Thursday, September 27, 2012

A New PR: Nashville Lady Speedstick Women's Half Marathon Recap

This past Friday, I flew down to Nashville, Tennessee, the place where music calls hometo run in the Nashville Lady Speedstick Women's Half Marathon.

Hard Rock Cafe
Nashville, Tennessee
Sidekick and I almost missed our flight because there was so much traffic on every highway we tried (and we tried three!) driving to the airport. There is nothing worse than running through an airport, trying to get to a gate before they close the doors! Anyway, we made it and I was so relieved. I have had to cancel two runs this year because of knee problems, so thinking I missed the flight, made me want to cry. The problem: I was trying to be "Super Mom". This was the second time I ever took a trip without my kids - they were too busy to come (do you believe it?) - so before I left, I made dinner and wanted to have a "Family" meal. It was so rushed, every one got upset with one another - it was awful - not quite the "quality" family time I hoped for.

We got to our hotel in Nashville about 11PM. I set everything up for the next day's early morning 7AM start: Garmin, Road ID, Running shirt, shorts, Bra, Hair clip, one Clif Shot gel with safety pin to attach to my shorts, socks, sunglasses, Rock tape for knee and racing sneaks with obnoxious laces! I was all set, very excited, and hoped I would be able to sleep.

Even though the Lady Speedstick Half does not advertise packet pick-up in the AM, I called the race coordinators to see if they make any exceptions for people coming in from out of state. I work on Friday, and Girlfriend has been sick, so I had to take her to the doctors that day at 12noon. You can imagine how relieved I was when the race coordinators told me that I could pick up my packet early Saturday morning. So, there I was, 5:45AM, Saturday morning (after a good night's rest!) off with my Side-kick, only to make one stop for coffee, a water bottle and a Clif Bar. Do you believe the little coffee shop had no bagels? 
Poor side-kick, I was a nervous wreck. 
If I don't eat 1hour before the race, 
I could run into huge potty problems - like in Virginia - and that is absolutely No Fun
We were off to the race, and I shoved that Clif bar in my face and sipped back that coffee like I had been starved for a month! All was good, I made it to the packet pick-up area, got my number, looked at my watch and saw it was time for my warm-up. Coach gives me a pre-race warm-up, jog about 1/2 mile and do about 4-6 thirty second strides to wake-up my legs and get them to turn over quickly.

The race started in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame. After my warm-up, we were walking around. Do you believe there is no star for Stevie Ray Vaughn?
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
hey, that's me, and I want you only!
 I am late for everything (Re: my Dolly Parton goal), but never, ever the start of a race. So, it was line-up time, and I met a great person, who after we got to talking, I found out that her niece suffers from Crohn's disease, like me. The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation was the major recipient of proceeds from this race.
This young lady, on my right,  ran to raise money and awareness
for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.
I am embarrassed to say that I have never run to raise money for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - instead, every time I run a race, I donate to Tuesday's Children. I need to reach out to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - maybe they want to sponsor me? I did notice lots and lots of port-o-johns, LOL! And, I was tempted to use one around mile 8, but (no pun intended) I managed to deal with the pain, discomfort and nausea, until I passed the finish line! Then, I was so happy to see all those port-o-johns lined up, welcoming tired old Crohnnies runners, quite like myself!

Before the race, they had the singing of our National Anthem. After 9/11, I can't help, but cry at the singing or playing of our National Anthem. This past 9/11, my daughter sang our National Anthem at the Mets Baseball game. I was really proud of her. I think she sounded beautiful. Check out Girlfriend, singing the US National Anthem - tell me what you think.

After the anthem, I was psyched to start!
Thumbs up!
The race was challenging. In the first mile or so, I met a gentleman carrying a sign: 1:35. I told him that's my ultimate goal, 1:35, but after another mile, he politely said, "I'm sorry, but I have to run a little ahead!" Oh noooo, my illusive 1:35 getting away, again. How  can he run faster than me carrying that sign, in the wind? Ugh!
Just run, girl, just keep running!
I was doing pretty good. I felt strong - even up and sown the hills, twists and turns - it was a very hilly and twisty race - I think that's what made it so challenging! And all the women in the race were so nice. If I passed someone, I would hear: 'keep it up", or "you look great", or "you go, girl'!
Love running in the "All Woman" races!

I kept telling everyone, "Thanks, and I have Crohn's." I know it's stupid, but it means something to me, to be able to run with a chronic illness because I manage it with food and medicine (I take 6 Pentasa per day!).
The crowd was great, too. One person even yelled out, "You go person with the tape around her knee. You just keep going!" Thank you, whoever that was, you really made my day!
Thumbs are still up!
There was only one person, a by-stander, who "lied" - he yelled out, "C'mon, last mile, it's all downhill from here." I yelled back, "Really? You better not be lying to me."
He was! 
I say we had to climb about three more hills before the finish. I was tired. All I could think was, "Just hurry up and finish. Then, you will be done and you can STOP!" You know that feeling, in a race, when all you want to do is stop running? Well, I was there, about mile 11/12. I pushed to the end, though. I wanted to reach at least 1:38.
Last couple hundred feet to go!
Pump those arms!
I did it! So many nice volunteers!
I did it! 
And I set a new PR by seconds: 
Just look at this medal!
Yes! I think I was 16th, overall - they don't have all the results in just yet. What a fun race! So many nice goodies in the race bag, too, including great sweat-wicking t-shirt, which, this time, I kept instead of giving it to my Side-kick. After the race, there was a great band playing some Country Rock. 
Rock on!
Overall, it was the start of a beautiful day in sunny, downtown Nashville, Tennessee, with my Side-kick.
Lotsa boot stores in downtown Nashville!
And live music, everywhere you go!
Hey, Side-kick, thank you for supporting my running efforts <3!
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