On April 28th, I completed my very first half-marathon, which was the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, TN. Now I've been looking forward to this for months and months, and I can't believe that this weekend finally happened! I'm pretty sure my friends and co-workers are going to be pretty happy it's over, so I can finally stop talking about it!
Since I haven't had any personal days since the Christmas holidays, I decided to treat myself to a weekend in Nashville and a couple of days at home in Georgia (this also let me pay for just 1 plane ticket). I flew into Atlanta on Thursday night (after a mad dash to the airport, PSA: give yourself a LOT of time to get yourself to LaGuardia airport on a rainy Thursday afternoon), and did the 4 hour drive on Friday morning (after picking up Chick Fil A breakfast of course). I've done the drive between Atlanta and Nashville many times, since my parents moved to GA my senior year of college when I was living in Nashville, so it was literally a trip down memory lane. Luckily the traffic was nonexistent, and I cruised easily into Nashville, where I picked up my friend Kate from the airport (she flew down from NY for the race as well). Kate had also picked up 2 fellow racers on the plane, so I gave them a ride to the Expo as well. I had never been to a marathon expo, so it was an interesting experience for me, even though it was a bit overwhelming. Met up with some other out of town friends, and ended up having a late lunch at Noshville, one of my favorite casual restaurants in Nashville. Yes, I know that going to an "authentic NY deli" in Nashville is a bit weird when you're visiting FROM New York, but they have amazing french toast and I figured it would be a good pre-race meal.
Then we ended up walking around Vanderbilt's campus, which I haven't stepped foot on in years. It was a bit surreal, it was different but still familiar at the same time. The lawn was set up for graduation which is next week, and it just made me feel a bit old. Reminded me that it's been a whole five years since I graduated from college. Eep! Apparently I haven't changed much though, as I discovered after just a few minute of reuniting with my old college roommate, who still lives in Nashville! I was super excited to hear that she would be doing the half marathon as well when I asked if I could crash at her place. After a simple and hearty dinner at another old college standby, Jackson's, and a quickie cookie run at the grocery store with Kate, I went to bed early with several nervous butterflies in my stomach.
The race was to start at 7am, and we were staying about a mile from the starting line, so we figured waking up at 5am would give up plenty of time. I woke up and had some oatmeal and my daily Diet Coke (I know it's so bad for you, but I'm addicted), and got dressed. I wasn't 100% sure what I would be wearing, since I wasn't sure what the weather would be like, but since it was pretty warm even at 5am, I decided that the smart thing to do would be to wear as little clothing as possible. Decided on my lululemon Cool Racerback Tank in Flash with the matching headband, and a pair of the lululemon Speed shorts with some reflective ruffle detail. Kate and I totally matched, as she rocked the lululemon No Limits tank in Flash. Flash is one of my favorite lululemon shades right now, and it's super bright and easy to spot, which is great for races. By the way I spotted a LOT of lululemon during the half marathon, it was one of the ways I was entertaining myself!
Twinzzzzz! Look how happy and excited I look right here. Little did I know...
When we got to the start in Centennial Park, we finally realized how big this race was!! And.... how long the lines were for the portapotties. We started to panic a little bit when we realized that we were probably going to miss the starts for our assigned corral numbers. But we both needed the security of going before we started the race. Kate bolted as soon as she was done, and I ended up about 4 corrals behind the one I was originally assigned to. I wish I had taken the time to stretch a bit more before just jumping in, which is one of the major mistakes I made that day.
Warning: there is a LOT of whining coming ahead. This was a very tough race for me, and I'm going to learn from my mistakes in the future, but it was a very frustrating ordeal.