I’m a Marathoner! Recap on Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon

My race was on November 8, and I know I’m a little late on getting this posted. But I seriously needed time to digest everything before I could type up all the highs and lows. I know in my heart that this will come across like I’m upset, but truly I am thrilled with my whole experience! I mean I finally ran a marathon, regardless of my time I crossed that finish line! So get ready for a long recap, and about 15 pictures that capture my first full marathon.

When Zach and I lived in Savannah, the Rock ‘n’ Roll just started in the city. At that point I never wanted to run a marathon. So why did I come back to this city for my first full marathon? Because it is flat! And who doesn’t love some time in Savannah?!  When my training first started, I wanted to see how well I could handle working and training. Once I knew I could do it, I registered. To be honest, I never got extremely nervous about the distance. I got scared sure, but I never second guessed myself.

Friday morning we all packed up to head south to Savannah, we I mean myself, Zach, and my mom. I wanted to miss the horrible ATL traffic, but didn’t want to be stuck in the expo traffic so our time to leave was around 9. The closer we got, the more excited I got! I couldn’t wait to get my stuff. We arrived right around 1:30-2PM I think and traffic was amazing. We seriously missed all of it. The island for the convention center was welcoming.

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Once in, I grabbed my bib number and goodie bag. I told myself if the shirt wasn’t terrible, then I wouldn’t buy any expo merchandise. Well… lets just say I ended up buying a Brooks navy pullover with the logo on it. I’m glad I did, I want something to wear that shows my hard work! (I mean I could wear my medal everywhere 😉 Oh and while waiting in line, I saw where I once ran and Brett Michaels was there.

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The rest of the expo was fun, I got slightly overwhelmed from the crowd, but it was good. I was ready to get checked in the hotel so we left and headed out.

Friday night we ate at one of our old local restaurants and it was terrible. Zach and I both were disappointed, but I had to get food in my system. We called it a night at 10PM and our wake up call was 4AM. I purchased a parking pass when I registered, so we had to be at the assigned parking deck by 5:30AM. I was ready to leave by 4:10. Seriously, I got dressed and took my food and drinks. I wasn’t going to eat too early and crash. Zach and my mom hit up McDonald’s and we sat there for like 20 minutes in line. I was slightly freaking out, but thats why I wanted to leave early. We got to our parking deck in plenty of time, but you never know. It was already 3/4 full by the time we got there! So the 3 of us sat in the warm truck and I ate one bagel at 5:15 and the second at 6:00 all with a liter of water. We also took a little nap. It was glorious.

Next was getting to the corrals. First thing was getting in line for the porto-potties. Yep, priorities. I stood in the lines twice. And boy was it cold! I was thrilled I had my sweat shirt, and glad I didn’t go to bag check. I chickened out last minute. But I found heat in the lights on the side walk.

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Gotta love the quality of the photos. Thanks iPhone. The sun was coming up and people were jumping in their corrals. Mine was so far back! Corral 17 and I finally started walking to it. I started crying when I was trying to get undressed from my warm sweat shirt. It all, and I mean all hit me. I was seriously here, I was about to start running for 26.2 miles and I was panicking. It was a complete fear of the unknown. I couldn’t tell if I was happy or sad. But I wanted to throw up. Once I was calm and slightly more collected,  I jumped in line and had a mini photo shoot.

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I looked like a total goober, but who cares. I did freak out when I thought the race for the marathon started differently because I didn’t see any other marathon bibs, but right then like 10 people jumped in and I calmed back down. Zach and my mom walked with me on the side walk until it was time to leave. I told them I loved them and that I’d see them at the finish. It was time to run!

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I was probably 2 rows back from the start line, and I questioned my logic. Why was so close you ask, because I legit didn’t know I would be some of the first few to cross. Oh well. So the course is same for full and half. You split off around mile 11. So the corrals had both distances. I started crying again when I crossed the start line. The journey was on.

The first 4 miles weren’t through the nicest part of Savannah, but it was nice to see the local’s cheering us on. I saw some interesting things.

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I kept thinking that will chafe later.

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That beautiful yellow townhouse, yep that gorgeous piece of real-estate belonged to Marc Jacobs. And no, that is not him on the balcony. Once I saw it, I recognized it immediately. It was definitely a photo worthy moment.

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I honestly felt great the whole beginning of the race. I walked through every water station to make sure I was drinking plenty of fluids. I started consuming gels every 4 miles. I was on top of this, and finally it was time to make the decision.

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Full! After I started my way towards mile 13, I had to stop for the bathroom. Afterwards I was golden again. Gotta love the TMI moments of runners. I still felt pretty good physically, until I crossed the mat for 13.1 miles. I was starting to slow down, but that was ok. What bothered me was the minor cramp developing in my leg. I walked for a bit to get rid of it and it worked. I started running again. Mile 14 it came back. And it didn’t stop. Miles 15-18 I walked majority of the course. My legs were stiff as boards and each step brought on pain I have never experienced. I would try to run, and it wouldn’t help. During all my training, I never had symptoms that severely. At mile 17 I stopped at the medic tent. They stretched out my calves, and then massaged both legs and I started crying again. The pain was brutal. They sprayed Bio-Freeze and told me to stop by the next tent for the same treatment since I was refusing to quit. Trying to get to mile 18 was the worst. I realized I didn’t restart my Garmin until I was approaching the mile marker for 18. My watch read 17.44…and I began to cry again. I was so mad. So f*cking mad. I was texting Zach how much pain I was in. I did want to quit. I was hating the course, seriously it was bad. I was disappointed by the running through run-down neighborhoods and lack of spectators. Anyway, I tried my best to run/walk whenever I could. And that was my focus and goal. I hit every single medic tent for the rest of the race.

When we came around mile 20 I was like, “ok 6 more. You can walk 6 miles if you must, its not bad.” At that moment I was more like, “F*ck the 6 miles, just f*cking finish.” And that is what I was doing. The more I got down on my self, the more I was cheering me on. Mentally the whole time I was golden. For reals, my mental game was strong. My physical pain was bringing me down. I was getting frustrated though, I had my Garmin off and then turned my music off. Everything was pissing me off. When we got back to the interstate I was like done. I had hit the wall and was crawling. My pain was so intense that I couldn’t feel my torso or arms. Everything was waist down and I couldn’t remember when I didn’t have pain. Finally I was coming back to the road to finish the race. I was asking, more like begging to find out where the finish line was. I started chatting with 2 ladies who were speed walking and they helped me. I wish I got their names, they seriously were the best distraction. When the mile 25 marker came into view I was numb. I couldn’t figure out my emotions, I was almost done but still not there yet. The last medic tent was there too, and OMG I had Gatorade with a salt tablet. First, it was gross, second it saved my life. My cramps were gone! I felt like a sponge getting squeezed because it was a lot of sodium, but damnit those cramps vanished. Gave me enough to run/walk again.

I texted Zach and my mom. I was coming around the block. I was right here. I was finishing. I was on cloud 9. And this is getting my teary eyed again right now. I gave everything I had left into the last .1 of running. I could hear my name being called, I could see my family. I could see the finish line. And I was seconds and feet away from it. Tears came streaming down my face. It was about to change my life.

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And then I crossed it.

Chip time of 6:18:37.

All of pain was worth the moment of getting that medal placed around my neck.  I was officially a marathoner. I was so confused on how I should of felt, I finished, but I hated my time. Then it hit me that it didn’t matter, I just finished 26.2 miles. Nothing could take that away from me, thats what I kept thinking. I saw my mom and Zach coming to me and I was ushered into getting my finishers blanket and food. When we were finally reunited, I just wanted to lay down. And thats what I did. It was glorious. My mom was so amazed by my attitude. She couldn’t believe how cheerful I was, like I said my mental game was there. I never got down in that sense. It was all physical.

Now, let me tell you how amazing my husband is, ok so we parked a good ways from the finish line because of our parking pass. Well, Zach went and moved the truck closer to the finish line so I didn’t have to walk more than 1 block. He truly loves me.  We finally got back to the truck, it took me a while to start moving again and it was slow. I took a selfie. Duh.

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I am so proud of myself. I cannot describe the feeling of finishing this race without saying the pain was well worth it. Even with things going south, I wouldn’t change it. Eventually I’ll do this distance again, maybe 2016. Definitely not this race again, at least for the full. The course was not even ok after the split off. I would do the half marathon, because you’re running through the beautiful neighborhoods for more than half the race. Otherwise, yeah it was just ok. But that beautiful medal is definitely well earned, and it was ugly. But it was oh, so worth it.

I AM A MARATHONER! Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and to my family and friends. Each mile was dedicated to you. Without support I couldn’t of done this. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂

I’ll do a post on my week of recovery sometime this week. This post was long enough!

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4 thoughts on “I’m a Marathoner! Recap on Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon

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