Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009 Nashville Country Music Marathon Race Ratings

Overall Score (Weighted): 3.2/5.0

Organization: 3.0/5.0
-Being the 10th year of the race, I had high expectations of the organization and it had its ups and downs. Ups: Great start intervals, good planning for spectators, mile markers were all labeled with clocks. Downs: They didn't seem to be completely prepared for the warm weather, even though we knew for a week the temperatures would hit the 80's. The water/cytomax got very warm and only around the 18th mile did they start putting ice in the mix. Although I'm VERY happy they did not-- it probably would have been a better decision to stop the race at some point, but I don't believe the race was organized enough to stop mid-race. Also-- and this is a BIG one-- the runner tracking system was completely down! They moved to the new "D-Tag" tracking system, which may have been the cause, but when that is promoted it should have been available.
Course: 4.0/5.0
If it weren't for the sun this course would be ideal! It had a nice mix of rolling hills and flat as well as city/country scenic routes. Unfortunately it left little room for shade, which should be planned for being a southern marathon, mid-spring, where temperatures can vary.

Spectators: 2.5/5.0
Great spectator support, with many options for your own spectators to see you. The marathon did 3 large loops that all focused around the start/finish area. HOWEVER, without the runner tracking system working, this became a lot more difficult. Also-- the big marketing of CMM, as well as most Rock N Roll marathons is the music along the way. Due to the heat, most of the bands were taking quite frequent breaks and I wasn't able to hear a good majority of them. This goes same for the cheer/pep groups. If you went sans music or ipods, expecting to have a lot to see/hear over the race, this could have been very disappointing... and very quiet!

Pace Groups: 2.0/5.0
Horrible! There weren't very many and the ones they did have did NOT align with Boston qualifying paces. I saw a pacer before hand and asked him to pass on my concern if possible. I also made the joke that my new garmin watch had to be purchased in lieu of no 3:40 pacing group and that CMM should reimburse me. Clearly this was a joke-- and apparently was not taken as funny. Oh well! Also, they were completely off. I had my garmin doing my pacing and I saw groups way off target throughout the race. Given, this was an unexpectedly hot marathon, we can't blame them too much.

Expo: 3.5/50
The expo was typical, however we needed to play the waiting game quite a lot. There was even a line to get into the front of the expo. Once inside, to get your bib/D-tag you needed to wait for about 20 minutes. A lot of this was due to the high volume of runners getting in late on Friday afternoon so I can't dock them too much for it. What I CAN dock them for is purchasing Sugoi Tech gear as their primary brand. This brand (although decent quality) is far more expensive than mizuno or brooks!

Nashville... Post Race Thoughts

2009 Nashville Country Music Marathon...
"Attempt at Boston Qualifying #2... FAIL!"
Expo: CB met Marissa and I at the hotel, which was only a few blocks from the expo. The streets of Nashville were infested with marathon runners walking, carrying their goody bags, dressed up, even some getting a warm-up jog in. I LOVE it when runners take over a city like that!!!

It was quite the line to even get to the entrance to the expo, but once inside it was the usual representation of apparel stores, last minute GU and energy supplement sales. The only disappointing part of the expo was... NO GRACIE'S GEAR!!! If you're unfamiliar with Gracie's Gear, they sell sports bras and tanks with pockets in the front designed primarily for IPods. I used one in Atlanta and loved it. I had hoped to purchase another one, but they weren't at the expo. :(

Hotel: If you're going to do the CMM I highly suggest staying downtown. We stayed at the Sheraton Downtown and it was just a minute from the expo and about 2 miles from the start/finish area. We took a taxi, but had very little trouble getting to or from the race. Apparently the shuttle service from the finish line to the start was horrible and traffic was backed up!

The hotel also provided suggestion and made reservation for dining options. We were able to get a reservation and a shuttle to a great restaurant in the area. Also, we were able to find a small market in walking distance that had (relatively) fresh bagels, bananas, water, everything we needed for breakfast... Inconsequentially, this also happened to be a market that didn't mind people singing and dancing to Bonnie Rait's "Give them something to talk about," so if you feel like making a scene in Nashville and are looking for a chance to be discovered via a grocery store.... this is the place to be!

The Race:
This years Country Music Marathon was the hottest one on record... and boy did you feel it!!! The race started out quite nice. We were in corral 3 and with the interval started there was very little need to weave through runners or get caught behind. The race started with slightly rolling hills through the city, allowing the buildings to shade you from most early morning sunlight. Andrew was running his first official half-marathon and opted to run with me for the first 10K or so of the race. We started at a nice 8:00/mile pace for the first few miles. I felt great and couldn't slow down!!! I was relaxed and really enjoyed the rolling hills... I felt like I had a great chance at making the 8:23 minute/mile pace for the whole race!!!...

... Then god decided to turn on an oven. It quickly went from comfortable and relaxed to scorching and painful. Around Mile 6 the sun hit hard. There was very little areas for shade. By mile 10 (still slightly better than pace) I stopped sweating and started getting goose bumps... For those who choose not to torture themselves with long distance running, this means I was slightly beyond dehydration. I tried drinking at every water station about 2 cups of water/cytomax... and still felt thirsty. This quickly followed by a faint light-headed feeling and the initials "DNF" was flashing in my head over and over. I decided that my goal for 50 states was more important than my goal for Boston. Besides, Boston will always be there... right??? :(

I slowed down a little at first-- to just below the 8:23 pace around Mile 10. The dizzy feeling didn't go away so I slowed down a LOT and decided that I would have to take it easy for a few miles if I had any chance in finishing. If there were any way to describe the rest of the racing group around me it would be... Land of the walking dead. It was SILENT-- for marathons this is NOT a good sign. People were wandering on and off the road clearly a bit out of it... people were stopped and I saw more ambulances and medical personnel helping pull people out of the race then I wanted to see.

If you are familiar with the Chicago marathon of 2007 then I can tell you these conditions were pretty similar and I thought there was a chance we would have a Chicago repeat. I hoped to get to mile 18 or 19, that was if they stopped the race, there may be a chance they would let people at a certain point finish the race walking instead of making us stop altogether. Unfortunately, also like Chicago, there was an unfortunate death on the course following the half marathon.
I was able to complete the course-- albeit at a very slow pace. However, during the race and after I told myself that I did everything I could in terms of training and gave Boston pace a good shot. Hopefully before my next race I'll get a chance to practice running in extreme heat and will be better acclimated. My results are posted below...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Inspiring Stories: Over 455 Miles on a treadmill in a week!!!

Brendan Brustad Treadmiller inspired by bomb victims

This article is about a guy who is actually trying to run over 455 miles on a treadmill in a week.

Some quotes:
"I was tossing and turning,” he said. "I thought, ‘If I can’t sleep, why not run?’”

"But this marathon’s about not giving up,” he said. "No matter how hard life gets, you’ve got to keep moving forward.”

Country Music Marathon Video!!!
Check out the video... it looks like SO much fun!!! You know... besides the running 26 miles thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Training for Marathon #6...

I made the plunge... I finally got a garmin GPS watch. These are great for training- they can show you your pace, distance, calories, heart rage, follow specified routes, keep a running partner that you can compete against. It does everything. Garmin Forerunner 405 with HR monitor. It may not be pretty, but it's a great training tool!

Training Runs: Georgia was just a few weeks before Nashville, so I've been careful not to over-train in the past few weeks. The rundown...
~ Long Run: (1) Completed- Xenia 1/2 Marathon. A week after ING Georgia, I joined the Cinci galloway group for the Xenia marathon and half marathon. I complete around an 8:36/mile pace. Not feeling great... I guess my mind was ready for a long run before my body was. Lessons learned... Don't do a long run a week after a hard marathon.
~ Fun Runs: (4) I've been running on Wednesday nights with the Cincinnati Galloway group. Last Wednesday we went to Deweys to celebrate Larry's Bday (See pics below) This group brings a new meaning to "Will run for Beer... and pizza...and graeters... and giant cookie pizzas"...

Larry and his BDay cookie...

*Everyone seems to have picked up on the Mizuno Running shoe kick... some larger than others. Guess which one is mine and which is Larrys!!!
~Speed Work... (1) I ran the 4 mile "Rabbit Ramble" or the "Bunny hop" as I called it with MB, Joanne & Jeanelle. I ran a time of 28:38 (About a 7:09 mile). I got first in my age group, and 7th overall.

This week: I'll do 1 last moderate paced run (7 miles), then an easy run on wednesday followed by 1 more run this weekend. Next week I'll have to taper... :( Sigh