Monday, April 29, 2013

That time I hailed a cab mid-race & other Nashville adventures

On Friday, five of us girls journeyed from Atlanta to Nashville to run the Country Music Half Marathon and have a girls' weekend.

My friend, Becca, and I left a bit earlier and made it into Nashville in time for the race expo where we were overwhelmed with free samples and picked up our race shirt and number. We also received bracelets to wear in honor of the Boston Marathon.

That evening, we met my high school friend, Kim, for dinner at a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in East Nashville called The Wild Cow (which I kept mistakenly calling The Mad Cow all weekend, oops.) It was delicious despite the name mix-up!

Anna, Meredith, Lauren, me, and Becca in our corral before the race...
A little blurry because of the rain
Later that night the other three girls arrived and we hung out in the hotel room for a bit, mainly debating what to wear the next day, since rain showers were in the forecast. We didn't get much sleep since we had to wake up at 5am to get ready for the half marathon start at 7am.

When we headed downstairs the skies were pretty clear and it wasn't too cold. Unfortunately, this prevented us from dressing appropriately or wearing much (if any) rain gear. As we stood in our corral waiting for the race to start, the rain started coming down steadily. And didn't stop the entire day. With the rain, the temperatures also dropped and so we began the race shivering and already wet.

By mile 3 it was pretty much pouring and I gave up hope that it'd stop raining during the race. For about the first four miles, all five of us stayed together and it was fun to point out my old stomping grounds along the route.

When I finished this half marathon before, while I was in grad school at Vandy, I remembered the course being a whole lot hiller. The inclines were not nearly as bad this time though the course was the same, so I guess Atlanta's hills trained me well!

And since I'd already done this race, I wasn't concerned with my time or how well I did. After finding out a month ago that I was very anemic, my doctor said it wasn't healthy for me the run the entire 13.1 miles. So at about mile 4, Lauren and I slowed down our pace and let the other girls run on ahead. We ran 6 miles, and then I had to listen to my body and call it quits.

Our initial plan was to walk the second half of the race, but with the freezing rain and water gushing into our shoes it was miserable walking. At least running kept me somewhat warm, but walking made all of my joints stiff and fingers and toes numb. By mile 7 I was praying we'd see a cab, and at mile 8.5 I spotted one! Lauren jogged on ahead to claim it, and we collapsed inside... feeling no shame for heading back to the hotel. Our fingers could barely move to take off our race numbers and my teeth were chattering so badly. A hot shower never felt better!

The other girls finished strong despite the rain but then had to make the freezing 1.5 mile walk back to the hotel after the finish. They sure earned those medals!

Becca and me at Fido
After showers and hanging up our soaking clothes to dry, we headed to Fido's, a favorite spot of mine, for brunch. Omelets, sweet potato pancakes, hash browns, mimosas... we had it all! Then, back to the hotel for a glass of wine, relaxing, and naps.

That evening we had plans to go out in downtown Nashville but decided to just do drinks and dinner and keep it low key. It was a great time of girl bonding, and my college friend, Alex, joined us which was a blast!

First up was a quirky place in East Nashville called No. 308. The picture below doesn't do it justice but there were stuffed foxes with skeletons on top and mannequins in the display case behind our booth. Creepy! We hung out there while waiting for a table to open up at The Pharmacy, a very popular Burger Parlor and Beer Garden. We finally got a table on their quaint outside patio. And the food did not disappoint. Afterwards, we called it a night and all slept wonderfully.

Alex, me, and Anna at No. 308
Hard to see but this is the creepy display box behind our booth
On Sunday morning, we slept in before meeting up with Alex at a breakfast spot also in East Nashville (definitely the least touristy spot from the race crowds) called Sky Blue. For the first time, a little bit of sunshine was out so we took our chances and sat outside. And it was worth the gamble because the rain held and we finally got to hear some live music in Nashville! The food and coffee were all great too.

Bringing cowboy boots back to Atlanta
My boots from college... still wearing them proudly!
Before heading back to Atlanta, we made one last stop at Boot Country, where I got my cowboy boots freshman year of college. I wore that same pair all weekend, and the other girls decided that they wanted to take advantage of the buy 1 get 2 free deal too! Becca, Meredith, and Anna all ended up with the same pair of boots so the shopping was a success. And despite the rain, the girls' weekend was a huge success and wonderful time too!

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