My First Half Marathon: Inaugural Savannah Rock N Roll

by tinareale on November 23, 2011

One year ago, I heard about the Rock N Roll race series coming to Savannah. One year ago, I was pregnant, uncomfortable, and not feeling very much like myself. One year ago, I craved a challenge. I let the idea of signing up for this race roll around in my mind, although I seriously doubted it would happen. I wasn’t a runner and didn’t think I could take on such a goal.

Nine months ago I started the Couch to 5K program. Nine months ago, I fell in love with running. Nine months ago, I felt the allure and couldn’t get the thought of this race off my mind. Nine months ago, I determined I would race this race.

Two days ago, I ran my first half marathon. Two days ago, I witnessed my body do something a year ago I thought impossible. Two days ago, I shocked myself.

It all started bright and early with a 4 am wake-up call. I fixed myself up a cup of coffee in the hotel and got dressed before heading to the mall shuttles to take us over to the race course. Our bus got lost for a bit, but I didn’t mind the extra long drive. In my mind, it kept me out of the cold and allowed me to leisurely eat my pre-race meal.

Once we finally arrived (after quite a few detours and  confusion), Peter and I walked around to kill some time before the race and attempt to stay warm. The couple of hours we had passed relatively quickly and before I knew it, I needed to head over to my corral for the start.

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Despite the large crowds, the race itself didn’t feel too packed and the wave starts made everything a lot less hectic than I anticipated. About 10 minutes after the official start, I made my way up with my corral to take on my first half. And I was off!

I instantly felt fantastic. It didn’t take the typical mile or two to feel warmed up. I settled into a groove and when I saw my pace felt very comfortable at 8:40 minute miles I kind of got nervous. I didn’t want to go out too fast! But I couldn’t slow down. And I didn’t slow down. In fact, my pace kept picking up.

  • Mile 1 = 8:41
  • Mile 2 = 8:37

The race atmosphere, bands playing, cheerleaders cheering, and locals coming out to give their support kept me going with a smile on my face. Miles 3 through 7 passed by in a blur as I just took in the entire experience.

  • Mile 3 = 8:35
  • Mile 4 = 8:36
  • Mile 5 = 8:31
  • Mile 6 = 8:22
  • Mile 7 = 8:27

Then we hit miles 7 through 9. Almost that entire stretch was wall to wall people cheering as you ran past. Truly amazing!

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I can’t even describe the surge of energy and drive I felt during that portion of the race. I wondered if I would hit a wall soon, but I kept on trucking.

  • Mile 8 = 8:21
  • Mile 9 = 8:16
  • Mile 10 = 8:11

After the ten mile mark, I glanced at my Garmin. I knew I would hit my secret goal of under two hours, which comforted me because I thought there was no way I could keep the pace I had going. I had never run this fast for such a distance.

I ran mile 11 in 8:21 and noticed how good I felt. At that point, I decided to just give it my all. Things had gone well so far and I felt really good, so why not let my body achieve something unimaginable for me? I didn’t have much longer and told myself I could handle anything for just a couple more miles. I bolted.

  • Mile 12 = 8:02
  • Mile 13 = 7:49 (holy cow!!!)
  • extra .2 on Garmin = 1:28 (7:07 min/mile pace)

I wanted to finish strong and finish strong I did. I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes from the overwhelmed emotions and my arms held high.

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With an official chip time at 1:50:08. 1:50:08!!!

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I completed my first half marathon. And I can’t wait to do another…then another…then another. Who knows what is next? Smile I just know I want to celebrate this sweet victory a little longer…

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  • What’s a goal you used to view as impossible, but have since accomplished or work towards now? Or what’s a goal you secretly want to accomplish?

{ 4 comments }

1 Terran Leigh November 23, 2011 at 8:40 am

I secretly want to accomplish a 1/2 marathon! I have my eyes set on one in May and hope to work my way up to it!

2 tinareale November 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Good luck!!! I know you can do it!

3 Rebecca November 26, 2011 at 11:41 pm

That is really awesome! I recently did my first half marathon as well, at RnR San Antonio, but I got slower as the race went on. If you told me a year ago that I would run a half marathon and enjoy it, I would have laughed. I am doing my first marathon in February, and while I should only focus on finishing, I secretly want to do it in under 4:30.

4 danielle November 28, 2011 at 10:01 am

Tina, You rocked this race! It was so great meeting you in Savannah!

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