Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah

  Nov 10, 2016  |  #Georgia

I can’t wait to share more thoughts about my first marathon last weekend at the Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah. I also plan on recapping my nutrition strategies for you! And, I even have a short video at the end if you make it that far.  🙂

Sorry, this is a long one with lots of words, but I write this in hopes of helping anyone who may run a marathon someday, or specifically the rock and roll marathon savannah.

A race recap of the Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah, what to expect on the course and how my first marathon went

As you may know, I ran the Rock n Roll Marathon Savannah last Saturday. We got to Savannah last Thursday night. I wanted Friday to be pretty low key and casual, and didn’t want to feel rushed. I actually spent most of the day on my feet Friday, which was something I DIDN’T plan on doing, but it all turned out okay! We went to the expo to pick up my bib and just spent some time scanning everything.

I have never done a Rock and Roll race before, but have heard great things. Clearly, I was very excited to run the Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah.

Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah Recap

While I used to be nervous and freaked out about the distance, I was actually pretty excited to run the 26.2. I was mentally and physically prepared for the marathon. This video made me laugh a little before the race.

A race recap of the Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah, what to expect on the course and how my first marathon went

Saturday morning (race day) started early. We got up at 4 am and I had my typical pre-race breakfast, some coffee, water with nuun, and oatmeal with peanut butter, yogurt and fruit. I prefer this peanut butter because it’s simple on the stomach.

Pre race breakfast for Rock and Roll Marathon

We were parked by 5:45 and started walking the mile to the starting line. I wanted to conserve as much energy as possible, so we walked slowly. It was chilly! I had a long sleeve shirt and long pants on.

Once I went to bag drop, I put the pants in my bag, but kept the ratty long sleeved shirt, which I ended up ditching at mile 3. Here are some cheap long-sleeved shirts if you don’t have any. Highly recommend grabbing some before the race so you don’t end up giving away an expensive piece of tech wear.

The Starting Line

By 7:15, I was lined up in my corrale. The rock and roll marathon savannah race started at 7:30.

Lining up in Corrale for Rock and Roll Savannah

It was certainly an exciting atmosphere. I was actually really hungry before the race started, so I opened my first Huma gel and had half of it (the pomegranate is my favorite flavor). Numerous people had told me to start slow, and Ed reiterated it. He told me not to run faster than 9 minute mile pace for my first 2-3 miles, then I could speed up a little bit depending on feeling. I stuck to the plan, which set me up well. I felt really good for the majority of the race!

Miles 3-5 (8:36, 8:38, 8:19; 5k split: 27.50)

My pace started to slightly increase after mile 3. Despite being overly excited, I kept reminding myself that I had SO LONG to go. So, I just did what felt natural.

Miles 6-11 (8:19, 8:16, 8:15, 8:13, 8:22, 8:31; 10k split: 54.29)

At this point, I continued to feel good. I finished my 2nd full huma gel. Though I wasn’t “hungry,” I had been taking bites every mile or to prevent myself from getting hungry or depleted at any point. I also planned my huma gels before a water stop was coming up, so then I could wash it down with water. I also kept my own water bottle with tailwind in it, which also provided me with calories, carbohydrates and sodium. Another key player I couldn’t have gone without!

Huma gels for fuel during marathon

I grabbed some water from every water stop and I think that really helped. You want to make sure you don’t fall behind on your water intake. If that happens, you can’t catch up and your performance will suffer. So it really worked for me to have a sip or two at each stop alongside a swallow or two of gel.

I was finding my groove, as I expected. Once I got out of the large crowd and masses, I knew I was running my race. The race would start to split at the half mark, so I kept telling myself to make sure I still had a lot left at that point. It can be really depressing to reach the halfway mark, see people finishing, and know that you still have a couple hours of running left. The half marathoners stayed straight to finish, while the full looped left on the Harry Truman Parkway.

Miles 12-14 (8:15, 8:28, 8:30)

Miles 12-14 were pretty bland because we were just on the freeway. I think there was maybe one band, but there were none to very little spectators, and nothing to look out. Honestly, I’m not sure why they included this in the race. It was pretty boring, and would be even more brutal on the way back.  My half marathon time point was right around 1:51.56. I was ahead of my goal pace, but tried not to freak out.

Miles 15-20 (8:20, 8:18, 8:14, 8:07, 8:29, 8:37)

The course got a little bit better at these miles, as we turned into the Medical University Center and then went through Savannah State University. This was probably my favorite part. The students were out cheering, the atmosphere was lively, and I had hope that the end was in site, and I was still feeling good. We went through the campus and essentially did a big loop.

My 20 mile time was under 3 hours (my goal), right around 2:50. Around mile 20, though, my entire lower body started hurting. My shoulders were getting sore too, but I knew I had to keep powering through. My pace started to slow a tiny bit, but I was still feeling relatively good overall. I knew I still had some miles left in me so I started relying on the “pump up” songs from my playlist. My focus was on the consistent fuel and water. It was helping, because I realized that body was adapting to and using the carbs and water.

Stole this from the website…

A race recap of the Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah, what to expect on the course and how my first marathon went

Miles 21-23 (8:33, 8:49, 8:22)

Essentially, we were back on the Harry Truman Freeway at this point. This was my least favorite part of the race. There was a slight hill with mile 22. At this point, I was really hoping we’d get to the city streets soon because I needed some scenery and people cheering.  There was no crowd support or spectators at this point, and people were beginning to hit the wall at this point.

I started wondering when I would see Ed and my parents and I was starting to feel like I needed them. Ed had run the half (he finished 7th by the way!), and I knew he was tracking me on his phone, so I knew he would find me. Just after mile 24, right before we headed off the highway, I saw him. He snapped this photo and started running alongside me and telling me what to expect for the remainder of the course.

Running in Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah

Ed was so encouraging, telling me how great I was doing. While I was encouraged that I was way ahead of my goal time and finish, I knew the last two miles would be the hardest yet.

Ed knew I was hurting but he kept reminding me to drop my arms and run relaxed. Lucky for me, he helped me navigate the half marathoners who were still on the course so I could pass them. He told me my parents were waiting by the finish line when I asked if they had arrived. Hearing that gave me the extra boost of motivation I needed.

Running in Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah

Miles 24-25 (8:36, 8:12)

I took my headphones out and just listened to Ed’s coaching the last two miles. He told me how great I was doing and that I was almost there. Even after mile 25, the final 1.2 miles sounded really far. I just kept telling myself, “10 more minutes,” “9 more minutes,” and kept counting down.

While it’s hard to feel any bit appreciative when you’re in that much pain, I tried to remind myself how lucky I was to even have this experience in the first place. I took in the scenes, the people, the weather, and even my hard earned sweat. I began feeling appreciative, but tired and overwhelmed at the same time. ALL THE FEELINGS!

Mile 26 (7:46)

About half way through mile 26, race volunteers and workers started cheering loudly and saying I was almost there. Then, I heard my dad cheering, which was just what I needed for the final boost.  Funny story: He figured I’d be exhausted by this point and he would be able to run alongside me to the finish. However, I was running Ed’s pace and blew right by him. He couldn’t keep up but he got a great video! By the way, Hurdy was my highschool/college nickname.

Here’s his video!

For the final minutes, I just kept telling myself how close I was and how hard I had trained for this. It was the most pain I’d experienced in running, my bottom limbs felt numb and I felt like I was going to throw up. These are not exaggerations! The finish line seemed farther and farther the closer I got.

I’m in total pain…

Running in Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah

Whatever I had left in me, I used. I thought I saw the finish line, yet it ended up being a slight right turn, which was quite devastating. The finish line was still maybe 300 yards away. I had just given everything I had left in me, thinking that was the finish line! At that point, I just did the best I could.

Upon crossing the finish line, it took a few seconds for it to hit me. I HAD FINISHED A MARATHON! I was tired, sore and shocked and just wanted wtaer. People were handing me chocolate milk, water, bananas, gatorade, etc. My parents and Ed met me at the finish line and it felt so good to be done. I grabbed some water and a banana, and headed out to Forsyth Park, where people were gathering after the finish.

Running in Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah

Final Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah Thoughts

Running in Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah

Looking back, I don’t think I “hit the wall” at any point. The consistent fueling with my huma gels (4 total) and water really helped. I avoided the gatorade by all means since I practiced with it once and got stomach cramps immediately. I also had my own water bottle with tailwind that I sipped on when the water stops were further than I thought or I felt thirsty immediately.

After the race, I got a quick 5 minute massage on my shoulders and legs and drank some chocolate milk and Michelob Ultra beer, since they were giving it out for free. Great refueling if you ask me! And we got these sweet jackets as marathon finishers!

It was such a fun finishing atmosphere and I would love to someday race the Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah again.

Running in Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah

My finish time was 3:41.57, which I was thrilled with. I was the 190th finisher overall and the 42nd female out of 1151. In my age group, I was 11th. I’m proud of these accomplishments. It’s amazing what the body can do and a relief to see all of my training pay off.

Take a minute and be proud of yourself, for something…anything at all. Tell me. I’m linking up with Hoho Runs and Misssippipiddlin for the Weekly Wrap!

What are you most proud of right now?

51 responses to “Rock and Roll Marathon Savannah

  1. Wow you were BOOKING it at the end in the video! That’s awesome! Congrats again on being a marathoner and thanks for sharing your experience! I’ve only run halfs so I’ve never tried to use gels or anything like that. That’s definitely something I’d want to try for a full!

      1. Yes, definitely! I’ll probably wait till after college since I’m usually operating on slightly reduced sleep and energy haha and training for a race may not be in the cards right now but I want to ASAP!

  2. Such an awesome race!! It sounds like you ran really well. You definitely gave it everything you had and its awesome that you never really hit the wall. How great that Ed was able to run at the end with you! Im sure that his encouragement helped alot. Congrats again!

    1. His encouragement definitely helped! I’m glad I had fun with it…I was really hoping I wouldn’t hate the marathon distance, but I think I want to do another!

  3. Oh my God I know exactly how you feel! I started crying before the race in the starting chorale because I couldn’t believe I was there! The last 6 miles really are the pain cave aren’t they? You did so well!

  4. Wow. Aha – this was so intense to read!! I felt like I was reading a thriller novel… I kept wondering what was going to happen and just wanted you to pull through!
    And holy man did you ever. You are giving it in that video!! What is so awesome is I can feel all the love and support beaming out of Ed and your family. Having Ed run beside you must have been such a feeling of support and encouragement. They were all there for you!!
    Congrats, Sarah. This is a massive accomplishment. Something I will never do, but really loved reading about the process as it was happening. Now rest!! <3

    1. I didn’t mean for it to be like a thriller novel but I’m glad it kept your attention! 🙂 Ed is a life saver, such a keeper he is. I am enjoying catching up on so much rest!

  5. Oh my goodness what an accomplishment! It sounds like you had an amazing race. Hearing from all the marathon finishers in the past weeks has made me really want to run one. Although I don’t have the time to train now, it’s a great goal for the future. For now, maybe I’ll try a 10 miler or half. Thanks for inspiring me!

    xxMeah

  6. Congrats on such a strong and smartly run first marathon! Your husband is so encouraging – it’s so sweet to read!
    I didn’t take in enough water or electrolytes during the first half of my marathon and it’s what set me up for a rough half of the race. You were so smart to hydrate and fuel consistently!

  7. Congratulations on an amazing first marathon! You worked very hard and the yummy icing on that cake was the race experience itself.. You should be very proud. I watched your Dad’s video. You were smoking that pace late in the race. That jacket is very nice. It makes me want to run it now! Thanks for linking, Sarah!

  8. Wow, what a way to kick off your marathon career! 🙂 Such great pacing and I love how Ed coached you in at the end. Congrats to him too!

  9. Congratulations! Say it with me, you are a marathoner! And a speedy one at that! A great time for your first one. Did you catch the bug? Will there be other marathons in your near future? Enjoy your recovery!

  10. I need to start having either oatmeal or yogurt in the morning again! :O That yogurt looks so good! Congrats + great job on your first marathon–you should definitely be proud! <3!!! That's such an amazing accomplishment!

  11. CONGRATS! What an incredible race! Your pacing seemed to pay off so well. I’ve run 3 marathons, but never paced myself well and hit the wall hard all 3 times. I’m not sure if I’ll ever try again, but if I do I want to work on pacing the most,

  12. Wow, congratulations on your marathon, what an amazing job for your first time!! I’m running my first one in Philly this weekend and I’ve started to get a little nervous, lol!

    It sounds like you had the perfect race! Love the jacket too 🙂

  13. Congratulations ! That is an amazing time for your first marathon. You make it sound so easy ! What training plan did you use ?
    Doesn’t the accomplishment feel great ? When is your next one ?

    1. Thanks, Karen! I just combined a few random ones and my husband (who used to be a college coach) made a few tweaks. I hope to do another in the spring maybe…any recommendations?

  14. I smiled so big when I saw your finisher’s photo. Isn’t it absolutely incredible that we were created with bodies that can run 26.2 miles, recover, and LOVE doing it all? This makes me want to do another marathon so bad. 🙂

  15. Do we ever plan on being on our feet all day before a marathon? I bet it was hard not too in such a beautiful city. I’ve visited only for a few short hours which left me wanting to explore more!! I hope to get back there!
    Sarah, YOU are a MARATHONER!!! Doesn’t it just feel awesome lady? You trained hard for this and dug deep, deeper than you ever though but you finished and finished strong!!! A huge Congratulations to you!

  16. Hi, thanks for sharing us a video and great post.
    Did you have a wonderful race and enjoy it? I love to join in such this campaign. So much fun and I can see it in every smiles 🙂
    Nice day to you.

  17. Wow this is awesome! Good for you, it must feel great to be a marathoner! I have been thinking about doing a marathon but I need to train for it, a lot! I am an avid runner just have never put anything together for a race. How long did you train for? How long do you suggest training for? weeks, months, years? Again, good for you! This is a huge motivator for me. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lindsay! My training plan was about 4-5 months out, but I have been running consistently (10-13 mile long runs) for the last year or so, so I did feel that my body felt primed. If you feel like you have a good base, 6-8 months may be a good training season but it really just depends! Let me know if you have any specific questions, I have a few posts on my blog about marathon training under the Running Section!

  18. Hello,
    Congratulations !!
    I am running my first full tomorrow morning and I am freezing out!
    You mentioned in your post that you had water with you but i dont see anything on you beside your side pink bag – where was your water ? I also feel reassure to have some water with me but I am afraid that my water bottle (wrap at my hand) will border me 🙁

    Any recommendations ?

    Sylvie

    1. Hi Sylvie, thank you. How did your first full go?? I hope it went well! I carried a plastic water bottle until it ran out, and then I just got water at the aid stations. I practiced running when holding a bottle and that helped me mentally!

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