Saturday, November 2, 2019

Nashville Women's Half Marathon Race Recap

I ran the Nashville (TN) Women's Half Marathon on September 29, 2019.

Photo by FinisherPix

I stayed at a hotel in Brentwood, TN. The race start was scheduled for 7 AM. I got up at 4:30 AM. Maybe could have slept in a little more. I had a great breakfast of Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, cherries, blueberries, strawberries and peanut butter.

It was only a 15 minute drive to the Nashville Farmer's Market, where I parked. The race start was a few blocks away. I arrived at 6:15 and headed for the start line just outside the Nashville Sounds stadium. I did a light jog to warm up. I needed to find a porta potty, so headed into the stadium. I really had to go, but the line for the women's bathroom was really long.

I suddenly realized I wasn't wearing my running shoes!!! Nope, this wasn't a nightmare, I was awake, 20 minutes before the start of my half marathon, in desperate need of a porta potty and in the wrong shoes! Well, this was fun. I took off running for my car in a more direct line than I'd taken before and thankfully passed a row of porta potties, empty! No lines. Whew! I took care of that business and flew down the street back to my car. My running shoes were lying in the floorboard. I quickly changed to them, gulped some water, and ran back to the starting line. Nothing like a brisk warm up....

It was warm and muggy already at 6:55 AM. I knew it was shaping up to be a warm day, so I had my small 10 oz Nathan ExoShot handheld to use between aid stations, which were supposed to be every two miles.

My training was a little sporadic and hasty for this race. I used an 18 week training plan, but only did the first 10 weeks of it and then switched to taper mode. I trained for a 2 hr 45 minute finish. I just wanted to ease back into running with a just finish mentality. My training was mostly on trail or on the treadmill. Running 5 days a week.

Back to the start. For some odd reason, they held us until 7:15. They said something about the course not being ready. I found that strikingly odd and annoying, standing around, waiting to start, with the temperature rising.

We finally did start around 7:15 AM. A surge of women and a few men. About 700 runners total.

My goal pace for each mile was around 12:30.

My first mile clocked in at 11:25. Ok, ok, early excitement, just settle down and run.

My second mile clocked in at 11:25. Ok, really, you need to calm down and run slower. You'll never maintain this pace. Slow, slow, slow. I tried.

My third mile clocked in at 11:00. Um, really? I felt like I was running on air. It was almost effortless. The effort was coming from trying to slow down.

For the next several miles, I abandoned the notion of slowing down and just ran what felt like a comfortable pace. Not too hard, but not forcing myself to slow down. Most of those miles were around 11:30 per mile.

Mile 8 (11:45) it started to get hard and HOT. We were out on the Cumberland River Greenway with no shade and no breeze. Ugh. My pace slowed down for each of the next several miles as we stayed on the greenway pretty much back to the finish line.

It was HOT. The water station at mile 8 had hot water. Ugh. I drank it, but it wasn't satisfying in any way. The next water station around mile 10 also had hot water. A gracious volunteer refilled my handheld for me while I grabbed a cup to go. I drank most of that and tossed the rest on my head.

As I was slogging along, a runner came up behind me yelling for a medic for somebody behind. Yep, it was hot. Around mile 10 (11:52), I just couldn't control my heart rate while running. It was way too high. So I did run/walk for the next 2 miles. Transitioning from one to the other was painful. My legs did not like it. I took a salt tablet and a calcium tablet. And kept going. Standing still or walking too long was not going to get me off that hot greenway.

Mile 11 clocked in at 12:12 and mile 12 clocked in at 12:19. I was actually pretty surprised at that. I guess I was running pretty good when I was running. I really thought they'd be much slower.

The mile 12 aid station was wonderful to see. It was at the end of the long stretch with no shade. I could see shade ahead. I drank a cup of water and tossed another full cup on my head. The water was not hot and felt wonderful. Only 1.1 miles to go! I can do this!!!

Mile 13 was run in 11:21; then I made that last dash for the finish line.

I was momentarily annoyed to see my time was 2:33:51. My watch said 13.3 miles. For some unexplained reason, I was secretly hoping for a sub-2:30. Which was ridiculous, considering I hadn't trained for that pace, hadn't even completed a full training cycle and it was much warmer than hoped for a late September race. With a tiny bit more training or a little let up on the weather or maybe just a little more fuel, I would have been sub-2:30. So I readjusted my attitude and was quite happy with the result.

My next training cycle starts November 15. An 18 week marathon training program from Luke Humphrey Running based on the Hanson Marathon Method.
Goal Race: Asheville Marathon in March 2020.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Late August Update

Gorgeous view from an overlook at East Fork Stables

I'm about 4 weeks out from my half marathon and training is progressing nicely.

I'm running 5 days a week with a rest day on Sabbath and the other fit in the week where I need it for life stuff. Since I'm only running 5 days a week, my long runs are about 10 days apart. That's kinda nice. I'm up to 9 miles for my long run and will top out at 11 miles before the 2 week taper starts.

I'm running trails most of the time with the treadmill thrown in when the weather is icky. I'm super pleased with my trail running. When I moved here and went straight from a half marathon PR to running on trails, I fell all the time. I mean at least once a mile. It was not good and one of the reasons I stopped running.

Since taking a hiatus, I have had to start back running slow and since trails are what I have, I've been running very slow on trails. Basically walking/hiking and running when I felt I wasn't going to fall on my face. I've gotten more confidence on trails and have only had one good spill. Fortunately, I just scraped up my knee and that was it.

Me after my first trail spill of this training cycle. Just a scraped knee.

I'm still being super careful, but I'm pleased that running on trails is becoming a habit. I will admit to sticking to the easier trails so far. I'm sure I'll branch out to some harder trails with more elevation and more obstacles eventually, but right now, I'm good building my confidence.

Last week, I got to help at the Ride & Tie World Championships held at East Fork Stables. I helped mark trail and then hung around to watch the events. The premise of this sport is that there are 2 humans and 1 horse to a team. The humans take turns riding the horse. At the starting line, one human rides, and the other runs. At some point, the person riding the horse hops off, ties their horse to a tree and takes off running. The other person that started running comes up to the tied horse, mounts up and rides off, usually passing the other human on foot. This continues throughout the day as the humans leap-frog each other using the horse. It's really a fun thing to watch. One of these days I might even participate!

A Ride and Tie team coming in for the finish after 35 miles

There is another event associated with Ride & Tie called the Equathon. This is an event where there are 2 stages. During the first stage, a human rides a horse. Let's say that first stage is 15 miles. So the rider and horse do the 15 miles. When they get back to camp, the horse's pulse has to reach 60 beats per minute. As soon as that happens, the second stage starts. This is run by a human on foot. No horse for this stage. The person that runs can be the same person that rode or it can be a completely different person.

Equathon is a great concept for those that don't want to find a running partner for a Ride & Tie event and want to do it solo or for family or friends to do together. One can ride their horse and the other can run the second stage, but they're still on the same team, doing the same sport. Very cool concept. Also, it's easy to partner up. If you are a trail runner and want to try the sport, there are often people that are looking for a runner for the run part of an Equathon. In fact, this past weekend, one of the Ride & Tie teams had a trail runner on the team that had only ridden a horse twice before that weekend! So it's definitely something worth checking out if you want to spice up your running.

You can find more information about Ride & Tie and Equathon at

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Running For Fun - How Did That Go?

When last we met, I was going to "run for fun" in 2018. Well, you see I had absolutely no blog posts in 2018 and have gone 8 months into 2019 without a post. So, how do you think fun running worked? It did not. Good guess. I ran less than 250 miles for all of 2018.

I am very goal oriented and the best goal to get me running is to have a race on the calendar. I did put a half marathon race on the calendar for March 2019, but I only half-heartedly "trained" for it because it had such a generous time limit, I knew I could walk the entire thing. We ended up not doing that one for family reasons anyway.

About a month ago, I was away from home on business and got it into my head it was time to start running again. I looked at the fall race calendar and signed up for a late September half marathon. Time to get busy again.

Since I quit running after we moved, I gained about 15 pounds. This summer I decided that had to go, so I adjusted my food drastically and dropped about 12 lbs in 8 weeks. That's when I decided to start running again and now I'm back to the weight I was when we moved, just after my PR half marathon performance in October 2017.

I've been running consistently for right at a month. I'm using an 18 week half marathon training plan from Luke Humphrey Running on Final Surge. When I started training, I was too close to actually use an 18 week training plan. I might should have gone with a 12 week training plan, but I already had this 18 week one. Given my fitful running over the last 2 years, I didn't want to purchase another plan and just end up not completing it. The great thing about Final Surge training plans is you can use them over and over again.

Since I was too close to my race date to do the full 18-week training plan, I decided to just start at the beginning and get as far through the program as I can. I'll have to adjust the last 2 weeks for a proper taper into race day.

I am definitely not looking for a personal record, especially considering I'm not doing a full training cycle. I just want to mosey around the course and get done in 2 hours 45 minutes. B goal under 3 hours. Of course, I have a secret extra credit goal, but likely won't hit that, but I'm super ok with it.

This plan peaks at only 30 miles per week and has me running 5 days a week. Definitely easier than the last plan I did that peaked at 43ish miles per week and had me running 6 days a week.

The other wrinkle in my training is that I am training almost exclusively on trails and treadmill. Trails most of the time, with the treadmill as a backup in bad weather. My half marathon is a road race. So that will be an interesting experiment.