The Nashville Women’s Half Marathon-A Great Race

Womens Nashville Half Marathon StartThis past weekend I participated in the Women’s Half Marathon here in downtown Nashville. It was the second time I have done the race.  It was my first half marathon in over three months and I was honestly pretty nervous.  This is a fairly hilly race and I knew it would get a little sunny.  Since the Boston Marathon last April I have really struggled with a long term goal for my running.  For five years it was all about qualifying and then re-qualifying. And then re-qualifying again!  So I have kept up with my miles since April, I just really haven’t pushed myself as hard with speed work.  I have really just stayed in a very safe and complacent running spot in my mind.  The last two weeks had been a little bit better because I knew I had this race coming up.

So the race was exactly as I remembered.  It was fairly hilly, got a little hot but not terrible, and the crowds were fairly slim compared to many other races. I ended up running a 1:38 which was two minutes slower than I ran it last year, and 5 minutes slower than my best. I ended up 2nd in my age group out of 370 and 10th overall out of almost 2300.  The first place winner of the whole race was in my age group and was 39!  I think that is so awesome and it gives me hope that even though I will be 37 in November, maybe I still have a little spunk left in my running!

Blogs are supposed to be honest right?  So here was my one problem with Saturday’s race.  Let me start off by saying that I am VERY directionally challenged.  I always have been.  As a teenager my father got me a personalized license plate that said “WICHWAY”. Once in high school I tried to take my car out to Rivergate and somehow ended up in Kentucky. I use my iPhone map all day long because I am in an outside sales position. (I feel like the app was made for me.) For about the first 3 miles I was running behind about 5 or 6 women and a pacer group.  They were ahead of me and were at the very front of the race.  Eventually at about mile 3, I just couldn’t see them anymore.  As I turned around I could barely see anyone behind me.  So there I was running literally all alone. (Kind of boring).  For fear of making a wrong turn I had to pull my ear phones out several times to ask the volunteers to verify “which way” was the correct turn.  It was blocked off with cones but there were several times it just didn’t seem 100% clear which way to go and I had no one to follow because those speedsters up front were long gone.  Then about mile 8 or 9 two more women passed me and then I was alone again.  Right at mile 10 another girl passed me but I could still see her ahead.  Then I noticed that I never saw the mile 11 sign and time clock. I thought it was strange because every single other mile had a sign and a clock, as most marathons do have them at every mile.  So then the lady that passed me at the end finished right in front of me.  She stopped me to say good run and also informed me that I and the other girl ahead of me had taken a wrong turn.  She apparently had started to follow us but the cops very loudly informed her that we had gone the wrong way.  They were yelling for us but I guess we were into our music and heard nothing.  She was not from around here and was worried we would be headed in the completely wrong direction.  Luckily it seems we just ran an extra block or so.  I am really, really bad about zoning out in a race.  I am probably the only person that ran the St. Jude’s Memphis marathon and completely missed when we passed the gigantic St. Jude’s hospital.  I miss 90% of what goes on in a race because I get so deep, too deep, in my zone.

This race is a good time of year because it gets me back in racing mode after what is usually a slower, tough to get motivated summer.  In two week I will have the Murfreesboro half marathon which will be flatter and probably cooler.  I am looking forward to that.

The highlight of my run was having my friend Kelly, her daughter, and her mom and dad come to watch me race.  I met Kelly when I was 11 years old. My husband was home with our kids and a friend’s son as well getting everyone ready for soccer and flag football. After Kelly read my recent blog about the power of spectators at a race to support you (glad to know people actually read them!) she immediately called and asked ‘when is your next race?’  Kelly not only packed up her 17 month old, but she is also pregnant.  So she is a real trooper.  All of my friends and my family are always so supportive and for that I am lucky.  Even running down Belmont and seeing two of my favorite friends on the other side gave me a little pep for the next mile. Races are early and it really is hard to get up and down there.  There is never a race though where I don’t get several encouraging texts from family and friends.  I do have to say that knowing I would see Kelly and the fam at mile 10 helped me break up the race in my mind.  Then I got to see them again at the finish, it truly made my day!

Kelly and Company Womens HalfNashville Womens Half 2014 Medal

This is definitely a race I will do again.  The medals are HUGE!  I mean weigh your neck down kind of huge!  And they are pretty cute, shaped like a pair of shiny cowboy boots. (Very Nashville!) For me it is a great kick start into fall racing season.  I would like to say that maybe next time I will study the course map a little better, but it is doubtful.  Maybe it will give me some motivation to try to keep up with the runners in front of me, so I don’t end up making wrong turns again.

Stephanie Nashville Womens Half Marathon 2014Womens Half Marathon 2014 Music City Center

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