The Return to Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville Honky Tonk

“I love Nashville.   It seems like everywhere you walk, there’s great music coming out of every wall”.

(Imedla May)

I am always looking for a clever quote to help me get started with the writing process.

My friends and family know I love Tennessee and Nashville is one of my favorite places to visit.  I did not realize it has been almost 3 years since my last visit to the Music City.

The 2019 Rock N Roll Half Marathon and NFL draft weekend was the last time I was in Nashville. 

https://walkintothefuture.blog/2019/05/23/nashville-and-the-wild-horse-saloon/

The 2020 Rock N Roll Half Marathon was cancelled due to COVID-19.  The 2021 Rock N Roll Half Marathon was moved to the week before Thanksgiving.  I thought about using my race credit and running the fall version of the race, but it would have kept me from exploring the Smoky Mountains.  Got to have priorities in life! 😊

It looks like I will be able to run Nashville again in April 2022 with the Rock N Roll crew again.

Back to present day Nashville.

I decided to visit Nashville prior to Christmas for a trip to explore the city in a different way than I normally do.  Most times I am in Nashville for an event (race/football game) and get focused on the task at hand.  I have a regimented eating pattern when I am in town for a race.  I also must keep track of how much I am on my feet prior to a race so I can conserve energy to compete.

 I went full tourist mode for this trip so I could explore different areas and venues without worrying about how much time I spent walking or standing up.

Booked a convenient downtown hotel which was only half a mile from Broadway which is the main entertainment center in Nashville.

This easy walk made Nashville more accessible to me since I did not have to worry about finding a place to park.  Nashville is like most big cities where parking is a premium and of course you pay a premium to park.  I simply left my rental car in the hotel parking lot and got my steps in while enjoying everything Nashville had to offer.

Ryman Auditorium

I have been to Nashville 10 times over the years but never visited the Ryman Auditorium.  I have walked by this historic music venue multiple times but for some reason never tried to go in. 

The Ryman Auditorium is steeped in musical history and transcends multiple genres.  It is the original home of the Grand Old Opry and music fans from all over the world converged there to see their favorite artists.  The Ryman Auditorium started as a house of worship but expanded to host political rallies, plays, conventions and musical acts.  I was surprised to see how many rock, pop and R&B acts played at the Ryman Auditorium.  The Grand Old Opry moved out of the Ryman in 1975 to the current location in Opryland.  The Grand Old Opry show returns to the Ryman Auditorium on a regular basis, and they continue to attract national headliners.  Josh Turner was playing the same day I took the Ryman Auditorium tour.  Highly recommend adding this tour to your Nashville travel plans.

https://ryman.com/

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Rock N Roll Race EXPO is right next to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  I have walked by the building a thousand times but never made my way up the stairs to see the exhibits. ☹

This trip was designed to be a true tourist, so I made my way up the stairs and entered the Country Music Hall of Fame.  It did not have the same nostalgic feel of the Ryman Auditorium, but it was a great place to see and relive the history of country music.  The exhibits included subtexts to ensure everyone knew what they were seeing to include instruments and clothing country music stars wore in their videos and on tour.

A surprising aspect of the exhibits was how small most of the country artists are.  A lot of artists look bigger than life on TV but most of the female artists based on their outfits are 5’ 4” or shorter.  Even the BIG country guys are not as big as they appear on TV based on the outfit that were on display.  My favorite artist is George Strait and I thought he was 6’ 3” or 6’ 4”.  He is 5’ 10”—never would have guessed that before seeing his exhibit in the Country Music Hall of Fame.  I made my way into the Hall of Fame Rotunda to view the plaques for everyone who has been elected to the Hall of Fame.  Got to see all the legends in the rotunda but made sure to get a shot of George Strait’s plaque.  Highly recommend a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

https://countrymusichalloffame.org/

Nashville Strait

Wildhorse Saloon

The Wildhorse Saloon is one of my favorite places to visit when I am in Nashville.  The food, atmosphere and music venue are all first rate.  One of my targeted activities at the Wildhorse Saloon is the chance to get in some line dancing.  The staff at the Wildhorse teach multiple dances throughout the day and then get everyone on the dance floor.  I have learned quite a few new dances over the years.  Sadly, the Wildhorse Saloon was closed while I was in Nashville.  They decided to give the staff some time off before Christmas and I respect that.  The gift shop was open, and I was able to pick up a few souvenirs before heading back over to Broadway for music.

Broadway

Broadway is the main drag in downtown Nashville if you are looking for entertainment.  I have covered almost every inch of Broadway over the years and still discover new places to listen to music.

There is no cover to enter the Honky Tonks so there is freedom to roam and change venues.  I love this aspect because I move around depending on the bands playing and how good they sound.

I hit most of the Honky Tonks on this trip but found myself gravitating to The Stage, Whiskey Row, Jason Aldean’s Rooftop Bar and Tequila Cowboy.   The sound stage in these spots were better quality and I enjoyed the bands playing.  The food at Jason Aldean’s was good so why I kept going back. 😊

https://dierkswhiskeyrow.com/nashville-tn/

Nashville is a great place to visit if you have never been.  Looking forward to getting back there in April 2022 for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon and line dancing at the Wildhorse Saloon.

“We’re playing your song”.

(Tennessee Department of Tourist Development)

Walking with no new races in sight

(Image by David Mark from Pixabay)

 “I am trying my hardest not to act how I feel”.

(Anonymous)

The COVID-19 pandemic hits just keep on stacking up!  I have been bombarded with emails from the Rock N Roll marathon race organization identifying the cancellation for future races.  Please note, I fully expected the remaining 2020 races to be cancelled but the Rock N Roll folks have begun cancelling races in 2021!

Oh, how we have failed society with our lame government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I moved from Tallahassee to Fort Pierce in April with the full understanding this country would be in better shape in October.  We are in worse shape today (8/20/2020) than we were in April.  Shocked I had to write that last sentence, but it is unfortunately true.

Races lost so far

The first 2020 race I lost to COVID-19 was the 2020 Nashville Rock N Roll half marathon in April.  This is my favorite race of the season and one of my favorite cities to visit.  Love the Nashville course, culture, food, and country music on every corner.  Always look forward to my country line dancing lessons at the Wild Horse Saloon, eating barbeque, and listening to new country artists playing.  Wanted to visit the Ryman Auditorium for the first time and explore the historic venue.

Got the news the 2020 and 2021 Philly Rock N Roll half marathon races were cancelled two days ago.  Fully expected the 2020 race to get axed but never thought the 2021 race would be on the chopping block due to COVID-19.  Not sure the race organizers are predicting COVID-19 issues for 2021 but this may signal running tourists will have limited options in the future.  I was looking forward to getting back to Philly and hang out with my friend, Lauren Apgar so we could explore the city and get some more of those cheesesteaks.  We planned to explore the Reading Terminal Market in-depth this year to sample food from the different vendors there.  We will have to put off our Philly cheesesteak adventures now.

I signed up for the inaugural 2020 Clearwater Rock N Roll half marathon scheduled for October.  This was going to be the first Rock n Roll race scheduled in my home state in years.  The excitement for me was most of the race is run near the beach and I would not have to travel so far.  I would get the opportunity to enjoy more sights and sounds and not have to rush back.   The course is flat and would have produced a fast time and October in Florida would be cooler with less humidity.  The race organizers cancelled the 2020 and 2021 Clearwater races.  They project to run the race in October 2022, but we will see what happens that far out.  I do not have a good feeling all the cancelled races will come back—some may but believe COVID-19 will eliminate how we travel, race, and interact for a long time.

The Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) 2020 half marathon scheduled for December is still on the books, but most races hosted by Track Shack have been converted to virtual races.  Believe the OUC race will be virtual as well so I have not signed up.

The 2021 New Orleans Rock N Roll half marathon was cancelled today and now the race organizers project to run this event in February 2022.  Turns out New Orleans was the only Rock N Roll race I was able to run in 2020.  The race was completed in February right before the country realized how bad COVID-19 was and we started shutting down.  Had a great time in New Orleans so guess it was only fitting this would be my only half marathon race of the year.  We will see if this race ever comes back because of the close interactions of Bourbon and Canal Streets.  Love the food and atmosphere but it may be hard to host large-scale events there and keep people safe.

Virtual options

Most running organizations are bridging the race gaps with virtual options.  Runners can still race, compete, and receive race swag (t-shirt, medal, etc.) while running in their hometowns—just sign up and sync your running application to the race.  I am sure this is a great option for some runners, but I enjoy the in-person interaction associated with the event.  I joined the Rock N Roll Virtual Running club and signed up for my first virtual race—a 10k which I completed on 8/22/2020.  My time was not great—I signed up on a Friday and ran the 10k the next day without additional mental or physical preparation.  I may explore this option more especially when the weather gets a bit cooler.  I need a competitive outlet for my running program so may reach out to my tree branches to join me on some of these virtual adventures (Apgar, Forges, Kume). 😊

Note:  My first Virtual 5k was completed on 8/29/20.

https://www.runrocknrollvr.com/

Training

I still get out and train but not logging the same number of miles I put in last summer.  I get my runs in on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays but not committing to extreme long runs with no races on the horizon.  I run as a form of therapy and to keep my weight in the range I want.  I have not done any speed work since early March, so my training goal is to keep my heart rate up and enjoy the views I get in Fort Pierce.

COVID-19 Training miles (run, bike, elliptical):

April 2020:  79.45 miles May 2020:  90.57 miles June 2020:  130.72 miles
July 2020:  78.15 miles August 2020:  74.57 September 2020:  46.16

Realize there are more important things happening in the world than me not being able to be a running tourist.  Hoping we can get the COVID-19 pandemic under control so we can all get back to the things we enjoy without worrying about the air we breathe.  Look forward to bringing you reports from new travel locations when it is safe to do so again.

Until then, here is what happen in Nashville in 2019! 😊

https://walkintothefuture.blog/2019/05/23/nashville-and-the-wild-horse-saloon/

“Life equals running and when we stop running maybe that is how we know life is finally finished”.

(Patrick Ness)

 https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/17/some-marathon-races-may-not-survive-coronavirus-pandemic.html

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