26.2 Musings About My First Marathon

photo(1){The start of the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.}

So, I did it. My first full marathon. The big 26.2.

I’ve been trying to come up with a good recap of the race, but all I can remember {I have brief amnesia of the race – did I even run it?!} are certain memories and feelings during each mile.

First thing I’ll tell you though, is that the course was NOT flat, as we thought it would be. There was a constant flow of rolling hill after rolling hill. Add 80-degree weather on top of that and, well, you can see why I say that it was the hardest physical challenge I’ve ever had to do in my entire life.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset
I did have some amazing inspiration along the way, though. I wore a charm necklace that had “26.2” and “For Jane” engraved, and a grey ribbon in my hair {the official color of brain cancer awareness.} My sweet friends in Arizona sent it to me a few days before the race. It had been a tough few weeks leading up to the race, so it was a really nice trinket to carry with me throughout the race.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{Browsing the boot selection in Nashville. I want those red ones!}

Nashville itself was amazing. I’d been there once before doing the country bar and big nights out thing, but this time we got to see the less busy side of the city, eating and drinking at local hangouts, along with listening to live country music and shopping for boots!

Back to the race: The first half of the course was fantastic, with just a few hills, but beautiful scenery and the best crowd cheering us on. The second half of the route, well, can kiss my ass, really. It sucked. But, the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll organizers DID do an amazing job with water/Gatorade stations, and also gave out oranges, had hose sprinklers for us to run under, and had some other cool-down things to hand out, including an ice cold water-soaked towel to put around our necks right after we crossed the finish line.

So, without further ado, I give you my 26.2 musings {and some that I got from Erika and Lisa} from my first 26.2-mile race:

photo(2){But first, #letmetakeapreraceselfie.}

Mile 1: The time is here! How exciting is this? We get to start near all the bars! This is the best start ever – there’s so much space, no dodging people, the crowd is wild. I just love Nashville!

Mile 2: Man, I already have to pee. Wait, WHAT is that weird looking statue of naked people?! Nashville is a little weird, but super rad!

Mile 3: Oh, we get to run down Music Row!! How fun!! Those little houses are actually recording studios? Nashville is just so hip. Awww, everyone has such cute signs!

Mile 4: Is that band playing Kenny? We love Kenny! I’m just so happy! This is just the best route, ever! “I go baaaaaack.”

Mile 5: I might feel something in my knee, but I’m not going to speak up about it because if I did, it would be true. Just keep running…just keep running..OH! Is that a running bride? Awwww…

Mile 6: Frats in the south really know how to tailgate for a 7am race! And that sorority girl really knows how to twerk! Yea, girl! But really, what is up with all the signs that say: “If this was easy, it would be called ‘your mom.'” Like, what?

Mile 7: No thoughts, just drooling over a table in someone’s lawn adorned with a fancy table cloth, glass pitcher of orange juice, champagne flutes, croissants, and a fruit bowl. People really do know how to host a party in the south.

Mile 8: All of us: “Oh hey – remember the name of that bar. It’s packed…at 8am. It looks like so much fun, and they’re all cheering us on.” The name of the bar is Edley’s. Erika: “So ‘Ed’ is pretty easy to remember” Me: “And ‘Ley’ is the last part of my name!'” All of us: “Yay!”

Mile 9: Hi, Lisa’s parents! Thanks for cheering us on today! See you again at mile 16! Bahaha that poster cracks me up: “Smile if you pooped today.”

Mile 10: Gummy, gummy, gummy time! Also threw in a few jelly beans. And we’re back near downtown Nashville. Oh, so pretty! Oh – look at that guy with the GoPro filming himself running and hanging with people on the sidelines. Man, I wish I had a GoPro.

photo(7)
Mile 11: The point where the men are separated from the boys. Me: “That’s right! What, what!” Throw in a few more Sport Jelly Beans and a Clif Shot gummies and we’re feeling good. Except, I still have to pee.

Mile 12: Are those oranges?! They look good, AND refreshing. I wonder how I’ll look trying to eat one while running. Welp, that happened. Twice. Hope my face didn’t scare anyone. But wow, that hill coming up is quite the buzz kill from my orange high.

Mile 13: Oh hey! Our hotel. Hi hotel! And a medical station with a table of Vaseline sticks. Haha, Vaseline on a stick. That’s so weird, I’ve never had to use Vaseline before. But OMG, give.me.advil. Have.to.prevent.knee.pain. Poppin bottles, err, pills.

Insertย  Mile 13.1: Our halfway mark commemorated by a tracker and a guy on the ground making sure we step on it. Me: “That’s it? We’re halfway to 26.2 and we don’t get a band or balloons or anything?” Ew, I hate loops where you run straight and then turn right back around. How boring is this?

Mile 14: OK, my bladder is literally going to explode. Well, there’s ONE Port-a-Potty coming up. Let’s just take 5 minutes and rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, everrrrybody! God, shut up, Ashley.

Insert Mile 14.5: WHAT? That stop has 4 bathrooms! Can’t believe we wasted time at the other one. Wait is that woman talking on the phone through her headphones while she runs? Wait, wait…another hill? {Meanwhile, Erika and Lisa are singing along to “Mambo No. 5,” which of course gets stuck in our heads most of the race.}

Mile 15: Ewww is that BBQ smell? Where are the oranges!! They’re supposed to be here. And really, if I see another sign that says “Insert Motivational Saying,” I’m going to punch someone. I’m already doing all the work here, can’t you at least get a little creative? BAH. Hey Lisa’s parents again. High five away! Oh crap! My hands are ALL sticky from the oranges. Hope they don’t mind…

Mile 16: OK…I know what I said earlier, but WHERE is the Vaseline?!?! My arms are chaffing so bad. What was I thinking? Oh, thank goodness! Another medical tent. Now, how to apply this gunk while running. Welp, guess I’m getting it everywhere. Annnnd, now my hair is plastered to my arm and back. Can’t wait to run these next 10 miles.

Mile 17: WATER STATION!!! Give me TWO cups. Yes, two cups, sir. I believe I deserve at least THAT right now. One I will drink, and the other I’ll pour over my head. Oh hey, that’s Claire!!! Let me try to smile, give a thumbs up and try to look presentable and happy. Um, why is there another uphill? {Insert groan and moan from Erika} Pretty sure this whole race is just uphill. I don’t even know why I bother saying “another.”

Mile 18: Oh – guys in Chive shirts!! Me: “Keep Calm and Chive On!! Thanks for supporting us!” Okay, and that guy gave me a weird look. I blame my husband for my outburst – he’s so obsessed with the Chive that I’ve come to notice it everywhere and now, just embarrassed myself. That’s my last happy outburst. You guys just don’t deserve my energy!

Mile 19: Oh an uphill? Again? Oh look, another water station. And. they. have. cold sponges!!! Brrr! Ice-cold sponges!! Oh, I will rub this ALL over my body. This is what heaven must be like. To the house that commemorated 19.6, thanks for your awesome super hero costumes and cheering, oh and bubble antics! I’ll “think” my thanks cause I don’t have the energy to say it. But, I will take a handful of ice from your buckets. Lisa: “I just grabbed ice from that girl’s hand, think I can eat? Oh well, I just did.”

Mile 20: I’m not even sure this mile happened.

Mile 21: There’s Claire again! A little bright spot in this haze. And, loving the signs she’s holding: “Run Like You’re In The Hunger Games.” Yup, just call me J-Law. Lisa: “Should we do another gummy?” Ash {grunting}: “Done.”

Mile 22: WHY is everyone walking? Don’t they know this is bad for moral? And is that guy limping? I mean, nice little loop around this little lake around a golf course, and wow that girl country singer is really talented, but up and at’em people. Get moving! And, to the woman who blatantly stopped in front of me going up the hill, I apologize for my outburst. Me {with hands thrown in the air, looking like I’ll start a fight}: “Are you KIDDING me?!” Her {very nicely}: “Oh, I’m so sorry.” Me {super embarrassed and now guilty with my tail between my legs}: “Oh no, it’s okay.”

Mile 23: Band playing “And I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more.” Super appropriate song for this moment. Too bad we can’t freaking hear the band all the way because of the long-ass, loud train going by. Lisa: “Look! A train – wow it’s loud!” Erika: “It’s long.”

Mile 24: Dear guy holding out a Pringles can and bag of potato chips, while it’s cool that you’re out here supporting everyone, I’d really like to smack you in the head with your said Pringles can. No, I don’t want some greasy chips at mile 24. If you want to support me, get me some water. Oh, there’s Claire again. Great to see you, but please don’t take a photo. ;) Lisa: “Are you OK Ash?” Me {grunting}: “I’m just trying not to have a heart attack.”

Mile 25: What.the.freaking.hell. This is the longest and most boring end to a race, ever. And dear people on the side lines, you SUCK at cheering us on. Ya, I said it. Me to the crowd: “Hey, we could really use the cheers! Woo!” The crowd {aka – 2 unenthusiastic guys}: “Go girls go.” Well, screw you too then.

Insert Mile 25.5: Me: “Guys, I can’t do this. I have to stop. I literally have to stop.” Lisa and Erika: “You’re JOKING right? We’ve gone too far together to separate now.” Me: “Fine.” I seriously dislike Nashville right now.

Mile 26: Oh, NOW the crowd wants to cheer us on. Nice, guys. Real nice. But, guess we’ll speed up and kick it to the finish. I can’t wait to lay on the ground after this. Erika: “WHERE is the 26 mile sign? Well….where is it?!”

Mile 26.2: Turn the corner and YES, the finish is right there. Yay!! Let’s hold hands and act like this is the best feeling, ever!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It was an amazing accomplishment, and I’m super proud of us all, but I’m not afraid to say that I was pretty pissed during the race. We ended with a 4:21. Not bad for our first time, and with the hot weather and hills, but I’m itching to break 4 hours. Luckily, we have another chance to redeem ourselves. We actually signed up for another marathon even before this one {crazy, I know!}. Hopefully this one I won’t be as pissed – which how could I be when it’s at Disney World!!!! Yeaup!!! January 2015 or bust!

I’m just really happy my knees held up so so well during this one! But, I did feel a little inflammation building up in my left knee, so I got it iced up right away. {Plus, the ice felt amaze balls in the heat.}
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe best part about the race, was all the post-race food and drinks! I wasn’t feeling 100% right after, but we showered and got ready and then headed for some margaritas at Saint Aรฑejo. I also got a delish and refreshing shrimp taco salad.
photo(5)From there, we went two restaurants down to their sister sushi restaurant, Virago. It was Lisa’s moms birthday {so happy she could share her day with our race}, so we sat at a round table in the amazing weather and made a cheers to her with some bubbly. It was perfect, and the sushi dinner was fabulous. It was way to dark to take pictures, though!

The next morning, we met Claire and her friend who helped cheer us on, at Loser’s Most Wanted Bar {supposedly a chill local hang out where Claire has seen Hunter Hayes before!} and had a beer.

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We then walked to brunch at The Tavern {their dinner menu looked great too}. Oh, MY-LANTA was this place yummy. First of all, they give you buy one get one drink tokens, which is an A+ in my book. Second, their “white trash hash” was the best thing I put into my mouth all weekend.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{Blood Orange Mimosa and Red Sangria}
photo(12){We shared Blueberry Cornmeal Waffle – which went super fast, obvi.}
photo(13){Roasted Pepper and Squash Omelet w/Crimini-Thyme Relish and “White Trash Hash}

And, to end the weekend of running and stuffing our faces, we went to Pinewood Social, an ADORABLE and super hip restaurant/bowling alley/bar/coffee shop. It was really, really cool. Basically the whole table got the Spring Pot Pie.

photo(15)

It was so cute, and delicious! The crust was so flaky. {I may be drooling right now.} And then we shared three different pies.

photo(16)It really was the perfect weekend. I sort of love destination races! Lisa, Erika, and I put one of these Adventure Runs on our list, too! The South Africa one is just dreamy!

For now, I’ll settle for doing the Brooklyn Half Marathon, which runs right past my apartment. Wish me luck! It’s my last race this season. I want to take the summer off from racing to heal my knees/hip properly. Then, it’s back on again for a fall half, Ragnar Adirondacks, Rangar Trail in Arizona, and then marathon training again!

Have you ever traveled to a destination race?

xx
Ash

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4 Responses to 26.2 Musings About My First Marathon

  1. Lisa says:

    This was so great Ash, I couldn’t stop laughing – luckily our moods rose once we crossed the finish line.

  2. Congrats, Ashley! We need to plan one together. You are going to love Disneyworld!

  3. Pingback: Marathon Monday |

  4. Pingback: Ragnar Relay Adirondacks Recap #1 |

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