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. Kristine @ Running On Hungry says

    Nice work!! Sub-2 hours is a fantastic 1/2 marathon time! I ran a 1:58 in August and I’m still living off that runners high! 🙂

    I’m running a 1/2 tomorrow and reading your recap got me really pumped up! 🙂

    Now PLEASE go to Paula Deen’s restaurant and blog all about it! I’m begging you.


    • eliza (Zestyappetite) says

      I went there for my…..16th?? I think Birthday….My grandparents live in Savannah….its very delicious..I think I got the fried Oysters..but legit everything is paula deen fashion aka 80 pounds of butter


  2. says

    Congratulations on the fantastic time!!

    My cousin ran too and she PRed with 1:58:50!! I am so proud of her, especially since she recently started running again after beating breast cancer.

    Congrats again, and safe travels home tomorrow!


  3. Kelsey says

    congratulations julie and ryan! i am so inspired by this post. i like that you told yourself it’s okay to feel uncomfortable, that definitely clicked in my mind and am going to start telling myself that. me and my friend have been thinking about running a half marathon for awhile now! the most i have ever ran is a 10k and the most she has ever run is 15k. i am now so inspired…thank you


  4. says

    Big congratulations! I love that you and Ryan planned on running together. I like it when a couple is all about the team–my husband and I even wrote it into our vows on our wedding! Great job again on the awesome run!


  5. Kristen @ notsodomesticated says

    Congrats to you both!! Under 2 hours is amazing in my book! I’m hoping to be able to keep under an 11:00 mile pace at mine next weekend haha!


  6. eliza (Zestyappetite) says

    Congrats Julie! you are Ryan are picture perfect cute……like seriously. I have my half marathon on the 20th and you really inspired me…..

    Savannah has such a special place in my heart because that is where my grandparents live….they live right on Gaston road… Forsyth park….and actually my mom is there right now!……

    another thing is Forsyth Park has meaning to me as well because my uncles ashes are buried with a tree in that park… he passed away very young at age 31….and well we call it uncle Sam’s tree :)…..beautiful place…Hope you enjoyed yourself


  7. says

    When I ran the Nike Women’s marathon in California, one of my friends stashed a camera in an arm band and we actually stopped along the route and had people take pictures…and still finished sub 4 hours. haha. You took quite a few pictures. Where did you stash your camera?

    Congrats on your awesome accomplishment 🙂


  8. says

    Congrats to both of you guys, Julie! A 2:00 half is my goal for my next race (in March), and, like you, no run is easy for me. You just got me really, really excited to work towards that goal!


  9. Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen says

    Congrats! I’m in Savannah too and ran the full with my hubby today! I loved the course and you guys both did awesome 🙂 I laughed at your comment about your hubby’s legs because my hubby is 6’0″ and has really long and gangly limbs and I always tease him about it 🙂


  10. Jenni says

    Congrats!! What an accomplishment!!

    I am running my second half marathon in exactly one month and honestly, I’ve been hitting a wall in my training. It’s 9:30pm on a Sat night and this post just gave me such a boost of confidence and enthusiasm right now that it reminded me of how I felt after I ran my first half and was so proud of myself for just finishing! My goal this time is 2:20 and this post was EXACTLY what I needed to get my bum back in gear. Thank you! I’m going to wake up tmrw morning and show that long run who’s boss!


  11. Kaella says

    Congratulations Julie!!! It kinda made me tear up to read that Ryan and you ran together!! It must have been amazing to have each other there for support. What a special memory! Thanks for being such an awesome role model!


  12. Shanna says

    Congratulations! What a great accomplishment and fabulous way to kick off a weekend! What pace did you train at to get the sub-2? that’s my goal for the SF half marathon and i don’t know how fast to do my long runs! any help would be fantastic! Thanks!


  13. Annie says

    well done!! That’s amazing hun’, you must be so proud! After all your running posts I’m “considering” starting to run a little instead of just sticking with the treadmill!


  14. Nathan Miller says

    Congrats guys…you have no idea your will power and mental strength until you run that far at one time, just finishing my first FULL marathon three weeks ago, I know that its so so hard to put into words how it feels to cross that finish line. congrats and way to beat the 2hr goal. Very hip!


  15. Jess says

    That is an awesome finish time, congratulations! I am a new PBFingers reader and just love your writing. You seem like such a fun person to hang out with:-) I like checking out what you are up to during the day. Also, my husband and I moved back to MPLS from Savannah last year where we lived for about 3.5 years. Such a lovely place!


  16. says

    CONGRATS girl! That’s so awesome! My secret running goal is a sub 2 half…can I maybe borrow Ryan for a race? haha!

    Once again congrats! Coming from a “normal” runner I know that’s a great accomplishment!


  17. Amanda Stewart says

    Great job! I live just 20 minutes away in Bluffton, SC and also ran the half. It was incredible! I really wanted to get under 2 hours as well and ended up coming in at 1 hr. 53 minutes! My running buddies that I’ve been training with came in at 1hr 38 min, 1 hr 47 min. and 2 hours 12 minutes. We’re definitely not used to running with hills (even though they were baby hills) and I think it effected all of us. Congratulations on your accomplishment!


  18. says

    Fantastic job! This is so inspiring because I have the same 5k and 10k pace, but once I hit the 10M mark I slow down BIG time..I’ve only ran 10M once though and it took me 1hr 50min *eek*. I also walked the last half mile though I was so exhausted lol. Who knows though maybe one day I can be as speedy as you and Ryan :)!!!!


  19. Julia says

    Congratulations! I’m running my first half next weekend and I was wondering where do you put your Gu chomps while running, nothing I ever run in has pockets


  20. says

    Congrats on the sub-2 hour half!! That is awesome. I LOVE that you two ran this race together – my husband and I do the very same thing and it just makes it so much more special to cross that finish line right beside eachother. Awesome race to both of you!!


  21. says

    Congratulations on finishing in 2 hours! It looks like you had a blast running this together. I had to laugh about spectator sign! That is too funny! You know there are some individuals out their ripping as they run!


  22. says

    Congrats! I’ve always had a sub 2-hour half as my goal and this year i got super close…2:01:02! But no matter what time you get, there’s no way you can feel disappointed if you gave the race your all. So for me, that’s the ultimate goal.


  23. says

    Congratulations you guys!! Honestly Julie I think I will be exactly in your footsteps this weekend. My hubby and I are doing our first 5k, and while our training for it has been really unpredictable with my shin splints and his crazy schedule he tells me being on week 2 of C25k that he’s running 3 miles already while I’m down to 2….because of the leg stride. He’s 6’1″ and I’m 5’4″, I should be staring at the back of his shirt the whole time too 🙂 Glad you finished under 2 hours, awesome!!!


  24. Anne says

    hiii juliee!
    i’m running the rock and roll marathon in march! this is gonna be my first, so I was wondering if you had any training tips? nutrition and mileage wise? thanks!

    p.s i’ve been missing sadie..picture soon?! hahaha


  25. says

    What a great achievement. You should be so proud. I haven’t done a half marathon yet but I have signed up to one in February and one in March. I am not fast and am just hoping to finish those two, maybe one day I’ll do a sub 2!


  26. Caitlin says

    Congrats to you and Ryan! I finished Savannah Saturday as well in just under 2 hours- such an amazing feeling!! Actually saw you guys during the race!! 🙂


  27. 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? 🙂


  28. 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 🙂


  29. 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 ^~


  30. 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!


  31. 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.


  32. 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! 🙂


  33. 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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