I signed up the Run Rock’n’Roll Nashville half-marathon on a bit of a whim. I had originally planned to do the 5km and support Darren (on the half), but realized as I was training for the Brooklyn half 3 weeks later I would need to do a long run anyway, so why not switch up to the half. I was really excited for the weekend itself, firstly because it was my first trip to another US state (I’d been to NY a number of times before moving, but no where else), and secondly, it was my first Rock’n’Roll Race!
We stayed in an Airbnb, it was average so I won’t post it, but it also made me really miss a having a clean hotel room to go back to after a race. We basically booked Nashville fairly late and couldn’t find any hotels within our budget. The race attracts about 30,000 people from outside of the city so it really does get busy quickly.
The Expo & the Race
We arrived in Nashville the day before the race. After dumping our bags at our Airbnb we headed for the expo. It was far bigger than I was expecting, well organized and had loads of free snacks (obviously the highlight for me). Once we collected our bibs we headed down to Broadway (a strip filled with live music bars, restaurants and lots of touristy shops!). For my restaurant and bar guide to Nashville head over here.
There were two things we were worried about for race day a) the humidity b) the forecasted rain. Both came in full force. Dealing with humidity and rain is quite strange. My forehead was dripping with a rain/sweat mix – yes, isn’t that lovely! The other thing that I should have worried about were the hills. I didn’t really do any race preparation; I didn’t check the course or look at the elevation until the night before the race… probably a good thing as I wasn’t prepared for the amount of hills that were to come.
The start of the race was delayed by over half-an hour – I couldn’t really hear the speakers to understand why, but I assume it was to do with the rain! We got very wet before the start, queuing for the toilets and the start of the race. My trainers were soaked before the race even started. Not ideal. Less than half a mile in I knew this race was going to be tough. I was walking up a hill before the first mile was even over! My calves were really sore and the elevation was just too much. I’m not a quitter, so despite the pain and the difficult course I was not prepared to give up. I also didn’t want to walk too much because that would mean it would take me even longer to get round. I did have to walk a bit, but tried to keep running as much as I could.
The people of Nashville were great; they were standing outside their houses cheering with signs, water and sweets (candy). The music along the course was also a great distraction. At mile 11 my hands were so swollen from the heat and humidity I had to stop by a first aid tent to get an ice-pack. It helped bring down the swelling slightly, but I soon found someone more in need of it at the side of the course so donated it to her! I powered on through, gritting my teeth, telling myself it was nearly over. I could see the stadium, where the finish line was located, but I knew there was still a river to get over. With the end in sight I knew I could finish without walking, that was until a nice steep hill came right at me and forced me to walk a little more.
The good news is that the medal was totally worth it and the post-race snacks were AMAZING (there were so many I couldn’t even carry them all!).
As a Rock’n’Blog ambassador I was given the opportunity to try the VIP experience. There is the option to upgrade to VIP at each of the races (approx. $79+). Before getting the chance to be a VIP I didn’t really understand why people would pay for it. However, I do think it’s worth it. You get delicious food and post-race massages provided by Westin Hotels. There is also a VIP bag drop and toilet so you avoid all the queues pre and post-race.
All the food and chocolate milk:
Massages and foam rolling/stretch area:
The Nashville Rock’n’Roll half-marathon is not easy. The course is challenging, but if you like hills (or have time to train for them) and country music you will love it!
For more info on the Run Rock’n’Roll race series head over to the website here.