Running for BBQ: My Weekend in Nashville

Several months ago, one of my best friends Brittany and I thought it would be a fun idea to run the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. She knew several CHAARG girls would be running the race, and it would probably be awesome weather for a race in April.

Well, she might have forgotten that it was her boyfriend’s birthday that weekend, and neither of us expected them moving out of their apartment and me moving in. Suddenly, it was the end of April, and while things were temporarily chaotic, they had bought their first place, I had moved into their gorgeous convertible studio, and we were road tripping to Nashville!


Friday, April 27, 2018

Eight of us rented an entire home in East Nashville. We had plenty of room to spread out, and I somehow got the Star Wars room. There was even a backyard with a pong table. The crew was already in celebration mode, but Brittany and I agreed to stay sober the night before a half marathon.


After Brittany and I went to the race expo, we took Ubers downtown and ate at The George Jones on 2nd Street. The weather was perfectly warm with a breeze, and the live music had us in full vacation mode. We ended up drinking boozy slushies, because that counts as carb loading right?


Trick question: I am always carb loading. For life. Never know when I’ll need energy.

The food was incredible, and we got to choose between 3 BBQ sauces at the table. So basically, we all had a little bit of everything on our sandwiches. We were stuffed and already loving Nashville!


Brittany and I turned in early for the night and tried to get some sleep before the big day!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

We should have figured out transportation to the race ahead of time, but we still made it to the race with plenty of time. We found UK CHAARG girls along the way, I ran into a pole while looking backward, and we walked uphill to the starting line. Whew, here we go!


I started in corral 16, and I was still close-ish to the front compared to the 40,000 running that day. The course was beautiful — we saw so much of Nashville, from their Music Row to Belmont University, to their residential areas. The first 9 miles were endless rolling hills, and it was much more challenging than Chicago’s flat terrain. I kept going forward, and it ended up being an awesome race. I still haven’t beat 2 hours, but I managed to finish in 2:04. With those crazy hills, I’ll take it!


I stretched a ton after while I waited for my friends, and I chugged chocolate milk for the first time since I was like 10. I met a ton of CHAARG girls afterward — it’s so fun meeting all of your Instagram after years of feeling like you know each other!


Fun fact: Brittany and I met through VirtCHAARG. We were friends on social media for years before she moved to Chicago. We started going to outdoor yoga together a couple years ago, and now we’re best friends!


We finally made it home to shower off all of the crusty, sweaty sunscreen. We put on our pajamas, got in bed, then Brittany texted me asking if I wanted BBQ. Why, of course! We got ready quickly and headed back downtown to Peg Leg Porker.

If there’s a line out the door, it has to be good, right?


It was definitely worth the 45-minute wait. I couldn’t get enough pulled pork, green beans, and coleslaw. Don’t forget the sweet tea. So. Good! I also had to try their Koolaid Pickles. Seems like a weird combo… and it is. Are lightly sweetened, artificially colored pickles really necessary?


After we all conceived food babies, Brittany and I headed back to actually sleep while the others went to the bars. I never can nap, so I struggled to rest even after the long day. I decided to start drinking and prepare for the night!

After pregaming, we got downtown and realized we hadn’t eaten dinner. I knew I would die if I didn’t eat (might anyway), so we grabbed Chicago style hot dogs off the street. Are you surprised?


We spent most of the night at the FGL House. I LOVE it! There are two floors, and the second story has an outdoor roof and an indoor dance floor. Living my best life.

We finished the night at Nudie’s Honky Tonk and eventually took an overpriced taxi home. It was a wild night in Nashville, and making more memories/stories than are suitable for the Internet.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

I was grateful to wake up feeling pretty good, recovering well from both the race and the party. We ate breakfast at Biscuit Love after waiting in line for almost an hour again. So worth it, and it made me clean my plate that much more. I downed their biscuits and gravy with an egg, and I loved that they had kale as the default side. We also split their bacon, which was out of this WORLD. My only regret was not ordering their Bonuts — their biscuit donuts. Next time.


So… can I go back already?

I hear that summers are miserable, so I’m already thinking about weekends in the fall. Any fun excuses to head down later this year? What restaurants and bars did I miss? 

I try to avoid summertime race season in Chicago because it’s too hot, but I’m excited for some destination races in the fall. The best way to see the world is by running your world, after all!


++ Mary K


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