I don’t even know where to begin with this race recap. I can’t even put my emotions into words and on Saturday I couldn’t even express them after the race.
So I guess let’s start from the beginning…
On Friday morning I woke up and packed up my stuff and decided I wanted a good breakfast. I’ve had really good luck with having a big breakfast the day before the race and I’ve become quite superstitious the day before a race. I put on my lucky shirt and bracelets and headed to the diner right by my house. I brought my kindle and enjoyed starting a new book and eating all the carbs. After breakfast I went home and loaded up my car and Matty and dropped him off at his new boarding place.
After that I picked up Jesica and we headed to Savannah. It was a pretty uneventful ride and we checked into our hotel and headed right back out to the expo. We stayed within walking distance of the expo and start/finish line and never got back into the car until it was time to go home. The expo was perfect. It was pretty small but so was the race and the vendors were a great fit for the women themed race. The swag was spot on, not another tech tee that I rarely wear, but a great New Balance gym bag. I also snagged a really cute printed t-shirt at the expo, along with a chocolate- crème brule flavored that they torched in front of us.
Having way too much fun taking selfies in the mirror. Check out all the reflections.
Loved these cookies!! If you’re in Savannah go check out their store. I’m OBSESSED! And fun fact, Girl Scouts stole the idea for the Savannah Smile from their key lime cooler cookie.
After some fun at the expo we put in to go orders at Outback Steakhouse since we both eat plain chicken, rice and bread and Jes typically goes there when traveling for a race. We took it back to the hotel and hung out there for the rest of the evening.
We woke up on race morning, ate breakfast (bagel and a hardboiled egg, heavily salted) and made our way to the start area. We hit up the plentiful port a potties that had no line, took off our extra layers (it was warmer than I thought it would be) and did a nice easy warm up.
I had shirts made for us (by my cousin) as a surprise. We both broke the rule of not running in something new.
We lined up about 5 minutes before the start after a little dynamic stretching and a pep talk. Jesica headed to the front and I lined up with the 2:10 pacer. Jesica and I talked strategy a couple times and since I already reached my goal for the year of 2:15 we decided I had nothing to lose with this race. So I was just going to go for it. I didn’t tell Jesica this but after a tempo run with 5 miles at 9:45 pace, i knew I could throw down miles in the 9s during this race and was planning on going for 2:10. My plan was to keep the 2:10 pacer in site and try to cut the tangents as close as possible since this race had ALL THE TURNS. No joke so many turns due to running through a lot of the beautiful historic squares in the downtown area. It was a little crowded for the first mile or so as we made our way towards the river. We turned around and headed back out towards the park/neighborhoods and the 5k group turned off around the 2.5 mile mark.
Loved this race photo! This was towards the mid way point.
We headed off into the neighborhoods and I was feeling really good at this point. My miles were in the 10:00s for the first two miles and after that I dropped them into the 9:50s. I focused on the tangents and was feeling pretty good. I was definitely working harder than normal but I’ve never really gone for it in a race before. I usually am more conservative at first and then push the back half. We kept winding our way through pretty Savannah neighborhoods and with all the out and backs I was able to people watch to distract myself. If I had been further back or not with a pace group I might have missed some of the turns. The crowd support was pretty minimal for the race and if I hadn’t noticed the small white arrows spray painted on the road I definitely could have missed a turn or two. This wasn’t one of those races where there was someone at every turn making sure you went the right way. Thankfully I didn’t miss any turns, however my watch was really off the mile markers around this point. I missed mile markers 4 and 6 but at all the other ones I was 0.2 over.
A little after mile 6 I spotted Jesica coming back the other direction, we high fived and she realized I was running with the 2:10 pace group and I could tell she was excited about that. We started moving into the park portion of the course and I decided as we were turning into the park that I felt good and we were close to half way so I was going to push ahead of the pace group. I was worried they weren’t really going to be at 2:10 since we were way off the tangents (or so I thought) and I wanted to give myself a little bit of cushion.
We finally hit the first aid station with sports drink around the 7.5 mark (WAY TOO LATE in my opinion) and I was a hot mess trying to drink and run and I’m pretty sure sports drink ended up in my shoe, down my leg and all over my arms and hands. I was ahead of the pace group and was weaving my way around people to keep moving. We came out of the park and started our way back towards the finish.
This was a fun race. I try to smile as much as possible during races to keep my spirits up.
I felt good for the next couple miles but around mile 10 I was just ready to be done. The wind had picked up at this point and it was starting to bother me. No matter which way we turned it always felt like it was in my face. I just tried to keep trucking along. At the 11 mile mark we started turning away from the way I knew we had to go to the finish and I was just like WTF, we had turned so many times at this point and it was super discouraging to turn away from the finish at this point. We did another out and back and on the way back I got passed by the 2:10 pace group. I was struggling to keep moving and was wondering if I had surged too soon. I hit the 12 mile mark shortly after that and realized my garmin wasn’t 0.2 off anymore and I was right on. I quickly did some math and realized I was going to be close to 2:10. I was heading into one of the last squares and spotted Jesica. She had some back to run the last bit with me. I told her I was dying and she kept talking to try to get me to keep moving and as quickly as possible. We weaved our way through the last two squares and my calves were done, one was tightening up if I tried to push any faster so I just tried to keep moving as fast as my body would let me. We hit the park and just had to run around the fountain and across the finish line. Two girls started blocking my way (Jesica was trying to get them to move) and I made my way through them and across the finish line, in 2:10:03. So so close to breaking that 2:10 barrier and over a 5 minute PR.
This was me running towards Jes after the 12 mile mark, my thoughts were ughhhhhh I’m dyinggggggg
Trying to get around these two… I blame them for my 3 seconds over 2:10.
Finally got around them and sprinted to the finish
After crossing the finish line my body was telling owwwwwwwww. I was just immediately sore and noticed a huge spot on my elbow that had some serious chaffing. Like some of the worst chaffing I’ve ever had. I chugged a PowerAde, Jesica and I grabbed a picture and our stuff and we laid down on the ground in the park to enjoy the finish line music.
Love that the photographer caught this moment after Jes and I crossed the finish line.
Post Race- I was still really out of it at this point.
I seriously could not express how happy I was with the result of this race. Taking another 5 minutes off my time is huge and while that’s what I was hoping for before the race, I didn’t know if I was capable of it. I mean eventually the big time jumps will stop right? I don’t know when that will happen and hopefully it’s after I get to the 2 hour mark (that’s always been my goal for a half marathon someday, to get under 2 hours). But it’s just crazy how much I have improved and I don’t know if I’ve even processed that yet.
Saw this beautiful photo spot and had to stop on the walk back to the hotel post race.
So overall I would highly recommend this race, to first timers and slower runners especially! They had a 3.5 or 4 hour time limit and I finished in the top 1/3 of runners, which is rare for me, so this is definitely one that caters to a slower runner. I know what it’s like to finish at the back (oh hi 3:30 half marathon in Chicago that I wasn’t trained for) and get to the finish and have nothing left for you and I thought this race did a good job of incorporating runners of all speeds.
- Flat, fast course in a scenic Savannah.
- Small, but great expo. I stopped at every vendor and not because stuff was free, but because they were interesting.
- Fast and efficient bag check.
- Nice swag: medal and nice New Balance Gym bag.
- Finish line party wasn’t overwhelming and there was plenty of stuff around to do. Plus a Farmer’s Market just at the end of the park to check out.
- All of the turns! Hard to figure out what direction you were even going.
- Not enough sports drink on the course (I hope they figure it out and change this for next year).
- Minimal crowd support. There were barely any spectators until the finish so if you need that to keep you moving this might not be the race for you.
I definitely would go back and do this race again! It’s a great girls weekend getaway race.
And after the race I recommend you go to this restaurant and get the crab cake!
Hopefully I’ll be back in the next week with what I’m up to now and my race plans for the fall, cause it’s an exciting one!
And check out Jesica’s recap here