Here we go again! The last Saturday of April, when over 30,000 people take to the streets of Nashville for the Country Music Marathon. I've run the full marathon once, and the half-marathon about 5-6 times, and I thought I'd share some tips I've learned that can make the day as easy as possible:
1. The night before, don't do the whole carb-loading thing, where you force yourself to eat five plates of pasta washed down with just water. Have a light dinner, like a sandwich and a salad, drink a couple of beers, and go to bed early.
2. Yeah, seriously, have a couple of good beers. It'll help you sleep, and good beer is has plenty of carbs. Better yet, have a couple of unfiltered hefeweizens. The brewers yeast is full of vitamins like B12.
3. Get to the shuttle buses at LP Field by 5:15 AM. It can take 20-30 minutes to get through the line to get on a bus, and then another 20 minutes to ride to Centennial Park.
4. Get a cup of coffee and a banana, and go directly to the porta-johns. The lines there will take 45 minutes - seriously. You won't think you need to go, but as the start time approaches and you get nervous, you will - and then the lines will take forever.
5. Get in your corral and head to the side away from Centennial Park. You won't get pushed around as much by people trying to get in as the start time approaches.
6. Start slow. You are going to want to run faster than your pace to try to get away from the crowd, but in a race this big, you never get away from the crowds. And the hill going up Demonbruen to the Musica Roundabout is a killer if you started out too fast.
7. There are always fresh oranges and bananas in front of the International Market on Belmont, and they always give you a good burst of energy.
8. Pace yourself on 12th Ave South. There are two long hills that can take a lot out of you. And seeing everyone drinking a beer at Mafioasa's and 12th S Taproom is tempting. Don't give in.
9. The road through the Gulch can be tough on your legs. Watch out for ruts and potholes, and don't turn an ankle.
10. Pace yourself on 8th Ave and through the Bicentennial Mall. It feels like you are almost done, but you have a killer hill ahead.
11. The hill coming up James Robertson Parkway, in front of the Capitol Building, is the last big one. Once you get to the top, it's all downhill from there!
12. Smile when you pass through the finish line and make sure they can see your number!
13. Drink a couple of good beers, take a shower, and go take a nap. Congratulations!
Hope to see some Yazooligans during the race! Lila and I are doing the half together.