Backblast Nashville Star Course 26mi 11/2/19

Pax- Shaun(Flounder), Ben(Kilo), Charlie(Dexter) and Brian(Krzyewski)

Weather 29 degrees w/ heavy Fog at start 54 and sunny at Endex.

Started off by getting razed by Plumb Bob on the way in for arriving at 5:10 instead of 5:00 sharp. Kilo weighed his ruck at 58lbs, carrying 45lbs of weights alone to complete the Pathfinder training to prepare for doing Fort Bragg Heavy. We all questioned the decision but we all know he’s not one to back down from a challenge.

After check-in Doug #11 walked by and stopped just to ask where we were from and say good luck. Really nice guy. Kilo won’t admit how much he was geeking out but I will. As a lifelong pro football fan, I’ll take that handshake over a football player any day. It was an honor to meet you Doug!

We were all pumped to get started but first we got to witness something wonderful. Cadre brought out a US Flag and had all Veterans, First Responders and Teachers stand around the flag for the National Anthem. Go Time!

As we received our waypoints Kilo plugged them in the app which had a few technical difficulties but dries corrected we were on our way. Sprung out there gate at sub 15min pace for the first 3 miles to checkpoint 1, some weird pig painting in a coffee shop. Strange, as we were taking the picture, 2 guys in a black car next to us drove away with an F3 sticker on the car, what’s up! (~3.6mi)

Checkpoint 1 confirmed.

Still at a fast pace, on to the next. It was so cold, not only cold but the wind was blowing a lot. By mile 5-7 we were starting noticing a disturbing trend in the topography. Nashville is hilly ya’ll! Not steep grades but never flat. The constant up and downward slopes will wear on us hard as the miles piled up. Between checkpoint 1&2 we started to meet up with fellow Rucker’s we would see throughout the day. First was a couple, F3 and FIA Toledo, OH husband and wife team. Both were really cool HI-W/M’s. I hope hubby didn’t screw up since they had a 7 hour drive home 😟. Then was started passing really trendy shit. Orange theory, juice bars and fancy schools. Must be the NuLou of Nashville. About then we ran into a BA group from Nashville’s RuckStars. Dude was rucking in a Kilt w/no skivvies, somebody get him a Kilt Ruck patch already! Also, they placed 1st in the 26.

Rout planning the first 2 checkpoints being the farthest apart was a good command decision by Team Leader Kilo. Getting those miles out of the way while we were fresh was key to help our moral 6 hours later.

Anyway, on to the Capitol Building and the Carmack memorial. Edward Ward Carmack (November 5, 1858 – November 9, 1908) was an attorney, newspaperman and then US Senator from TN from 1901 to 1907. Pax did a little recon on the move to find the Statue location prior to arrival. Good strategy to prevent walking around that huge complex randomly, and it’s on a big hill. Extra steps there would be costly down the road. (~5.2mi)

Checkpoint 2 confirmed.

On to the next, after a little foot Maintenence and nutrition. A common theme echoed, drink water. Dehydration is often underestimated in the cold. On to the next, it’s starting to get real. Refreshed by maint. The third long leg went fairly fast to the We travel on, a little slower… Now we were venturing west of downtown, where we walked past a man starting 2 smokers under a canopy with signs for meal in a cup BBQ. Damn that sounded good! I only wish we had past him after he had some food ready. Found it “Ride Norf” Mural (1.2mi)

Checkpoint 3 confirmed!

On to the longest hill I’ve ever walked. It finally leveled off reaching a flat apex. We past a few industrial buildings then some hippy breakfast breakfast juice bar complex with a trendy clothing store selling $500 blue jeans. There’s our next stop, The Frothy Monkey. Now we are looking for a Lego sculpture but no, a painting. It was cleverly hidden….(~3.2mi)

LEGO Man at The Frothy Monkey

Checkpoint 4 Confirmed!

We took a break with a few fellow Rucker’s. Shout out to the couple from Steel City Ruck Club, really cool and both badasses! We also met up with Toledo again to share some of our kid’s Halloween candy.

There was also a couple doing the event but not having the best time. The man went in to use the bathroom, the woman called him an idiot who couldn’t navigate and threatened to no show at their wedding. Kilo called her out as soon as he came back outside, that was funny shit 😂

Steel City Ruck Club couple joined us for this next part.

Then this place

And this guy

Next we take another trek uphill. Still in good spirits at this time, but the fatigue is getting real. My knee is really getting to me and Kilo is regretting that 45lbs of steel in his ruck. Looks like we are heading into music city USA

Getting close now approaching a nice park, where looks like a weddings about to happen.

The Parthenon! (~3.1mi)

Checkpoint 5 confirmed

Quite a lot to see between these two locations. Vanderbilt U and a bunch of recording studios and talent agencies.

Also a really cool area, you may know it, Music Row? Makes me want to come back here to party rather than to suffer. All these cool places and at 10:30 am people are drinking, smoking and riding party busses. A bar called Rebar. Note to self coming back here for fun.

This place is getting hectic and crowded. We are relieved this was a short interval. We are all getting tired at this point.

We took our longest break to refill water and have a snack. Kilo got a ham and cheese wrap from a corner mart. I could tell we were getting exhausted because that crappy ham wrap tasted amazing. I don’t know if I could choke it down on a normal day, but that day it was amazing.

Dueling Cowboys 24 Music Sq(~1.7mi)

Checkpoint 6 Confirmed!

The distance between points seems to be getting shorter as we stay near Downtown Nashville. It’s a good thing too, It’s helping Moral to check off the points. Somewhere in this section Brian injured his knee. He was hobbling quite a bit and it looked painful. Then we made it to Belmont University. There’s more Granite and Marble in that place than there is in DC. (~1.2mi)

Checkpoint 7 Confirmed

This next part was all downhill. Too much downhill at first, Brian twisted his knee even worse. I believe this is where we made a questionable decision to take a shortcut through a not so safe area. I’m just guessing it’s not that safe because there were bars on all the windows and doors?

This was probably the best break we took. I laid down in the grass and out my feet up on the wall. I almost fell asleep. But why were there so long? Brian’s 30 minute poop at Fort Negley! He claimed was an endless wiper.


Fort Negley

Checkpoint 8 Confirmed!

Now back into Downtown. I’m getting a boost of adrenaline at this point but not everyone was in the same place mentally. Everyone goes through Ups and Downs in events like this and luckily I was on an upward spike. I tried to motivate the group but wasn’t sure how it was being taken. I can taste the finish now. / more points to go and a can sit down and take this damn ruck off. We were thinking about 5 miles left total but we were wrong, that miscalculation is going to hurt moral later. At ~20 miles in our pace slowed to 19-20 minute miles, 5 minutes slower than we had been for the first half. But we were still trudging along. Some map recon saved us again short cutting to The Rose at the Frist Art Museum. (~1.5)

Checkpoint 9 confirmed!

Now just a short hike to the last checkpoint. I’m still on a high at this point pushing the pace. I’m in a lot of pain now, both knees killing me but the adrenaline is pumping. The streets are super crowded now and construction has us bouncing back and firth access’s the largest street in Nashville. (~.4mi) The Ryman Auditorium.

Checkpoint 10 confirmed!

Toward the end I was moving as fast as I could and it wasn’t fast at all. After leaving town toward the park/Endex, it was all uphill again. The elevation gain coupled with the fact that 7 miles ago I thought we only had 4 miles left was hurting me mentally. With 2 miles left I was at the lowest point of the day negativity was kicking in and the hill was killing my knees. It was a damn long 2 miles. I felt bad because I couldn’t find the words to help motivate the team. I wasn’t talking, I was just in my head. The pain was getting to me. I had to keep going faster, the slower I walked, I felt like the pain would never end and it was getting more intense with every step. By that time during the longest 3 miles of my life Charlie started charging harder than he did the first 3 miles. He was now in that place I was a few hours ago. Finally we see the park but with a few of us having knee issues and the final clip being down a steep grade, we were slowly hobbling along. There it is! Mission Picnic Pavilion @ Shelby Park (~3.2mi)

We came in 5th place! Great job guys.

COT- thank the Lord this is over. Time for a beer and food! The Oasis in Franklin has good steaks and we earned it.

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