Nashville’s Country Music Marathon Recap

**I am so sorry this is late! But after the long drive home and getting right back to work my time was limited. Thanks for being patient and still following along. ❤

Where to begin? First off, if you’ve been following my #MarathonMonday journey, then you know I was training to run a Boston qualifying time (3:35:00) but I ran 11 minutes shy. And I’m thrilled! Why? Let’s kick our feet up, have a cup of joe, and chat shall we…hold on tight. This may be a long one…

LOVE me some Swiftwick compression!!

Expo

This time around we drove down the night before the expo so we could enjoy the experience more than we did at Savanna and we had a blast!! This was hands down the best I’ve been to; complete with plenty of swag, food, games, and prizes. I won a hat and a tee from Brooks. Woot!

Music City Center

the hubs, myself, and the bro-in-law

my mom is in San Diego… next state?!

less than 24 hours to go!!

The St.Jude exhibit was my favorite part…we listened to the short three minute video and I may or may have not teared up. Just knowing I was a small part in helping is truly humbling. Collectively we Heros raised over TWO MILLION dollars.

writing on the St.Jude wall for the kiddos ❤

the hubby gave me a lift so I could find a blank space to write

Thank you to ALL who helped raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. You are all heroes!

Race Eve

My flat racer model. I ended up wearing a new sparkly head band instead of the hat since it ended up being sunny and no rain. I picked it up at the expo from Sparkly Soul. No slip. No headache. Worked like a charm! And it was the St. Jude colors. ❤

What I wore Flat racer: St. Jude singlet, Under Armour compression shorts, Swiftwick socks, Mizuno Prophecy 3, Sparkly Soul headband, Brooks sports bra, Moving Comfort undies.

Personalized race bib for my buddy, #IRun4Dylan ❤

After the expo we enjoyed a lunch at the library’s courtyard that the sister-in-law prepped. Seriously I couldn’t have asked for a better set of in-law! They took such good care of us feeding us and I enjoyed their company so much. We did our fair share of walking around the expo and town so we called it a day, headed home, and enjoyed spaghetti dinner and ice-cream. Seriously, the ice-cream is the killer race day secret. Then, we all went to bed early. And for once, I slept so good on race eve! That never happens.

Race day

Nashville!

Remember how terrified I was about potential thunderstorms?! Well, the weather turned out beautiful! Cool and cloudy to start, but quickly escalated to warm and humid…

Start 

We had no issues with parking. As long as you leave early enough like about an hour ahead, you should make it through traffic fine. We parked at LP field with plenty of potty time.

As a St. Jude hero we got access to indoor bathrooms. Score! No porta potty line wait. Highlight of my day.

But MAN getting into the corral?! That was a trick. We were packed like sardines  I think I’d definitely get there way earlier next time.

Course

I picked the wrong course to BQ. I was stuck for the first few miles trying to weave in and out of people. I kept getting ran over and cut off! Most people were super nice, but there is always that handful of folks who just don’t give a darn. The terrain consisted of rolling hills. If I wasn’t going down I was running up. Trees. Ponds. Neighborhoods. A Park. Downtown scene. A beautiful mixture of it all. But dang, too many tangents! There were five or six turns within the first mile. Seriously? I think having so many hills and turns kept the course interesting and made the time fly by, but if I want to run my fasted time I don’t think I’ll be running this course again. But, I will for sure run it again for experience!

Tons of crowd support. I think Nashville has had the greatest local crowd support that I have seen to date.

Plenty of aid stations. I grabbed water or Gatorade at every stop. And as the heat rose I started grabbing two cups of Gatorade. I’m a seriously salty sweater and I was pouring the better second half of the race. No GI issues this race though, hooray! Oh, and I partook of an orange slice. Best idea ever. It was like manna from heaven. My hydration and nutrition were spot on this race. I’m finally getting the hang of that.

After the marathoners split around mile 11 I got very lonely. I was quite ahead of the crowd but not fast enough to link up either with the faster crowd.

There was also quiet portion through the park which was peaceful but very lonely. So miles 12-26  were me trying to woman up. I met a few cool people but some were faster or slower and I just  ran my own race holding a pace I knew I could manage. I was holding on to a steady 8:00-8:05/min per mile pace until the heat and humidity really rose uncomfortably for me. I re-evaluated my pace because personally I do not race well in those condition. My heart rate really skyrockets. Oh, and then there’s the whole thing were the marathon finished uphill… really?! So I decided at that point that a solid sub-4:00 and that would be okay in my books…

At the finish they had Gatorade, PowerBars, fruit, and water. I usually feel like puking post marathon so I opted for an apple and water.

postnashvillerace

a very tired and swollen post race pic. ew. The hubby ran the half taking a serious chunk of time off his personal best as well!

racetimeofficial

one for the marathon and one for St. Jude! Headed to my i run 4 buddy!!

So how can I be so “thrilled” that I missed my BQ goal by 11 minutes? Simple, I ran a strong race that I had trained hard for in conditions that were not in my favor. I ran for a higher purpose by raising money for St. Jude, and for all those who I knew were cheering me on at home. Could I have pushed harder? I don’t think so. Not without completely destroying myself. If I was an elite I’m sure I would have risked it all. But I am first a mom, wife, and friend.

My priorities are and always will be to run strong, healthy, and safe. Even if I do race too “safe” I can say that I’ve run 4 marathons and not once been injured. I’d rather run too safe than to risk hurting my body for future running. My long term goal is to run until I’m all old and wrinkly!

I worked ridiculously hard during this training season and I refuse to beat myself up over things I can not control, like heat and humidity. I will celebrate things like:

  • I can now more efficiently run hills
  • I have increased my long run pace
  • My legs, lungs, core, and upper body have grown in strength

I also accomplished more this year than just running, like passing my Personal Trainer test!

I work extremely hard to balance life at home, work, family, friends, blogging, and volunteer time. I feel like I do my best to be a positive influence and I am proud of this.

And then there’s the obvious reason I’m thrilled, I finally ran a sub-4 hour marathon! Who wouldn’t be happy with an 18 minute PR?! I’m not the fastest chick on the block and it takes so much freaking effort for me to run faster. And it takes so much work to run a fast marathon. I’m not what you would call a natural. But I am proof that you can accomplish anything if you want it bad enough and are willing to put in the work.

All this may sound like rambling and I sure hope you can get something out of this. But if nothing else,

Be proud of who you are, what you do, and all you accomplish. Even if it ends up being your “B” goal.

Besides, I’ve read it takes years to train for and peak at your race distance. There’s always another marathon…

Running a marathon is inherently both a proud and humbling moment. Regardless of pace or place. The marathoners spirit can not be broken…

Post marathon we checked out the local concert, danced a little, and grabbed some food catered by Chilis for the St. Jude Heros where I picked up another medal. That was a surprise! Went home, cleaned up, napped, and got ready for date night!

patnmepostraceburger

We grabbed burgers at a small shack that were mouthwatering good!! Martina McBride was AWESOME. And then we had ice-cream. No pics of the concert cause my iphone stinks. Seriously. I need to invest in a real camera!

My heart and my belly were happy. The only thing missing was my kid. He opted to stay back home with the g-parents due to baseball games…which were rained out anyway. 😦 I told him I would never race without him again! I missed my little booger!

As far as recovery, I was able to walk without limping and squat the next day. Ha! That tells me I trained hard and that my body is getting stronger…

So what’s next? Oh, I’ve got plans. You know, type A over here with five-thousand calendars and “to-do” lists. But, I’ll save that for another blog post. 😉

***Oh yes, and we have TWO NUUN winners since I ran in the middle of both predicted times! Congrats to Samantha at the Healthy Pancreas and Kelly at Miles-to-Go!! Be sure to e-mail me your info either via my Let’s Connect page or via my Facebook page. Thanks for reading and playing along!!

What’s next on your “to-do” list? Races? Enjoying the summer break?
blessed and beautiful running.   

jesssig

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5 Spring Favs, OOFOS Recovery Footwear, + a Miracle

Spriiiiiiiing! Yes! It’s here! And our weather has been shaping up nicely. I think the winter weather is behind us. This is how I feel about it: RUN. Running in the spring is like a breathe of fresh freedom air. We work hard all winter to enjoy the fruits of our labor. 

Soooooo… I know it’s Saturday Sunday….but y’all probably know how I operate by now… So here’s Friday’s post plus today funzies. 

I’m always excited about the Friday Five link-up hosted by CourtneyCynthia, and Mar. I just have a hard time apparently posting on Friday… Check out their rules and future topics HERE! The BEST way to meet new fabulous bloggers and give you a blog prompt should you find yourself at a write’s block. 

Today’s Friday’s topic is one we have all been anxiously waiting for, Spring!! Good-bye snow, hello pollen! 

Spring is no doubt a beautiful time of year with flowers blooming and gardens flourishing…however all this can really aggravate allergies and asthma symptoms in turn making breathing while running a bit more difficult. Remember, your body needs roughly two weeks of running outdoors to acclimate to any new climate changes. So give yourself the time your body needs. For additional tips and reading check out PopSugar’s article HERE and Active tips HERE.

Aside from that bit, here are five things I look forward to in spring, especially this spring! 

1.) The kid’s birthday! He will be the big 10! Time flies…

ahhhh. my pride and joy. What a face!!

2.) my husband and I celebrate our first hiking date in May! It will be two years. ❤

3.) Hiking! Waterfalls! Trail running! Picnics! Basically just being outdoors.

4.) Races! Brevard Rotary hosts a White Squirrel 5/10k and kid’s fun run. Come visit us in May.  You will not regret visiting Brevard!

This year we all know I have the Rock n’Roll Country Music Marathon benefiting St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Nashville marathon lined up in April! From the St. Jude’s website:

  • Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
  • Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from people like you, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most – saving kids regardless of their financial situation. (That means your donation, no matter what the size, will help!)
  • St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90% by 2020.

I’m hoping and training hard for a solid Boston Qualifying time. I need to run a 3:35:00. I feel like I’ve been putting in all the work I can. But it’s still a daunting and scary task..The closer we get to race day the more I question myself. Can I really pull off an 8:12 min/mile for 26.2 miles??

runner’s mecca…aiming for a BQ so I can run Boston next year!

5.) Last but not least, new beginnings. Easter. Spring is a time of new chances. Fresh starts after a long cold winter.

Winter is always hard for me…but 11 weeks into marathon training feels harder. I’m so grateful for all the positive bloggers who remind me to press on. Like Jen over at Jen Choses Joy posted about no grit, no pearl. Seriously, go read her post here. Her humor and optimism will keep you motivated. Thanks Jen!

Except we are over half way there! You got this!

Okay so for the fun part of today’s post: OOFOS! Have you heard of this recovery shoe footwear? My hubby and I went downtown for a little shoe shopping. I originally went in for a new pair of Mizunos but found these:

oohahh

We found them here Sports Spot in Brevard. The owners are super cool and they hands down beat anyone in price!

 I definitely felt the “oo” after my 22 miler even if I looked like ew.

Salty, sweaty, and done.

I only have one more monster run left in this training cycle!! woohoo!

I plan on a more thorough review on the shoe next week aiming for a Tips and Tricks on rest and recovery post for Tuesday.

One last positive note: This past Saturday I was playing around with the idea of not running long. I just didn’t feel like it. I was exhausted. But as I strapped up and went on I kept thinking about my IRun4 buddy…I prayed for him and his family. He’s been in the hospital since December. So I prayed if there was any was that my running 20 miles would get him out of the hospital and home I would run it. So I ran it. I realize in no logical way my act of physically running could rescue him but if I knew it could, then I would run it in a heartbeat. So I pushed through and just kept running.

And you know what?

That very same day he was sent HOME!!! It was a miracle in my eyes. If you don’t run for #IRun4 I strongly suggest you sign up. Your life will be forever changed.

What’s your favorite thing about Spring?
Do you have any Spring races lined up?
Is it hard for you not to second guess your training?
Do you shop local?

Blessed and beautiful running. 

jesssig