PACE - 15:04 
  • Mile 9 - It's getting hotter, but the gels are doing their job, and I'm feeling fairly good. I mean it's hot. So hot, but Dana's running tour is entertaining. PACE - 15:37
  • Mile 10 - Things fall apart a bit. We're running through an open asphalt jungle and the sun feels like it's on my shoulder. Dana is after me to talk more, but I don't want to. I'm grunting responses to her. I tell her I'm cold again, but then my head starts hurting and I get lightheaded. I tell Dana what's going on and that I'm walking now. I take in some huge gulps of Gatorade, while commenting on the fact that my bite valve needs to be replaced. I know what is happening, but there's nothing around. There's no water station and no medic tent. Just racers walking. No one was running. There are sirens blaring everywhere, and people are starting to drop like flies. Stretchers and ambulances are moving around more than I've ever seen on a course. I talk to Dana, and  she's forcing me to respond in more than just grunts. She tells me that it sounds like I'm dying, and I tell her that I'm not dead yet. I'm starting to perk up a little. PACE - 16:22
    Snarkiness is apparently good for an exhausted Heather. :)
  • Mile 11 - I'm back to running, or maybe it was shuffling, but I wasn't walking. I'm doing ok.  Still so hot, but I miss the water station. I forgot. She yells at me. I did get a handful of ice though. I pop a cube into my mouth and then shove several pieces against my back underneath my pack. It feels amazing. The ice melting enough to slide down my back startles me, and I actually yelp at the surprise of cold water running all the way down my back. Dana laughs at me. I'm still doing ok. PACE - 15:52
    Honestly, how do you forget water in heat like that?!
  • Mile 12 - I'm not doing ok. I'm done. It's so hot, and these freaking hills. Eff all the hills. Dana is still talking to me. I'm cold again. I'm trudging along. I pick a person as my pacer, and I stay with her. She doesn't know I'm pacing her, and that's ok. Some lovely woman comes up and tells me that she likes my hair. Oh that's so sweet. I complain about the heat. It feels like 105. Dana is telling me what to expect. She ran this bit this morning. I think I'm constantly asking her how much further, and where am I. She tells me where the water stations are. I don't forget to hit the last one. This mile is brutal.  The volunteers are handing out sponges, but they're everywhere. I don't take one, they look gross. I tell Dana that I feel like having sponges all over the ground is hazardous. I joke with her that she could come get me if I collapse. I'm only a mile away. PACE - 17:08
    And I absolutely would have too.  Run and found her, that is, if she had collapsed.  I was ready to.  I texted the hubs to tell him how concerned I was.  Those race organizers would have tried to stop me, but they would have failed.
  • Mile 13 - This mile is worse than the last one. My toes are hurting, and my face feels like a salt flat. I don't know that I'm sweating anymore. It's just hot. There's an ambulance and a stretcher coming towards me. I mention to Dana how many people are walking. It's a huge crowd. It's odd, because I've never seen that before. I've seen walkers, but there are always a few still running. Not right here. Marathoners and half marathoners alike are walking. Trudging might be more accurate. Dana fusses at me  to talk more.  I'm freaking tired, and don't want to talk. She yells at me. I get snarky back, and then laugh that I must be feeling better.  she is not convinced, but luckily I'm now running the commentary on where I am, and she's telling me that I can do it. Finally the end is in site, and I'm going up that last stupid hill. The bridge over the Cumberland River. It's literally all downhill from here. I manage to shuffle to the finish, and muster up some enthusiasm for the final pictures. PACE - 19:49 
  • The last .1 miles are just me shuffling along, but I up my pace by 4 minutes and continue to feign enthusiasm for the pictures. Or maybe I'm not, I can't really know, but I was happy to show off for the cameras, because I am finally done.  PACE - 15:46
    You're mad, completely insane.  This sounds like hell on earth, but I'm happy for and massively proud of you! :D
This is my favorite photo that MarathonFoto has ever taken of me. This is crossing the finish line, and no, my shirt was not supposed to be a gradient pattern. That's how soaked I was. 
My official time was 3:22:18, but I finished and managed to not end up on a stretcher. Dana took excellent care of me post race. She also thought I was crazy, because despite everything, I had a good time, and I can't wait for next year.

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