This past weekend, I ran my 11th half marathon, the Publix Savannah Women’s Half. This was my second year running this race, and only the third year the race has been held. Last year, I was coming back from a piriformis injury and ran this as a fitness test in what was very hot and humid weather. This year’s race marked an anniversary of being 1 year injury free, which is a huge milestone for this injury-prone runner. The weather was much more favorable, in the upper 40s at the start, though it did warm up a bit towards the end.
I didn’t go into this race as a goal race, but I was planning to race it given the weather and how good I was feeling. If you remember, I was really focusing this race on my fundraising and running in memory of a family friend who passed away, Lou. I was hopeful that I would land somewhere around my PR, and was happy that I ended up shaving 32 seconds off of my time from DC, setting a new PR! Here’s how it all went down:
Miles 1-4: 9:55/9:46/9:47/9:50
I started out actually a little faster than this and had to settle down to slow a bit. Early on, I was feeling winded, so I reminded myself to be patient. I walked through the water stop at the beginning of mile 4 and took my first gel. That slight break and the gel helped a lot and I got a nice kick towards the end of that mile, though I was feeling tired already. I started to mentally prepare myself for a tough race and was worried I maybe went out too fast.
Miles 5-8: 9:28/9:31/9:41/10:04
I honestly don’t remember much about these miles. I do remember there being a few out and backs, which I liked because I got to see my friend Angie. She looked strong and was around the 2 hour pace group, so I was happy to see she was on track to hit her goal. I walked through the water stop at 7.5 and took my next gel. That was my last walk break of the day. I was feeling super tired and really warm. I was running at bit slower after my walk break, and my friend Brooke sent me a slew of text messages (they go right to my garmin) that legit motivated me to pick up the pace.
Miles 9-13: 9:27/9:40/9:32/9:43/9:58 Last .25: 9:51 pace
I wanted to walk every single second of all these miles, especially the last two miles. I didn’t take another gel or stop at any hydration stations; my focus became solely on keeping running and to push. The last two miles are this super long out and back that isn’t shaded, and I just really started running out of gas. It was around 60 degrees at this point. I wasn’t thinking about a PR here to keep me going, but about everyone I was running for as part of my fundraising. A few really good songs came on during this stretch, including “I lived” by OneRepublic” and I listened to the lyrics and let them pull my forward.
I hope that you don’t suffer, but take the pain
Hope that when the moment comes, you’ll say
I, I, I, I did it all
I, I, I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
Saw some many places the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived
I thought about the emails I’ve received telling me stories of people impacted by cancer, of people taken too young. In addition, I thought of Lou, and I thought of Angie’s friend Kirsten, and I just focused on not quitting. I was so relieved when I saw the fountain in Forsyth Park that indicated the finish.
I crossed the finish in 2:08:50, a 32 second PR! Based on how I felt, I don’t know that I could have run another step, and I mean that. I had to stand in the chute for a few moments to get myself together as I felt dizzy. My friend Angie took care of me and within about 10 minutes I felt better. We went to stretch and celebrate our PRs!
Overall, I felt like my effort was MUCH harder for this race than DC, and I am sure the weather played a factor (it was only 30 at the finish in DC, vs low 60s this past weekend at the finish), as well as probably still not recovered fully from that race AND I didn’t really taper since I still did Barre this week, so I know my legs weren’t as fresh. I also didn’t fuel as well as I would have liked leading up to the race because I was having a lot of digestive issues, heartburn, and upset stomach. However, I’m being real honest when I say I don’t think I have ever raced a half this hard, and I mean that. I wanted to slow down or walk pretty much starting at mile 2. That’s what I’m most proud of – keeping on finding that other gear to keep pushing the entire race.
I also REALLY missed the hills during this race, and I never thought I’d say that. DC had some slight rollers, and I think I prefer that. I found myself really yearning for a downhill – could be a result of what I just said above about how hard I was running. I tried to slow down for bits when needed.Running with purpose: Savannah Women's Half Recap #runchat #savwomenshalf Click To Tweet
Running for charity has given my running purpose again and I have found a new level of motivation that I didn’t know I had. I cannot put into words how grateful I felt to have that burn in my lungs and to feel my legs pushing me along. I am chomping at the bit to continue my training and really focus on improving myself during my marathon training cycle. Something really special is happening as I go on this journey. This has me so excited to see what I can do this fall!
Pssst – want a shirt like mine? You can get the details of how to order one here.