We arrived in Nashville a few days before the marathon so that we would have plenty of time to go to the expo and do all the touristy things. The expo was awesome. It was well organized and I was surprised at how easy it was to pick up my race packet and make my way through the booths. We bagged a ton of free stuff and had a lot of fun walking around.
We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and spent most of the day there. It was enough of a distraction to quell my nervousness and keep my brain busy so I did not obsess about the nausea creeping in. I learned a great deal about country music and enjoyed all the displays.
I had been carb-loading most of the week. By Friday night, I was tired of chewing and even more tired of whole wheat anything. I had a last meal of pasta with chicken and bread and hydrated as best I could. I spent most of Friday evening getting all my gear ready and double-checking to make sure that everything was easily accessible.
I slept lightly but managed to get enough sleep to feel rested. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and started to get dressed and everything ready to go. We left early but still managed to get stuck in traffic for 30 minutes. What I didn't know was that the race officials decided to start the race early but only made a brief announcement on T.V. Most of the runners did not get that information. I got there just in time to find my corral and to hear the start gun go off. I was really nervous walking up to this crowd of 31,000 people but was surprised that once I found my spot, my nervousness went away.
The first 9 miles were pretty tough. Most of the hills for the entire course were in the beginning. I was trying really hard to conserve energy going up the hills and then making up for it going down. The hills were a lot tougher than I thought they would be and I exerted more energy than I would have liked. This threw my time off a little but I kept going as best I could.
I had my camelback on and was staying well hydrated. I was also eating a Powergel every 4 miles or so to keep up my energy. Well, something happened around mile 15 and my stomach shut down. I felt like I was running with bricks in my stomach and eating a Powergel at the time was the worst thing I could have done. I started gagging, dry heaving, and almost lost it. Gatorade helped keep the nausea at bay but my stomach felt heavy for the rest of the race.
By mile 20, I was feeling quite a bit better. I saw my husband with my youngest kiddo on his shoulders and he was holding a banner that read, Go Mommy Go! My other two kids were cheering me on and encouraging me as I ran by. That touched my heart and gave me the extra burst I needed to keep going. But then the rain started. And the lightening came.
At first, the rain was a welcome blessing. I needed to cool off and did not mind running in it. Then, I heard the strangest thing. I ran by a water station and the volunteers were yelling, "Good job, keep going, only one more mile." Wait. What? One more mile? I looked at my Garmin. It only said 21.2. Something is not right. They must be confused. I put it out of my head for another mile until....... I saw the finish line. My heart sunk. I only had 3.8 miles to go.
They diverted all the runners and called off the race on account of the weather. It was too dangerous to keep the runners out on the road so they pulled everyone in. So, of course, they shut down the race immediately and closed the course and made everyone go home. Oh wait, no they didn't. They let everyone take pictures, engrave their medals, visit the various booths and enjoy food and massages. They also let the 1/2 marathoners stay on the course an additional 2 hours while they threatened to arrest several of the full marathon runners for continuing on the course.
I could not help but be angry. I can understand calling off the race on account of the dangerous weather. However, they did not follow through. They were not consistent with everyone and as a result, several thousand runners were not able to finish the entire marathon. So, my finish time of 3:39:27 was for a 22.2 mile race. Not a marathon. I could not feel more let down.
Looking at my medal makes me feel sick and I cannot say I ran a marathon. The director of the marathon sent an e-mail out this morning offering $50.00 off another Rock and Roll Marathon in various cities to the runners affected but that hardly took the sting out of the whole thing. I do not know if I will run another Rock and Roll event. What started out to be a well-organized and fun event ended up being a huge disorganized letdown. I did not train for 4 months to run 22.2 miles. I trained to run 26.2.
So, what next? Well, I'll suck it up and start training again. I moped around for 3 days and now I need to get over it. Anyone have any race suggestions? Fun marathons? I'll be waiting anxiously for your recommendations