Tom King Classic Half Marathon (Nashville, TN)

Date: March 9, 2013

Distance: 13.1

Time: 2:11:45

Tennessee is done!race shirt

This was a long-awaited race with running buddies Denise, Caree, and Denise’s husband, Mike, and was supposed to have included a Lady Gaga concert as well, but those plans went awry.

Rewind to Fargo. This requires some back story.

About two years ago when Denise, Caree, and I met up to knock out North Dakota together, Denise wasn’t feeling well the night before the race so Caree and I left her at the hotel while we grabbed a pre-race dinner. When we returned to the hotel, Denise’s life had changed. Turns out, while we were gone, Denise had stumbled upon a televised Lady Gaga special while channel surfing, and was mesmerized. In those two hours we left her unattended, my head-banging, hard-rocking college roommate shocked me with her announcement that she was now a Gaga fan. I half laughed and half chalked it up to her state of malaise, figuring she would come to her senses soon enough.

Didn’t happen. Instead, Denise added Gaga to her list of beloved musicians and started buying her music. It didn’t stop there. She decided she would also like to see her in concert. So, after a bit of research, Denise found a way we could run a race  and attend a Gaga concert the same weekend, in a state we still needed to cross off our fifty-states list–Tennessee.

She was disappointed (and, admittedly so was I),when we learned about a month before the race/concert weekend that Lady Gaga had cancelled the rest of her tour dates due to a hip injury that required surgery. Denise and I have attended dozens of concerts together and it would have been fun to see Gaga. I imagine she puts on quite the show.

So, while the concert was no longer on the agenda, we focused on the race.

Nashville

Eyes closed, darn it. With Caree and Nis in front of Titan’s stadium. Did you know the Titans are an NFL team?

The half marathon, the Tom King Classic, is a smaller, more local race that has been held for nineteen years. The course started and ended at the Tennessee Titans football stadium and made its way along the Cumberland River–mostly following paved running paths. Our hotel was conveniently located across the street from the stadium, which meant we did not have to stress about transportation to and from the race (that’s always a hassle). And, thanks to Mike, we girls didn’t even have to pick up our race packets–he volunteered to get up before six a.m. on race day and do it for us.

There were several times throughout the weekend we relied on Mike to take care of things. (Thanks, Mike!) Mike didn’t run the race, but wore his “I’m the stuff holder” shirt, cheered us on, and took pictures.

I just have to comment on the weather. After our most recent torrential downpour experience in Nebraska, we were thrilled to have absolutely perfect conditions–clear skies, no wind, and temperatures ranging from 40 to 60 during the race. We were especially lucky because the prior weekend it snowed and the day after the race brought high winds.

Combine the great race day weather with a flat, low-elevation course, and we were all guaranteed to have a great experience.

We were all happy with our times. Denise and I shaved over fifteen minutes off of our previous race time (October), and Caree finished strong–her first race following a pretty extensive surgery. She can definitely say she is back and ready to run. (She’s even agreed to join me in September for the Big Cottonwood Canyon Half). I’ve already run several races in Utah, but that’s a state Caree still needs to do. I’m already looking forward to it.

We’ve all been attending hot yoga classes for the past several months and unanimously agree that it’s helped our running. That could be a whole new post–but let’s just say we plan to keep up with our yoga practices.

Following the Saturday race, the rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the city. We explored downtown Nashville and soaked in the country music culture by eating BBQ, listening to live music, and we even bought cowboy boots.boots

I love these race weekends! Next up? If I can get on a last-minute non-rev flight to Detroit in two weeks. I’ll knock out Michigan. Fingers crossed.

________________________________________________

Inside notes for Caree, Denise, and Mike.

This is the race where…

TSA confiscated my scissors because they were 3/4 of an inch too long and I wasn’t able to tape my ankle because of Homeland Security.

I exposed my profound ignorance and asked if the Tennessee Titans were a college team or an NFL team.

Denise convinced Mike to dance with her to a song she was sure played at their wedding only to realize, mid-song, that it was a break up song and was not the song she was thinking of.

Denise openly admired the hotel front desk clerks–telling them they were “precious”, asking them if they were professional athletes, and also telling the hotel security guard that, because of his British accent, he was an “Osbourne”.

Caree’s Tennessee friend, Dana, visited us with a whirlwind explanation of how she needs her own television show and shared with us several other unmentionable observations of life.

We spent twenty bucks on a late night cab ride in search of Mexican food, only to happen upon a Krystal Burger instead. Score!

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