My first time to run the country music half marathon was in 2010. It was my second half marathon ever. It was hot and hilly and poured rain just as I was finishing. I finished in 2:44:53 that day. I promptly swore off ever running country music again. I love the Rock n Roll race series. I think their races are so well planned and runner friendly. However, the course in Nashville is hard.
After Mark's surgery last month, I missed a race and was looking for a way to make it up. I started thinking about running country music this year. I kept hearing so many people talk about running it that it made me want to run it too. And I wanted to see if it was as hard as I remembered. Personally, I think races in the city you live in are harder because you know the course so well. There is plenty of time to dread the next hill or think about how far away the finish is.
The race yesterday was hilly, hot and hard. However, it was also beautiful, fun and inspiring. I've done lots of half marathons and, by far, country music has the best crowd support of any race I've done. I love hearing the people cheer, reading signs and high fiving kids along the course. Nashville looks it's best when you are running it with nearly 40,000 friends.
I know lots of people who completed their first half marathon yesterday. I find myself getting just as excited for them as I do for myself. I'm so proud of their race, but I'm even prouder of the hard work and determination they put in to train for their first race. I've often read and heard people say the race is the reward for all the training. It's so true. If this was your first race, I suggest choosing another race in this fall of this year to sign up for. After all you don't want to start over. And being signed up for another race is great motivation to keep going.
My goal for the race yesterday was just to enjoy it. I also wanted to finish faster than I did 2 years ago, which I knew wouldn't be terribly hard. I didn't wear my watch, and I purposely ignored the giant timers (of course when you start in corral 20 the time is off anyway). I focused on running the mile I was in and enjoying it. When I found myself complaining or hurting, I refocused. It was a great run. And I finished in 2:34:43.
I really enjoyed seeing so many friends and celebrating their accomplishments. It's been so fun to hear how everyone did either in person or on Facebook. My favorite part of the race was seeing my family on the course. Mark and the boys were near miles 5 and 9. They were easy to spot because Mark was waving one crutch in the air. I know it was physically hard for Mark to be there, and I'm so appreciative. I'm also thankful for my friend Jeanie (and daughter Meg) who picked them up and wheeled Mark around all day. It was great to see them cheering me on too!