Savannah Rock N Roll Race Recap

5 of us were to meet at Starbucks to leave for Savannah on Thursday afternoon, but life would throw us some curve balls leading up to our adventure.  One of my BRF’s Kelly started having neck pain and arm numbness earlier in the week.  We ran together Wednesday morning, and she was doing ok, but by Wednesday afternoon, she was in a lot of pain.  Her symptoms were eerily similar to my problem with my neck that kept me off my bike for a couple of months.  Wednesday evening, I got a text from her saying that she was going to the chiropractor and her doctor on Thursday morning, and she might not make it to meet us to leave at 1PM.

Thursday morning started off pretty crazy as it usually does when I’m going anywhere since I wait until the last minute to pack, but I managed to get my stuff together and triple check to make sure I had everything, and then check again.  I think I have some OCD tendencies, but somehow I still managed to forget my pillows.  I left the house with a couple of errands to run prior to picking up my BRF’s.  I filled the car up, and I headed to Dani’s house then Gem’s house to pick them up, and finally to Starbucks to grab Kelly who had called earlier and said she was going to make it.  When Kelly arrived, we could tell that she was in a lot of pain still, but we were all hopeful that she’d feel better the next day.  Natalie finally arrived about 20 minutes late, which is par for the course for her, but we love her anyway, and we tease the snot out of her about her lack of time management, but she seems to handle it all in stride.  We managed to fit all 5 of our luggage into the Suburban, and we were off.

The ride down was fairly uneventful, and we arrived in Savannah in about 3 1/2 hours.  We found our house, quickly unloaded the car, met Rachel at the house, and headed to the expo.

savannah expo

6 of our 8 housemates at the expo

The expo was huge as usual at the Rock N Roll events.  We all picked up our packets and several of us changed our corrals which was very easy to do.  You just had to ask at the corral change table, and they put a sticker on your bib with your new corral.  After changing corrals, we all wandered around for an hour or two, and I spent way too much money before we left.

We drove to Riverstreet, and actually found parking.  Parking on Thursday night isn’t too bad since most of the runners don’t arrive until Friday.  We found a restaurant called Barracuda Bob’s that had great food.  After dinner, we headed back to the house where we met our other 2 housemates for the weekend Kris & Jennifer.  The two of them didn’t know any of us before meeting us in Savannah, but they fit right in with our crew, and we all had a great weekend.

Friday morning, Kelly was still in a ton of pain, so she called someone to drive to Savannah to come pick her up.  It sucked, but for her, it was definitely the best thing since she is still in severe pain today.  She has already had an MRI, and it showed a couple of herniated disc.  She’s in a neck brace, and hopefully it will heal on it’s own.

We were going to drive to Kroger, but as we walked out the back door of the house to go to the car, I saw a big brick building that I recognized from last year.  Yep, that’s right.  Kroger was literally across the street from our house.  We all made a quick trip to Kroger for dinner items, and then we all walked around Savannah to check out the sites and to see where the start and finish lines were.  As we stepped out our front door and walked down the steps, we could see a tent set up at Forsyth Park for the race already.  We were just over a block from the street with the finish line, so we walked to Forsyth Park, and headed towards the start from there.  We were about a mile from the start line which would be about a 15-20 minute walk on Saturday morning.  While on Bay St., we decided to try Tondee’s Tavern for lunch, another GREAT restaurant.  I’ve always stuck to the rule of nothing new to eat the night before a race, so for dinner, we were cooking pasta in the house, and for lunch at Tondee’s I stuck with ribs.  I’ve eaten ribs hundreds of times before, and they’ve never caused an upset stomach in the past, plus it’s lunch, so I should be good, right?  WRONG!  They didn’t bother my stomach, but if you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I had a pretty bad allergic reaction last month while in Florida.  Well, guess what?  That’s right, 38 years of my life and I’ve only had one allergic reaction a month ago, so it only makes since that I’d have another one the night before my half.  My head had started itching an hour or so after lunch, but I didn’t think much about it, but as the evening went on, I started itching more, and then I realized I had hives popping up, not tiny hives either.  I was in denial and hoping it was just something on my skin, so I headed to the shower only to discover how many I had all over me.  After my shower, I walked to Kroger to purchase Benadryl and Pepcid, but by this time, I was getting nervous and itching like crazy.  I took the medicine, and over the next hour, the reaction just continued to get worse, so I admitted that I needed to go to Urgent Care.  I’m not sure if it was anxiety or if the reaction was affecting my breathing, but my chest did feel tight.  Dani rode with me to UC.  She’s a nurse, so I was in good hands.  I walked in, and the nurse working called the dr on call.  He gave orders over the phone to give me a shot of Benadryl, Zantac, and a steroid, and he would be there shortly.  When he arrived, he listened to my breathing, and asked if I was having any trouble breathing, and I told him my chest felt a little tight, but I wasn’t sure if it was the reaction or anxiety, and he said I wasn’t breathing in all the way.  He proceeded to look at me and ask if I was running the race in the morning, to which I replied, “yes.”  He then said, “you know there are other races, right?”  Ummmm…. no!  I told him, “yes, but I trained for this one.”  He then asked what time the race started.  It started at 7AM, and that facility didn’t open until 8AM, so he wanted me to come in to the other Urgent Care that is 24 hours in the morning before the race to do a breathing treatment.  Ugh, our house is less than 2 blocks from the finish line, and we’re surrounded by the course.  Some roads are already closed.  Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen and me make it to the start in time, so back to the house I went feeling kind of out of it from the Benadryl and not really knowing if I’d be able to run the race in the AM.

I didn’t sleep well that night, apparently the steroid counteracted any sleepiness that could have been induced by the Benadryl.  I woke up every hour at least looking at my watch to see if it was time to get up yet.  Dani said the steroid (dex-something) was a lot stronger steroid than what I probably had the first time.  Finally, around 4-something, the house started to stir, and we were all up and about.  All the hives were actually gone!  It took days last time, so it must have been a stronger steroid, and I didn’t wait as long to go to the dr this time either.  I felt back to normal, so I was hopeful that I could PR my half.  Since we were so close to the start, we decided to wait until 6:15 to head to the start line for the 7:00 start.  One last potty trip, and we were all out the door.  The weather had been up in the air, but it ended up being a pretty nice temperature.  It was a little chilly, but not too cold.  I headed out in a short sleeve shirt, hat, ear cover, gloves, a skirt, and arm sleeves.  On the way to the start, we passed a set of porta-potties, so we stopped one last time since we were about 2 blocks from the start, and we got to Bay St. right around 6:55.  We snapped a quick group photo and headed to our corrals.

savannah group

Our group at the start

Dani and I headed to corral 11 to start together just before the corrals all started to move.  As I started in mile 1, I knew my pace was a little fast as the course starts with a slight downhill, so I quickly slowed down, and ended up right where I needed to be for my average over the first mile.  The next 2 miles were pretty much flat and right on my target pace.  I’m not sure what happened in mile 4, but somehow, I ended up at an 11:10 average which was definitely slower than I needed to be, but I quickly got back on target and was starting to hit negative splits, and all was going well until around mile 10 when my pace went back up to 10:31, and I felt like I was struggling to breathe some.  I kept debating if it was all in my head or if my chest was really starting to tighten up, and then I started hearing myself wheeze some.  I’m still not sure if it was from the allergic reaction, or if I just got in my head, but miles 10, 11, & 12 were a struggle, and I finally felt like I caught my breath again around the end of mile 12.  I knew I was going to be close to my PR, but I wasn’t sure as to how close because I thought my PR was 2:17:23, but that was my Garmin time, not my official PR.  I hadn’t entered it into my Garmin page, so I was going off the wrong time.  My real PR was 2:17:42.  I wish I’d have known, and I keep kicking myself for not knowing it.  I question if I could have pushed just a little harder in that last mile if I’d known if was that close.  Mile 13 came in at 10:03, and I felt I had lost my PR, so I wonder if I didn’t push as hard as I might have in the last 2/10ths.  When I finished I thought I’d missed my PR by about 30 seconds, but later I found out my real PR, and my official finish time was 2:17:54.  12 seconds, 12 freaking seconds!  Was it that I didn’t know my PR?  Was it the allergic reaction?  Was I just not back to where I was before injuries?  I don’t know, but January 4th is the Red Nose Half Marathon in Columbus, GA.  It’s a free certified half marathon, and I WILL PR it.

As for now, I have allergy testing on December 4th to try to figure out what I’m allergic to, and on December 7th, I’m running my longest race to date of 30K(18.6miles) in Rome, GA.  I’m feeling pretty good about it.  I have a 16 mile run next weekend, then the race will be my next long run.  I’m hoping to gain some confidence in myself by running this 30K, and we’ll see what the future holds.

My Garmin data

MRTTsavannah ASR savannah

Savannah is upon us!

At 12:50PM today, 4 of my running friends and I are piling into my car and heading down to Savannah for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon.  3 other running friends will be meeting us down there this evening and staying in the house with us, so there are 8 of us total.  Of the 8 of us, this will be the first half marathon for 5 of the ladies.  It should be an exciting and fun weekend for all!  You can track me by following me on Twitter @StephanieMid

The last 2 weeks leading up to this race are proving to be challenging for several of these ladies, including myself.  After my 15 mile run, I realized that I needed to go up a half size in my shoes, so I bought the same brand, same model, just a half size bigger.  They were a different color as well.  They are the Brooks Ravenna 4.  I have loved my original pair, and I never had sore feet when I started wearing them for the first time, but this new pair is a different story.  As soon as I put them on, they felt different.  I could feel something pressing against my arch.  I just figured I didn’t remember how my others felt when they were new, so I went ahead and tried them out on a 5 mile run.  My calves were locking up, my hip started hurting, and my feet just felt off.  I thought maybe my laces were just too tight or something, so for my next run, I loosened them some and gave them another try.  After that run, I hurt so much that I decided I’d have to set them aside until after Savannah.  I was hoping I didn’t do anything that would still be hurting me by race day, and I think I’m ok now, but I did skip my 8 mile run on Sunday due to pain.  I stressed over it some, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t have gained anything from doing it, so it’s all good.  My hip feels better, the arches of my feet are no longer hurting, my only remaining problem is that my calves are slightly tight which is due to mistake #2 (I should have titled this, what NOT to do before your half).

What was mistake #2 you ask?  Trying a spin class for the first time in over 5 years the week of your race.  I know, I know, you’re all saying “no, you didn’t!”  Yes, yes, I did!  I’ve been itching to get back on my bike, and last week I rode for the first time in months, and my arm didn’t go to sleep, but my legs were sore afterwards, so I didn’t want to ride my bike this week.  I figured in spin class I’d just dial down the resistance and keep it low, so I wouldn’t get sore.  Well, maybe that’s not really possible.  I walked out of the class knowing it was a mistake, but luckily, that was Tuesday night, and my calves are the only thing still feeling tight.  I think they will be fine by Saturday morning.

Now, if only my 2 running buddies Gem and Kelly can get to feeling better too.  They are both suddenly dealing with some pains.  Gem is having some knee pain, and Kelly is dealing with shooting pains down both her arms this morning that sound a LOT like the pains I was having from the nerve in my neck that took months to get better.  She is heading to see a chiropractor this morning to see if he can help her.  I’m praying both of them feel better quickly and can enjoy the race.  😦

We load up at 12:50 and head out, so we should get to Savannah in time to check into our house 3 blocks from the finish line, and then head to the expo.  The expo was amazing last year, and I can’t wait to check it out this year!

Good luck to any of you out there that are racing this weekend!

Peachtree City Classic 15k

Let me start by saying that I did survive adding on the additional mileage, and I completed my longest run ever of 15 miles in conjunction with this race.  Sorry I left all of you hanging.  I know you were at the edge of your seat waiting to hear if I did it or not.  😉

I have to say that this race is close to the top on my list of favorite races so far.  I was buying someone else’s bib, so I missed out on the communication from the race directly, but my friends seemed to be well informed of everything dealing with the race.  I drove over to PTC on Friday evening to meet the lady I was buying the bib from, so I could have it transferred into my name.  Yes, transferred people!  That alone is a huge bonus since it seems that most races won’t transfer bibs these days.  The process was actually really simple and quick as well.  The lady picked up the bib, and I walked back up to the pick up area with her, filled out a waiver, and they wrote the bib # on my form.  Done.  That was all it took, and the entire thing took maybe 5 minutes.  They don’t give you your shirt until you finish, so I’d get it the next day.   On the way out, I had some questions about parking and the shuttle, so I stopped to ask the person who was standing at the entrance to direct people and answer questions.  She was very helpful and showed me on the large map of the course where the Kmart was where the shuttle could pick us up if we arrived after 6AM.  To park near the start, you had to arrive by 6AM, so since we were planning to arrive around 7:40, we’d need to take the shuttle or walk to the start.  As I left, I drove from the start to the Kmart to clock the distance since I was planning on adding miles.  It was a little over 1.5 miles, so taking the shuttle, walking, or running are all options to get to the start.

Saturday morning, I arrived at 7:40AM and met Gem, so we could run 3 miles before the run.  She needed 12 miles for the day, and I needed 15.  Her sister and our friend Michelle also rode with her, and they both took the shuttle to the start.  I think they had to wait for the 3rd shuttle after they arrived, but the shuttles came fairly quickly.  Gem and I headed out while they were waiting.  There was probably a shorter path along the cart paths of PTC, but since Gem and I weren’t familiar with how to go, we stuck to the roads.  Since rain seems to love me, rain was in the forecast and started as soon as we began our run.  It was pretty light to begin with, but slowly got worse, and Gem and I were pretty well soaked by the time we got to the start area.  It was a little chilly, so I continued to run until 5 minutes before the race started.  I figured I might as well get in as many of my extra miles as possible before the race, so I’d have less to do after.  I ended up with 4.2 miles before race start.

As I came to the start line, I quickly found Gem and Michelle just before the gun went off.  The race started, and we were off.  The first bit of the race was on a main road, but it soon turned into a neighborhood.  As we ran past one house, there was an older lady (probably in her 80’s) standing behind her clear glass storm door in pants, and nothing on top except a purple bra.  I’m not sure if she was confused by the race or maybe she just liked her purple bra and wanted to show it off, either way, several runners on the course were quite surprised, but it was entertaining.  Towards the back of the subdivision, we headed onto the cart paths.  The cart paths were covered with lots of shade, went through tunnels, through the woods, and around a lake.  The course was marked well, and they had lots of volunteers.  Someone was calling out the time at every mile marker as well.  Towards the end of the course, you exit the cart path and are back on the road for just a short bit.

As we crossed the finish line, I kept running, but since the shirt pick up was after the race, I had to run into the amphitheater, down the steps, get my shirt, then head back up the steps to run some more.  Walking up the steps around mile 14 for me kind of sucked, but it wasn’t that bad.  I had told Gem and Michelle along the course that I would just run back to the car while they took the shuttle since it was about a mile & a half, so off I went towards my car.  I hit 15 miles about 8/10ths of a mile from my car, so I walked the remaining part, and it seemed the further that I walked, the slower my legs got, but I made it to the car.

And off to Mellow Mushroom for pizza and beer we went!