Monday, November 22, 2010

Pre Moneky - The Drive

Mike & I left the Milwaukee area on Friday after work to Nashville for the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon. We finally got on the road about 2:30 and headed south. According to the Garmin in the car, we should have gotten to Louisville where we were going to spend the night by 9:30. That was until we hit Chicago traffic. Now that sucked! I knew there would be traffic but by the time we got to I-65 south in Indiana, we had lost over 1 hour of time on the Garmin.

The drive from here on would be good, no more stop and go for mile after mile after mile. We ended up driving all the way to Indianapolis before we stopped for a bite to eat at a Fazoli's. We did get to Louisville in good time after dinner and got our room in downtown.

Saturday morning, we first walked to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory for a tour and some fun. The tour shows how the make all the baseball bats for not only the professional baseball players, but also everyone else. For $10, the tour seemed short and a bit overpriced until they also gave us a mini bat souvenir. After a quick movie and some hits in the batting cage, we walked back to the hotel, checked out and headed down the rest of the way to Nashville.

A HUGE baseball bat at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.

The weather was wonderful for the drive and we were able to get to Nashville about 1:00. We then went to Mike's relatives home in a very exclusive neighborhood with very large homes and from what I hear, a few celebs living as well. We were able to stay for about an hour and a half before we had to head to the Belle Mead area to pick up out packets and race information.

After about 9 hours of driving, we finally get into Tennessee.

Our first view of Nashville driving in.

At packet pickup, I was able to meet Trent, the race director, as well as some of the others that were putting on the race. I also bought a poster which looks pretty cool.

After picking up our packets, we headed to Percy Warner Park to drive some of the Monkey course to get a feel for what we had gotten ourselves into. We headed out from the start area and went the correct way on the one way route. We started on the south end of the park and that happens to be the "flat" part of the park. There really isn't a flat area of the park but if you were going to compare it to the rest of the park, it was less hilly. We found out shortly the hell that we were going to have as we climbed "nine mile hill" as they call it. The rest of the drive was very much like a roller coaster. Lots of ups, lots of downs, and lots of turns. As we were in the second half of the drive around the park, it was getting dark and something swooped right above us over the car. I do believe this was the monkeys warning us to stay away. I do have to say that this park is very beautiful and I was very much looking forward to my run though it the next day. The park reminded me a lot of a park we have in Wisconsin called Peninsula State Park in Door County. There were more hills in Percy Warner but the feel of the narrow roads through the wood was very similar.

Mike & I then headed for the Pre Monkey dinner in Mt. Juliet where we met quite a few other Monkey runners while we ate some good pasta and had good conversation. We met a few runners from Florida that run lots of marathons all over. I love meeting runners from all over the country at these pre race dinners. The usual talk is what marathons we have all run and what we liked and didn't like and what plans were going to be for the next day. The people we met were really cool.

After dinner, we headed to and checked into our hotel but it was fairly early still. We ended up driving to the Opryland Hotel for a little Christmas Light viewing. OK, OK, I know, I was just ripping on people a few days ago who had Christmas Lights up . . .but . . .I have wanted to see these lights at the Opryland Hotel since I saw them on the Travel Channel awhile ago. Since we had the time and we were in Nashville, I had to take the chance.

The manger scene at the Opryland Hotel.

Mike inside one of the Opryland Atriums.

If you didn't remember from earlier this year, the Opryland Hotel was flooded really bad in Spring and was closed until just last week. The place looks amazing now. They have over 2 Million lights over the entire grounds inside and out. If you are in the area, I suggest dropping by.

We didn't stay too long since we did have to run a hilly marathon the next day.

Next: The Monkey!

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