Saturday, May 5, 2012

6 Down, 14 to go!!

Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Number 6... Nashville's Country Music Half Marathon

Wednesday, April 25th:

After unpacking from Boston and re-packing for Nashville on Tuesday, I headed for Chapel Hill to stay with my folks for an early flight out of RDU the next day. While Greensboro's airport is so easy to fly in and out of, it sometimes lacks in affordable flights. Luckily, my mom and step-dad live 15 minutes from RDU airport so it's a good excuse to stay over for a visit with them when I fly from there.

Thursday, April 26th:

An early start to a very long day!
A big thank you to Bob for taking me to the airport at this ridiculous hour!!

An early start, even for the airlines!
Upon arrival in Nashville I was met at the hotel by Teresa Hamm. Teresa is the District Manager of sales for Allard's mid-south region and she had a busy weekend planned for us. We started out on our Nashville-area tour of P & O facilities... these are the folks who make it possible for people with mobility issues to Get Back Up!

First stop, Adams Place! 
Me, discussing our campaign with the P&O team.

As often happens this year, the conversation went from discussions of foot drop and bracing to talking about running! Several of these therapists are vowing to run in next year's R'nR Nashville... I'll be there to cheer 'em on!

Thank you to all at Good Samaritan Health and Rehab for getting people back up!
After a long day of traveling around Nashville I went to the race expo downtown to check in and to pick up my Nashville charm for my Marathon Jewelry charm bracelet...
With R 'n R number 6, I had to start adding to the other side!

Teresa, Emily and me in the "Bling Booth"
After the Expo, Teresa and I grabbed an early dinner and planned our race strategy for Saturday, then headed back to the hotel to rest up for the next day. I was so tired that I actually went to sleep around 7:30. This would have been a great way to end the day, however I soon awoke to my phone ringing... the evening news team was in the vicinity of my hotel and wanted to do a story right then! Remembering that the Get Back UP message is why we're doing all of this in the first place, I got back up, got dressed again and met them in the lobby of the hotel for an interview! I don't have the link to the piece that aired, but we did get airtime and when I do get the link I'll add it to this blog.

Forgot to mention that I was able to pick up my "super 6" R'n R bonus medal at the Expo... another cool surprise!

Friday, April 27th

A busy day planned, with the start of my day being another TV interview pre-sunrise! This was the local CBS channel and once again, we got great airtime so a big thank-you to the Nashville News teams for getting our story out to the public.

I left the hotel in the dark hours of the morning for this interview. This reporter was also running in Saturday's race so we got to share race prep tips and strategies for what was shaping up to be a warm race day.

Sunrise in Nashville outside of the coffee shop... had to get some energy somehow after only a few hours of sleep!

Ready to tour more O & P facilities with Teresa for day Number 2... yee haw!

A great visit with the athletes at Sports 4 All!
Please visit the Sports 4 All website... a great organization and wonderful group of athletes and coaches!
A stop at Team Nashville, a local running store run by 2 lifelong runners, Terry Coker and Robert Eslick. I highly recommend this store, and have my receipts to prove it!

Visit them when you're in Nashville!
Here's the link to Terry and Robert's store along with their running "pedigrees":

Another Rehab facility stop, and another therapist/runner helping others to Get Back Up.

Last stop of the day, a lunch "meet and greet" with another fabulous team of medical professionals. I can't say enough how much I admire and appreciate these people.
Finally, back to the airport area for an early dinner and return to the hotel. The restaurant was around the corner from the airport Embassy Suites... what a great find!
Ellendale's restaurant... I recommend this place if you're in the area!

Saturday, April 28th... race day!!

I didn't get a shot of my alarm clock this morning, but it was a pre-4a.m. wake-up. After the last 2 days of appearances and appointments I was so looking forward to being just another runner among the 31,000 registered for this race. The day was off to a great start... the Embassy Suites Airport staff surprised all of us with "goodie bags" set out for us by 4 o'clock in the morning!

These were such a terrific surprise... yogurt, bananas, water bottles, band-aids and candy bars in each bag, along with a coffee-to-go station set up for us. Thank you Embassy Suites Airport of Nashville!!! 

The spread...
At the Expo for this event you were offered an option to purchase a special parking pass if you planned to park a car at the finish line. Since I was so far away from the race course, I needed to drive to and from the event and so I opted for this package. As it turns out, this package was worth the extra money as we got to by-pass highway traffic jams for the lot on the other side of where the general public was allowed to park. We would never have made it to the start line on time without this deal... so many other runners got stuck in the traffic jam on the way to the other lot!!
You can barely make out the folks in the Platinum Parking Package line... we dropped our cars off and boarded the shuttles back to the start line.

Jim and Drew (from the NOLA and Dallas R 'n R races) in line for the shuttles.

Boarding the shuttle, off to the start line to meet Teresa.

The finish line area as the sun was coming up... hopefully I'd make it back here after my 13.1 miles of running!

Someone's elbow... on the shuttle bus to the Start line.

Sunrise in Centennial Park, walking to the Start area.

Teresa, Frank and little Maggie outside the Platinum tent before the run. Another perk for the Platinum package... our  own line of Port-a-Potties with much shorter lines!!
I made it!!! A hectic quick start to the race and 13.1 miles later, another successful run. I finished upright, my primary goal for races this year, and have the medal to show for it. One thing that was different about this event, I was recognized over 50 times from the fantastic TV coverage... so much for an anonymous run among 31,000 runners!
For those of you paying close attention, yes, this is a wardrobe change.  This run was particularly hot and hilly, thus I was particularly sticky and smelly after the race. I had a change of clothes in my gear-check bag and pulled an amazing Houdini-esque quick change in the confines of a tiny port-a-potty.

Jim and Drew made it to the finish line, too... I think they're self-administering first aid using the band-aids from the hotel.

An inspiring athlete, an AK amputee, who managed a great finish despite lack of proper training and final exams. Way to go, Brandon!
Scott (far left) from Allard USA surprised us by catching us at the finish line. It was a great day for the Allard team and the Get Back Up campaign... with so many people hearing our story and connecting with us online.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel obligated to tell you the downside of Platinum Parking. See the bridge in the background? It took us 30 minutes to get from this spot to that bridge, and another hour or more to clear the finish line area completely!!

Very maddening to have run the Half Marathon faster than I could get out of the LP  Field arena... no attendants to direct us out. I will leave it up to future runners to determine, from my pre-race and post-race reports, whether Platinum Parking would be worth it for you. Overall, it was the right choice for me but I would have to pack lunch and chairs in the car for the next time.
The medals, with a time of 1:59:26... whew!!

And FYI, Sheryl Crow beat me by just 14 seconds. Congratulations, Sheryl, you're a Rock Star! Oh, wait.. you probably already knew that. :-)

Next up for me, 2 races in Michigan not on the official list of 20... check in next week for the updates!

No comments:

Post a Comment