Monday, April 8, 2019

Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon - Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!



Oh WOW what an incredible weekend!! 


As you know I have been not so well since my marathon weekend in March. I have had some asthma related bronchitis with a cough that has just settled in long term. Seriously I am going on almost a month now. 


With this going on I decided before I left town that I would take it easy at this race. I really wanted to experience all of Savannah and enjoy every minute. *Spoiler: Somehow of all the things I enjoyed I totally missed Forest Gump that everyone else got pictures with!!!! HOW did that happen?


Tess went with me which was an added treat!! A little mommy daughter time is always super special! 


We loaded up Friday morning and hit the road! We didn't leave quite as early as planned, we were on the road around 7:40 and we had steady rain almost all the way there so we took our time, had a few pit stops along the way and made it into Savannah just before 2pm.


We drove straight to the expo. The expo was located at Kehoe Iron Works which is a cool venue location in Savannah (would make for a beautiful wedding venue). Compared to other races I would say this was a smaller expo. There were several vendors and all the most important things were there so I thought it was great! We checked in, got our bib and headed down the stairs to get our gift and then move through the vendors there. 



This is the first half marathon I have done that you did not get a race shirt. I am on the fence with how I feel about it... One one hand I have several race shirts that I never wear so maybe it would have just gotten lost in that pile, on the other hand, I just feel like I have to have a race shirt lol!! They did have shirts available for purchase so if I really wanted a shirt I could have easily picked one up. 


They did however have a very nice participant gift! We were given a great duffel bag which will is certainly much more usable and most half marathons I have done don't do give aways quite like this so that made up for the lack of shirt for me!


The expo also had several other vendors giving away 13.1 stickers, cups, makeup remover wipes, and so much more!

Tess and I left the expo and had some time to kill before we could check in at the hotel so we drove around and checked out one of the historic cemeteries and then headed over to Tybee Island. 








The beach was rejuvenating for these water sign girls!




We then headed back to downtown and got all checked in at the hotel and freshened up! We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and I was very happy with the location and the hospitality! I was 1.3 miles from the start line of the race.

Tess and I headed to dinner around 6pm. We planned to go to the Pink House and I called ahead to make a reservation to find that they were closed from renovations until Monday. We found our plan be at Garibaldi's! I highly recommend! I also highly recommend reservations... We didn't have any but they just so happened to have a table for two nestled in a quaint window in the corner of the restaurant and it was perfect! I loaded up on cheese and pasta and Tess had a steak! 



We then walked around just a little in Savannah after dinner then headed back to the hotel and made sure I was ready for race day. 


I slept well and got up at 5am to get dressed, have coffee and head to the start. I had planned to leave the hotel at 6:15 to walk to the start. Luckily I met some other runners heading to the start as well and walked with them and got to Forsyth Park with time to spare.

*Insider tip - Bring or wear bud spray. That didn't occur to me and luckily I was not super bothered by bugs but some runners were and most locals had bug spray and/or wipes!



I meet up with some Skirt Sisters at 6:50. 


I met up with my friend Crystal from home.



I then meet up with my fellow Bib Rave Pro Samantha for the race start! 


The energy was so beautiful there! So many women gathered together in this gorgeous city was incredible. 

I decided since I was still under the weather I would start with the 2:30 pace group. I wanted to take it easy and settle into a comfortable pace and not feel pressure to keep up with anyone. 

I took two puffs from my inhaler about 30 minutes before the race. We then lined up and were off!

I pulled away from the 2:30 group within the first mile but I figured they were just a few steps behind me. I again decided not to look at my watch at all during the race. This is my new magic trick/secret super power I think.

I kept a comfortable pace to keep my breathing under control. I was still coughing a lot and still wheezing even after using my inhaler so I did not want to exert myself. 

The course was breathtaking (no pun intended). We ran through the live oaks with Spanish moss draped across the canopy, we ran on the old cobble stone streets, we ran through quaint neighborhoods and through several parks. 


At about 5 1/2 miles in I saw my friend Crystal. I knew she had planned to start with the 5:15 group so I thought I would settle in and stay back behind her. As I got closer to 6 miles I was gaining on Crystal and so as I pulled up beside of her I told her I couldn't talk and breath easy but I was going to run with her for a bit. Somewhere between miles 7 and 8, maybe at an aid station I lost her. I have later learned that she was dealing with the worst case of chafing I have ever seen. She wore a skirt that did not agree with her at all!! After seeing the pictures I am surprised she was able to keep running. Ouch!

Throughout the entire race I had been following two girls and letting them pace me. They were a very consistent pace that felt very comfortable to me. For most of the race they stayed a few steps ahead of me. 

Do you do this at races?? I seriously always do. I find someone who makes the run look easy, I settle in behind them and just keep in step with them allowing them to pace me.

I had initially decided that since I felt good I would try to run to mile 6 without stopping. I had my watch set for the 3:1 intervals and so I planned to transition to intervals after mile 6. I did walk through the aid stations to get water but resumed running as soon as I had taken my sip. I was carrying my Nuun and Gu but I grabbed a water at each aid station. At mile 6 I decided I would get to 6.5 miles or half way before I'd take a walk and then I ended up not taking a walk break until about mile 7.5. 


These ladies I had been following, toward the end, were playing boomerang with me. I'd see them ahead of me, then I would loose sight of them, then I'd realize they had fallen behind me, they'd pass me then I'd pass them, and so on and so on. 

I didn't take all of the interval breaks but I did take about every other one. Just before the Mile 12 mark I took a walk break. I suddenly felt the creep of an asthma episode coming on. My chest was beginning to tighten and I was beginning to struggle to get air. Only. One. More. Mile. I thought. 


As I approached Mile 12 the ladies ran up along side me and asked if I wanted to finish with them. 


Runners really are amazing people. So encouraging, so motivational and this was the energy I needed at that very moment. 


I of course said yes and got back in stride. I ran beside them for a moment but my shallow breaths made it hard to speak and thus I couldn't explain that I was unable to speak as I had to choose speak or breath at that point. I told them I was going to settle in just behind them and I followed along for a bit. I believe they stopped at the last aid station and so I lost them again but I am forever thankful for the boost they gave me!



I finished strong with my second fastest half marathon 2:20!!



At the finish we were given our medals and a bag from Publix with a fruit bar, orange, banana and water inside. 

I was feeling frighteningly unable to breath, my air way was severely restricted. I moved through the finish coral and grabbed my inhaler. I took only one puff since it was still so early, normally I wouldn't use my inhaler less than every four hours. It really is a terrifying feeling not being able to breath. It's not like exertion and heavy breathing (I wish) it's not being able to inhale at all! After using the inhaler again I began to be able to breath. 

The after party was great there was music, Mimosa's, etc. 




I then headed back to the hotel to shower. Tess and I then went out for some post race pizza and ice cream!
 



We had an amazing time!! I am already looking forward to running this one again next year!! It is a must do!






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