One week post marathon, and I finally have a moment to sit down and reflect on it. So much has happened since then… but ultimately it just came down to being completely swamped with life as the holidays approach, weekends get busier, and the workweek is hectic, especially after taking a couple of days off for the long weekend in Savannah. So, before I dive in to the marathon weekend, here’s how the end of my training played out:
Total miles 25.1
Long run miles 12 throughout my neighborhood
Cross training included teaching PiYo Live and Water Aerobics, but mostly, I was running.
Total miles 25.76
Long run miles 8 for my final taper!
Cross training included the usual PiYo Live and Water Aerobics.
Total miles 36.49
Long run miles 26.2 at Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah!
On Friday, I headed out with Rachel, Stephanie, and Heather, and we made our way to Savannah by car. It’s just 5 hours away from us in Raleigh, so we each put together a collection of songs that my husband collected from us and then put onto a Spotify playlist. We titled it: Shrimp Skewers and Beer. The theme of the weekend. We then had a great time on the drive as we tried to guess who submitted each song. We have a very eclectic mix of music but seemed to know each other pretty well and had some good laughs along the way.
We drove into Savannah and went straight to the Expo. Stephanie had to pick up about a dozen bibs because in addition to the half, she had signed up for the 5k and 1 mile challenge the following day. We then took our bags of goodies back and got settled into our hotel while we figured out our game plan for the rest of the weekend. My family recommended a few places to eat, so we went straight over to the Public House for our carb-loading dinner. We enjoyed our first of many shrimp and grit meals, some drinks, and then called an early night for our early wake-up call the following day.
Saturday morning, we were all up early and ready to go. We had a fiasco with room service not showing up, but thankfully our hotel quickly got us access to the buffet that was already setup. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and made our way to the start line that was just a few minutes from our hotel.
We stuck together at corral 10 – in between the 4:30 and 4:45 pacers. When the starting buzzer went off, we took off together and tried to stay close. Excitement had me running faster than I knew I could maintain and my legs felt heavy, so I tried to slow it down. Eventually, Heather took off and I ran with Stephanie and Rachel. We ran at various points all together or with one at at time, until around mile 5. Then Rachel and I pretty much fell into our rhythm and began the steady pace to finish. When the 10 mile course split happened, I so desperately wanted to take the route to go towards the half marathon finish line. But we turned off onto the Truman Parkway and plodded along in the full sun for the next 16 miles.
There were many challenging moments. So. Very. Many. Seeing the fastest runner pass us when we were just about 12 miles in… and he was on his 24th. That was both inspiring and so disheartening when I knew I’d still have about two hours to go. Miles 17-18 was the turnaround to head back from the split back to the finish. That was a mind game. Miles 21-24 were particularly hard – it felt like I was moving backwards at points and everything was starting to hurt. But by the time we left the Truman and made our way to the finish, I was so excited and ready to be DONE.
Rachel got a call from her family around mile 25 and it took everything in me not to get teary. I knew if I started crying that I wouldn’t be able to breathe, thereby making running that much harder (and really, it couldn’t get any harder at that point). Once we were in the finishing chute, all bets were off. The second my foot hit that timing strip, I was a sobbing mess. Stephanie and Heather were waiting for us, as was my dad who I wasn’t sure would be able to make it due to Savannah traffic from the race. I was so thankful to be done running and to have made it through the whole 26.2 miles… a feat that even a year before I would have told you would never have happened. The whole time I was running, I was questioning my decision and if I would be able to finish it, so to make it over the finish line was so exhilarating.
After the race, we gathered our medals and picked up our marathon jackets. We took some time to stretch and soak up the sun. Sadly, we’re not fast enough to have enjoyed the headliner, Old Crow Medicine Show. Eventually, we trudged back to our hotel, grabbing a some lunch to enjoy back in our room while we rested for the afternoon while binge watching HGTV. That night we went to the Crystal Beer Parlor for some more shrimp and then we were crazy enough to consider a walking ghost tour of Savannah. We were exhausted but it felt good to walk our our legs through the historic city.
On Sunday, we had a slow morning, then headed over to our next set of races. It was really just going to be Stephanie running but I decided to join her for the 5k as I didn’t feel too sore and I’m easily swayed by the promise of bling. They had on-site registration so I was able to join in the fun and reap the benefits of two additional medals for doing the Remix challenge. We didn’t run to break any speed goals, but it was a fun tour of some beautiful Savannah neighborhoods. I think the short run helped with my soreness because by the end of the weekend, aside from a few blisters, I felt great. Our last night was spend at Treylor Park where we, of course, enjoyed some more amazing food and drinks and a quick tour of River Street.
Monday morning, we met up with my family for breakfast at B. Matthews which makes incredible food and provided our last bit of shrimp and grits before we left town. Then we headed back home to get back to our normal routines, with a lot less running for the rest of the week.
Overall, it was an incredible weekend. I’m so proud of everything we accomplished. I didn’t beat the time that I had set for myself in my head, but it was my first marathon. I can’t say that the marathon distance is my favorite, but I am ready to do more, just to prove that I can beat my previous times, and to see if it will get easier. At one point, I hated the half marathon and now I love that distance… who knows if it will be the same? 26.2 miles is a long way to run! But I did it, and I’m so proud of my accomplishments from that weekend. We already have a few more races planned for the next couple of years, so we’ll see where that takes us next!