This morning I ran the Nashville half-marathon for the 5th consecutive year, and it’s my 6th half-marathon overall. The race is part of the Rock & Roll Marathon Series and benefits St. Jude. It used to be called the Country Music Marathon.
I didn’t run my first half-marathon until I was 44 and I’m 48 now. A gentleman close to my age and I were talking while we were waiting to start the race, and I remarked that I plan on doing these until I can’t do them anymore. There will be a time when I can no longer run 13.1 miles. Hopefully that’s several years away. I do enjoy these.
My finishing time was 2:16:56, which is consistent with 4 of my other races. Excluding last year’s Nashville race, my times range from 2:12:52 to 2:16:56, so today’s time was highly satisfying. Last year’s Nashville race took place in an absolute inferno, and my time was 2:38, which I regard as a “statistical outlier.”
Also, among male runners in my own age group (45-49), I finished 289th out of 641, which puts me in the 55th percentile, which is the highest percentile I’ve ever achieved in a Nashville race. (When I ran in Memphis last December, I finished in the 56th percentile of my own age/gender group.)
Today’s weather started off perfect. It was 48 degrees when I arrived at Nissan Stadium just before sunrise. It was sunny and there was a nice breeze. It warmed quickly — almost too quickly — and by the time I finished (shortly before 10 a.m.) it was up to 67 degrees, which is a little warmer than I prefer when doing a long run. Of course, they keep you hydrated during these races so I felt no ill effects, unlike last year.
It amazes me how fast time passes when you’re running a race. You’d think running would be boring and time would drag, but 2+ hours pass by quickly, and the miles do add up fast. It just doesn’t seem like 2+ hours. In a race this size — there were nearly 15,000 half-marathoners alone, not including the marathoners and 5K participants — you’re constantly running in a crowd, and you see well-wishers along the streets and sidewalks the entire course. It really is an amazing (and motivating) atmosphere that I really can’t describe.
You see a lot of people holding signs, some of them meant for specific runners, but most of them for all of us. For example, there was a cardboard cutout of Jesus with the Bible verse, “Come to me, all you who are weary.” I gave a double-thumbs up to a young lady holding a sign that read, “If Trump can run, so can you.” Others that I recall are, “If I find you passed out, I’ll pause your Garmin,” “The end is far,” and “Pain is temporary, Internet tracking is forever.”
So now I get to switch to warm-season running, where I run almost exclusively 5K’s. My goal is 50 miles a month, so that adds up to at least sixteen 5K’s a month. I plan on doing the Memphis half-marathon again in December, Lord willing, and I’ll train for that in October and November. So this gives me a 5-month break from half-marathons training. I’ve spent 4 of the past 7 month training for two half-marathons and can use a break. Also, I need new running shoes. My current pair has withstood both Memphis and Nashville.