Savannah 1/2 Marathon = Perfect Execution

Since I always tend to be a little wordy, before I get into a long, drawn-out recap of the race, here’s a little spoiler: I. DID. IT. I achieved exceeded my goal of running a sub-1:46 1/2 Marathon!! The official time:


And for anyone who wants the longer version…

Race Eve

I have to admit I was super crabby Thursday night on the way down to Savannah. Because everyone had errands to run and dogs to get to safe homes for the weekend, we didn’t leave until almost 6:30 p.m., which was about 2 hours later than I wanted to leave. Fortunately there was good company and a stop at Firehouse Subs on the way down to cheer me up! We arrived at our VRBO house, The Savannah Anna, a little after 10 and were pleasantly surprised. Pictures can be deceiving, but this time, they were spot on! It was an old home, on an adorable street, that was updated to have nice bathrooms/kitchen and plenty of space! We went to bed soon after arriving and slept until 9:30 a.m. the next day. It was glorious and much needed sleep. It was the first time I felt “normal” after the debauchery of the week before.

As supportive of my crazy running habits as he is, Brad always enjoys traveling to races more when he can combine it with his love too! So while we took our sweet time getting ready before heading over to the expo, Brad was in a mad rush to get out the door to make his tee time at Harbour Town in Hilton Head. He had an AMAZING day and even made new friends 🙂

Since we didn’t have a car to head to the expo, we did a little Googling and found out that we could take the ferry over from River Street. We weren’t exactly sure where we were going, but we found it and saw some great parts of Savannah along the way.

It was a little cold and windy, but we survived and made it to the expo with plenty of time to brouse around and get free samples. I even bought a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline’s for about $15 cheaper than what I normally pay. We heard that the traffic and crowds got CRAZY later in the day so we were patting ourselves on the backs for making the decision to come in a day early.

Once we got back from the expo and Hutchinson Island, we were on a search for lunch. We ended up at a sub place that was kind of like Jersey Mike’s, but they were super nice and the subs were pretty decent. By then we had done a ton of walking so we headed back to the house to relax for the rest of the afternoon.

We hit up Kroger, which was only about 4 blocks from our house around 5:00 to get supplies for dinner. We made my favorite pasta with chicken and spinach and vodka sauce (red pepper gives it a kick and Greek Yogurt makes it creamy) and yummy Salted Caramel Chocolate Bars that I originally saw on Susan’s blog. The dinner was delicious! We followed it with a couple games of cards before heading to bed.


I slept great and popped right up when the alarm went off. Heather and I gave ourselves plenty of time to get ready, eat (toast w/peanut butter and banana) and hydrate (NUUN!) before heading down to the start. It was a cold, breezy 10-minute walk but got our blood flowing. As soon as we arrived, we got in a port-a-potty line, even though neither of us had to go. The sweetest girl, Kista, took our picture in line and emailed it to us because neither of us had a camera.

We also didn’t have any throw away clothes and we kinda froze until it was time to get in the crowded corrals, where all the anxious bodies kept us warm. Heather was in corral 16 and I was in corral 3, so I walked her to hers and told her to get in the front of her corral. She originally signed up with a goal time of 2:30, but I knew with her training paces she would be way ahead of that and I didn’t want her to have to waste more energy weaving than she needed to. When I finally got in my corral, there was only about 10 minutes until the start. My Garmin quickly found the satellites and then I waited anxiously. Surprisingly I wasn’t super nervous though, just ready to RUN.

The Race

We started right on time at 7:30 and corral 3 moved to the start quickly. I was cold and started slow, not looking at my watch too much. We approached an overpass right away and I was talking to a guy from Atlanta the whole way over it. Before we knew it, we made it over and were headed down the other side. I chatted with him for a few more minutes and was happy to see the first mile was a moderate 8:20 pace. I told him I needed to pick it up after that and I headed off. The next 5-6 miles, I really didn’t feel great at all. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to stop for a potty break and I just didn’t feel fresh. My original goal was to be around 8:00 in these miles, but I felt like I had to push the pace just to keep it around 8:05.

Mile 1 – 6: 8:19, 8:08, 8:06, 8:04, 8:06, 8:02

That was at the 5k mark. Fake it till you make it?

Typically in the early miles of a race, I have to pull myself back to keep the pace on target, but everytime I looked down expecting to see a 7:xx, I would see 8:10 or 8:08 and had to push to keep from losing too much time. Surprisingly, even though I felt sluggish and tired, the miles were ticking off pretty quickly. I didn’t interact with people around me or the crowd much, but just focused on how I felt and the pace. I told myself at 6 to just get to 8 where I would see Brad and Mike. I took Stingers and Gels right on schedule at 2.5 and 5 miles (working around water stops) and finally, finally around 7.5, I started to feel better. I had just seen my friend/co-worker Tim and yelled to him and his girls who were cheering at just after mile 7 and somehow this little burst of adrenaline must have kicked me into gear.

Miles 7 & 8: 8:05, 8:06 (these started to seem effortless)

Not sure what is going on with my hands here?

Shortly after that I hit the Liberty Street area where the crowds were so thick, people were spilling into the road. The people made the street narrow and the sun was in my eyes so I pulled my visor down (as I had been doing all race) and enjoyed the noise as I pushed on. By the time I saw Brad and Mike at 8.5, I was feeling really good. It was weird! I high- fived Brad and pushed on, knowing I only had an out-and-back before finishing up.

Now finally, as I was looking down, I was seeing paces that were faster than I wanted! I pulled back a little at mile 9 to keep it just below 8:00. Then at mile 10, I realized that if I didn’t want to finish this race with energy in the tank, I better pick it up!! So I did. I proceeded to run each of the next 3 miles faster than the one before and I still felt great! At mile 12, I knew that if I finished that final mile in 7:xx, I would easily be around 1:45. I was passing tons of people and absolutely LOVING the feeling of finishing strong. This is a first for me and it is the absolute best way to run a race. Who knew?! 😉 (Answer: Everyone who has ever negative split a race!)

Miles 9 – 13.1: 7:58, 7:56, 7:55, 7:36, 7:25, 6.25 (0.15)

I rounded the corner in the finisher chute and my watch said 1:44:00 and I sprinted the finish to get in under 1:45. I threw my arms in the air and enjoyed the moment of crossing a finish line strong. My unofficial time on my Garmin was 1:44:42 and I was pumped!

I quickly grabbed my medal, some food, water and took my finisher picture and headed back out on the course to find Heather.

Thanks to her neon green/yellow shirt, I easily found her at mile 11.7ish and ran her in until we reached the chute and I had to peel off. She kicked it into high gear and toughed out her way to a 2:10 finish for her first 1/2 Marathon!!

It was an awesome day all around!

We followed the race up with the short walk home, then ice baths! It was Heather’s first!

The rest of the afternoon was filled with this:

Mimosas! And celebrating!

We capped of the great weekend with naps before dinner and Mellow Mushroom/football that evening!

About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, weekend fun. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Savannah 1/2 Marathon = Perfect Execution

  1. Emily says:

    Congrats on a great race! The negative split thing is absolutely the way to go. Hope you enjoyed Savannah!

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