I tried to get there a little earlier than usual because parking in that area is pretty sparse and the race was completely sold out. I ended up with a spot that George Constanza would be jealous of and went down to get my packet.
I wasn't familiar with the area at all and went out on a 3.5ish mile warm-up. I was planning to get to my car about 10-15 minutes before the race but as usual, I got lost and didn't know where I was. Luckily, there were tons of joggers in the area to point me in the right direction. I made it to the start a couple of minutes to spare.
I saw Ryan Snellen on the line, who is getting back into it after some extended time-off, Matt Pulle (who beat me at the Moon Pie, 2.5 years ago) and another guy who looked pretty fast, but I didn't recognize. When the race started, I took a little time finding my rhythm and worked my way up to the front with Snellen and the Mystery Man. We were running just under 4:50 pace, so I backed off a bit. After about 1k, I took the lead and tried to settle into the pace. A few minutes in, you took a 180 degree turn but I got a little confused and took a left, before being told to turn back around. I only lost a couple of seconds and was back on pace.
Shortly after the turnaround, there was a pretty big hill but since it was so early in the race, I felt pretty good going up (finally a steep hill that doesn't kill me). After I passed a mile on my GPS, with no mile marker in sight, I knew the race probably wouldn't have them. I debated turning my auto-lap back on, which would at least give my GPS mile splits, but I didn't feel like fooling around with it and just focused on my overall average pace.
The next part of the course consisted of running up-and-down rolling 12th South Avenue. None of the hills were particularly bad but they came one after the other. Fortunately, when you got to the top, you took another 180 degree turn (and I accidently turned left again) and then got to run back down before branching off a side loop the finish the first 6k. After the first loop, my overall average was 4:56 and I felt a little tired, but was going to try and hang out that pace.
On loop two, all of the uphills felt a good bit harder but other than that, I was feeling strong. I decided to start manually splitting my watch at the end of every mile and hit the 4th at 19:46, overall time. I was happy to hit the turnaround at the top of 12th South, which meant I would gain back some time after splitting 5:03 and 5:10 for the last two miles.
At the start of the sixth, I did a quick assessment and was feeling really good and gained back a lot of time with a 4:42 7th mile. I ended up crossing the line in 36:07 (36:12 chip time, somehow) with a GPS reading of 7.30 miles and average pace of 4:56. I felt really good at the end and was happy with the controlled effort and even happier with the post-race Krispy Kreme donuts. After devouring a couple of those, I went on a cool-down run with Brent Ferrell (Mystery Man) who has been in Nashville for a few years but has only done a couple of races. But he's run some pretty fast times in the past, so he could get pretty fast soon.
It was a pretty solid first year race. I liked the double-loop course with my only qualm being a short course, without any mile markers.