Monday, November 11, 2013

Run Happy: Savannah Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

One of my main goals with moving across the country in addition to soaking up this slice of mountain town beauty that we have with Asheville, has been to see as much of the east coast as we can before moving back to Oregon.  And wow, we've seen quite a bit in the seven to eight months that we've been here.  Boston, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, South Carolina, all over North Carolina and more.  We've truly been living this adventure and we are far from done.  When I found out that I had an opportunity through Brooks to get a free entry into the Rock 'n' Roll Savannah half or full marathon, I didn't want to pass up the opportunity.  I mean, a chance to run in a fun race environment, see the charming city of Savannah that I'd heard nothing but good things about, AND run a race like this on my birthday, November 9th!  Yes, Please.  And Thank you Brooks!  I had so much fun. What a fantastic event!

The past few months of running and making decisions about races have been in a sort of wishy-washy/non-comittal phase.  I changed my mind so many times about what I would do with this Savannah weekend.  At one point I thought I was going to do the full marathon for fun.  Then I changed it to running the half for a fun, easy run and a chance to travel to Savannah.  And I finally decided that I would push myself a bit more this weekend so that I had a good idea of where I was starting fitness wise with Boston training.  I went into Savannah really not having a specific goal.  I didn't even know my plan after the gun went off.  As soon as I was midway through the first mile, I knew my goals:

  • Run happy
  • Push myself comfortably hard
  • Run by feel and NOT by my watch.  I only looked at my watch at mile splits.
  • Tell my body to run as close to 7:30s as possible.  I have this pace easily if I get in the zone.  And I was surprised at how easily it came!  
  • Run my race without comparing myself to my race shape self.  
  • Enjoy being in the race.  Soak up the energy and music around me. Be in the present moment with my thoughts.  
What a great and fun race!  I guess I wouldn't call it a race race as far as know, that dig deep kind of feeling... but it was definitely more than just an easy run.  I pushed myself comfortably hard.  Nothing that hurt but a pace that felt strong, controllable, and like something I could keep up for a long time.  Really, I met all of my goals!  I ran with a smile much of the time, had a few conversations, and soaked up the atmosphere!  I felt strong.  My body, mind and spirit were happy!  What a great place to be off of the past several weeks of 25-30 miles a week (with mostly easy running).  And what a great way to celebrate turning 35 years young!  

I'm very happy with my overall time and experience in this race when I consider where I'm at with fitness, my goals, my comfortably hard effort, and what I expected for this run. Great place to be going into base building for Boston training: 

1:38:19 (I had predicted a 1:42 based off of my earlier wishy washy goals.  That gave me corral 2 out of 20 something.  20 corrals!  That says something about how BIG these Rock n' Roll races are.)

The thing I'm happiest about is how consistent my splits were.  When I first saw that I was running 7:30's I thought it might be too fast so I started to let my Garmin guide me instead of letting my body run by feel. But I fought that and really tried hard to not pay attention to the watch but instead to what my body was wanting to do. And it wanted to run in that 7:25-7:30ish range!  I figured the worst thing that could happen was that I slowed way down at the end and couldn't hold on to that pace at this point in my training. And that would tell me where I was.  But that never happened.  Instead I found myself feeling strong mile after mile.  I think I chose the perfect pace for a perfect mix of 
Comfortable Control
Pushing Myself more than usual

I admit, I was ready to be done at the end!  There was no way I could do this pace all over again for another half right now.  Maybe by April but certainly not now!  

.17 @ 6:32 pace 

What a well-run event!  In addition to loving the course and race experience, I fell in love with Savannah.  After the race, I spent a good hour sitting in the sunshine by a beautiful fountain on one of Savannah's many park benches.  Then after a shower and change of clothes I spent the rest of the day walking the streets of Savannah and soaking up all the charm it has to offer.  Oh, Savannah, I'll be back to visit again!  

The trees in Savannah are something I could stop to look at for hours.  They are the kind of trees that stop you in your tracks and speak to you.  Old, wise, whispering trees.  So many secrets and stories to tell.  This was one of my favorite spots to spend time.

Anyone that knows me well, knows how much I love old and used bookstores.  Especially the kind in a beautiful city that are tucked in... just waiting to be discovered.  That was this bookstore.  If I wouldn't have had my eyes open and taking in my surroundings, I might not have found it.  So glad I did.  It was a highlight of my trip for sure! And yes, those black and yellow Brooks PureFlow 2s do go with that outfit! Ha!  I had cute red flats on but they had to go. I'll take comfort and function over fashion any day.  Besides, that is my fashion.  They are my favorite shoes to wear with many things (the blk/yellow ones). I love running in them too but I'm pretty sure I need a bit more support for the majority of my runs.
Things that say hello to my heart.  Just one of the many things that caught my eye in that old bookstore.  Words, nooks,

After my time in Savannah I spent a night in Charleston with good friends.  As I started to drive home to Asheville on Sunday morning, my husband said he needed a bit more time to get ready for my arrival (think birthday) so I spent a few hours exploring downtown Charleston by myself.  I put my running shoes on and gave myself a run tour.  Another charming city that I will return to!

Driving back home to the Blue Ridge mountains truly felt like returning a place where my soul is most alive.  As much as I love charming old cities in the south and many of the cities and small towns I've seen along the east coast, there's surely something about this artsy mountain town that has my HEART completely.  How will I ever leave this place?  A piece of my heart will always stay...that's a fact.

I drove into my driveway last night to see little bouncing faces and heads peeking out of the window...barely containing their excitement over surprising me for my birthday.  My first step in the house was greeted with a chorus of "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA!", big smiles, and squeals of laughter.  The night only got better from there.  Gosh it feels good to be loved and have people to love in return.

Now time to retire a pair of shoes (love my Ravenna 4's) and start looking towards a successful happy Boston training!  Here's to Running Happy!

These Brooks Ravenna 4 shoes have more than many miles on them!  Time to get another pair.  

What do you think of the Rock 'n' Roll half and full events? Have you ever done one?  


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  1. Two great cities in one weekend- lucky lady! And, happy birthday!

  2. Happy Birthday!!! What a great way to celebrate - awesome job on that half!! I love that you can run like that and still have fun - that is what it's all about!!!
    Savannah is high on my list of places to visit!!!

  3. Hey you! Nice to see that beautiful happy face in front of the old books store! AManda place:) Thrilled for what you accomplished this past weekend, and that includes the race too:) Proud of you! Excited for what is ahead. I am almost jealous that I am on the sidelines this marathon, and don't get to train with you and Jenn. But then, I get to be there and maybe pace each of you for a little bit. Miss you! Keep up the joy and the happy!

  4. Happy Happy Birthday! Glad you had a fantastic race! You are definitely in a good place for Boston training. :)

  5. Happy birthday! Great race, beautiful pictures and a lucky find with that bookstore :-)

  6. That sounds like the perfect way to celebrate a birthday. Congrats on the half - you're speedy even when you're not in race shape.

  7. I've never done a RnR race...too expensive for our budget! So glad you had such a great race...I had a similar, though much slower, experience this Sunday. It was wonderful to feel good, even when I felt not so good.

    And the pictures are just beautiful. Of love to visit out that way!

  8. Hey you!!! Yes, such nice consistent splits!!! And a HARD finish:) Great job off of such little mileage and no real training! So promising.

    Savannah looks beautiful and so happy you had such a wonderful birthday weekend!! Every time I see a bookstore I think of you:) Not a whole lot of quaint little bookstores in northern MN-ha!

    I've never done a Rock n' Roll! My sister is running RNR Vegas again next weekend. She loves it!! XO

  9. Great job on your race! I did the Rock 'n Roll Portland half last May and loved it. I've already put this race on my "must do" list for next year. Happy birthday to you!

  10. Happy birthday lady!!! I think races are a great way to see an area of a country! I mean you could take in the Cape with one of our races! :-) Amazing pace and great race Amanda!!

  11. That is beautiful! You are so fortunate to be able to have this year of an adventure! Love the old bookstore. Great job on a 1:38 with wishy-washy goals. :-) Happy Birthday!

  12. Happy Belated Birthday. So, glad you took a day to yourself for your birthday. I haven't done those Rock N' Roll marathons.

  13. You've made me want to visit Savannah, too. Congrats on a fast race with even splits!

  14. What a wonderful birthday gift to yourself :) Sounds like you had a lovely time!

  15. Happy late birthday, Amanda!

    I'm so glad you had a chance to do this race!! I would love to go to Savannah.
    Every time I get a chance to do an RnR race, something has been in the way, either injured or recovering from another race.. someday maybe.
    Your bookstore photo is so cute!! You are glowing! Is it as good as Powell's?
    I can imagine how nice it was to get that greeting when you came home. ♥

  16. It is great when you achieve your goals and keep moving forward! In order to get help with my fitness goals and receive the most recent information on trainings, exercising and right nutrition I am reading I have found a lot of tips which help me keep moving and never stop!

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