Nashville, Tennessee is one of my favorite places to visit. The culture, music, food, and activities around the Lower Broadway area keep bringing me back year after year.
The 2023 Nashville Rock N Roll Half Marathon was the draw that got me back up there in April. The race organizers do a fantastic job with the race and really take care of the runners.
Made my way to Nashville on Friday and wanted to ensure I had time to explore the race EXPO. My friend Lauren and boyfriend Reese came down from Philly and we met at the EXPO. This was the first time seeing them since last year for the Atlantic City Half Marathon. Lauren had never run in Nashville and wanted to experience the sights, sounds and music I’m always talking about.
We got our race packets and made our way to visit the vendors and see what new products are out. Tested a few of the new hydration drinks available but didn’t buy anything. Decided I wanted to get new leg compression sleeves and got a Rock N Roll custom designed pair. They matched my running outfit and provided me with a new look for the race. We got EXPO photos together and listened to the music for a bit.
The Rock N Roll folks moved the EXPO from the Music City Convention Center to the Musicians Hall of Fame. Sounds similar but the new location was a lot smaller, and the vendors were cramped into a hallway. I hope we move back to our regular location next year—plus it would put us closer to Broadway and all the music venues.
Left the EXPO and made my way back over to Lower Broadway to continue to carb load and find some music. Found an open seat at the Wildhorse Saloon and got food and beer while watching the line dancers. Love the Wildhorse and the band playing was great, and the line dancers were having a ball. Decided to forego line dancing since I had a half marathon the next day. Left the Wildhorse and hit a couple other music spots before making my way back to the hotel to get some rest.
Met Lauren on race day close to the start line so we could stretch and mentally prepare for the Nashville hills. I texted her during my training sessions to let her know I was running hill repeats over bridges. She didn’t fully understand why until we got to Nashville. 😊
Shoutout to my friends at the First Baptist Church in Nashville! They open the church property and allow runners to relax inside while waiting for the race to start. This really comes in handy when the weather is cool and helps runners get off their feet prior to the race start.
We made our way to the start line and settled into Corral #5. Surprisingly ran into an Orlando runner I met last year at this race, and he remembered me. Turns out he came back for the race because he did not like his 2022 race time and wanted to improve. I met another runner who lives in Buffalo but moved there from Orlando. They saw my Track Shack running shirt and it was a family reunion prior to the race start. I highlight these encounters because I tried to prepare them for the hills they were about to run. They did not seem to think I was serious and could not imagine the hills were going to be as extreme as I described. I tried to help them, but they had to learn on their own.
Fast forward—Lauren and I started the race together and ran down the Lower Broadway hill with a smile on our faces. The first half mile in Nashville is downhill and the rest appears to be up a different hill for the next 8 miles. Wish this was an exaggeration but check the race elevation—the hills are steep in Nashville.
We split up after the third hill and ran our individual races. The weather was a lot cooler this year and this made running the hills a lot more pleasant.
Ran most of the race with a smile on my face and enjoyed the great music and spectators that lined the course and cheered for runners. This may be my favorite race for spectators on the course and the music is fantastic.
My race splits were:
Mile 1: 9:57/ Mile 2: 10:40 / Mile 3: 10:47 / Mile 4: 9:48 / Mile 5: 9:58 / Mile 6: 10:02 / Mile 7: 10:10 / Mile 8: 10:04 / Mile 9: 9:54 / Mile 10: 9:28 / Mile 11: 9:54 / Mile 12: 10:05 / Mile 13: 10:04 / Mile .1 / 2:48 (2:13:34 Half Marathon)
***Super proud of that Mile 10 split!*** 😊
Lauren and I spent time at the after-race party recovering from the hilly half marathon, drinking beers, and getting some pictures together to commemorate the race and great atmosphere.
ACME and Wildhorse Saloon
Made our way across the bridge over the Cumberland River and met Reese at ACME for brunch. This is a multi-level building with great views, food, and cold beer: https://www.acmefeedandseed.com/.
The Wildhorse Saloon was next for some line dancing lessons and more cold beer. We decided to get in as much Lower Broadway as possible before leg soreness kicked in from the race. This was Lauren first line dancing rodeo, so we made our way onto the dance floor to learn a nice dance and then they turned us loose with two songs to showcase our line dancing moves. We were great students and danced without stepping on any toes or hurting our dance neighbors. Great experience and a lot of fun to introduce my Philly friend to Nashville line dancing.
We hit a few other music spots on Lower Broadway to get the full country music experience. Decided to call it a day once the leg soreness kicked in. Made my way back to my hotel to begin the recovery process and find more Nashville music.
Fantastic race, trip, and time with my tree branches!
Yes, I’m already signed up to return in 2024. Who is joining the Nashville party?