Sunday, March 19, 2006

I like Tom!

Hey guys! I hope you all had great weekends full of great running or resting.

Yesterday was the 12th Annual Tom King Half Marathon (and 5K and Mayor's Walk). It's a fairly large local race that really kicks off the racing season around here. And if most Nashvillians read that sentence they would think Nascar, but I'm talking about the foot kind of racing. I think Tom King was one of the originals founders of our local running club, and responsible for marking a lot of trails w/mileage around here. The race has moved around town several times but for the past few years it's started at the Titans Coliseum and been and out and back course through Shelby Park.

Friday night after work we drove the 19 miles from our house to the Coliseum for packet pick-up. You'd think heading from the burbs to the city would be the opposite direction of evening rush hour traffic but since we have the 8th worst traffic in the nation there is no opposite direction. A little after 6 we finally made it to pick-up. There wasn't much of a crowd so we quickly picked up our packets, got really nice looking long sleeve shirts (in our sizes!! YAY!) and picked up race pamphlets for some of the upcoming races. We chatted with the running club president who was bundled up. True to form the weather had turned friggin cold again! Friday's high was at midnight Thurs night and it had gotten colder ALL DAY! Back to the 30's. Blah. There had already been a thread posted on the running club boards from a first time runner wondering if they would move the race because of the temps. HA! They also wondered if they should wear jeans instead to stay warm. The responses were pretty funny.

From there we went on a hunt for some Italian food. The night before a half or longer I like to have some sort of pasta with a red sauce. No meat in it, just pasta + tomato based sauce. We picked out a place in East Nashville from our entertainment book but it looked more like a pizzeria, so then we headed to a different place that was now out of business. Grrrr. Just when we were about to abandon mission and head to a place near our house I spotted Tangredi's Italian Kitchen, over on Elliston Place near Centennial Park. Perfect! We went it, were immediately seated and proceeded to pig out. The food was SO good! I got penne pasta in a tomato vodka sauce and it was TO DIE FOR! Excellent stuff. Brent loved his too so this was a great find. From there we headed home, gathered all our running gear, charged all the electronic gadgets we require and laid out half the running clothes we own because of our crappy temps!

Saturday am the alarm went off at an ungodly hour. We got up, chugged down some oatmeal and a banana and for once headed out the door at the time we planned to! The race started at 8, the 5K was at 7 and the Mayor's Walk was at 7:50. We got to the Coliseum right at 7:25 or so. It was hella cold. The temp was 37, but you could tell it was going to be a nice day. There was a slight breeze but the sun was there and starting to burn the overcast clouds off. I ended up wearing a long sleeve tech shirt, tights, and some cheap gloves I could toss. Brent went with a long sleeve tech shirt and shorts. There were lots of people there and we watched some of the 5K finishers before we got in place.

They were circling word around that the twisties for the chips were defective. We had noticed that the night before when we were putting them on our shoes, and had used some other ties we have to fasten them securely. I happened to use black ones, which blended with the black chip. I was so amazed at how many nice people stopped me to tell me I needed to go and have my chip fastened with the replacement orange ones they had gotten in that morning. Runners are the nicest people! On our way over to the start line a young guy, probably 20 or so, stopped us to ask us about our Fuel Belts. He had some other running related questions, and I noticed he had a 5K bib on. I wonder if that was his first race? He was so excited, and you could tell he had just had a great experience. He wished us luck and we were on our way.

We meshed into the middle of the pack and David spotted us instantly. Yeah for running bloggers!! The bagpipes kicked off soon thereafter and we were on our way! Some minor crowding at the start and we were off. I hit 'play' and the Dixie Chicks reminded me I was Ready to Run. From the stadium we headed down some industrial roads and past a big trash heap. I looked at it and hoped it didn't stink. It appears to mostly be metal, so that worked. We turned and headed towards Shelby Park. Song #2 on this half mix was Summer Girl by Beck. It's normally a little further down my list, but I thought it might help me warm up a bit. The temps were getting nicer, but we were heading into a slight wind. Blooms from Bradford Pear trees were swirling in the air. We headed into the park, which I knew was right around mile 2. I never saw the 1 marker, so I was happy to be further along than I thought! My Garmin was right on with the markers, that never happens! I know with weaving I'll never end up with the right distance, but usually I'm NEVER dead on!

We head into the park, and this was the portion I was slightly worried about. The path isn't narrow, but this is an out and back course, so you only have half the path. As we narrowed from the road to the trail the crowd wasn't too bad. I started watching for the fast people as we passed, and we were around mile 4.5 before we ever saw the first two runners! YEAH! Normally I would meet them much sooner. One thing I like about out and backs is seeing the fast guys and gals. It just gives me some extra oomph. We kept passing and then we hit the most wretched bridge in all of Shelby Park. It's wooden and has some serious bounce. It's bad enough when it's just Brent and I, but with all our friends that day I got AIR! It took me a little while just for my shins to really shake that bounce. We kept trudging on, at great pace, and the crowd on the right was starting to be equal in size to our crowd on the right. We reached the halfway turn around point and back towards the Coliseum we headed!! The sun was out and it felt GREAT! The temps were basically ideal at this point and I pitched my gloves.

Normally Brent and I do not run together. We had said for this race we would stay together until one of us wanted to push faster or pull back. In some races we don't even start next to each other. It can really be a lot of pressure to run together, and it especially hurts if you know the other one is struggling or in some sort of pain. A little past the turn around Brent starting pulling back a little. I knew we were going a little faster than planned, and I also knew I had paced us so that unless Brent stopped at some point he would break two hours, easy.

I pushed on, and in short order we were at the branch out spot of the course. Yeah!! I passed a coworker at this point, he must have stopped for a bio break or to stretch. I kept going and played back and forth for a couple of miles with a girl whose hair smelled really bad. She'd pass me, I'd pass her. In both cases I'd get a whiff of her hair and it was gross. Finally around 10.5 she ran to the side to get a Gu from a friend and I was done with her. At this point we were also leaving the park and I knew we were getting SO close! My Garmin was a little ahead of the markers now, but I knew I was going to easily break two again and the question was by how much! I was starting to get tired and I just wanted to keep pushing. Around 11.5 my coworker passed me, but I vowed to keep him in my sights. We were heading back into the industrial portions of town, and the view of the skyline was really pretty. I thought about how glad I was to be running, that I SHOULD be running, because I CAN. I thought about how I really want to do another marathon, but maybe not "today".

Mile 12 brought a group of people tailgating who had set up their own beer stop. I didn't see any takers, but I instantly thought of David and how the beer stop at mile 20-something in Miami helped him! Memories!!! On we went, and finally I could see the massive stadium! I knew this was a tricky ending, that we weren't headed straight into the stadium, and also that we would run a good portion of the field. But man, this was CRUEL! We did a full running tour of the stadium block, I never thought we'd turn in! Then I noticed the runners seemed to be "disappearing". Where were they headed??? If this was the rapture I really wanted my finisher's medal and a good finish line pic first, please! We were directed to a loading ramp, a sharp up the ramp (UGH!) and then a much longer down into the belly of the stadium. Too cool!! Around this time I got my big guy. What is it about me that attracts people three times my size in competitive events?? He was in rough shape. He was a very large/broad guy. The typical football player physique. A million feet tall, a million feet wide. But there really is no "typical runner shape", is there? He had the hit the wall, and it had run over him and spit him back out. He'd run for 5 seconds, and then walk. Repeat. I wanted to shout out "you're almost there", but at that point sometimes you just want to be left alone. I passed him and headed onto the field.

Wow! The field at the Titan's Coliseum! I doubt I will ever be down there again (except for this race, next year), so it was a major treat. The turf was a little bumpy, and after 13 miles of asphalt it felt so foreign. You had to run around the perimeter of roughly half the field to the finish line. I picked up my pace and looked up at the thousands of empty seats. The finish line was being broadcast on the Jumbotron, and the officiant was calling out the numbers of the finishers. I rounded the last corned and the stupid big guy bumped into me! HELLO!!! Look down, I'm short but not invisible! He knocked me off my form and I lost a bit of my sprint as he lumbered ahead. Across the finish line I went and smiled for the cameras. My coworker had finished about 10 seconds ahead of me, so we talked about the race for a minute before he headed on to see some other friends.

I waited for Brent and a few minutes later here he came! He had an excellent finishing sprint, as always! He's a great sprinter, he gets me on the final sprint we do to practice sprinting up our street at the end of every run. We shared our exciting times and watched some of the other finishers on what turned out to be a beautiful day.

We headed out and picked up some water. Then we headed upstairs to the pasta party. They had sandwiches and two different kinds of pasta. I couldn't eat any of it, I have a very weak after race stomach. The only things that work for me are a small soda (about the only time I EVER drink soda, how strange!!) and pizza. Go figure. We met up with our other coworkers on our corporate team and grabbed a table. I looked around for David but never spotted him.

They starting posting the results and the coworkers I mentioned previously beat me by TWO seconds, chip time. MAN!!! If it wasn't for Big Guy I think I could've taken him. GRRR! So close! My official time was 1:52.54, an 8:38 pace. Unbelievable! I was 17th in my division of 61, and 406th overall out of about 1100. Not bad!! Then it was awards time. We had enough runners for the corporate division, and we ended up with second place in our division - and get this - I was #1 for our company!!!! It's based on how you do within your division, and as the only female on our team of 5 (including Brent) my place was highest! WOO HOO! (You can see the corp results here). It's a very complicated scoring system, but they take the top 3 division placers of your team of 5. If we gotten two more points we would've been first! Oh well, next year! We got an additional medal for placing in the corporate portion.

We headed back out, jingling our two medals all the way back to the car. And then jingling them up and down the driveway to get the mail, and then back again taking Pippin to the bathroom. It was a great day and a great race for both of us! We both improved our previous PRs by roughly 7 minutes, and what more can you ask for than that?

It seems like all the local/Mid TN running bloggers had great races. Be sure to check out David's report, Lance's report, Michele's report and Lana's report (to come)!

Have a great week! (Special thanks to Brent for all the race pics! I wore my 6-bottle belt which doesn't have any spare space for a camera so all the running pics are from Brent's camera phone!)


At 8:31 PM, Blogger Running Jayhawk said...

Yet another wonderful race report! I can't believe the folks wanting to run in jeans. Definitely their first race.

I found out earlier today that my Godfather's wife had a PR yesterday, too! Must be a good course.

Congrats to you and Brent!

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Lana said...

Congrats Rae! I like Tom too!

At 3:12 AM, Blogger PLANET3RRY said...

Excellent work... seems like everything came together for you. I have eyed that half before, but have never ran anything in Nashville yet.

Take a well earned couple days of rest! 8:38 pace is awesome for that distance!!

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Cliff said...

Good job on the run and the race report.

I thought it is naturally to think of killing your annoying neighbours :D. You mean, I am not the only one? *j/k*..

At 7:49 AM, Blogger E-Speed said...

suhweet! You rocked the course!

At 9:57 AM, Blogger mouse said...

awesome, rae! I love your race reports.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Hey hey -- No. 1 on your team. That's excellent! And just what did that woman's hair smell like???

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Robb said...

Great times for both of you...and thanks for providing blow by blow coverage. Excellent post Rae.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger LPM said...


Very impressive race. You keep improving at that clip, and you'll be searching for cheap fares to Boston soon. You are right, the weather was great. It can get pretty windy in Shelby Bottoms, so I was pleased that we were spared. I loved that spongy turf in the Coliseum. Congratulations and have a great week of easy recovery.


At 4:49 PM, Blogger robtherunner said...

Nice job Rae!

At 5:20 PM, Blogger BuckeyeRunner said...

I swear, Rae, you have the best race reports! Almost as good as actually running in the race, only without the sore hammies afterwards!!

Great job!

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Darrell said...

Great race report, as usual. How cool is that to be #1 from the work team. Congrats on the double medals.

Just how do twisties malfunction, though. They aren't exactly the most technologically advanced piece of equipement. Funny though. I bet you two had the best alternative there. 8-)

At 9:09 PM, Blogger jeanne said...

You are too funny! and inspiring. I hate gross hair smell, too. Great race!

At 6:38 AM, Blogger D said...

Great job Rae!

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Running Chick said...

as i like to say 'Wooo HOoooo!' to both of you!

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Great job and congrats.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Hilda said...

Very nice post an what a great race you made!
Your pace is so good... what was your last mark?

Congratulations and as always thanks for sharing all this!!

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Simba's Mom said...

Great job Rae!! You are amazing!

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Just12Finish said...

Great race report and belated congratulations!

Loved the earlier part about first timers asking about postponing a race?! Apparently they're first time spellers too ... "to cold", "fo-pa"?!

At 5:56 PM, Blogger angie's pink fuzzy said...


What an awesome race report. Now I feel ready to get back out and RUN again. 8:38, what an incredible pace! And TWO medals, too cool! I look forward to reading next year's report!

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Audrey said...

Congratulations!! Way to smash your PR by a gazillion minutes!

At 7:10 PM, Blogger David said...

Great write up. Sounds like it was a good race day. Brent, as always has that phone camera clicking. Good stuff.
You are surely improving in the long distance categories.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Kim said...

You keep getting faster and faster! I hope after my taper I find my speed again. I feel like I'm crawling along most days. You give me hope!


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