We started out downtown, where we picked up our packets from the convention center and bummed around the expo for a bit. We grabbed lunch at a cool little restaurant across from the Sommet Center, where the Predators play hockey (GO WINGS!! but I digress...) and then we wandered up and down Broadway (on my old stud Leroy (J/K--Big & Rich reference. We *were* in the capital of country music,) ducking into a few honkytonks to check out some of the music. There was a fantastic guy singing at Layla's Bluegrass Hillbilly & Country Inn. I wish I could remember his name. We had some really tasty beer (Shiner Bock, maybe?) and then we moved on down the street to Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. There was an awesome Canadian rock-country band. I wish I could remember their name (that's what I get for procrastinating.) I think Linae has some of this info if you're *really* interested. After listening to them, we walked around dowtown a bit more, got some souvenirs, Linae got a purple cowboy hat to run in, and we headed to a nice little pizza place called DaVinci's. Lisa's friend Eli, who was running the half the next day, met us there and we had a nice dinner. Then Lisa dropped Linae and me off at our hotel.
It was raining pretty steadily on Saturday morning, which made for a super-fun time standing around waiting to start the race. Here we are before we split up to go to our respective corrals:
It took FORTY-FIVE MINUTES for my corral to get to the start line, and then we were packed in on the streets of Nashville for 11 miles, until the half-marathoners split from us. Here's the Nashville skyline. I especially like the Batman Building (AT&T Building, actually. I just like that Nashvillians call it the Batman Building):
Music Row, the epicenter of country music:
Musica, or "The Naked Statue." I found it quite pretty:
The irony of the situation here is that these nuns were standing outside of their convent, which is on the bottom of the hill from Hell:
The Tennessee State Capitol. (Fact: I did not actually see this during the race. This picture was taken from the passenger seat of the friggin' SWEET red Mustang :) )
The bling--medal and (chintzy cotton) shirt:I finished the marathon in 6:25:58. Slow, but the rain stopped and then the sun came out about two hours after I started, and it got pretty hot pretty quickly. And the HILLS! OMG!! Beautiful course for the most part, though. There was a nice section that ran along the Cumberland River, we ran through some gorgeous parks and really nice neighborhoods. There were a lot of kick-ass bands on the course; my particular favorite were the guys just past mile 20. I wish I could remember their name. (Lisa, Linae--y'all told me their name! Refresh my memory??) Anyway, I almost stopped and just listened to them for a while, but I knew I'd never get started again.
It turns out L & L had missed me by just a few minutes at the 20-mile check-in, and they were worried about me, so they were texting all their friends near computers to see if I had a 20-mile split time. LOL--I'm glad they did that before calling all the hospitals in town! It's a good feeling knowing you've got friends watching your back, making sure you aren't lying in a ditch somewhere ;)
After I made it through the finish line, Lisa drove me back to the hotel, where I showered, napped, and watched the end of Game 2 of the Detroit-Colorado series. I was sad that I missed going to the gay bar with L & L, but I was very happy for the nap :) I called the girls when I got up, got ready, and we went out to eat at Lisa's favorite restaurant, The Yellow Porch. Had an antipasti plate, a fabulous filet on top of this potato casserole concoction and asparagus (yummmm), and a ginormous slice of carrot cake. And some wine, of course :)
Lisa picked us up again on Sunday morning, and we had a delicious brunch at a funky little cafe called Marche Artisan Foods. I had a blood orange mimosa and a to-die-for leek and goat cheese quiche. And we split a strawberry-mascarpone-balsamic syrup concoction on toasted bread. Oh. my. GAWD. My mouth is STILL watering....
Then we went for pedicures, which Lisa was kind enough to have gotten for us as a congratulatory gift (Thanks again, Lisa!) I had never had a pedi; it was kinda weird at first, but it felt awesome (once the guy quit scrubbing the soles of my feet, lol) Then we hit Target for some cute flip flops to show off our pretty painted toes (yes, the Florida girls actually went somewhere WITHOUT flip flops.) Then we headed off to the country to Arrington Vineyards:
We did a wine tasting, which, of course, I had never done before. It was fun. We bought a bottle of something we all liked, and sat on the porch drinking wine and eating cheese and crackers, listening to a really good band called Art for Sale (I remembered the name of a band! Wooo hooo!) It was absolutely beautiful out there, and we had a great time, even with the little bit of chilly rain.
After the vineyard, we went into Franklin, a nice little town that made me homesick for the little towns I lived in in Texas and Indiana. They had a street festival going on, and most of the shops and restaurants were closed (not necessarily because of the festival; just because it was Sunday) but there was a chocolatier open! We got some chocolate-dipped strawberries and some dark chocolate truffles (**drooooool**) and then headed out toward the airport.
But there was one thing we had left to do: Find a margarita and initiate Lisa to the Mean Girls Bench:
Hey Lisa--if I wind up coming to live there in a couple of years, you have no one but yourself to blame ;)
(Damn, this report was long....)