Thursday 4/22 - No I.D.
At 745am, Johnny Coco picks me up prior to picking up Lori [Loco] where she dropped off her car to be worked on in
North Wilmington. We arrive at PHL in plenty of time for our 1030am Southwest flight. While checking bag
(with a human), I discover that my driver license isn’t in my wallet, so I have no photo ID. I knew that
it had remained in my car ever since doing my final long run the past weekend. Then I realized that just
the night before, I had removed an expired Travel Agent card which at least included my photo!
counter lady allowed me to head for the security area. A supervisor was called and I re-stated that I had
no photo ID or a Social Security card. I was escorted through the metal detector, patted down, and had
the contents of my bag inspected before being sent to the gate. Apparently, photo ID is not actually necessary!!!
I rejoined Loco and decided against calling to have someone bring my ID on their later flight. We were among the
last 4 people to board the open seating full flight. I passed up a middle seat between two big guys and lucked
out with a seat between two average size ladies in an extra leg room emergency exit aisle. One lives in Nashville
and pointed out areas of town to visit. She had run the first Country Music Marathon 11 years ago. Loco was the
last person off the plane at noon CT.
Hampton Inn, West End & Hockey
We grabbed a Gray Line van ($20 r/t race discount) for the 25 minute ride to Hampton Inn West End, near Vanderbilt
University. I was impressed that the clerk at least asked to compare my signature to the one on my credit card
– which is better than what airport security did. Deposited bags at the counter and walked about a mile to
downtown Nashville on Broadway, which served as the first 2 miles of our race. The rolling hills immediately
became evident. Passing the ornate Custom House, old train station and several impressive churches, downtown
is an attractive mix of classic and modern buildings.
Across Broadway from the Convention Center is a
glass-walled visitor center, directly in front of Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL Nashville Predators
who happened to be hosting a playoff game that night against the Chicago Black Hawks. When diehard Flyers
fan Loco noticed an outdoor table proclaiming “tickets still available”, she didn’t even hesitate in heading
for the ticket counter.
Yazoo at Ribby's
We crossed the street to grab some local Yazoo Dos Perros Ale and an obligatory BBQ pork sandwich at Ribby’s.
Then it was time to walk past the famous Ryman Auditorium to take advantage of small opening day crowds at the
race expo, just as big as NY or Chicago, with over 30,000 runners expected. Bib, chip, gray tech shirt, goody
bag, MGD 64 calorie beer and of course a yellow MGD bracelet for the post-race beer tent. We strolled down to
2nd Avenue, which was not crowded at 330 on a Thursday afternoon. Dropped into Wildhorse Saloon (a big dance hall)
and then walked back up Broadway and West End Ave. to our hotel.
Loco ditched me for the game while I strolled around the corner to enjoy a pastrami sandwich at Noshville, a
popular NY style deli. The later flight of Rebels had arrived at 630pm and Tony [BBQ] was just settling in to
our room – across the hall from Loco and Cutter. 8 of us then walked back downtown and stood in line for famous
“Jack’s Bar-B-Que”, sitting upstairs. We strolled past the loud bars and several street players. Nessie, Jordan
and I had a beer at Blackstone Brewery, conveniently across the street from the hotel.
Friday 4/23 - The Parthenon, weather watching & Charlie Daniels
The hotel breakfast buffet was great! Scrambled eggs, fruit cocktail, make your own waffles, yogurt, bagels
and pastries. By now, our group had grown to 10. Loco and I walked a mile to Centennial Park, where
porta-potties were ready in the start area, across the huge lawn from the Parthenon, a full scale replica
of the original in Athens, Greece. Loco had run the Athens Marathon a couple years prior. We snapped pics
and paid $8 admission to view the art gallery on the lower level. The upper level is dominated by a 42 foot
full size replica of the 5th century BC statue of Athena Parthenos, the Greek goddess of wisdom, prudent
warfare and the arts.
This Parthenon was originally built as part of the international art exhibition for the 1897 Centennial
Exposition. A pyramid and other photographed buildings had been removed, but the “Athens of the South”
decided to keep it to bolster the city’s identity.
With a high of 84 degrees and sunny skies, it was a great day for shorts and a ball cap. Loco and I wandered
over to Logan’s Roadhouse, where we had a great lunch in a festive atmosphere and they loaded our table with
hot bread rolls. By the time we had eaten, many phone calls, text messages and emails later, we were booked
to hit the Grand Ole Opry for the evening show. Our discounted tickets ($34) were picked up at the expo.
The original Rebel Pasta Dinner down the street at Magianno’s was replaced with a more convenient 5pm
seating at Amerigo, directly across from hotel so we could taxi to the 730pm show.
Another new development
was that race management announced a possibility that marathoners with a pace for over a 4:30 finish time
may be diverted to the half marathon finish due to forecast T-storms, wind, and possibly hail and tornados.
It would be a gameday decision, so now all of the runners, volunteers, and spectators in town were watching
weather channels in every bar, restaurant and hotel room.
Pre-race Pasta Dinner & Opryland
Dinner for 15 was great and the $40 taxi ride got us to Opryland just in time. The venue is impressive for
the every night shows. Fridays are broadcast on radio, so the on-stage announcer reading commercials
between bands added a nostalgic touch. The performers each did 2-3 song sets and introduced each other.
Mainly classic (read ‘oldies’) country songs sung by aging artists. It’s amazing that walkers and wheelchairs
weren’t used to move them around the stage. Our Rebel group sat high in the balcony. Little Jimmy Dickens
(4’11”) had some good "You know you’re old when..." jokes.
Pam Tillis, The Whites and others warmed us up for
Charlie Daniels and his band, who mad the evening worthwhile as he proofed to have recovered well from recent
publicized heart issues. We snapped a quick pic enroute to the parking lot. I was in bed by 1030pm with the
alarm set for 430 for the walk to the 7am start. Click for race day recap
Marathon tech shirt
Nashville Convention Center
LP Field - Titans Stadium
The Parthenon in Centennial Park
Loco had visited the original Parthenon for Athens Marathon
Tuckin visits Athena
Replica statue of Athena Parthenos