Day 13 — Sunday, April 8th, 2012 (2.8 miles and some 420 Extra Pale Ale)

THE RUN — 2.80 miles in 26:34 (09:30/mile pace)

Evidence of the previous night's bar progression

The name of the game was fatigue, in both my legs and my head. The day before, I had run the Oak Barrel half marathon in a new personal-best time of 1:48:00, and we had celebrated accordingly in Nashville that night. Sunday started by waking up balls-early to drive Dan and Brian to the airport, and with that task being completed, I was back to the hotel by 8:30am with the place all to myself until checkout at noon. A quick glance down at all the bar stamps on my hand provided a wry-smile-inducing reminder of our various stops from the night before, but despite my body’s powerful urge to rest, I didn’t want to sleep away my final hours in Nashville. Mostly, I wrote– I got more or less caught up on my daily running/drinking blog updates (before I promptly fell horribly far behind again — the lateness of this entry being case-in-point), I answered emails, and I did pretty much anything I could think of that was unrelated to running.

My legs were dead.

Shuffling around Vanderbilt's campus, briefly getting lost at the 15:00 mark

At least, until I realized that Vanderbilt University’s campus was only a 1/2-mile away from the hotel. As much as I loathe running at certain times, I’ll admit that it’s still a great means of exploring new locations relatively quickly and unobtrusively, and it also dawned on me that I’d never seen Vanderbilt’s campus while sober. With that in mind, I laced up my shoes again and headed toward campus, eager to see the scenery…

…and holy hell, were my legs sore. Specifically, my calves practically mooed (sorry) with the early indicators of shin splints, something that would be a recurring theme in my upcoming runs for the rest of the week. However, once I ran past a group of sundress-clad coeds that I encountered shortly after turning onto campus, that pain seemed to subside by more than just a little bit. Funny, that. Vanderbilt’s campus is very pretty, and the early spring had brought everything into bloom; the only thing I wasn’t banking on was the hills, where every slight incline felt like Whiskey Hill from the day before. After running around campus for a relaxing 10 minutes, I exited campus via a different entrance and briefly panicked when I realized I had no idea where I was. You can see from the screen shot above that I took a rather different route back to the hotel, eventually just running north until I fortuitously came across the hotel to my left. All told, I shuffled through 2.80 miles in 26:34. With my run complete, I practically collapsed into my room, very sore, but also happy that I decided to venture out.

THE BEER — 420 Extra Pale Ale by SweetWater Brewing Company

SweetWater Brewing Co.'s 420 Extra Pale Ale -- not bad!

Airport bars are a unique experience when traveling by yourself. The real reason that anyone goes to any bar for a drink is the potential for new companionship outside your normal social circle…otherwise, it’s cheaper to just buy a 6-pack and drink at home. Airport companionship, though, is fleeting by nature; no matter how engaging the conversation or how brightly the initial intellectual spark burns, the reality is that your new friend will shift back into the realm of “acquaintance” as soon as the call for boarding comes across over the intercom. I promise I’m not normally quite this cheery, and I do love having one last pint with friends to recap the weekend’s events moments before a final flight, I just don’t see the point in spending 6 bucks for a beer to drink alone at an airport bar.

That being said, a goal is a goal, and I needed to drink a beer. I hadn’t yet had a beer on Easter Sunday in Nashville, and I that needed to change. I knew that I probably had beer waiting for me in the ‘fridge back home, but for the same reason that I don’t normally eat Wendy’s while on vacation, I preferred to imbibe something local-ish instead. So when I passed by a bar at the airport with just 2 tap handles, with one of the tap handles fashioned to look like a glorious trout jumping out from the handle, I decided to sit down and have a tall glass of whatever the hell that was. As it turns out, 420 Extra Pale Ale is pretty tasty; not as hopped as a lot of “West Coast Style Pale Ales” (it’s not), but a lot more drinkable than most beers in that traditional style. While maybe it wouldn’t be my first choice (and it absolutely wouldn’t be my first choice at $7.50 for 20-oz anywhere else), I could see myself knocking back a few.

As I backed away from the bar to head to my gate, one last Nashville country song popped into my head, courtesy of Billy Currington. Drinking a beer in Easter Sunday, it felt pretty approriate:

“Good is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.”

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