Saturday morning I drove myself down and parked near Forsyth Park and joined some nice ladies to walk down to the race start. They happened to be CREWbies as well, so I followed them to Reynolds Square for our group photo before the race. Everyone looked energized and ready to roll! The weather was perfect for race day - nice cool bite to the air. I met up with my running buds Larry and Cealan and made our way to gear check and then headed to our corrals. I loved all the excitement and energy in the air! It's so infectious! You can't help but catch the pre-race jitters! I love to see people from all over visit our beautiful city to run our streets, our home.
This was my first time running the Savannah RNR marathon and I was anxious that morning (and that whole week). So many things were going on in my head - I publicized my goal out to the universe (4:15-4:30 range), thought about all my training for this race, and was determined to PR. Now to just do it. I moved from corral 12 to 9 and ran with Larry. As soon as our corral dashed through the start chute, I made the decision to run at a steady pace until mile 13 or 14 - taking it easy while weaving and bobbing through the pack. I felt great! I made sure to cheer on Team Trust (a group of runners from several states running to honor the memory of Jake Zeman who collapsed and died at the finish line of last year's 2013 Savannah RNR) whenever I passed by them on the course. How inspiring! I also had friends stationed on the course around mile 9 holding up hilarious signs and enticing runners with shots! I wasn't crazy enough to take one!
Once I hit mile 15, I started to struggle just a bit and was not feeling it. In fear that I would hit a wall, I refueled with a Huma Chia energy and it gave me the jolt I needed. I ran into my husband, Michael, as we ran across Skidaway Road to enter into Savannah State's campus. He was stationed at the intersection of Skidaway and LaRoche. I ran by and gave him a quick kiss and went on my way. He and his 2 other fellow cops gave me some words of encouragement and that helped too. The amount of cheer and support through the SSU campus is just amazing! I loved every minute of it.
Larry and I stuck together until around mile 20 around Daffin and he stopped to inspect his blistered foot and encouraged me to go on. So I started running...(did you just read that in Forest Gump's voice?)
I kept hearing the crowd cheering "good job 4:15 pacers!" and could see the pace group closing in behind me. This made me feel like I was on track so I kept with them for about a mile. However, this little competitiveness spurred inside me and just came out of nowhere and I started itching to beat my goal of 4:15. Was I crazy? I knew I was going to PR from my last marathon, so why did I feel like I needed to become this overachiever? When did I go mad? So I started pushing it and my goal now was to just stay ahead of the pacer gripping his 4:15 sign.
My right leg locked up coming back onto Truman Parkway because of the incline combined with my tired legs. I winced, but kept running hoping the pain and tightness would go away and eventually it did. Thank goodness! Here's where I started repeating mantras of "Cecilia - you've got this! Keep going!" over and over again. Did it help? Maybe. It made me feel better anyways.
As soon as I got off Truman Parkway, I was overjoyed. I was so glad that portion was over. However, the rest of the race is a slight incline to the finish. What kind of cruel joke is this? Repeating my mantras again. Refuel again. Just don't HIT THE WALL...or was this the wall that I just careened into? At mile 25, I ran up on my co-worker, Chris, who was running his first marathon. He looked just as miserable as I was so I grabbed his hand, without him knowing it was me, and said, "Come on Chris! Almost there! We've got this!!" I let go of his hand and we started running. Glancing at my watch, I wasn't paying attention to time. I was looking at distance and my Garmin read 25.5 and I just wanted to hurry up and be done. I pushed myself to the finish with my CREW coaches and friends cheering me on, and AAHHHHHH - I was through the finish chute and high-fiving the announcer! I JUST FINISHED MY 3rd MARATHON!! WOO HOO!! AGGHHH LEG CRAMP!! Never ever try to step up on a curb after running with all your might. You will scream like a banshee looking like a mad person gesticulating to everyone that your leg is stuck and you're in pain - all the while looking like you're doing the famous Karate Kid move. True story.
I just shattered my last marathon record of 4:49:23 (Austin Marathon) with completing Savannah RNR at 4:14:31! A new PR! Things can only go uphill (no pun intended or wanted) from here, right?
Later than evening, I had a baby shower to attend for my friend, Crystal. We ordered Mexican food and threw her a "Taco About Stella (her daughter-to-be's name)" party or what we jokingly referred to as the "fetus fiesta". It was a great time with good friends. I got home around 11 that night and crashed. Thankfully the 5K of the Running Festival didn't kick off until 1 PM at Daffin Park the next day. This year, Savannah was one of the destinations chosen to have a Running Festival with extra cool medals and shirts and even a remix medal if you completed an event on Saturday and Sunday. I was supposed to sing the National Anthem that morning, but somehow Competitor's announcer forgot and so I didn't get to sing :( What a bummer!
I told myself I would hobble the 5K because my legs were still aching from yesterday's pavement pounding and what do I do? I end up running that 5K like an actual race. It hurt at first, but then the pain subsided. With a pace of 8:08, I finished it in 25:18. So much for taking it easy. It definitely was a good shakeout run. Once the race was over, I got in line to collect my Running Remix medal and jet on home to shower, get ready, and head on over to Fort Pulaski for a movie shoot that would last until 11:30 PM. Needless to say, it was a LONG weekend and this mama is exhausted!
I need to spend as much time with my kiddos this week because CECILIA IS ON THE RUN! I'm preparing to do it all over again as Michael and I head to Las Vegas to run the strip at night on Sunday, Nov. 16th! Here we come Sin City to run the half marathon and renew our 15th wedding anniversary vows! First time in Vegas for the both of us!