race report: country music marathon

Wow. It’s been nearly four weeks since I ran the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. Better late than never?

We fell in love with Nashville a year and a half ago when I ran the Women’s Half Marathon. I’ve had my eye on the Country Music Marathon for years, and finally the date worked with my schedule this year.


I wasn’t planning on this being a fast marathon, but rather a training run for the North Face 50K (which is on ONE WEEK!). When I registered, I put 5 hours as my goal time, figuring I might even do a Galloway run/walk for this race.

But come race weekend, I decided I didn’t want to run this race in five hours. My training had been going really well. I still wanted to take it easy and planned on walking through the water stops. I didn’t want to go as fast as March’s Shamrock Marathon (4:10), so when I went to switch corrals at the expo I decided 4:20 would be a good goal.

For days prior to the race, the forecast looked bad. Rain and chance of thunderstorms. I didn’t worry about it. It would get better, right?

Unfortunately, as race day got closer, the chance of rain kept increasing. But I was prepared. I packed for rain with a vest, hat and a trash bag which I planned to ditch once I got warmed up and/or annoyed with it. (That never happened).

It ended up being a bit cooler than I expected, probably around 55F. The rain started falling when I was lined up in the corral. I tied my trash bag in a knot around my waist so it wouldn’t swish too much. It was actually not uncomfortable, and I think it really helped keep me warm despite the rain and cool weather.

You can even see the rain drops hit the pavement ...
You can even see the rain drops hit the pavement …

It’s too bad the weather was so bad. What I was looking forward to the most was all the country bands along the course. A lot of the stages shut down, though — with DJs instead of live music at many of the stations. It was nice that some musicians still braved the storm, though!

Did I mention there were hills?
Did I mention there were hills?

We ran along with the half marathoners for the first 11 miles or so. I generally don’t like that — you get to see them veer off, almost finished, when you’ve still got a long way to go. We also passed the finish line around mile 17, also not my favorite thing to do 🙂

Rain is fun!
Rain is fun!

But even with the rain and course setup, I really enjoyed the race. Running in the rain is usually pretty fun. Preferably not for 4+ hours, but I tried to make the best of it. My plan of walking through every water stop worked well.  I think I held off “the wall” longer than I usually do during races. Downside –  I had to make a rest stop! I found a vacant porta-potty around mile 22 so I didn’t lose too much time, though my pace did slow down from that point on. There’s probably a good chance that would have happened regardless.

I crossed the finish line just barely within my 4:20 guesstimate — pretty happy with that! And then it promptly stopped raining. D’oh!

I didn’t even bother to get my free beer. I forgot to take a post-race self portrait. I just wanted to get my checked gear (A dry jacket! And gloves!) and get back to the hotel.

That was a happy face sticker on my Garmin. It didn’t survive the storm!

Official Time: 4:20:54
Overall: 1187 out of 2706
Division: 58 out of 187
Gender:  412 out of 1227

When I wasn’t racing, we enjoyed hanging around in Nashville — bar-hopping/listening to good music, touring the Country Music Hall of Fame museum, and buying boots!


We had a great time in this awesome city. Can’t wait to go back!

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