My first ever marathon was the Rock N Roll in Savannah, GA. Savannah is one of my favorite towns in the country and it was great to see it in a different way. It was a nice weekend.
I started the morning at 4am eastern time. I’m on central back home, so other than being the butt crack of dawn, I didn’t have any daylight savings issues. I ate a cliff bar for breakfast and downed a bottle of water before leaving my hotel room. I parked at the convention center at 5:30 and decided to use the portapotty before crossing the river. The ferry line ended up 1000 people longer during that time! I saw a gorgeous sunrise while waiting for the ferry though.
This is a "Welcome Runners" sign.
Obligatory marathon selfie. Green bibs means 1/2 marathon.
I ran a fairly strong first 5 miles. I loved seeing all the people cheering us on from their houses at 8am. Their coffee smelled so good! I felt like I took off too fast. Looking at my 5k time, it only seemed like I was going too fast; there were far too many people so close together to really take off. (36:41 5k)
We ran through Savannah State University for about 3 miles, including a lap around the track. There were some guys stretching before doing their own runs at the school and I yelled out to them “we are just warming up the track for you!” They laughed. One of the band singers (I think at miles 14.25 and 17.5) yelled out at us that he would be running his marathon after we finished up. I told him I’d be waiting for him at the finished line. I was in really good spirits the entire run, though I definitely slowed down quite a bit after the half. I think it was mostly because I felt like I was by myself out there and we were running along the highway for a ways. My 20 mile time was 4:16:01.
A Blue Angels plane was on the SSU campus and I had to read the placard to find out why. I live near Blue Angels HQ. This plane was on campus in recognition of the first black man to fly for the Blue Angels. He was an SSU graduate.
I didn’t particularly like running past the soccer field miles 19-22. It felt like the organizers were trying to find places to have us run to make those miles. We were running the wrong way down streets and turning around and going in the other direction. Miles 23 & 24 were back on the highway. The finish line came quickly after getting back into downtown, though the finish line was confusing! There were so many cable ramps and scaffolds that I couldn’t quite see the finish line. I sprinted to the “finish” too soon and had to walk to catch my breath before sprinting to the actual finish. D’oh! And yes I did have that much gas left at the end. I finished in 5:44:43. I put 5:45 as my prediction, so go me!
I never felt “the wall” people warned me about. I noticed pains I hadn’t felt before at points. My butt got tight for a couple minutes, so I awkwardly walked it out while doing a nice meat mallet pounding. My tailbone started hurting. That was weird. My ankles were fine. My calves were really okay. I even made my “A goal” of walking back to the ferry from the finish line. As far as the goodies go, some of the things were packed up already. There were boxes and boxes of pretzels, but no volunteers handing them out. I wanted one of those solar blankets because I was COLD, but again, no volunteers handing them out. I could see the solar blankets on the pallets! The secure zone should be fully manned until the very last runner comes through. There was still over an hour before the course closed. I find this unacceptable, especially considering these people went 26 miles.
Here I am with my medal. I finished.
Actually, not the end. Getting to this point was not easy. In the weeks leading up to marathon day, it was something I had doubts I could complete. I kept reminding myself that I was stronger than I thought I was. There would be days I thought I couldn't run a marathon, but a lifetime ahead of me knowing that I did. Now I feel...