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Savannah Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon race report November 6, 2011

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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Well, another half is in the books – the Savannah Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon will be my last significant race of 2011, and let me just say, I felt every mile of it.  Here’s how it went down…

Hubby and I were lucky enough to take Friday off, so we left early and got to Savannah around lunchtime.  That meant the Expo wasn’t as crowded, which was nice – though it was still a little nutty for my liking (I’m getting to be pretty crabby about expos, since they all look about the same after enough races – I just want to pick up my packet and GO).  Unfortunately, it seemed like those folks who got into town a little later got stuck in MAJOR traffic, since the convention center is on an island that is only accessible by one bridge/road.  They had to keep the Expo open later than anticipated because so many people would have missed it entirely otherwise.  Frankly, I don’t understand why they scheduled the race for a Saturday – if they did it on Sunday, you could have the expo open all day on Saturday and the traffic would be much more evenly spread.  Whatev.

After a lovely home-cooked pasta dinner at our Tybee rental house, we hit the sack, and before we knew it, it was oh dark thirty on Saturday morning and it was time to head out to the shuttles that would take us to the start line.  There were supposed to be 2 pickup locations on Tybee Island, with two pickup times each (5:30 and 6 AM).  We got to our pickup location at quarter of six, but there weren’t enough buses and we ended up standing outside (in 40 degrees and 20 mph winds) until almost 7 AM when they finally sent another bus to get us.  It was an absolute clusterfuck.  We barely made it to the race in time to hit the port-a-potties and get to the corrals – so I was super tight and tense from being in the cold, and I didn’t have time to do my usual stretching routine.  I was VERY stressed, and I started the race more nervous than I’ve been in a long time.

I was pleasantly surprised with the course support.  Even though the race took us through the less fortunate parts of Savannah, all of the residents were out cheering and welcoming us to their city.  I was feeling really good until about mile 5, when my left knee started to act up.  Thankfully, the course was flat and the weather was nice once the sun came up, so I was able to focus my energy elsewhere and push past the pain for a while.  Right around mile 10, when I stopped and walked in order to drink some water, I realized that my knees were in real trouble.  I told my husband that I couldn’t stop to walk anymore, as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to start running again.  Bottom line, I dug deep and cranked out the last three excruciating miles (while making some troubled grunting noises, I’m told), and we finished in 2:18:48.  A PR by nearly 9 minutes, woo hoo!

The medal is great, but the shuttles BACK to Tybee were just as big of a mess as the ones in the morning.  I hope the Rock & Roll group works out the transportation kinks before next year’s race, as I think it was a pretty significant black mark on an otherwise well-organized event.

As for my performance, I’m pretty sure that the cold, the lack of stretching, and my lackluster taper (brought on largely by work travel) caused some painful IT band issues – but, I’m pretty sure that after I rest and recover, I’ll be back to normal and ready to start the next training cycle.  I’m excited that I was able to PR, even with some less-than-ideal circumstances, as it proves that my base level of fitness and running ability is MUCH better than it was even a year ago.

Next up: Madrid training officially begins next weekend!

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