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The Long and Short of the Nashville Rock and Roll 5K - 2018 Edition!

Hello, friends! Dana here. How are we already three-quarters of the way through May??? I can't take it. Someone get me a TARDIS, stat! Anyhoodles, so last month, Heather and I ran the Nashville Rock and Roll 5K together. Heather was supposed to run the half marathon except... erm, yeah. That pesky kneecap dislocation. She can say more on that subject here if she wants. No, I don't want to. It's still bothering me, and it's a sore subject. Ha! You see what I did there? Yea, I'm finally to the point where I can make jokes about it..... BTW, I'll be popping in on this post to add my comments to Dana's commentary - Heather

As for my part, I'ma start with the expo, which was... underwhelming. I've been increasingly disappointed with the expo for the last few years now. The number of vendors has gone down, and I'm not certain of the reason. If these type of health events are anything like some of the trade shows I sell books at, though, the reason must be partially (if not entirely) down to the cost to have a booth, which seems to be going up each year for me, so maybe it's the same for expo vendors? Anyway, I really wanted to see Sparkly Soul Headbands there, as I buy from them every year. No dice. And I know Heather usually pops by the shoe charm place (sorry, I don't remember what it's called). No luck there either. It was pretty much the big, corporate sponsors this year, most of whom I don’t care about. Super serious competitors would probably be happy, but I want sparkly headbands and jewelry, not overpriced, packaged performance food. To be fair, I did buy a knee brace from CEP. I have had good luck with CEP's compression and Plantar Fasciitis sleeves. My knee seems to be extremely troublesome as no brace seems to be able to keep my knee cap where it should be. No brace except the huge blue one that the ER gave me and requires crutches to move around. Not really conducive to running. 

As for race day, we got at the butt crack of dawn, as per usual, and made it to Nissan Stadium with a good amount of time to spare. Once again, we hit First Baptist Church, who open up their facilities to all the runners on race day. They are really lovely, offering snacks and a stretching space, all for free. The starting line isn't far from the church, so we huddled up in our corral. It was a brisk morning, one of those for which I don't know that the perfect gear has been invented - somewhere in the 40-something degree range. I was thankful for my long sleeves while we waited for the race to start, but didn't love them later on. I was perfectly happy with my race day attire. Dana should run more races so that she accumulates as much weather-related running experience as I have. 

Good Morning Happy and Grumpy! 

I'll be honest, I baby duckling-ed Heather during a good bit of Mile 1. I wasn't super energized that morning and in a bad head-space. I'm gonna go ahead and blame stress for that. I had a new book coming out three days after the race, so, ya know, it'd been kind of a crazy time of late. Maybe next time I'll plan better. Lol, that's hilarious. Heather called after me to come on! And I had to kick myself in the butt. I still maintain that she did it to get me out of my headspace. I wasn't overly happy that I was running the 5k, but I was feeling pretty good despite myself. Damn race day vibes. They're infectious.

The volunteers, as always, were wonderful, as were all the folks who came out to cheer. Be sure to tell those people thank you as you pass by. The bands were great too, though this is Nashville, so no big surprise there. They cheered all of us too and waved, which was a much needed boost throughout. Heather and I switched jobs around the farmer's market, right around the end of Mile 1. I think her knee had begun to bother her, so I started to encourage her. If I recall this is about the time the hills started. We'd run down a slight incline along the railroad tracks, and then it'd flattened off a bit. Now that a month has gone by and I've reinjured my knee cap a few times, I will say that the downhill is what probably started my knee pain, but Dana was awesome, as she always is. We chatted, she distracted me with some touristy information about where we were running. I kept telling her to go ahead, but she refused. I really started appreciating her more around this time, because I knew the rest of the race was going to be tough on me, and I didn't really want to admit it. 

The St. Jude section almost broke me. As a survivor of childhood cancer, anything I see related to that always hits me in a really tender spot. I was fighting back tears because the hell if I'm gonna break down during this run! I don't know if Heather heard my breathing change or just what (it's weird breathing while you're running and biting your tongue to keep from crying), but she asked me if I was okay.

"Yup."   The St. Jude section gets me just like the Blue Mile at RnR DC. You can't help but tear up. 

Lie. But whatever. We kept going. Most of the rest of the course is a bit of a blur. We had to take our first walking break on a hill between Miles 2 and 3. Hills... guh. I didn't actually want to walk, but I was struggling and slowing down. Dana says she wanted to walk, but I have a feeling it was a bit for my sake as well. I hated it though. I was determined to keep an athletic pace, so even my walking wasn't that slow. Those long legs come in handy sometimes. 

Look, a hill. We did have a nice view of the Batman building. 
Heather pulled a fast one on me sometime after that, though. There's a bridge (please don't ask me which one) we cross that signals the race is almost done. Heather lied about how much further we had to go when I asked (near the end of Mile 3, which meant I got super excited when the bridge of happiness appeared around the next bend. I pulled ahead of Heather on said bridge, so excited to get my chocolate milk at the end*. I was so focused on the end that I didn't hear Heather squawk next to me when her knee slipped. Oopsie. Sorry. Apparently, she told her knee to suck it up when she saw me ahead of her, though, and stayed on my tail. As soon as we turned the corner and the finish line came into sight, I bolted for it, as I always do. It always feels amazing sprinting across. Of course, I also then wanna throw up as soon as I slow down, but tradeoffs, right? Heather came in a few seconds behind me, and I got to do my best impression of a crutch underneath her. We got our chocolate milk and medals and found a nice spot to stretch.  Just after you crest the hill it's mile 3 or 13 depending on your race, and it's literally all downhill from there. Yep, downhill. My knee tugged weird and it felt like I didn't have a knee cap for half a second. It hurt, but then Dana passed me. I couldn't let that stand. I took off after her, oblivious to the fact that my knee was hurting. I finished 4 seconds behind her, and I was pretty dang happy about that because as soon as I crossed that finish line my knee was done for a bit. Dana, thankfully, is much stronger than her small frame appears and she helped me limp to the finish area. Some medical volunteers started pushing a wheelchair towards me, asking if I needed it. I told them I'd walk it off. Once we rested a bit and stretched, my knee did feel better, but it was tender. I was very thankful that I'd done this race with Dana because 1) I wouldn't have been able to finish the half and 2) that would have been worse for me and I did finally have to admit that I'm injured and my knee needed more TLC. This, of course, didn't stop me from over-training and pushing too hard after getting back home and reinjuring it. 

She totally forgot the best pic of the day! 

In case you're curious what other fun we got up to, let me tell you it was oodles! Here are some pics!

90s Space Jams Way Late Play Date at the Adventure Science Center.

New tattoos! Sun (Heather), moon (our sister, Colie, but she doesn't have hers yet), and stars (me).

She totally forgot about our taco eating adventure and demonstrating the "cigar" hold for tacos. Its pretty dang good at keeping all the taco goodness inside the taco. 

And the sushi date after the race, as per our tradition! 

And goat yoga with Shenanigoats. Don't know what goat yoga is? It's pretty much what you see below.

Hey, wanna know more about that new book I mentioned earlier? Here's the cover...
A dark retelling of Swan Lake set in the fantasy steampunk world of Broken Gears.

...and you can click this link for more info. 

Thanks for reading!

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