Outrunning the Storm: Race Report

Today's Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon was fraught with weather drama! All week we'd been warned about possible thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes on race day. Yesterday, they decided to limit the marathon to a 4:30 finish because the storms were supposed to move in during the early afternoon. Glad I wasn't doing the full!

I awoke to pouring rain and lightning at 4:00 a.m. My husband and I got in the car at 4:45 a.m. and left my mom and our 3 kids sleeping at home. About 5:15 a.m., a loud clap of lightning woke up the kids and sent them scurrying to find Grandma, and then high winds picked up and it began to hail! (My mom took all 3 into the basement.) Somehow, my husband and I missed all that while on the road to Nashville.

During the 45 minute trip, we made a quick pit stop at a service station and there was so much lightning that I thought, "Am I really going to do this?" It was pouring big, fat, hard drops of rain.

This year, despite road closures for the 32,000 runners, my husband somehow dropped us off directly at the start. Last year before running 26.2, I had to walk a mile to the start. Surprisingly, at the start, it wasn't raining at all and the sun actually came out! I was the first of the training group to arrive, and pretty soon we had about 9 of our people there. We had a group prayer and all went off toward our corrals. Unbeknownst to us, they had decided to start the race 15 minutes early-- at 6:45, so we jumped into our corral just in time.

Two of the gals from the group and I started strong--too strong for me! I ran a 9:50 first mile. That is about what I did in my PR race in October, so I thought it might be ok. (However--big difference--that was a flat course and it was in the 40's!) We got separated at a water stop early on and mile 2 came out at a 9:29 pace for me---way faster than it should have been. It was the fastest mile of the day. I had one more fast mile in the 9:30's and then the hills and too-fast start caught up to me. On an extremely hilly course and with high humidity and upper 60's temps, it just wasn't my day to be running fast.

The rest of the race I struggled. My heart wasn't in it. I really wished I had someone to talk to. I got slower and slower! I let go of any finish expecations and decided to just get. it. done. Preferably, ahead of the tornado!

I finished and it was my 7th slowest half-marathon. Out of seven--aka personal worst by a minute and a half. Nary a drop of rain fell on my head the entire race, other than the 3 water cups I poured on there to cool off. It wasn't as hot as last year, but it was still too hot for my taste.

I hung out for a while and tried to watch for some of my training group at the mile 13 mile marker. I saw only one. Then the rain and lightning I was trying to out run came and hubby and I headed to the car. I felt so bad for the marathoners today. The race was cancelled early. My friend made it to mile 21 and had to stop. Soooo close. But the area was under a tornado watch and there was severe lightning on the course, it was the safest decision.

I am ready for my DISTANCE BREAK. My body is talking to me and telling me I need it! I'll rest up and race smarter on September 25! I think I left it all out on the course in the Birmingham Marathon on Feb. 14, only 9 weeks ago. Perhaps I should go back there and get it?

P.S. I actually ran the first 13.1 miles of the Birmingham Marathon faster than I did the 13.1 today! And still held on for 13.1 more!


Stacey said…
There are always good races and bad races. You finished, you should be proud of that. What a disappointment for your friend to get to mile 21 and be forced to stop. Did they still give out medals?
Enjoy your rest..you deserve it, you have been going like the energizer bunny for months! Have a great weekend.
mrafalski said…
I'm glad you were able to get your race in, even if it was a slowest time. I was thinking of the marathon all day as I watched the weather reports. It is so sad when everyone's hard work and planning is ruined because of the weather. But I guess that is the nature of the sport.
Kate said…
i know you are discouraged, but i still think it's a HUGE accomplishment to finish any race! you got it done - crossed the line - and were awarded for it! way to go! i watched the radar that morning (it was storming here too) and was praying for everyone's safety. my heart really goes out to the marathon runners... :(
Chris said…
Congrats for sticking it out! And congrats to your daughter!!!
DillonT_Bra147 said…
Nice Post~!!!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Warmth and humidity slow everyone down. Don't be too hard on yourself! Glad you pushed through to the finish even though it was tough!
Susie said…
You described this course as "extremely hilly". Is there a half marathon course around Nashville that you would consider flat? I ask because I too ran the half marathon that day and it was my first race and I have nothing to compare the hills to.
RunnerMom said…
Susie--- The October Music City Half is totally flat. Also the March Tom King Classic (same course). I don't mind a few hills, it's just the ones up front at the CMM combined with heat and humidity (two years in a row now) get to me! Dates for fall half-marathons are available at www.nashvillestriders.com. I've heard good things about the Middle Half in Murfreesboro, too.