Nashville Fun and Race Recap Part 1


Workout – I’m just going to keep throwing this one out there for the sake of habit.  even though the ‘workout’ has been pretty uneventful in most recent history.  and will continue to be uneventful.  due to some sound advice from friends, readers and my crazy little mind talk, I am going to take 2 solid weeks off from running, cross training, thinking about cross training, doing anything that slightly resembles cross training.  oh my.  I just had a flash of panic as I wrote that.  I have never taken that much time off.  all the more reason to do it.  after this past race, it is very clear to me that my body is SCREAMING at me to just BE for a little bit.  surprisingly though, nothing hurts.  nothing aches.  nothing feels ‘off’.  in fact, I’ve never felt better after a marathon.  no little tinges of pain in my shins or knees (which I credit to making probably the only smart decision I have made in regards to running as of late, which was to wear the supportive Mizuno Wave Rider 15’s this past weekend – thanks Mizuno, you saved me some pain).  but I know.  it’s time.  to step back.  reboot.  and start again.

I know that I am strong.  I know that I am a good runner.  I also know that sometimes I let myself be defined as a runner, a fast runner.  and when that doesn’t happen, I’m crushed.  and that hasn’t been happening lately.  I am a runner, but I don’t want to be defined as a runner, and I don’t want to be crushed – it is not the whole of who I am.  It is part of who I am.  And I don’t want that one single part to define how I feel about myself and to take away the joy of running.  Just as I don’t want this last race to define who I am as a runner and how I view myself as a runner.  I am hard on myself.  that I know.  and the amount of pressure I put on myself does NOTHING good for me.  I need to back off a bit.  that is why 2 weeks off will do me a world of good.  because I miss just running.  I miss the speed.  I miss the fast miles and the carefree runs.  I miss just going out the door and taking off, without a set plan of pace and distance and race on the horizon.  but now I am getting ahead of myself.  so lets start at the beginning of this little Nashville trip.


I yanked my little darlings out of a deep, happy slumber on Friday morning to get to the airport for our 6am flight.  My girls still didn’t know they were going with me and my mom to TN.  It was fun to tell them to get their little hiney’s inside as I was walking into the airport.  They were excited. 

So my mom, my two little cheezeballs and I flew to TN.

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I had to check the bag that I thought was small enough to carry on that had their clothes in it, so they ended up having to stay in their pj’s the whole time.  but I made sure the important stuff was carried on the plane with me – like the garmin and charger.  so important.  once again, probably should have just burned it after the last marathon and run without it.  for another day.


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my sister just got a little lab/shepherd rescue puppy.  adorable.  this is the mad dash to smother the dog at the airport.  most exciting part of THEIR trip.

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We got in at 10am, which was great because we still had the whole day to explore.  and get to the expo.  which was a mob scene.  I kept telling my sister that we needed to get their early.  I think we got their just in time before it got insanely crazy.  it was pretty claustrophobic, mob scene crazy when we were there at 2ish.  by the time we left, around 3:30, the line was wrapped around the convention center, which once you got inside went two flights downstairs to the actual bib pickup.  I might have given up on the race at that point if I were waiting in that line.  my endurance might have ended there.

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quick little photo op inside the expo.

We tried to navigate our way around the expo for a bit, but it was so crowded and hot that we just tried to get out of there asap.  and I was getting frantic that I had only consumed half a dozen bagels at that point in the day and needed to get some carbs before I started going mental.  There was a panera right outside, so we went in and I grabbed a couple bagels.  I wasn’t planning on eating both of them at that moment, but before I knew it they were both gone.  hmmm.  those expos really make you work up an appetite.

We headed back to the little sisters apartment and got working on dinner. 

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I like to have ground meat and pasta.  pretty basic.  Jaime (little sister) had some arugula and mushrooms, so we threw that in there as well.  some greens and fungus can’t hurt.  delish.


I felt like I was pretty calm, cool and collected the night before.  but, even when I feel like I am, I think I keep a decent amount of anxiety and pre-race pressure on myself.  this is something that did not help me on race day.  and I think the only way to ease this is practice.  with time, I’ll get better at just letting each race be what it may, while holding onto the goals that I have in mind and letting them push me just enough to keep it all happy, fun and challenging.  this is a work in progress for me.  and this race wasn’t supposed to have any sort of goals or pressure.  but I couldn’t let it go.  as much as this race was supposed to be ‘fun’ and ‘happy’, it wasn’t.  I brought the negative feelings from Gansett with me to the starting line.  I portrayed confidence, but doubt took over.  there would have been no doubt to take over if I truly let this marathon just be.  This speedy lady wrote a good post and talked about doubt.  I couldn’t have said it better.

Race Morning

True to my nature, I did not sleep a wink the night before.  This could have been due to a number of reasons:

1. The puppy. 

2. Sleeping on the couch.

2a. Sharing the couch with my sister so that we didn’t wake the little girls up at 5am.  they still woke up.

3.  The heat.  I woke up in a pool of sweat.  I started sweating before I even started running.

We got ready and headed to the start at 6:15. 

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all happy and jolly.  bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I don’t want to look at any pictures that have to do with this race.  this is the only one you get.  bleh.

My sister lives about 1.5 miles from the start, but with over 27,000 people running, we wouldn’t be able to get near it and neither of us wanted to walk to it.  lazy bums.  so her boyfriend dropped us off.  we stood in a line that wasn’t moving at a porta potty, until we decided it wasn’t gonna happen and we would just hold our pee.  I’m pretty good at that.  all of those trips to Target with 3 kids in tow after drinking a large iced coffee – potty breaks just don’t happen with 3 kids in a shopping cart.

I ran up to corral 1.  silly.  just plain silly to me.  not that I was in corral 1, because I had run a marathon that deservedly put me in corral 1, but looking back, it’s just ironic to me that I was in corral 1 and completely bombed this race.  humbling.

Sheryl Crow ran the half marathon and she did a little shpeal for her charity right before the race started.  They announced her.  I could see her, but she just looked different to me.  I thought to myself, isn’t that funny, that woman’s name is Sheryl Crow.  Must be fun to have a celebrity name.  Or must be fun to be a celebrity.  it was Sheryl Crow.  she seemed delightful.  go Sheryl.

The Start

I don’t know what the temp was, but it felt warm at the start.  definitely humid.  the gun, whistle, blow horn, whatever it was that went off, went off right on time and we go.  Once again, true to my nature, I just start flying.  what is wrong with me?!?!?  will I ever learn.  “oh my goodness, this feels so wonderful.  happy feet, happy legs, this is fantastic.”  combined with “slow the heck down, you’re crazy, what are you thinking”  I slowed down. 

Hills.  this was hilly.  really just annoyingly hilly.  rolling hills for the entire race.  I prefer my race hills to be condensed into one part of the marathon.  If I could choose, that’s how it should be.  Rock n Roll was not on board with that plan in Nashville.  Nash – get rid of some of your hills and throw some trees on the roads for a little shade.  please and thank you.  not that any of that would have made my race better.  just thinking it might have been a little more pleasant and not so gut wrenching if there weren’t so many annoying hills and lack of shade.  that’s just me being crotchety and cranky.  nuff of that.

Miles 1-11

Were great.  Once again, I’m not giving you specific garmin times because we are not speaking at the moment.  I want nothing to do with my garmin.  it is an innocent bystander of a bad race, but I’m not looking at it for awhile and it’s not going to be connecting with my computer anytime soon.  I do know they were right around 7 minute miles.  that is all.  It started getting pretty toasty by mile 4 or 5.  I definitely noticed my breathing was not right somewhere around there as well.  Maybe it was the humidity, I don’t know, but it was hard to get a good full breath of air into my lungs. 

I was trying to hold off on the music until the halfway point, but I had to pull out the reinforcement at mile 9.  Wow.  what a phenomenal thing.  running with music.  fantastic.  what have I been missing.  I think I did one training run on the treadmill with music, and I was equally impressed with the power of music while running.  That power faded pretty quickly in this run.

Miles 11-16

Were just hard.  I don’t know where all of the energy from the half a dozen bagels and ground beef and pasta went, but it certainly was not in my legs.  They were just tired.  not the lactic acid burning tired, just tired.  I was forcing myself to stay on top of the gatorade and even forcing down a gu and a packet of sport beans.  which later decided it did not want to stay down.  On a good note – I have totally mastered drinking and running.  only one cup of water ended up all over my face, after that, I got the hang of it.  the rest of the time I purposely dumped cups of water over my head and down my back.  By mile 14, I was alternating, you’re doing this for fun, but this is not fun, with one mile at a time, just one mile at a time.  Mile 14 is far too early in a marathon to be saying crap like that.  By mile 16, my stomach could not handle any more fluid or fuel.  But it was so hot and I was so thirsty, that I had to drink something.  So I would drink a cup of water at the water stop, and the next one I would grab a gatorade and then it would come back up – just hopeful that some of it stayed down.  I was overwhelmed.  and this was a foreign feeling for me.  I didn’t know how to get rid of it, get out of it, fix it.  this is the mental part of the marathon that somehow, somewhere between last fall and now, got lost and I need to find it.  because I know I have it and I have a lot of it.  and I think I will find it in a couple weeks of rest.  

Miles 17-22

Were miserable, but maybe not quite as hard as 11-16.  I kind of got over the hump of this sucks, and just settled into what was turning out to be a not completely fun race.  This was where I really felt like, who is this running?  and how has this happened?  totally surreal.  I did not feel like myself one bit.  I was not hurting.  I was tired.  that is the best way to explain it.  I would push the pace and then be struggling for air.  every miniscule piece of this race was an experience that I had never dealt with.  the breathing.  the heat.  the inability to keep much of the fluid down.  strange.  I realized that finishing this race would give me my worst marathon time, race, run, that I had ever had.  I realized that I would not have that extreme sense of accomplishment that followed a marathon, even though it was 26.2 miles done.  and that was hard to swallow.  there was not a bone in my body that wanted to cross the finish line, not because I wanted to give up, but because crossing the finish line meant that I was finishing a marathon in a time that I thought would never happen.  but the only way to end this race was to get to the finish line.  so that’s what I had to do.  it was crushing to think about the time that would appear on that clock when I crossed.  so be it.  I saw more people walking during these miles than I had ever seen in a marathon.  granted, I have never run a marathon this big, but I have also never seen anyone walking at mile 20, 21, 22.  that was strange.

Miles 23-26.2

There was a little turnaround somewhere around mile 22/23.  So from mile 20-23ish, you are running past people that are on their homestretch.  I found myself waiting for this little loop around.  when I finally was on my way back, I started feeling a little better.  I stopped grabbing water and gatorade.  I picked up the pace a bit and tried to hold onto that.  I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get to the finish.  Usually those last 1-2 miles are the longest miles of the race for me.  Not this time.  Once I hit mile 25, I couldn’t believe there was only 1.2 to go.  I couldn’t believe I had made it this far.  surreal again that I had these feelings.  So different from any of the other marathons.  I didn’t like it.  There were a ton of people that last mile – and I was totally zoned out.  That is usually one of my favorite parts of the marathon – all of the people screaming and yelling.  I was so not into it.  Another very strange moment.  I crossed the finish line like it was a non-event.  completely un-emotional and disconnected from the whole thins.  I wanted to find my family.  and then throw up.  I was trying to wrap my mind around the time that flashed on the clock.  I still am trying to wrap my mind around that.


I grabbed a water, drank it, walked past the free photo finish area, past all the food they were handing out.  how anyone can drink chocolate milk immediately after a marathon continues to amaze me.  and disgust me just a little bit.  milk.  after running.  in the heat.  yuck.  milk, in general kind of grosses me out.  I digress.  I found the girls and my sister at the medical tent. funny. I knew I wouldn’t see them at the finish because there would be so many people, and that’s where we decided to meet.  ironic.  sister didn’t have a great half marathon.  for some reason that made me feel a little better.  I saw a lot of halfers walking out of the tent with ice packs all over the place.  I jumped right in line for ice for my knees.  they weren’t hurting, but I knew they would be.  I jumped right back out of line to go let everything come back up that I just drank.  and got back in line.  I got wrapped up with ice and sat for a few minutes.  getting ice on my knees asap was the best thing I did.  nothing hurt that night or the next day.  another good decision made. I make so many good decisions.  ha.  This convo I had as I was getting iced up was not a good decision – I got to chatting with this guy next to me, who embodied fast, super stealth runner.  He probably weighed 135 pounds and was a sub 1:30 half guy shooting for 3:10 today.  totally doable.  and this next statement would probably be similar to asking a woman who just gave birth when she is due – I say, well, your race couldn’t have been worse than mine…and he says, I ran a 3:57, I was shooting for a 3:10, how did you do?  ok. foot in mouth.  you win.  I suck.  you had a worse day.  and you know what – we have bad races.  and I’m just racking up by bad race ammo for a day when I am going to be trained, and ready to run MY race.  It’s in there.  and I’m on my way to finding it.     


5 months ago I ran a 3:11 marathon with significant IT Band pain for the majority of the run. 4 weeks after running a 3:17 marathon.  5 months later I struggled through a 3:21 and a 3:42, after doing a ton of speedwork.  more speedwork than I had ever done – I had never done speedwork before.  I had never followed a plan before.  It’s not the plan or the speedwork.  It’s the weekly miles and the mindset and the confidence going in.  I got my 3:11 and got greedy for faster without understanding and fully respecting the marathon.  and I didn’t give myself a break.  I jumped right into training for the next one.  I got right into being crazy runner, expecting more of my body than I should have without giving it time to catch up to the demand I was wanting to put on it.  I needed patience.  I was wanting what I wanted NOW.  no patience.  I have a lot more to say about the actual running and what I think the dealio is with all of this and my plans to reign it back in and get back to what works for me.  and what makes me love running.  and racing.  because I love to run marathons.  the easy thing to say is that I totally overdid it with the marathons in the past 6 months.  and there is much validity to that.  which is why I’m doing nothing until NYCM in the fall.  and the VT50 trail run before that.  but that’s a run of a different color.  and all of this chitter chatter will be continued in Part Two of the recap and the “Nashville Fun” part of this post.  because I have already written a short novel replaying this race.  and I don’t want to make all of you lovely people ill reading more about what is in my head at the moment.  your welcome.  I will let you enjoy the rest of your evenings.


Are you a fan of chocolate milk after a run?

What is your favorite thing to eat after a marathon/race?

How is everyone’s race training/running going? 

About msfitrunner

I am a 29 year old stay at home, hardworking mom to my three little loves! My oldest little darling is 5, little sis is 4 and baby brother is almost 2. I have been married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 7 years (ahhh!). My faith and my family is my rock, and I have a newfound LOVE for running. Maybe it's more of a necessity at this point - to maintain household peace and my own sanity, but whatever it is, it's working for me and I'm loving the racing. The vegan world has been calling my name, so I am testing out those waters as well! That's a tough one with three little picky eaters at home, but I am having fun coming up with new recipes and trying out new things. Follow along as I chronicle this crazy running life, and ALL the craziness that goes with it!

14 responses »

  1. Oh my gosh, I love your race recaps. They are so detailed, authentic, and filled with little notes that make me laugh. Humid & Hills are two things I always try to avoid in a race I want to PR in. They are killers, no way around it. I think you are smart about the rest. Take a few weeks EASY and have fun with it. Sometimes the brain needs a break more than the body.

    By the way, the statement “No potty breaks when you have three kids in a shopping cart” We are living the same life!! 😀 Your girls are adorable!

  2. Thank you for this post. I too am going through crappy running and have a not so hot foot. I am in day two of a one week break from cardio. Its hard! This is my fav running weather too. So tempted. Ill be reading your posts to help get me through! Started reading your blog after gansett, I was a volunteer. What an accomplishment just to be there, be proud!

    • Hi! Thank you so much for reading and commenting:) and thank you for volunteering at gansett- all of the volunteers were wonderful!! I especially loved how a lot of you on the course had lists with the numbers and corresponding names and cheered us on by name as we passed- pretty neat:) Just take it easy- I’m sure I’m going to have a pretty tough time with two weeks off, because this is ideal weather in new england. I’m really going to try to stick it out. Just think, you will be much stronger after the rest and the rest will make you stronger in the long run. Hang in there and I hope your foot starts to cooperate!:)

  3. Um I would never drink milk after a race. So gross. Not to mention we only do almond milk at our house anyway. The last 1/2 I did served pizza afterwards – at nine in the morning! No thanks. I love to eat an apple with almond butter right after and do the pigging out later :).

    Major heat wave here in TN still going on and all of my long runs are slowing way down. Have my next half in 3 weeks and then I too am done til fall. I literally can’t take the heat and will just run for fun and fitness til then.

    • Oh man, my sister showed us the forecast for this week- no fun!! I wouldn’t be running too much either, it’s probably not much cooler at night. Do you have a fall marathon planned? Or is it a half? I don’t know that I will ever run in TN again after this past weekend;-) I will definitely come visit again, but no racing 🙂 Have a great night!!

  4. I reeeeaally loved drinking chocolate milk after my marathon! I couldn’t really stomach anything else. I think if I ran that fast on my first marathon, I would totally kick it into high gear all the time, too. I enjoyed this thorough post!

  5. I love reading race recaps,it was as if I was running it myself without having to go through the pain.

    I have never tried chocolate milk after a run, I just want lots of water when I finish and my favourite thing to eat after a race are hot dogs.

    Are you wearing a LL CRB in flash in the photo?

  6. I love reading your race recaps! Sorry you’re having some trouble. It’s tough but I’m sure you will work through it! Heat and hills are the worst!

    Chocolate milk after a race, run, anytime ever is pretty gross to me. Yuck yuck yuck! I stick to water or gatorade after races. And I always want bananas!

    I’m struggling with my running but thats okay. I’m building my base back up after having surgery earlier this year. Hope to run a marathon in the fall!

  7. Oh Katie, my heart hurts for you. It sounds like you may be experiencing a bit of a burn out and some lagging effects of overtraining. Sounds like those rest weeks may come in handy for not only your physical state but quite possibly your sanity. I’ve hit this wall before, and the good news is there is always up to go from rock bottom! It’s so hard when you are focused and pulling away at your goal to sometimes loosen up the reins and take the training down a notch when the body starts to give way.

    Enjoy this time of rest, you deserve it girl. You’ll be back to cruising through courses and flying like the wind in no time because YOU ARE FAST…and that isn’t your identity, just a tiny little part of you.

  8. I actually drank the chocolate milk, but couldn’t even stomach looking at the yogurts they were passing out! I had a banana, frozen strawberries, and chocolate milk. I passed on the beer. 😉

  9. I totally appreciate and identify with your disappointment and confusion in your times. It’s so frustrating! I’m not nearly as fast as you (and probably never will be!). I ran my first marathon last Fall with okay base mileage training (maxed at 50 miles/week) but not a lick of speedwork and ran what, for me, was a decent time. Then I jumped right into training hard, more miles, fast miles, and ran another marathon in March and got…20 seconds slower!! So, what do I do? Jump right in again, determined to make my body comply. Nope, now I’m injured and looked at 2-4 weeks off from running. But, you make some really good points, and l think that this forced hiatus could be a good thing. I guess we just get so excited to push and work hard, but forget that it takes time for the body to catch up with our stubborn determined minds! Anyway, just wanted to say that I totally understand the utter frustration (and disappointment) of feeling like your body is some foreign object that doesn’t comply with your demands. Hope rest treats you well!

  10. I can totally relate to sometimes letting running define you…you said it so well. Allow yourself to relax and renew during your break.

  11. Pingback: The Lucky One « msfitrunner


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