Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

What a race!!!

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The Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah half marathon was one of the most memorable race experiences of my life.


Because Ryan and I finished together in LESS THAN TWO HOURS!!!

half marathon time

I can hardly believe it.

We woke up a couple of hours before the race start to eat something (I ate a Snickers marathon bar sample from yesterday’s race expo) and quickly changed into our running outfits before layering our throwaway clothes on top.

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I talked Ryan into buying matching sweatshirts yesterday at WalMart for only $5.50 each so we’d look really cool. My headband/ear warmer was a little less than $2 from WalMart and I ended up stashing it before the race along with my horrible velour purple sweatpants. They will surface again, my friends!

After taking off our sweatshirts at the start, we laughed when we saw a woman immediately grab one to wear. It was a chilly morning, but not insanely cold. It was the perfect running weather.

Yesterday at dinner, Ryan started to talk about running a sub-two hour half marathon. I knew he  could do it on his own, but since he said his plan was always to run with me, that meant I had to run a sub-two hour half marathon. A daunting task!

I didn’t admit it to him at the time, but ever since I signed up for the race, running it in less than two hours was a goal I had for myself in the back of my mind.

Thank goodness for Ryan and his “big ass monkey legs.” (<—Awesome nickname I gave his legs, huh? I named them this during the first half marathon we did together in 2007 when I looked over and saw that one of his strides is like two of mine.) Without Ryan and his pacing and encouragement, there is absolutely no way I would’ve finished in 1:58.

At 7:30 a.m., the race began!

When we started running, we saw the 3:50 marathon pacer and tried to stay with that group for the first four miles. It was definitely faster than I was used to running on a long run, but I felt good and my breathing wasn’t strained. I took water at every station but two and ate Gu Ghomps at miles 5 and 7.

I wish I had more to say about the race course itself like I did when I ran the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon last August, but I felt like I was watching the back of Ryan’s shirt almost the whole time, so I saw a whole lot of Nike dri-fit blue t-shirt. He kept dropping back to run with me, but I liked it when he ran slightly ahead of me because it pushed me into running at a faster pace to keep up.

I do remember loving the support of the spectators and the people of Savannah. Spectator support and energy motivates me so much and makes a run so much more exciting and fun.

My favorite spectator signs?

  • Run faster! She farted! (with an arrow pointing at the guy’s wife)
  • Word Parade Ever

I also love it when spectators bring dogs along. We saw a few German shorthair pointers that looked a lot like Sadie, prompting Ryan to say, “If we finish in under two hours, Sadie will be at the finish!” I called him a liar and told him he was slowly killing me by making me run that fast! (And no, Sadie wasn’t at the finish line, but we did see a vizsla!)

The last few miles of the race were the hardest for me, likely because I didn’t really pace myself in the beginning like I usually do during long runs. About 0.2 miles from the finish line, I called out to Ryan, “We’re gonna do it! We’re gonna beat two hours!”

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It felt awesome to be running toward the finish line knowing that we were about to achieve a goal I honestly didn’t think I was capable of achieving. I know two hours isn’t an incredible time for amazing runners, but it is an incredible time for me.

I really don’t consider myself a natural runner and no run – whether it be two miles or 13.1 miles – is particularly easy for me, so I’m always just excited to finish a race!

During the run, I said a couple of things to myself repeatedly:

  • It’s okay to be uncomfortable
  • Think of how awesome it will feel to beat two hours

Just thinking of how I’d feel if I beat two hours was enough to make me run faster. Two hours of running and pushing myself harder than I ever have during a race was more than worth it for the high I am feeling right now!

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Once we finished the race and we got done celebrating at the finish line, we headed over to the VIP tent for some food and water.

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Maya, the wonderful social media manager for the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series, and she gave me and Ryan access to the VIP tent which was such a treat. (Maya also got engaged two weeks ago! Congratulations again, Maya!)

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Surprisingly I had a really hard time eating much right after our run. Though the food looked delicious, I wasn’t at all intrigued by the desserts which is absolutely crazy for me. All I wanted was SALTY food and I ate roast beef, two pickles, chicken salad and three plums.

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I don’t know where the plums were from, but they were the best plums I’ve ever had in my life. (Perhaps that’s a famished runner talking?) I also ate a Snickers marathon bar and chugged two bottles of water before we left the tent and headed into the crowds to explore the site a bit and enjoy the band that was playing in Forsyth Park.

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Eventually we made our way back to our hotel where we showered and immediately hopped into bed to relax for a few hours before heading out for more food (aka cookies ‘n’ cream milkshakes and hot dogs) to fuel us until dinner.

And on that note, it’s off to dinner! I’m not sure how my feet are going to feel when I slip on the heels I plan to wear tonight!


  1. Liz says

    Congrats on breaking 2 hours, Julie! That must’ve been very exciting for you guys.

    I ran the NYC Marathon this weekend and I think I saw 2 or 3 signs that said “Worst Parade Ever!” — must be a trend in road races right now? :)


  2. Samantha says

    Wow… So funny. I just got back to Nashville tonight from a long weekend in Savannah. During the race, I remember thinking… I know those people but could not for the life of me remember how. I just figured it out! Congrats on your AMAZING time. My next goal for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half in April is 2:30. Already excited :)


  3. says

    Congrats Julie!! My boyfriend just moved to Seattle in August, and we have a really long, brutal year of long distance until I can join him this coming summer. There’s a marathon in Seattle the month I’d be moving out there and I kind of think it would be an amazing experience to train up, fight through the LDR and the marathon at the same time, and then have him there for me at the finish line 😀 😀 it’s all metaphorical and stuff ^~


  4. Laura@mypurposefullife says

    Major congrats Julie and Ryan! What a huge accomplishment. You should be so proud! I especially love that you did it together. I have done two half marathons and am planning on one this spring and I’m trying desperately to coax my soccer player boyfriend to do it with me. :) I love seeing couples race together. Props to both of you!


  5. says

    Congrats on your great finishing time Julie. I hope to one day run a race (any race) with my husband and seeing you and Ryan running together just reminded me of that goal. My husband is a free diver and he doesn’t really like to run but he has started to run with me at the park. We are planning to do a Disney 5K in the future. But for now, I’m focusing on training for the Disneyland Tinkerbell half marathon in January 2012.

    Great job again.


  6. says

    Congrats on finishing in under 2 hrs, great pace! My hubby & I live in Sarasota and almost signed up for this one, mainly b/c we got married on November 6th last year…in Savannah! We’re both runners, so it would’ve been fun/romantic to be in Savannah for our 1-year anniversary. Except, running another half didn’t sound so fun, or romantic, to me at the time :) …so I passed. Maybe next year though! Looks like it was a fun race. Anyway, congrats again! Love your blog! :)


  7. says

    We ran the Savannah RnR this year and I totally agree about the spectator support. It was amazing! Especially the first part through a not so great part of town. The “Worst Parade Ever” sign was back and my husband (who was running, too) cracked up!



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