Nashville Marathon

Whatta race!

I set the alarm clock on my watch Friday night to get up at 4:45 so that we could get to the shuttles at LP Field (1/2 mile walk from Michelle’s condo) by 5:15. Well, might have helped if I had turned the alarm ON. Woke up at 5:30 to Michelle’s iPhone alarm. Hustled our booties and got out the door at 5:50.

Got to LP Field at 6:00 which is when the LAST shuttles were supposed to be leaving. Luckily, that didn’t seem to be the case. In fact, Bobby didn’t have to wait in line at all since we arrived just when a bunch of buses did. The cop told us all to get on, and Bobby waited for those already in line to go first. But she gave us a look like, “What are you waiting for? Get on now!” and there was a mad dash as all the runners crammed themselves in like sardines.

I walked back to Michelle’s, and we all finished getting ready. That’s when we heard on the TV that they would be starting the race 10 minutes early due to the approaching weather. Also heard due to the weather they would be forcing marathoners not finishing in 4 hours and 30 minutes to take the half-marathon route – OH NO! (But I figured Bobby would be fine)

Walked to the 3 mile point and tried to catch Bobby, but most likely just missed him due to the early start time. I found out later HE actually missed starting with his coral because even the runners didn’t know they were starting early (he had to run to the bathroom and when he came back they were off). We were a little shocked to see folks in the 3:30 pace group already walking at this early point…Someone was fibbing on their entry form! On a fun note this was the first time we got to see one of the running jugglers (SERIOUSLY – he ran a half-marathon juggling the whole time).

Then Michelle, Shelby and I walked to the 11 mile point. We were able to catch a glimpse of the small pack of the elite front runners as we walked up. Finally saw Bobby! He had already taken his new shirt off and threw it at us to hold. Ewww, sweaty. Then he was off!

We stopped by Michelle’s to drop off some stuff and made our way over the bridge to mile 20. On the bridge we saw a half-marathoner who had completely passed out and was being tending to by emergency personnel – Woah! We also saw a bridal party doing the half-marathon (read the bride and groom’s story) and runners dressed as Hawaiians, complete with hula skirts. At the 20 mile mark we saw Patrick & Nathan – they and several other runners were sporting leis they had gotten from somewhere (the Hawaiians?). Then we saw Bobby – seemed to be doing fine. About now the skies began to darken.

Bobby told us later that as he got to the 25 mile mark, which passes by the previous part he had just ran down 4 miles ago, marathoners were being turned back and being told they could not run farther. One woman was protesting with a police officer. I would be too!

We then made our way across the street to LP Field and the marathon finish line. Kate tried to join us, but couldn’t find a parking spot anywhere downtown – the whole city was packed! Saw more interesting folks at the marathon finish: A man with a birthday cake hat and birthday banner across his chest (guess it was his birthday?) and a MARATHON juggler with a most impressive time (take THAT half-marathon juggler!). Then Bobby finished at 3 hours, 55 minutes and 45 seconds; nicely under his 4 hour time he was going for. Yeah Bobby!

At this point it was pouring and Michelle and Shelby cut out. I waited for Bobby at the letter “G” meeting spot. I’d been there 5-10 minutes when a voice behind me said, “Bethany, how long have you been there?”. Yeah, it was Bobby. He had missed me and I missed had him, and he had been sitting down directly behind me for 10 minutes. For his benefit I had on my red raincoat and he couldn’t see my face; for my benefit I was answering texts non-stop.

Tried to walk back to Michelle’s right away, but Bobby had to rest a bit. After 10 minutes of laying on the pavement he was ready, and we gradually made our way back with just a few rest stops. On the way back we saw more half-marathoners finishing, including some who were hula-hooping pink hula-hoops the whole race!

After some relaxation at Michelle’s, meeting up with Memphis Hash Runners (including Pam, Linda and Morgan who’d run the half) and going out on the town we were tired. Nashville is a great town!

Have no fear – Its time to cheer!

This Friday Bobby and I will take off work and go to Nashville for the Country Music Marathon!

Bobby has been preparing by running farther distances, while I’ve been preparing by researching cheering methods for the race. This a HUGE task and no doubt much more difficult than what Bobby will be doing Saturday (warning: sarcasm detected).

Through my own running exploits, as well as my St. Jude Marathon cheering and some online research I’ve done (see below), I believe I’ve narrowed down what I’ll do on Saturday.

What to do:

  • Name cheers (if you know their name or they put it on their shirt)
  • Runner-specific cheers: “Go UT!” if they have a Vols shirt. “I love your hat!” if they have a crazy hat. People ate this up at St. Jude, especially when we told ladies we liked their clothing.
  • “Keep going!”
  • “You can do it!” (Rob Shnider voice optional)
  • Make noise. I’m going to bring my hash whistle.
  • Make a sign.
  • Be silly & funny.

What NOT to do:

  • “You’re almost there!” Whoops, didn’t know this was bad. I’ve done it before.
  • “You’re doing great/You look great” Didn’t realize this was bad either – I’ve said it.
  • Cheer out race numbers. “Way to go #47586!” – No one ever memorizes their race number.

The way I figure it, the goal is to cheer up, entertain and distract the runners so that the race goes by faster for them. They’ll be so busy looking at everyone on the sidelines, before they know it the race is over!

Serious Running: Cheering and Yelling Encouragement to Racing Runners
Run the Planet: Are There Studies on Road Race Cheering?
eHow: How to Cheer on Marathon and other Runners