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Rock N Roll Nashville Half Marathon Weekend

How can I describe the most amazing 21k I have ever run?  Yes, it was that fun.

THE ROUTE

 RNR Nashville has everything most runners fear… The 3H…Heat, Hills, and Humidity, yet I had fun and enjoyed it a lot!

It’s a totally technical race due to its difficulty if you want to conquer or make a good time you have to prepare and have a clear strategy. And you must have trained Up Hill – downhill running

If all you want is to enjoy it, you must be prepared to add between 05 to 15 minutes to your regular 21k times, if not even more.

It’s a visually beautiful route, you run through Nashville’s Downtown and residential areas and several touristic spots.

It’s the largest RnR race as far as I know, with more than 30,000 runners and 40 starting waves, which makes it even funnier and exciting besides being challenging. It’s definitely one of those you don’t need headphones for.

The route is demanding since the first mile, so, if you are one of those that fly off running hard from the very first mile, be prepared to pay the high price at the end… Very high.

It’s super easy to make it to maximal lactate threshold zone from the first mile and, from there everything will go downhill in your time.

You must run at least 1/1.30 below your regular racing pace the first 2 miles so you don’t “suffer” it so much if you have not prepared running “rolling hills”

But also one of the things that I love the must,(besides hills) it is that has really amazing murals for selfies. Thanks to my running buddies @maruns, @Russell_gilbert, @jthore, @rdelahaya, @almeen8dv for sharing their pics with me

THE WEATHER

As we all know, the weather is always unpredictable, but the combination to look forward to will be 70% humidity, Heat 30c – 87F. This combination will add at least 10 seconds per mile to your time, add the hills and descents another 10 seconds and you will have an estimated time to train for.

Running the marathon was out of my goals, but when I heard there was a 5k before the start of the 21k, now that’s a challenge I wanted to do, 26k is way more bearable and challenging enough under those conditions than a marathon. So I join my amazing friends from #blacksheep ( a group of super badass runners that race almost all the RnR Races every weekend) and the fun begins.

LOGISTICS

Picking up the number was super easy, and that same day I signed up for the 5k since it was not on my plans from the beginning, as always the organization and service of the RNR staff were excellent.

From 2 days before they started sending the high-temperature alert by mail, and upon arriving at the expo, the alert was on, as well as the simplicity to change your distance without further procedures.

There were clear indications that the starting schedule had changed, to avoid the predicted heat as much as possible.

The 5k started at 6:45 am and the 21k started at 7:15 am.

Being a gargantuan race, with 40 starting waves, if you are able to run the 5k in, I would say 45 minutes, you are perfectly able to run both races.

The start of the 5k and the 21k are different, the finish line is in the same place, but it’s a race with different start and finish, so you have to run about 1.6 miles to go from finish to start.

Running about 28k/17 miles in total approximately.

If you take the 5k and 21k challenge, you have to be mentally prepared to run amongst people at a slower pace than yours, and while there are a lot of people, the streets are wide and you can pass, zig-zagging will get you tired and you will run more miles than running the regular race route and it’s less efficient, but it’s perfectly possible due to the ample streets.  

DURING THE RACE / SPECTATORS  

The organization, logistics, hydration during the route, the flow at the start and finish line were excellent, but do expect lines, there are lots of runners.

In route, you have GU, Gatorade, water and lots and lots of spectators handing out beers, coca cola, candies and COLD oranges (my eternal love to the person that gave me that orange in Km 17, it tasted like glory, a thousand thanks)-

THANK YOU NASHVILLE. Your hospitality during the race was the best thing.

It truly moved me to see so many spectators supporting the runners with their own resources.

The Medals

As it’s a custom in RNR races, the designs change every year, and in this opportunity, the medal comes with a battery, so there’s a small light that blinks. Cute.

 

Something different is that the race is on Saturday. That gives you an extra advantage since you can rest and enjoy of the tourist attractions on Sunday or go back home with no pressure the day after the race.

The weekend has the 1-mile challenge on Thursday night, 5K, 21k, and Marathon on Saturday and the Remix challenge, so if you arrive on Thursday Morning you can run all 3 races and get 4 medals.

 THE CITY

There are not many hotels in Downtown Nashville, which is where all the movement is on the weekend, so you have to pay higher than regular rates, but by staying in the Downtown practically have the Expo, the start, and the finish line, as well as the top tourist attractions and many restaurant options on a walking distance or a very short uber/taxi ride.

Food is delicious if you are a carnivore and love BBQ.

 

Places you can’t miss

Grand Ole Opry House. The place to enjoy a great show and truly submerge in the country music world.

 

Jack Daniels Distillery. If you love Whisky, then you can’t miss this visit, it’s in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and it’s a 7-hour tour, plan it well. You have the option to taste or not during a tour.

Honky Tonk Bars on Hollywood Street. A must, the place to hang out for excellence.

Country Music Hall & Johnny Cash Museum. You’ll definitely fall in love with country music.

The Parthenon

Titans Stadium. To me, it’s a basic visit, since I’m a football lover.

Let me share with you this awesome video that my friend @maruns made, so you can experience a little  of this amazing weekend, follow Adrian for great running adventures on IG

My conclusion is that it simply already is on my calendar for next year, to run the 3 races. Who’s in?

Thank for reading, if you like it, please comment, share and subscribe

Ilya

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RRCA Running Educator, Health & Mindset coach, content creator 22 years running, 200+ races & creating magic at Instarunners

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