I arrived in Nashville on Friday and was able to go pick up my race packet and number at the start/finish line. That was a first for me and it was helpful to know exactly where to arrive the next day. I had a chance to meet Dennis (race director) and was all set for the race. My hotel choice worked out perfect as I was just minutes away from the start/finish area. I had been checking the weather forecast and for the past week and it seemed ideal for the race. Temps at the start would be in the upper 30′s and the high for the day would be close to 50. The only part I did not like was the wind while waiting to get started.
There were actually four different distances for the race. (50K, 60K, 70K and 80K) If I am not mistaken there were about 100 of us overall with the vast majority of runners doing the 50K and many of the rest doing the 80K. I think there were about 40 of us in the 50K. We started right after 7am and with daylight just beginning. With the temps cool I was glad to see the sun coming up. The race started with a out and back of 3.5 miles in one direction so back to the starting line would be mile 7 as we would return.
The first 7 miles were great. I found a pace I was comfortable with, and a handful of runners with the same pace. It always makes it easier to pace with others than just yourself many times. With a small field finding a place to run was never a problem. The scenery was also nice the first part of the race. The only challenge was a steep hill, and it was steep. There was not an aid station until we returned to the start finish line at mile 7 so carrying water was essential for me.
Since it was a little cool I did wear a long sleeves to start with but since I knew I would return I had planned to drop it off once I got to mile 7. I felt my pace was good the first 7 miles and felt strong. It was at mile 7 where I made my first mistake though. I hit the port-a-potty and stopped at my car to drop off my shirt and went for the aid station. There were four options for a drink. (Water, Powerade, Infinity sports drink with protein and without) I have never used Infinity so what drove me to fill up with it I have no idea. After I took my first drink I asked myself “why did I just do that?” I did not have an answer and still don’t. I am sure it is good however my body is just not used to it. However I have 6 miles to go before the next aid station so I will just make the most of it.
As I left the aid station the rest of the race was pretty simple, out 12 miles and back 12 miles. I was trying to not think of it quite like that. Instead I told myself I just needed to run to the next aid station which was 6 miles away. I knew I could run 6 more miles.