Savannah Rock n Roll Half Marathon
Yesterday I completed the Savannah Rock n Roll half marathon with my sister, Michelle!
What a phenomenal run! Yesterday’s race was incredible and dare I say…my favorite race to date? I have ran several races, including 15 (now 16) half marathons, but I can’t remember a race that was as much fun as the Savannah Rock n Roll.
Michelle & I woke up a little before 6:30am on Saturday filled with nerves and excitement. Our hotel was 2 blocks from the start line and at 6:30 we could already hear people outside our hotel gearing up for the 8:00am start. The energy and anticipation outside our hotel was palpable and it sent my nerves into overdrive. Shortly after 7am, I made my way downstairs to grab something to eat from the complimentary breakfast buffet. The lobby was buzzing with runners and I could feel myself getting pumped for the day’s race. I opted for a hard boiled egg and some toast.
Since I typically run early in the morning before work, I’m not used to eating before I run. However, I knew I needed to eat something to keep me fueled through the race. I was only able to eat 1/2 the egg and 1 piece of toast due to my nerves and lack of appetite. With food and butterflies in our stomachs, Michelle & I headed down to the start line around 7:45 to find our corral.
We were located in Corral 4, which was only a block away from our hotel. There were over 10,000 runners competing yesterday and I’m not exaggerating when I say I could feel the electricity and positive energy coursing through my body as we waited in our corral for the race to start. Hence, I was smiling like I slept with a hanger in my mouth…
There are a few things I loved about the start of this race. First, I loved that they allowed a pastor to come up and pray for the safety of all the runners before the gun was fired. I felt like it was something that would only be done in the South, and it made me feel at peace and at home in the midst of all the excitement. Second, I loved that each corral started the race 1 at a time. There were a few seconds in between the start of each corral, which obviously allowed the initial start of the race to be less crowded. I was able to easily fall into a good pace & I didn’t spend the first 2 miles weaving in and out of people, Frogger style. The other thing I loved about starting in waves was that the people in each corral got their moment of glory. The announcer took time to get each corral amped up before they were released to start and whether you were running a 6 minute mile or a 12 minute mile, you were treated like an amazing athlete. And finally, I saw a Vizsla at the start line and I was instantly filled with warm and happy thoughts. *Fun fact: I actually purchased Ob from a breeder in Savannah.*
Four minutes after the start, the gun was fired for our corral and we were off!
The beginning of the race wasn’t very scenic, but it was lined with spectators who came out to show their support. I got a killer cramp at mile 3 and I started to panic that I was going to have a repeat of the Marine Corps half marathon. I told myself that I could breathe through it and that’s exactly what I did. The cramp was short lived and I was able to run it out within a quarter of a mile. I settled into a nice groove and by mile 6 we were running through the beautiful and shady streets of historic Savannah. Temperatures were in the low 60’s (a.k.a perfect) and I clocked 7 miles in less than an hour. I had the best time watching all the spectators who came out with signs and shakers to show their support. My favorite signs of the day included…
- Don’t Stop! ← That’s what she said.
- If running were easy, it would be called your mom.
- Worst parade ever!
- Those pants make your butt look fast!
I literally laughed out loud when I saw those signs. By the time I hit mile 7, I started thinking there was a chance I could set a new PR. I was feeling great and I hadn’t needed to stop for water or gatorade once during the race. I picked up the pace a bit in hopes of breaking 1:50 and I got into the zone. I think it made a huge difference running with people who were completing the full marathon. The half marathon didn’t split from the marathon runners until mile 12, and the vibe from the marathon runners was infectious. Unfortunately, just before I hit 10 miles, my body locked up. I stopped for about 45 seconds and inhaled my Gu packet before continuing on at a slightly slower pace than my previous 9 miles. I was good to go mentally because I was genuinely enjoying the race, but my left knee started to hurt due to the weird incline on some of the roads and I knew I needed to slow it down. I kept a decent pace for miles 10 and 11, but by mile 12 I had slowed down quite a bit. With only a quarter of a mile left, a man ran past me and said “Come on – you’re almost there! Make yourself proud!” With his words of motivation running through my head (←pun), I kicked it up a notch and sprinted (I use the word ‘sprinted’ in its loosest form) to the finish. The final result?
I missed setting a new PR by less than 2 minutes, but I’m still so proud that I ran a race that was competitive for me. I know this time isn’t that fast for amazing runners, but it is fast for me.
I was greeted at the finish line with water, gatorade, chocolate milk, pretzels and fruit. I wasn’t feeling that great, so I just took the water and went to find a place to sit. The race finished in the lovely Forsyth Park.
Even though I didn’t set a new PR, this race will still go down as one of my all-time favorites because it was just so much fun! I truly think I smiled during every mile (even that grueling mile 12) & I’ve got a serious itch to do another Rock n Roll race! The city of Savannah and the people at Rock n Roll sure know how to put on an event. I thought the entire thing was well organized, from the Expo to the finish line, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in running long distance races.
After the race, Michelle and I made the 1.5 mile walk back to our hotel (yes, that walk was painful) where we chilled for a few hours before heading out for
We spent the rest of the day shopping in downtown Savannah before grabbing sushi for dinner and calling it a night.
I’m back at home now and curled up in bed with my crazy dog. I’m already looking to sign up for the next Rock n Roll run…New Orleans anyone? Or San Fran? You pick! 😉