Rock ‘n Roll Nashville Half Marathon Recap

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | race recap

May 04

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock ‘n Roll Nashville as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I have been talking about Nashville on the blog for a LONG time. Finally, the moment of truth came last Saturday as I ran the Rock n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon. I’m so proud of myself for making it back after a long road to recovery from last year’s Plantar Fasciitis flare. Let me tell you all about it!

I’m linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics, and DebbieMarc, and Rachel for the Running Coaches Corner.

So excited to share my recap of the @runrocknroll Nashville half marathon! #RNRBP #bibchat #rnrnashville Click To Tweet
I had a fantastic time at the Rock 'n Roll Nashville Half Marathon!  Check out my recap and more at runwithnoregrets.com!

Rock ‘n Roll Nashville Half Marathon Recap

Whenever I write a race recap, I go into all the details…I just can’t help it! I’m a little bit rusty since I haven’t written one since last year’s New Jersey Martahon, but I’ll try not to bore you too much!

Race Expo

We arrived in Nashville on Friday morning. Because of the NFL Draft taking place the same weekend, hotels were impossible to find at a good price. We ended up staying at a Hilton in the Green Hills section. It was really nice but too far away. We dropped off our things then went to the Milk & Honey for breakfast. We had some amazing breakfast sandwiches, hit Broadway and started to get a good feel for the town with some great live music, then made our way to the Expo at the Music City Center. The space was huge and there were lots of vendors. We didn’t stay too long. I couldn’t resist buying a Nashville beer glass, even though I have too many!

The Night Before

We spent a lot of time downtown just enjoying ourselves and walking around the city, but we knew we needed to turn in early. We went to a place called SILO for dinner. I was a little skeptical about the menu, but I had some ribs and mac and cheese that was amazing, while Bret had the catfish. My cocktail was also delicious! We turned in maybe by 9 or 10 pm.

Race Morning

We set the alarm for 5:30 so that we’d have enough time to get an Uber towards the race start downtown. We were out of our rooms by 6 am but we quickly discovered that no Ubers or Lyfts were available. Some other runners were in the hotel and told us that we could join in their cab. We had no choice but to hop in the van. The driver charged us $15 for each couple. I was super stressed, but thankfully, we got down there sometime after 6:30. After a bit of a walk, we made our way to the VIP area in Honky Tonk Central, a 4 level bar. This is the first time I saw VIP taking place in a building. I bought the pre-race VIP for us so that Bret could finally get that experience, and I thought it would be a nice treat….or so I thought. Bag check was right by the VIP entrance and the line was long but moving okay. We went in VIP and there was some water, coffee, bananas, and some picked over fruit. There was nothing left. All I had was a bottle of water and a banana. Then, there was no special area for bathrooms. The bathroom lines inside Honky Tonk Central were very long so we just went outside and used the port-a-potties. But anyone could use them so…not sure why we paid $90 for this “experience”.

The Starting Line

But anyway, we did what we had to do and started getting ready to line up. Bret was in Corral 2 and I was in Corral 22, which was a little disappointing. I’m pretty sure I gave myself a 2:20 or 2:25 race goal but I was in the same wave as the 2:45 pacer so that threw me off! The corrals were PACKED and it was a cool morning so standing in the shade was rough. The race started several minutes late so I didn’t get to cross the start line until after 8 am. I couldn’t wait to get this show on the road!

Miles 1-5

It felt like the longest wait ever, and unfortunately, as I started, I realized my music wouldn’t start. I didn’t want to pull it out of my Spibelt and risk dropping my phone in the sea of people so I ran the whole race without my music. In addition to that, my watch was acting weird the first mile or 2 and changing the display. I turned it off and restarted but it was still acting weird. I just decided not to pay too much attention to the watch and focus on the hills ahead…and there were a lot of them!

The race was full of half and full marathoners and we ran around various parts of the city. It was pretty cool and we passed some areas that we had checked out the day before, like Music Row. There were tons of people cheering us on and like any good RNR race, plenty of live music on the course. I was worried my feet would bother me but I felt pretty good to start.

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11:15, 10:42, 10:53, 10:22, 10:36.

Miles 6-10

However, mentally, I was really struggling. Once I got to the 10K point I wondered how the heck I was going to be able to run 7 more miles. I just kept taking things one mile at a time. The hills were physically challenging but mentally, it was tough to see another, and another, and another, with no end in sight. Fortunately, the water stops came at a good frequency and I used each one as an opportunity to walk. The sun was bright and the temperature was getting warmer.

10:51, 10:48, 10:26, 10:44, 10:32.

Miles 11-13.1

I was so excited as we got closer to the finish! I was soo ready to be done! It was getting hotter and so many people around me were walking. Sometime before mile 12, there was a guy named Brian who spotted me and asked if I was from Philly. He said he remembered me at RNR Montreal back in 2017! At this point, the sun was beaming and we were all sweating buckets. He was so nice and I wished him well. His words motivated me to run a little faster to finish strong! The very last bit of the course went over a bridge and then a downhill to the finish (thank goodness!). Once I heard it was all downhill, I went for it!

10:19, 10:43, 10:27.

Race Results

My official race results were 2:20:04. Dang it for just going over 2:20, but I couldn’t be happier! I ran this race strong, avoided the negative self-talk, and executed my strategy. I really feel like I’m back!

After the Race

After the race, we met up with our friend Katie and one of her friends. We headed back into the city and hung out at some more bars and enjoyed the live music. It was a lot of fun! We ran into lots of Eagles fans enjoying the NFL Draft and many E-A-G-L-E-S chants occurred, lol. Lots of people also congratulated us for running. Then Bret and I found a spot for dinner and was able to watch some fireworks before heading back to our hotel.

Takeaways

Enjoying some rooftop live music!

Nashville is a really fun city and I’m so glad that I was able to run this race, even though there were a few hiccups. It wasn’t an easy course, but it was really a wonderful experience overall. I definitely recommend this race, but if you’re a newer runner – I’d get a few more flat courses under my belt before tackling the half!

Pros

  • Amazing spectators. This race had almost the best support that I’ve seen during a city race. From beginning to end, people were out in full force cheering us on! It made a huge difference.
  • Interesting course. I was able to stay engaged and fully distracted. I guess you can say that hilliness of the course definitely kept me on my toes! There is a lot of construction going on in Nashville, so it’s interesting to run through a city that’s rapidly changing.
  • Great medal. Rock ‘n Roll races always have a great finisher’s medal. The one this year even lights up!
  • Fundraising for St. Jude. Participants raised over $2 million for St. Jude, an amazing organization. I loved that you could see runners wearing their singlets in pride and that there was a section on the course dedicated to St. Jude patients.

Cons

  • Very crowded course. If you’re a middle of the packer like I am, you would have been dealing with a packed course from beginning to end, which can be frustrating. Not the race to PR!
  • The hills…this could go either way. The hills were so steep and pretty unforgiving lol. If you weren’t prepared for it, it could have really set you back. So many people struggled.
  • Chaotic finisher’s section. It was very confusing, packed, and so stressful. The layout was disjointed and there were bottlenecks of people trying to get through. I don’t even know where they had the band.
  • Awful VIP experience. It was very poorly executed. Not enough food/refreshments pre-race, bag check was in a bad location post-race…very disappointing.

Shoutouts

Thank you so much to Rock ‘n Roll, Bibrave, and Brooks for making this such a great experience! Thank you to my running club who helped motivate me on all those long runs on Saturdays! And always, thanks to everyone who has encouraged me through this journey! I am not 100% back yet, but I know that I will be. The work has been hard, but it has been worth it!

Are you still in the midst of spring racing? What was the most challenging race you’ve run?

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