Friday, June 25, 2010

Flashback Friday--Country Music Marathon 2004

One of the things that I like about reading other people's blogs is about their adventures and events that they are competing in. Since I am currently in training mode for what I hope is a busy fall, I'll write about a few of my favorite past runs.

My first marathon was the 2004 Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN. Training had went very well for this event with my long run progressing to the desired 20 mile length.

Race morning, I arrived at 5 a.m. for the bus ride from Titans stadium to the start line near Vanderbilt University across town. This is where the fun began. I had been advised to take a trash bag or a rain poncho and an old t-shirt or sweatshirt in order to stay warm and dry. I didn't. Don't ask me why. I just didn't.

Shortly after getting off the bus, it began to rain lightly. I found a BBQ shack near the park in which to hover in misery (in an outside eating area) with several other unprepared runners. The weather soon went from bad to worse. It began to pour. We were thinking that things could not get much worse when another runner came jogging up and told us that they had just announced that the start of the race had been postponed due to an impending thunderstorm which was approaching. We were also advised to seek better shelter.

The McDonalds near Centennial Park and the starting area was at MAX capacity. We decided to walk to a nearby convenience store. There were about 70 people stuffed inside this little store. I had already called my girlfriend (now wife) to tell her what was going on. Several minutes and a nice April thundershower later, someone entered the store to announce that the race was on and would be starting in a few minutes. Everyone quickly rushed toward their starting corral and began the warmup process.... only to stand and wait another 45 minutes until the race finally began. I had serious doubts standing, waiting, and shivering that I would have enough energy left to complete this event.

I ran pretty well through the first half marathon hitting the half way point at about 2:13. Very close to the desired 10 minute pace. I then got a lesson on "the wall." And I don't mean Pink Floyd. I didn't drink enough. I didn't eat enough. I wasted way too much energy high-fiving the various cheerleading teams. The second half of the marathon was miserable. I was out of gas in a major way!! I remember someone offering me Bugles at around mile 17 and I turned them down. I almost turned around and ran back to them. Mile 22 took forever... or it seemed that way. I suffered throught the last half in 2:37. My overall time was a 4:50:33.

Brad Paisley performed that night but without me!! I was pretty much out of it!! We had a great trip. I finished the event, not in my goal time, but I finished. We hit some local establishments (Wildhorse Saloon, Hardrock Cafe, Waffle House...)and got to enjoy ourselves a little. I had completed an event that I never conceived possible. I was a marathoner!!

My overall finish place was not impressive. My overall pace was not real impressive. My gender placing, my age group placing, nothing to really brag about except.... I had just run 26.2 miles on a miserable April morning in Nashville, TN. I was a marathoner!!

As always.... Every day is a good day, some are just better. Thanks for reading.


  1. Totally awesome. I do and don't care about my times and performances. I do because I am a male who can't quite grow up and am hyper competitive (but with myself, mostly) and I don't because in some corner of my brain I am a rational and balanced and appreciate the chance to have a training day with a whole bunch of other people with free food. This should be a blog post, actually.

  2. wow, horrid conditions... always fun to look back on now that it's over though...

    I hit the wall pretty early in my first marathon, ~mile 18... what a horrible thing! Definitely motivates me to train harder for my 2nd marathon!

  3. I wish I could run a marathon. During training for my first marathon I wrecked my knee pretty bad. I was up to running 18 miles on my long runs. I was my fault for pushing the training schedule.

  4. I REMEMBER that race. I am pretty sure that I had a few friends who ran it. What a nightmare. But, you cranked at it and finished!!