Savannah Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon – 2016
When Dave & I signed up for the Savannah Rock n Roll Half Marathon 8 weeks ago, I knew there was a possibility of setting a personal record (PR), but I wouldn’t come right out and say that was my goal because I didn’t want to jinx it and I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment by getting too focused on a time that I may not attain. I ran the Savannah RnR half marathon in 2012, so I knew the course (it is flat with great spectator support and the weather is usually perfect that time of year, so I think it’s a good course to run if you’re shooting for a PR). Since this was my first half marathon in 3 years (!!) + my first race since having my babies, I decided I would be happy if I just ran a respectable time and finished the race strong. However, I was secretly hoping to break my PR of 1:49.
But then the weekend before the race Andi Rose got sick and I felt like I was going down with her. I tried to stay positive, but I mentioned last week on the blog that I wasn’t feeling great. As a result, I pretty much took the entire week off from running because I felt like I was fighting a flu-type virus. I ran 5 miles one day and it was not pretty. I came home from the run and told Dave there was no way I could run 13.1 miles if I felt like I did in that moment on race day. So, I let all dreams of a personal record go and decided I would just be grateful if I was healthy enough to run the race at all and enjoy the weekend in Savannah with my family. I upped my vitamin-intake, downed lots of water, made lots of green juice and smoothies, coated myself in essential oils and prayed that no matter what happened, God would align my heart with His will so my attitude was pleasing to Him (read: I prayed that God would help me not pout if I had to sit the race out due to an illness).
God went above and beyond because not only was I able to run in Saturday’s race, but I was able to shave almost 5 whole minutes off my PR!
So here’s the race recap…
On Friday afternoon we loaded the car up and made the 4.5 hour drive down to Savannah. We ended up hitting major traffic, so by the time we arrived in Savannah we had to head straight to the expo to pick up our race-packets.
Dave & I were so excited to walk around the Expo because the RnR Expo is legit, ya’ll! Unfortunately, neither of our kids shared in our excitement. Since it was so late when we got there (I say ‘so late’ – that’s mom talk for 7:30pm) Andi Rose was going hog wild and Atlas wanted me to hold him the entire time, so we ended up grabbing our bibs and heading out to meet up with my Mom and nephew, Pierce. (My mom & nephew drove up from Jacksonville to stay with us and watch Atlas & Andi Rose while Dave & I ran the race. We were so thankful for them because we couldn’t have participated in the race without their help.)
We rented a 2 bedroom apartment for the weekend, which was more comfortable and affordable than renting 2 hotel rooms. Once we unloaded our bags at the apartment, we headed back out to find something for dinner. By this point it was almost 9pm so we opted for take-out and I ordered a burger and a salad and I ate half of both.
I think my head finally hit the pillow around 11:30 on Friday night. It’s funny how much motherhood changes your perspective on life. I remember always freaking the night before a race about eating the ‘perfect’ pre-race meal and getting 9 hours of sleep and having everything laid out and ready the night before. I didn’t even start thinking about actually running until after my kids went to bed and then I was like, “Hmm…I hope that burger I just ate fuels me well tomorrow. I better make sure everything is laid out for the kids tomorrow so they are good to go in the morning.” I literally threw my race stuff in a pile 2 minutes before I went to bed.
Dave woke up around 5:30am on Saturday to get ready for the race. I have no idea what he did. I heard his alarm go off, but I didn’t get up until 15 minutes before we had to leave. I brushed my teeth and got dressed and used the 3 minutes I had leftover to sit on the couch and scroll through Instagram while Dave stretched. He’s obviously the more serious athlete in our duo.
Our apartment was only a 10 minute walk from the start line, so we made the chilly walk down to find our spot in our corral a little after 7am. I told Dave as we walked to the race that I felt good. I didn’t feel sick (glory to God), but I wasn’t feeling the race. I actually told him I thought it was a little nuts that my mom was watching our kids so we could wake up EARLIER than normal and go RUN. I was all, “Um, next time she watches our kids it needs to be so we can SLEEP and NOT MOVE. This doesn’t feel like a good life decision.” But by the time we made it to the start line the energy from the other runners was absolutely contagious and I was totally amped up to run!
I loved being surrounded by so many people who were running the full marathon (the full marathon splits from the half at mile 12). It was inspiring and it made me think, “Hey! My morning is going to be better than that person’s! I’ll be eating lunch and they will still be running.”
The race started right on time and when the gun went off for our corral (I love that they let you start in waves), Dave kissed me on the cheek, then slapped me on the butt and said,”I’ll be chasing you, Baby.” And then that fool ran off and left me.
Dave & I didn’t train together for this race and I trained way harder. I logged more miles each week and I incorporated pretty intense (for me) speed work. All of my long runs were faster than Dave’s, but Dave is an athlete so I knew when race day came he would push it because that’s how he rolls. Dave has a mental drive that doesn’t allow him to lose at much, so I knew despite his laid-back training schedule, we would still be finishing neck-and-neck. But I was committed to run my race (as opposed to racing him) and we already agreed we wouldn’t be running together (better for our marriage and whatnot). I saw Dave ahead of me around the 1 mile mark and then I didn’t see him again. I assumed for a little while that he was ahead of me, but as I passed more and more people I began to think there was no way he was that far ahead of me and he must be behind me somewhere, but to be honest I didn’t think about it too much.
For the first half of the race I thought about God’s faithfulness. When I ran the Savannah RnR in 2012 my life was so different. I actually fought back tears for a good portion of the race as I thought about all God has brought me through since the last time I ran that course. I thought about the work He has done and is still doing in my heart and how grateful I am for the changes that have happened in my life that I never could have imagined 4 years ago. It was a sweet time for me of prayer and just offering my praises and gratitude up to the Lord.
Miles 5(ish)-8(ish) of the course are so so pretty! I loved looking at all the adorable row homes decorated for fall (talk about stoop goals – SO many pretty porches). This is also where there are a ton of spectators so these miles flew by!
At mile 9 I got hit with a horrific cramp, but I never stopped running. I slowed my pace way down and just focused on breathing through the pain and eventually the cramp went away and I picked my pace back up and by mile 10 I was ready to kick it into high gear again (obviously using the term ‘high gear’ in a pretty loose form). At mile 11, I knew I was getting a PR. I knew even if I slowed way down, I would still get a PR and that had me all kinds of excited/emotional. Gosh, I was so freaking pumped at this point in the race!
At mile 12, I felt someone come up beside me – all up in my personal space – and I looked over to see Dave smiling at me. I said, “OH MY GOSH! Are we seriously about to finish this race together? I thought I was kicking your butt!” Dave just laughed and then I immediately thought, “Oh Gosh! Are we about to all out race for this last mile?!” But Dave hung with me and allowed me to set the pace. I say, “He allowed me to set the pace” – I found out after the race he was pushing it hard to keep up with me.
When we rounded the last corner and saw the finish line, Dave reached out and grabbed my hand and said, “You are getting a ridiculous PR, Babe! I’m so proud of you!” We crossed the finish line hand-in-hand.
But here’s the kicker. Dave followed me the entire race (& I had no clue he was right behind me). He said he about died trying to hang with me. At the end he wasn’t sure if he could even finish with me. But he ended up crossing the finish line 1/100th of a second before me. Everything about our times reflected a dead tie, except the official results stated that Dave was the 428th person to cross the finish line and I was the 429th person to cross. So, he is declaring himself the winner in our personal race. CRAZY!! I couldn’t help but laugh at that.
Anyways, once I crossed the finish line, I gave Dave a kiss and allowed myself to feel all the feels and cry over my accomplishment. The tears of joy totally flowed and it was an experience I’ll never forget (ugh, how cheesy am I). There were seriously so many special things about this race though. My first race as a mother. Shaving 5 minutes off my personal best. Finishing the race hand-in-hand with Dave. It was just pure magic and I spent the rest of the weekend the same way I started the race – feeling so incredibly grateful for all God has done in my heart and all He has allowed me to do.
And I couldn’t post a proper race recap without documenting my 2 favorite spectator signs from the race…
- If Trump and Hillary can run, so can you!
- If it were easy, it would be called, “Your Mom!”
Both of those signs made me laugh out loud. The Trump/Hillary sign was pure gold and came at the perfect time on the course when I needed a good laugh.
And on that note, happy election day!
P.S. If you just read all 2,000 words of this post, thank you. That really means a lot to me. That was like a marathon for you, wasn’t it? In fact, I think you deserve some carbs. If we were together right now, I would totally buy you a donut.