When I signed up for the Rock N Roll Savannah 1/2 Marathon I had every intention of doing it with a friend. Well both of my friend that planned on doing it were not able to go because of work obligations. Okay, no problem. But then about 3 weeks ago I realized that none of my family or friends would be able to go on the trip with me either. Go to Savannah alone AND run the race alone? I don’t know about that. So about two weeks ago I was chatting with my best friend Laura and I told her “I need you to talk me into still going and doing this race” and she did! I immediately emailed my mom and told her that I was still going.
I drove to Savannah on Friday from my mom’s house. It was a quick and uneventful 3.5 hour drive. I went straight to the convention center for the expo so I could pick up my race packet. It was a mad house, but they had things laid out quite nicely and it was a painless experience. After I got my bib, swag bag, and shirt I went into the expo for a bit. I picked up a couple samples of things I’d been meaning to try, got my wrist band for the after-race beer tent (which I didn’t end up going in), and bought a shirt.
After the expo I headed straight to Back in the Day bakery to pick up some cupcakes. I had no idea if I’d be able to get back there on Saturday or if they’d even have any left, so I decided to go Friday. I put the address into my GPS (or so I thought) and started out for the bakery. About halfway there I realized that it didn’t seem like I was going in the right direction. The GPS was bringing me downtown and the bakery was NOT downtown. Hmmm. But it was a good thing that I put in the wrong address (found out that I left a number off the address – oops!) because it took me by the Thunderbird Inn… where the Wienermobile was parked! Thanks to some traffic I was able to swing into the parking lot and get some pictures. A nice hotel employee even stopped and took my picture for me. Score!
After my run in with the Wienermobile and realizing I was headed in the wrong direction, I finally made it to the bakery. I picked up two cupcakes and headed to the hotel. I got checked in and did a couple things before heading out to dinner. I had a wonderful pre-race dinner of Shepards pie and salad at Six Pence Pub. We go here everytime we are in Savannah and this trip was no different. I had every intention of wandering around downtown while it was still light, but all the traffic from the extra 23,000+ people made getting around a little stressful. So I called it a night and went back to the hotel to prepare. I was in bed ready for sleep by 9:00 pm.
My plan was to get up at 5 am and be out the door by 5:30. I had to drive to the convention center to park my car and then take a ferry across to the start line. I didn’t think it would take too long but with all the complaints I’d heard about traffic and such the day before, I didn’t want to risk it. Unfortunately my neighbors were even MORE concerned with getting to the start line in time and had set their alarm for 4 am. But 4:15 I just gave up and got ready.
The drive to the convention center and ferry ride to the start line went very smooth. I got to the start line around 5:30 and had almost 2 hours to kill before the start of the race. It was dark, cold, and very windy! I met some nice folks from Canada and spent the morning chatting with them and trying to keep warm. Finally around 7 am I made a last minute potty stop and headed to my corral. I met a nice lady from St Augustine who helped keep my mind off the cold weather and the fact that I was about to run a 1/2 marathon by myself.
The race was AMAZING! I was a little freaked out by the overpass/hill less than a mile into the race, but after that I was fine. I planned to use the Galloway method like I had in my training, but I ended up running almost the entire first 5 miles. When I looked at my watch at mile 5 and saw that I was only an hour in I couldn’t believe it. It was the first time that I thought I might actually come in at the 3 hour goal that I’d set for myself. Next thing I knew I was past the halfway mark and still feeling great. There wasn’t as much music along the course as I thought and at times I regretted not bringing my Ipod with me. But for the most part I was able to use the quiet to focus on my race and running.
I started slowing down around mile 7, but I was still doing okay. Around mile 11, right before the 1/2 and full courses split, I realized that I had a blister on my right baby toe again. I stopped and took off one of my socks and kept going. That wasn’t really helping so I took one of the pins off my bib, sat down on the side of the course, and lanced the blister. It relieved the pressure some and I was able to pick up the pace for the last 2+ miles. When I got to mile 12 I almost had a meltdown again. That seems to be the point where I realize “Oh shit, I’m actually going to finish!” Then you add in the fact that I was CERTAIN that I would be finishing under 3 hours and I was over the moon. I ran about the last 1/2 mile and was beaming when I made it across the finish line. I started to cry as soon as I stopped – a mixture of relief, happiness, and sadness that I was there alone. But I pushed through it and went to get my picture taken.
I was having trouble using my cell phone in the park afterwards. I wasn’t able to make calls and incoming calls were going straight to voicemail. Texts I was sending weren’t sending (but really were) and I was getting really frustrated. I was here alone and I just wanted to talk to my mom! I went to get my bag and just focused on getting out of my running shoes and into some long pants. The sun was out but I was still freezing! It was during this time that I realized that I realized that even though I had an amazing race and was really proud of myself, I just wanted to go home. I decided that I would go have some breakfast (at Clary’s of course) and then go check out of the hotel. I was finally able to call my parents on the walk to breakfast and they were both proud of me but understood that I wanted to come home.
I left Savannah around 2:30 and was back to my mom’s by 6. Driving 3.5 hours so soon after running 13.1 miles probably wasn’t the best idea, but I just wanted to be home with my family and my dog. Mom and I went to dinner, I had a glass of wine, and then I was in bed by 9:30. I am sore today, probably more than yesterday. It seems like each day I’m sore in a whole new set of places than the day before. I spent some time in the hot tub this morning and that really seems to help.
So did I enjoy myself? Oh yes. Going alone wasn’t the greatest thing, but running alone was actually really awesome. I thought it was going to be hard but it was actually pretty easy. I didn’t have to worry about keeping up with someone else or them keeping up with me. I just did my own thing and focused on me. Not only did I make my goal, I beat it by 13 miles. AND, I improved my time by 38 minutes from my 1st 1/2 marathon. THIRTY EIGHT FREAKING MINUTES!
Every time I look at my finisher certificate or race results I kinda giggle. I am just so happy and proud of myself. I took up running because I wanted to do something for ME and this race was just that, something for me. I traveled by myself, I ate by myself, and I ran by myself. It was weird, it was fun, it down right sucked at time, but it was totally freaking awesome. My next race is the Disney’s Princess 1/2 Marathon at the end of February and I am so excited. I have multiple friends that are running it and it’s going to be a lot of fun. Bring it on baby!