Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nashville Country Half Marathon

I rolled to the finish line, rock'n and roll'n to fine country music this morning, arriving about the same time as those Kenyan runners in the full marathon. They were vying for the 10,000 prize and the $10,000 bonus on who crossed the finish line first. The ladies were given an 18-minute head start to make it a contest. This is an interesting event from many angles. It has gotten better every year in its 10 year history. This year they opened up a pasta dinner cruise for contestants the night before the race. They also made the course more difficult by adding the famous streets in downtown Nashville. That added steep hills near the end of the race. I was physically stressed to the limit and made sure I kept myself a survivor at the end. I saw one girl collapse and felt I could do the same if I was not careful. It was too hot for a marathon, 15 degrees higher this year than last year. At the last minute, they added several water stations and had fruit at several places. There was location where a resident turned on their water hoses and was giving cooling showers. I went into it and came out soaked. But of course I was already soaking wet from sweat. How great that water spray felt!!!

The preliminary stats gave me a 2 hour and 8 minute finish. I wanted a 1 hour 53 minute finish but that was not in the cards today. 36000 contestants lined up in corrals (it felt like we were cattle as well.) I could not see any end to runners in either direction - behind or in front of me. I was in the 6th corral, with runners expecting to complete their race in 1hr and 53 or so minutes. I lost the 8 minutes when I nearly collapsed going up the hills. Three times I walked part of an uphill section. The street was crowded all the way. Very little space to run past people. At the end, there was insufficient space to properly cool down. Everyone came to an abrupt stop, but I did find a place to sit down and stretch.

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