The Nashville Country Music Marathon – Always a Fun Challenge

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May 04


Well I can now say I have another full Nashville Country Music Marathon under my belt. I say every year I do the full, that it is going to be my last. Yet that never seems to hold true. I enjoy doing the marathon here because the sights are familiar. I often see spectators out that I haven’t seen in a while, old friends that just happen to be out there cheering someone else on. I enjoy seeing the local companies that volunteer at the water stops and the local high school cheerleaders out cheering us on. The bottom line is that we really do live in a very cool city.

The week before the race I was out of town for a meeting. I wasn’t so thrilled about the timing because I was out of my routine all week. I am a fairly schedule oriented, routine person. I know I didn’t drink nearly enough water all week and I missed sleeping in my own bed. However, I made it back at midnight on Thursday, and headed down to the Music City Center to pick up my packet. EVERY weather channel was predicting a minimum of rain for the race, if not some spotty storms. So I rounded up my hat, a trash bag to wear at the start, my dry fit tank and shorts, and a ziplock bag for my phone. However it ended up not even raining a drop. (Shocking I know, that the weather people were actually wrong! ) It was slightly humid and warm at the start, but I know it could have been worse. I overheard some people from Kansas City next to me at the ready to runstart talking about the humidity. Geez I thought, try coming back here in July! I know however, that there have been times the weather reached the 80’s during the Nashville Marathon. I shouldn’t complain. I just still much preferred the weather at the Memphis marathon, which was windy, chilly, and completely cloudy.

I went with my new Brooks Glycerins for the race. They are always a great shoe for me. I also went with my Nike Tempos (again) and a Nike dry fit tank. However I do have to say, I used some body glide that was apparently old and dried out. I can say for certain I had the worst chaffing I have ever had. The shower hurt so bad that it made me nauseated. I still have spots that aren’t healed. It was not a good situation.

I would have liked to have run my best time, but the truth is I didn’t expect it. My training runs this time were rushed and I was a little off schedule. So I set out to just do my best. About half way through I realized it probably wasn’t going to be a PR day for me, and truthfully I lost steam. The 3:31 I ran in December is what I will use to register for Boston when it opens in September. Two years ago at this race I ran a 3:29, my best race ever. This year I ran a 3:38, my 4th best.


If you have read any of my blogs, you know how I feel about the power of spectators. This year my kids had several games so my husband was there with them. While it was the best thing for them, I hated not having them all there. I got to see two of my friends once along the way, and then the two most amazing spectators found me at least 4 times! Stephanie and Katie Feyes made me the most amazing signs, and their energy when I saw them was priceless. They helped me so much. I do miss having people I know at the finish line, but it still doesn’t take away from that overcoming sense of accomplishment you get when you take that last step though the end of the race.

Next year, I think I will be doing the half here. This is a fun and challenging race, hilly indeed. But whenimage1 (1) I got to the split at mile 11, I was kind of jealous that those people only had two miles left! There was actually only 2629 people that ran the full and about 20000 that ran the half. (That should tell you something.) So if you see me next spring, remind me what I said about NOT doing the full again!

I placed 6th in my age group out of 162 women, and was the 34th woman out of all 1214 women that finished the full. Not bad for a 37 year old mom! I am going to spend some time this summer running, working on my speed, and weight and cross training to hopefully set myself up for some good half marathon times this fall.



Race Week – How To Prepare To Run A Marathon

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Apr 24

Marathon runners

“Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud every step of the way.”

So here I am a again, getting ready to run the Nashville Full Marathon. And guess what? They are calling for rain! Is it just me or does it always seem to rain on marathon weekend in Nashville? Last year was about the only time I remember it not raining and I wasn’t running it because I had done Boston just days before. Don’t get me wrong, rain can be ok. I ran my best time ever two years ago in the pouring down rain right here in Nashville. However, it’s not ideal! And this Saturday they are calling for thunderstorms, thunder and lightening are a whole different ball game. So only time will tell us what Mother Nature is going to bring!

Three weeks ago I ran my last Long run, 23 miles. I have been tapering ever since, and this week have ran less than I have in months. Tapering is sometimes hard for us type A runners, but it is a necessity. You have to give your body time to rest and heal from all of the training, so you are prepared for marathon day. So now that race day is almost here, I thought I would share a few ways I get ready for the big day.

1. Get plenty of rest. That means not only rest for your legs but actual sleep.

2. Hydrate! The worst thing you can do is go into a marathon dehydrated. You are about to put your body through the ringer and you and your muscles need water! All week before a race I drink water constantly.

3. Avoid High fiber foods. We all know running can increase activity in the old intestinal tract, so anything you eat that aggravates that could potentially cause a not so fun problem on race day. (Especially 2-3 days out)

4. Keep an eye on the weather so you choose the right clothes. It’s also a good idea to test out anything new you may wear, so you know that it’s not going to chafe you or rub you in the wrong places. Dealing with raw skin after a marathon is rough!

5. Stretch. Stretch. Stretch. I have to admit, I am not the best at taking time to stretch. (Okay, maybe I’m actually the worst at it) However, the week of the race I try to stretch almost daily to try to avoid tight muscles.

6. Get your running playlist together. I always strategically create a new playlist before a race. I like to have my favorite songs ready. I also always chose some new songs so on race day I have some fresh music to listen to. I mean I am all about some “Uptown Funk” but burnout has set it on that song!

7. Get excited! I try to get pumped up mentally for the run. I find out who all I may see along the way and where I may see them. Sometimes it’s actually easier for the runner to spot the spectator than it is the other way around, especially if we know where you are planning to be. As corny as it may sound, I picture the finish line in my head over and over again, and I remind myself how truly amazing it feels to cross it. I firmly believe running is part body strength and part mental strength. You need both. You may not have a sore muscles or a pain in your body while you’re running, but hit that mental wall……..and its a wrap for ya. A mental wall is hard to come back from.

Regardless of what happens, I always remember the real reason why I run. Yes I run to stay in shape and I run so I can eat ice cream. Mostly though, I run to remind myself to work hard, never give up, and that anything is possible.

run like you stole it


When to Buy New Running Shoes

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Apr 20
Time for new running shoes

photo credit:


Often times I get the question…”How often do you buy running shoes?” Well it sure seems like a lot! So what exactly is the life expectancy of a running shoe and how do you know when it is time for the shoe’s retirement? More importantly, can wearing worn out running shoes negatively affect your performance? These are questions I have asked for years, and there are actually a few answers.

First and foremost, without a doubt wearing old running shoes can put you at major risk for injuries. Clearly any injury is going to negatively impact your performance, or even sideline you all together. Worn out running shoes are less able to absorb the impact, which sets off a chain reaction of improper impact to your muscles, tendons, and bones. The impact can start at your feet and ankles and run all the way up to your legs and even your back. Trust me, back pain is something you want to avoid at all costs. It is often an injury that lingers.

So we know that old and worn out shoes can put you at risk for injury. How often should you replace them? As a general rule of thumb, many say they should be replaced about every 500 miles. For me that is about every three months, for some that may be longer or even shorter. (I have a few crazy friends that do 50 and 100 milers!) Another indicator is just simply to listen to your body. If you are suddenly or even gradually having more aches and pains in your legs, hips, or knees…. You may want to think about how long you have had your shoes. If it takes your legs longer to recover from long runs, that is another indicator. You also may want to turn them over and check out the bottom. I wear my shoes out in the same pattern. The inside top corner of my right sole wears out first. When I say wears out, I mean I have worn it to the point where I got my sock wet from the rainy roads. That was a real clear sign!!

uneven wear on running shoes Uneven wear on running shoes


Barry (our resident running shoe expert at Cool Springs) shared with me that often times shoes break down unevenly depending on how the midsole is put together combined with the runner’s gait. This can put you at risk for an ankle roll or other things that can be out of alignment after your shoes have broken down unevenly. One suggestion I have gotten from Barry and have read in numerous places that can help extend the life of your shoes, is to have two good pairs and rotate them. This actually gives the midsole foam more time to decompress between runs. I have started doing that and I definitely think it has helped.

New running shoes

Ahh, new running shoes!

Good running shoes are worth the money, no doubt about that. You do not want to put yourself at risk of being sidelined because you either didn’t buy the right shoe or wore a pair of shoes too long. I always recommend trying on a new shoe before you buy it, even if you have worn it before and especially if they have revised the shoe.

So what do you do with those old and worn out running shoes? Well we all need one good, old pair to wear around or outside on a rainy day. (But we don’t need a ton of old pairs of shoes) When they are done completely I always give mine to Soles4Souls. It is a great non-profit that takes old shoes and provides shoes to children in need. There are drop off locations all over.

It is a great way to put those old shoes to good use!

“Life is better in running shoes.”



Richland Creek Run 2015 Review – A Great Race for Everyone

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Apr 08

Richland Creek Run Poster RCR Stephanie ready to run

This past weekend I participated in the Richland Creek Run 5 Mile Race.  It was my second time to participate.  I like this race because it is 5 miles and not a 5K, so it helps me practice my race pace for the upcoming Country Music Marathon.  This run benefits Greenways for Nashville and it only about a $25 registration fee.  As a runner, I love that there is a race that actually helps keep up the greenways that so many of us love to use as part of our path.  As a city we are fortunate to have these and we have to maintain them if we want to keep them beautiful.  There was also a kid’s run and there were even several dogs out that day.  I like this race because it is very welcoming and not intimidating to anyone of any level.  There were walkers and there were crazy fast runners.  There were lots of families as well.  It was a beautiful day, started off chilly but warmed up quickly.  I wore my Nike Element in my favorite blue.  It is without a doubt an essential piece of running and even just active gear.  You can layer to make it warmer or just stick a light tank underneath.  Half way through I had to unzip the half zip to let a little air in!  I also decided to go with my Saucony Triumph ISOs, although I have just gotten a new pair of Glycerins I am breaking in for the marathon.  I love both shoes so much that sometimes I have to decide by either what color matches (fashion is always key) or whatever pair I come across first.

 RCR race bib  RCR  running shoes


For me I wanted to hold about a 7:10-7:15 pace because that is about what I will hope to run the first 7 miles at in a few weeks during the marathon. Of course I could go outside and practice that pace any day, but there is just something about a race that always makes you run faster!  I ended up averaging a 7:12 so I hope that means I am on track for my marathon…..but who knows when race day comes what will happen! The race organizers do their age grouping a little differently.  I think they like to give as many people as possible a chance to place in something.  (Which is pretty cool!)  At age 37, I was considered in the Masters age group.  (Yeah that made me feel old!) There was Masters (30 and up), Grand Masters (40 and up) and Senior Masters (50 and up).  So I was first in my 35-39 age group and 2nd  in Masters (30-39).

If you have not participated in this run, I recommend adding it to next year’s list.  It’s a great race for a great cause, and a great way to start a Saturday!!!

RCR Running Club

The Sport Seasons Nashville Running Club Crew!


10 Tips for Exercising and Eating Right While Travelling

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Apr 07


Spring is here!  That means lots of us have vacationed or have vacation coming up.  Before we know it, Memorial Day will be here, which kicks off summer.  Summer means not only the dreaded bathing suit season, but even more vacations.

Sometimes when I go on vacation, like I did this past weekend, I decide to give myself a little break and I skipped two days of running and ate way too many curly fries.  This was a short vacation so I wasn’t too stressed about what I ate, and sometimes we all just need to let loose and give in.  But if you are traveling a lot and trying to be good, here are my top 10 tips for excising and eating right that help me stay on track when I am away from home.

  1. I pack protein bars and other healthy snacks so I will have something healthy to grab when I am hungry. Quest Bars and Power Crunch Bars are my go to favorites.
  2. I bring either bottles of water or a good container to keep ice water in. Lowering your water intake can cause you to feel sluggish.
  3. I am always sure to pack my vitamins.workout no excuses
  4. I pack my running clothes according to the weather where I am going. You can’t always count on a hotel gym.  They are typically small and sometimes crowded.
  5. I never forget my headphones. Without my music I would never get out of bed.
  6. I am sure I have my Nike App downloaded and working on my phone. The day of modern technology makes it easy to run on the road.  Just start the Nike App and go!
  7. I share meals when I eat out. It helps me control my portions and also saves me money!
  8. I allow myself to splurge when I want to, after all it is a vacation.
  9. I always lay my running clothes out at night because getting ready in an environment other than my home can take longer.
  10. I also have to remind myself how much better I will feel and how much more energy I will have if I start my day off with some exercise!


These are just a few things I find useful in helping me stay on track.  I definitely think it is okay to slack a little in both eating and exercise when you are out of town.  Keeping up with your routine will help you have the energy to really enjoy the rest of your trip, with the bonus of no post-vacation procrastination getting back into your routine when you get home.