Thursday, May 3, 2012

Okay I think I'm ready...

To talk with you all about the disaster that was my first marathon at the Country Music Marathon in Nashville this past weekend... Before I get started I would just like to say that I am glad I can finally say that I ran 26.2 and despite what I say, I am proud of myself and I have to remind myself that not too many people I know in real life have actually ran a marathon... So with that said I will say that hardly any of this race went like I had planned in my head...

Here are the few high points that I will mention:
  • Running with other people

Flight - $$$
Hotel - $$$
Race - $$$
Money spent at expo - $$$
My bank account - very sad
Running with my friends - priceless

We had a great weekend! And it was comforting knowing they'd be at the finish line waiting for me! We got TONS of compliments on our team-sparkle skirts!! I will say I chickened out and didn't end up wearing it for the actual run - I ran upstairs at 6:50 to put on shorts... I just wasn't sure how comfortable I'd be and while running for 5 (what ended up being over 5) hours...
  • I really do love to visit Nashville. It is a beautiful city, again to visit and to run through. I really enjoy running through the Belmont Campus and the Gulch and Five Points... Seeing everything that I never saw when I actually lived there.
  • I couldn't have picked a better first marathon - the expo was really fun and the race start went off without a hitch and the crowd support along the way was out of this world - the sheer amount of people that were having neighborhood parties while we ran... and out and about.. crazy nuts! ( Even though I kind of wanted to hit everyone with a mimosa or bloody mary...)
  • Like I said the Rock n' Roll people know how to do it - the miles were marked well (Except for the small fact that my garmin read the course as 26.5 miles...), the course was marked really well (I never thought I was going to get lost) and they were ready for the heat! There were stations along the way just handing out ice for which I am eternally grateful!
  • The bands! Y'all I have never run without music but at mile 14 I took out my music and I never put it back in! There were some great local bands playing!
  • The runners - I met a friend around mile 14 (Hi Kelli!!) and we just stuck together the rest of the way - and honestly I think I would have taken a DNF and been perfectly fine with it if it wasn't for her!! And the few miles that I was with a pacer were great- she talked to us a lot and encouraged us and handed out sports beans and was a wonderful support person to have!
  • Oh yeah- the very best part was that our hotel was literally the start line... like we walked outside and there was my corral.. worth every penny =)

There was no using the same port-a-john that 20,000 some odd of your closest friends had used too!

And my lowest of the low points...
  • When I hit the wall at mile 11 I knew it wasn't going to end pretty... forget that wall at mile 20..
  • The weather - I knew it was going to be hot, but I didn't think it would be that hard in the heat - as fast as I could drink water, gatorade etc I was just sweating it right back out... 
  • I was no where near my goal time... which I should've known better than to go in to my first marathon with a goal time
  • I honestly didn't think I'd be SO hungry - my body didn't know what food to eat but nothing was enough. I only took two gels because I've never taken more than that on my long runs (and that always seemed to work) and I ate sports beans (um yum!), a piece of an apple, I tried pretzels for the salt but they totally sucked my mouth dry - and gatorade out the wazoo which may have led to the bladder issues that plagued me later... 
  • I really felt like the hills never ended - Nashville is like a never-ending rolling hill... I'd think that I was getting a break and then they would just start again... I think they were my downfall... 
  • I reached a point where I was pretty sure my kidneys hated me - I felt like I was going to pee my pants with every step so I'd stop to use the potty and nothing... so I just kept going <-- running, not peeing in my pants..
Y'all, honestly, I want to give you this killer feel good woo I ran a marathon let me recap it mile by mile with tons and tons of pictures and give you all my splits and we'll all smile and be happy and cyber hug BUT I just didn't have that experience... it was more all thoughts of dying and praying the whole thing was a dream and maybe it didn't really happen... But I have the medal and finisher t-shirt to prove it... And it was nothing to do with the Rock 'n Roll people - they were great - with their crowd support and aid stations and medical tent stations - it was just my own experience.. I probably could have trained harder, done more hills, tried to prepare a little more for the heat.. but I didn't and this marathon kicked my butt and I'm still a little upset about the whole thing and I'm still not to the point where I enjoyed it, and it's all still a little raw for me... BUT with that said I have already started looking for my next marathon... in the fall... on a flat course... because next time will be PR city and I will enjoy every second of it and remember why I love running and subject myself to spending multiple hours at a time doing it!

So... sorry this is all so jumbled and probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense but those are the thoughts that are running through my head (ha ha funny, funny) at the moment... So I'll leave you with this little gem that probably sums up my experience better than I can try to in words...

Marathon - 1
Holly - 0

I must rectify this... 


  1. You are a remarkable woman! Not many women can truly be honest about how they feel. I love that you finished (HUGE, my friend!), that you shared honestly, and that you are compelled to keep going!
    You are a beautiful example to others!!!!
    (I think you should have stuck with the sparkle skirt... :) ).

  2. Holly, I have just started training for a half marathon in February of next year in Orlando and would love some training advice! I've read all the running mags that I could find, but all the advice is just jumbled together. Any hints??
    Joy Armbrester

  3. Sister you did awesome no matter how you feel about your time. Just remember me puking/sitting on a toilet the night before! And, I didn't let that stop me. I am sooo proud of you and we will both improve our PR times at the next one!
    And Joy- train but remember to enjoy yourself. If you have to stop and walk then do it!

  4. Hi! I ran in Nashville too but just did the half...that's so awesome you did the full regardless of how it went!! I've never had the guts to sign up for a full...maybe one day. Plus that race was tough...I have never seen so many ambulances!!

  5. I ran Nashville as well. It was brutal. It was also my 1st marathon. My race was very similar to yours. But I keep telling myself that I did awesome. I finished and that is all that matters. Remember out of 30,000 runners only 3900 of us were brave enough to race the full.

  6. I'm sorry you didn't have the race you hoped for. I know that is disappointing but you're right woman, you FINISHED! And toughed it out when you were miserable. That's AWESOME! And this experience really will make you a stronger runner. We learn the most from the races that don't go our way.
    So pat yourself on the back and remember that you ran 26.2 miles! (your Garmin is off from the course because unless you run the tangents perfectly (how they are measure) plus weaving in and out of folks, you'll usually run a little bit further)
    Woo hoo!!!

  7. But you finished!!!! I know it was a tough one out there. Everyone was suffering through the same conditions. Get this one behind you and you can always run another. Maybe in the fall when it's cooler. ;)

  8. Hi! I'm so glad that was you on Linked In! A needle in a haystack but worth a shot! Lol! Girl, I just read your blog post and couldn't have said it better myself! I hate my time, pretty embarassed by it but what I'm not embarassed about is that I KNOW how hard it was and I KNOW how hot it was and I finished!!! Now, I may have been cursing that marathon distance crossing the finish line but it will not beat me! At some point I will run Nashville again...and PR (cause it can't get worse, right?! LOL). For my next marathon will be cool and flat! I will scrutinize every elevation chart now! :0). Glad we met at mile 14! Couldn't have done it with out ya! I'm still mad I couldn't drink that beer at mile 24!

  9. Found your blog from Skinny Runner! I ran the half in Nashville, it was my 4th half marathon and by far my worst. I felt horrible, mentally and physically. The heat was killer and YES... the hills never ended. I trained in an area with alot of hills and the hills in Nashville were never endeing... I also felt that for all the up hills there was never any downhill... You should be very proud of yourself for doing the full! The bad races make the good races that much better!

  10. I found your blog from SR, too! And I ran the half in Nashville! It was my 5th half, and I also have two fulls under my belt. I can only echo the exact same words you did regarding Nashville: holy, hot, hills. It was brutal. The only thing I walked away smiling with was that it was my first race back non-injured! Back in October I had to do one of those mid-course switches to the half at the St. Louis RNR because of terrible pain in my side (which ended up being two broken ribs), and then at the Go St. Louis Half two weeks before Nashville I had horrible pain/tingling/numbness/burning in my right foot and I prayed for it to be over the whole time (it turned out to be Morton's Neuroma). SO I was a happy girl to be running pain free with my new custom orthotics, but believe me I was fuming about the heat and the hills the entire time. Brutal. No injuries, but brutal still.

    We WILL rectify Nashville, girl! I've got the St. Jude Memphis Marathon already on my calendar for Dec. 1!! Best of luck to you:))

  11. Hey--I found you through SR three! Just wanted to chime in and say that I bombed the Nashville Marathon. I love, love, love Nashville, and I love the half there. But the full was majorly crappy for me. I hated the out and backs and passing the finish line at mile 16.:( The friendly people made it better, but they seemed to disappear after the half, then reappear right at the last mile. Thankfully! This was my fourth and worst marathon. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you weren't the only one having a race bomb kind of day!:)

  12. I came from SR as well! I ran my first full two weeks before yours, and it went quite similarly. It was hot and heat does a number on running, and I cried at the end over having trained so hard. It happens. Congrats! You are a marathoner! The next is a guaranteed PR!

    1. So true! It can only go up from here - I hope!!