Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon - 11/05/11

I thought I'd post a little something about my last half-marathon, since this is likely to be the last one I do for a while. It was back on November 5th, but better late than never! I trained for this one with my Galloway group. We trained ok but had problems maintaining motivation towards the end. I actually didn't run further than 9 miles training for this race, so I was pretty nervous going into it.

Pretty view waiting on the return ferry
My husband and I drove to Savannah on Friday afternoon and stayed at the Staybridge Suites. Our room was fantastic.. a little on the small side but the bed was so comfy! We didn't really spend any time in the room anyway except to sleep. We checked in then left to go pick up my race packet. The organizers had set up packet pickup at a convention center but they must not have considered that 23,000+ people coming to pick up packets on the same day would cause a bottleneck when you have to cross a river by ferry to get to packet pickup! So, after we waited for probably 30 minutes, we finally boarded the ferry and crossed the river. Packet pickup was smooth but I didn't get a chance to check out the expo. We returned to the hotel to drop everything off and explore Savannah.

River Street

This is a picture of River Street. I love the look of this place! We went into River Street Sweets and picked up some goodies for our friends back home, and I got a stick of chocolate covered marshmallows. Chocolate covered marshmallows are my favorite treat to get at places like these, especially when there are sprinkles involved! For dinner we were afraid everything would be packed with all the runners in town. We walked to Vinny Van Go Go's Pizza which is supposedly a little-known, really yummy pizza place. Well, I was not so impressed. It's definitely a dive and I felt kind of gross after eating there. We had to sit outside, the service stunk, the pizza was nothing exceptional, and they only take cash! I don't recommend it if you ever go to Savannah! But anyway...

My race shirt and bib. No name on my bib :(

So we went back to the hotel and I settled in for a very nervous night. I was so afraid I'd oversleep.. but I woke up about 6am to the sound of thudding music! At first I was mad and thought my neighbors were rocking out, but it turns out the race coordinators were blasting music right outside my window! I knew we were within walking distance of the start line, but I had no idea that it was literally right outside my window! This let me have lots of time to get ready in my warm room, and I only had to spend a little bit of time out in the cold waiting on the race to start. 

The start line!

The actual race start took a long time! This was the longest I've ever waited to start a race. I think I must have stood in line at least 30 minutes after race start before we got to cross the start line. As I mentioned before, there were over 23,000 runners and I was in corral 23. Everyone was very friendly though! My running group had several people come up to compliment us on our race shirts that we had made, as well as ask us about our training program. 

So this was the view after a mile or two in. Look how many runners there are! Even with the sheer volume of people, I didn't have any problems with crowds. The corrals worked great in spreading people out. There was enough water and Gu to go around for everyone, and crowd support throughout the race was amazing. There were bands at every mile.. some better than others of course! There were also cheerleaders out on the course. The route did not go through the scenic parts of Savannah but went through some lower-income neighborhoods. I have to say I was impressed with all of the people who came out to watch us and cheer us on though. The residents were so friendly and you could tell they were happy to have us in Savannah. 
I'll spare you the details of my actual run, because it was pretty boring. I did run/walk with 30 second intervals throughout the race. I kind of hit the wall around mile 10 and for some reason I was thinking a half-marathon was only 12 miles. I guess that's the delusions you have when you're running such a long distance. I was pretty disappointed when I got to mile 12. Ha! But I pushed through and crossed the finish line with a time of 2:57:53. This was not a PR but I was happy with it considering I didn't train like I should have. We got to see Carolina Liar playing at the finish line which was really cool, and I got a really nice, heavy metal. It's my favorite race medal so far. I definitely recommend the Savannah Rock and Roll marathon/half-marathon if you're looking for a great race. The 2011 race was the inaugural race so I'm sure it will only improve in the coming years.

Happy for it to be over!


January 30 mile challenge on Daily Mile

I started a new challenge on Daily Mile to run 30 miles in January. I already have 22 challengers. Want to join? Here's the link:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A fresh start for a new year

Welcome (back) to my blog! My name is Amber and I started this blog many years ago. It started as a way for me to track my running progress and occasionally share personal stories. After a while, I decided to delete everything and start over. I had every intention of blogging again, but life has become so hectic that I didn't dedicate the time to it. So, here I am again with another reboot. I'm hoping to post more on my training progress, personal thoughts, and race reviews.

For those who don't know me, I have been running off and on since 2004. My very first 5k was the Labor Day Road Race in 2004. I ran almost the whole race in a downpour thanks to remnants of Hurricane Frances. I swore those 3 miles were the most miserable thing I'd every done and I'd never do it again. I think I attempted one more 5k before calling it quits. Then, in 2008 I decided to start running again after joining a fitness group at work. My friend started running on the treadmill regularly, so I finally gave in and joined her. I found out that I loved it, and I've been running since.

Through the years, I've had two kids which added weight and took time away from my training. Now that I'm through having kids, I'm ready to focus on running and improve myself. Since 2008, I've run tons of 5ks, a 10k, 3 half marathons, and led a pace group for the Jeff Galloway Run/Walk/Run program. My new focus for this year is to get faster at my 5k time. For the past few years, I've been focusing on distance, but now I want to increase speed in short runs. My current pace is about 37 minutes for a 5k. My goal is < 34 minutes, and my ultimate, probably-never-going-to-happen goal is 30 minutes. So, here we go!