What a highly enjoyable run through the streets of Nashville. My schedule called for 12 to 14 miles at an easy pace. Our plan was to run part of the second half of the Country Music Marathon course so that I could get a good preview before I attempt to lead the 4-hour pace group in two weeks. Even though I’ve run this race before, the organizers made some significant changes to the second half last year and I wanted to be able see these first-hand before race day.
We started out by LP Field (Titan’s Stadium), and I was joined by Marc, Dawn, Jenny, and Paxton from our running group. In our weekly email, Dan had said that the pace would be “Big Dog relaxed,” and I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that means 🙂 …however we kept things very easy throughout. Paxton and I ended up with 14+ miles, and 8 of those were over 9:00 minutes. My body doesn’t quite feel comfortable running at that pace, but it was good to get in some practice since I’ll have to maintain 9:09 splits for the marathon.
At the start we basically ran the half marathon course backwards until we intersected with the point where the full breaks off at Bicentennial Mall near the Capitol building. From there we were able to cover almost the entire second half of the course through Metro Center, Downtown, and East Nashville, with the exception of the loop in Shelby Park which I’m very familiar with. Marc, Dawn and Jenny broke off from Paxton and I around 10 miles at 5th Avenue South and headed back to the stadium. Paxton and I continued down 5th to Davidson, turned around at Shelby Park, and then headed back to 5th and Woodland where the marathon finishes. We picked up the pace slightly for the last 3 miles which felt great. The new finish adds quite a few hills which will be daunting for those who are struggling at the end.
This was one of those days where I felt like I could run forever, and honestly had my schedule from John not said “12 to 14,” I would have been very tempted to keep going for at least a few more miles. My legs felt great and the run was very enjoyable with good friends. After the run we all went to Sky Blue Cafe in Edgefield (East Nashville) for breakfast, and it was fantastic! We were joined by Janna and Emma who had run a different route, and Dan who leaves tomorrow morning for the Boston Marathon (Go Dan!).