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Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon Race Report

Saturday, November 3, 2012
Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon and Half Marathon
SBM Race Grade:  A-

On race morning, I woke up with the killer crud that my incubus of plague daughter, the Girl Swim Bike Kid, has been carrying.  The Expert said, “Morning” and I croaked out, “Errr, morning” and he looked at me, with a look of horror on his face… I sounded awful. I felt awful-er.

Not to mention, three days earlier, the Expert was monkeying around with me… picked me up, threw me down on the bed (no, it wasn’t that kind of monkeying… not technically…) but my big toe somehow got caught in between the bed frame and the boxspring. Well, a few screams and tears later (not that kind of screams, either)… I thought I broke it.  The toe, I mean.  And it’s been hurting to walk. Still hurts. Good golly grief.  But after 13.1 miles… I don’t think it’s broken now.  It still hurts, but I think that if I can run 13.1, it’s likely not broken, eh? But on Wednesday, I wasn’t so sure.  Swim Bike Klutz, that is all.

So needless to say, I wasn’t feeling the love of 13.1 miles on Saturday morning.  Sick, broke toe. Pitiful. But we had gone to the trouble of hauling the kids down from Atlanta to Savannah. We shuttled two kids through a huge Expo event. We woke up at the holy crack of dawn. I was running. I didn’t care if I had a broken toe and a cough like a duck.  I was running somewhere. Somewhere…

My dad was doing the drop-off–meaning he woke up super-early to take his crazy child and her husband to the race. But first, we stopped at the original Savannah Krispy Kreme and had a very metabolic breakfast.  I coughed my way through a Pumpkin Cake Glazed (OMG… delish)… Okay, so maybe not metabolically good… but we’ll call it our “cheat meal.”  The Expert’s mom met us there, and we were on our way.

We arrived downtown Savannah about an hour before the race.  The weather was chilly, but nice. If you’ve spent any time in Savannah, you learn to shut your yapper about “omg, it’s cold” because the summer will make you pay for being ungrateful about any cool respite.  So I said, “Ahhhhh, this weather is nice” and we appreciated it.

The Expert appreciated the cool weather to the tune of a sassy Tommy Hilfiger sweater:

Another note about the Expert…. the dude has not run a lick since Augusta 70.3.  This was his first “training run” back into the game.  That’s right… his LONGEST run ever… was his FIRST RUN back into training (I’ll let you sane people digest that for a moment… okay, moving on)…

Bieber fever. Yes.

I had run 17 miles this week, so I actually wasn’t heading out on the “freshest” legs.  And even better… was the “toe” situation coupled with the lung plague. Oh well.  After the half, I was going to be logging my biggest training week of running ever…. 30 miles.

Funny thing about running a stand-alone running race when triathlon has been the  training focus:  There were several times during the days leading up to the race where the Expert and I actually said (out loud)… “What are we worried about… this is ‘only’ 13.1 miles.” Yes, we were “those people” saying stupid things like that.  I mean… how ludicrous is that statement? “ONLY” what??? 13.1 miles?  But there’s some truth to it… when you’ve been accustomed to swimming and biking and THEN running, you find a comfort in the path of “just” running.  It’s insane, but it’s also a measure of growth… right? Right. Riiiiight.

We waited for our corral to start and I thought, “Oh, I have to pee. Crap!!”  The corral 15 was released, and I spotted a Porta Potty.  The Expert and I both escaped the corrals, hit the potties, and were back in our corral in a jiffy. Awesome. It totally saved us a during-race pit stop.

[Attention to Porta Potty details:   this race gets an A.  The Lines were long, but there were plenty of potties on the course, and at the start.]

We kissed the Expert Mom at the start line, and it was a go… we began running, and the Expert was shot out of a cannon.  I watched him out of the corner of my eye, and I knew…

He had on his FAST legs. Oh crap. We had 12.6 to go.  I was not about to get into a running race with that nutcase of a spouse of mine. I motioned to him, “Go. Go, go… just go.”

He slowed down and “stayed with me.”

I looked at him and I said, “Fool.. you go on… we’ve got 12.5 miles to go!”  He nodded. He slowed.

I was breathing through a straw –meaning my lungs weren’t feeling so great–but my heartrate was good, so I knew I was “okay.”

The first seven miles were great.  Felt good, felt strong.  Kept a steady 12:00 or pace, despite the aching toe and the breathing issues.

[Aid stations:  this race gets an A+. Plenty of stops, plenty of GU, Gatorade, water and volunteers.]

Around Mile 7.5, the Expert and I picked up the pace, and I told him, “We should negative split this race!”  (Run faster the second half than the first).  That would be a first, if we did.  We ran really well for awhile… seemed to be a pretty consistent 11:00-11:30 pace.

We “Gallowayed” the run… running 1 mile, then walking 1 minute at every mile sign.  I love running races and training this way… I love love love it.

I felt pretty much great until Mile 10/11.  Then the pain came down from the heavens, and I started hurting.  My toe hurt. My left heel hurt.  And well, okay… my entire body. The Expert and I were still trucking along together, but we weren’t chatting anymore or gesturing to funny specatator signs. We were just eyes-ahead, going.  And going.

Pretty soon, we saw the sign signaling 1.2 miles remaining, and I was glad.  But the last 1.2 was a tough one.  A nice gradual uphill, and turning the corner… the finish!

[Spectator Support:  this race gets an A-.  The finish line was fabulous, and the cross-street residents came out to supports as well.]

Before we knew it, we were galloping down the finish chute and enjoying the huge crowd support.  We grabbed hands and crossed the finish line. After the race, the Expert and I agreed that we will NEVER cheeseball finish holding hands again.  That was a one time deal.. besides, we waving my arms is never a good idea.  [Giant fat huge flappy arm fail.  Ick.]

Lovely race.  Chocolate milk and lots of snacks at the finish. Beer tent. Score. A+ on the snacks and beer tent.

And now for my rants. Really, the ranting is more to do with participants, not the race itself:
1) If you are racing, PUT YOURSELF in the correct, honest corral.
2) If you are WALKING, you should walk to the RIGHT.  Period.  That’s Race 101, people.

In future running races, I will lie whole-heartedly about my “estimated finish time” …because apparently everyone else did! 🙂

Corrals are how you are lined up in big races, based on your estimated finish time. If you are in corrals 1-15, you are faster than corrals 16-30. Now, the Expert and I are nowhere near fast, but we tried to be honest about our finish times–which landed us in one of the last corrals—20. This was just fine with me – what did I care? I am slow. But apparently, everyone who showed up to walk the race…also corralled themselves at an 8:00 mile. So I was running into the backs of people constantly, tripping over walkers who were nowhere near a pace worthy of their corral. I’m sure this is a side-effect of a massive race, too. But I was a tad shocked to see the hordes of people who self-corralled themselves way faster. I mean… waaaaaay faster… come on. Seriously? If you are walking a 15:50 pace, you should not start in Corral 5. You should at least try to be courteous and stick yourself in the correct group. (And I’m not talking about people who bonked, were taking a break, or who were Galloway-ing.  You know who you are.)

Finally, if you are walking, taking a break or hitting your Galloway stride.  Walk to the right.  Not to the left.  Even as slow as I run, it’s still hard to get around someone blocking the left.

That concludes my rant.

Amazing race, and fabulous volunteers and aid stations. Overall score:  A-

My only true gripe about this race was the Tour de Savannah. Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities in the South… and the first 5 miles of the race went through some of the ….er…. not-so-pretty parts of the city. I know logistics and ordinances are probably tough to give out-of-towners the tour of the Savannah squares or a scenic run down Victory Drive…but for the love, did the race organizers even drive down the first 5 miles of this race? Couldn’t you just reverse the corrals? Double back down Bay, down through City Market or Broughton or something, then pick up where Mile 5 starts now?  Anyway…

On Sunday, I woke up without a voice and with a horrible bruise on my heel (yet another reason to keep the bodyweight coming down).  My big toe is swollen, but I think I’m good.

Another hometown half marathon in the books.  Glad I did it. And it was a negative split–not by much—but it was! Wahoo!Glad the Expert and I had  a cheeseball finish together – it was the first time we’ve ran a race together, and it was actually kind of nice.

I ran this half marathon slower than my first… but alot has happened since that first race.  At my first half marathon, I was in the best running shape of my life… it was pre-foot break and my weight was coming down, too.   I have to remember that I only got the “go ahead” to run (after the broken foot) at the first of June… five months ago.  So essentially, I’m only back running for 5 months full-force…  SO in light of all, I think my progress is trucking along. Now… if someone could just explain to me why the Expert’s “Avg. Pace” is one second faster than mine… when we had the EXACT same splits?  Ah-hem.  Expert.


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