RNR Savannah Marathon – A Spectator’s Perspective

I was SUPPOSED to have written this last week, but I guess life got in the way and BAM! it’s the next week. It was warm last week, and from everything I’ve seen from the people I know around the country, it is NOT this week. Bye, bye summer/fall! So I was trying to get outside and do as much stuff as I could, like play football with the boys and wash/wax my car, rake, clean up, spend time in the sun. So finally, without further ado, here’s my race recap from a spectator’s view.

On November 8th, my husband, Andy, ran his first full marathon. I was lucky to be able to be there with him, and it was a first experience for me at being a spectator at a marathon/half marathon without me running in some way. It was probably the only race I have been to where I didn’t feel jealous of all the other runners, which is a new experience for me! I thought I’d write a race recap, but from my perspective. He is planning to post his recap as well, so be sure to check out his blog for that post (that he hasn’t written yet)!

We headed south on Thursday (the race was Saturday), and on Friday he said his shakeout run was terrible. Considering how my shakeout run felt before Boston, I thought it was a good sign and he was going to have a good race day!  Bad shakeout run/feeling like crap the week before a marathon = good marathon. Or at least it HAS, so I take it as a good sign.

Here’s the deal with the “bad running”. When we have “those” runs,  and we feel like we’ve never run before, we simply say, “Felt like Elaine dancing today.” Anyone watch Seinfeld? Anyone see the one where Elaine “dances”? Yeah, it’s not good. So when we describe our run like that, we automatically know it was crap. Here’s Elaine dancing so you know what I mean.

We were soon ready and heading down to the expo near downtown Savannah.  From what I remember of RNR New Orleans’ expo, I wasn’t impressed, but I was found to be incorrect about RNR Savannah. Besides all the RNR garb (i.e. overpriced merchandise), they had a really nice expo with lots of vendors. We had a good time going around getting samples, buying a few things here and there, and finding cool races that we want to do really bad now.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

We saw Andy’s good friend from way back in high school who was running the half as we ate our linner (too late for lunch, too early for dinner), so that was cool.

Andy was ready to run the next day. He started eating burgers the night before long runs, so I went and got him one at a restaurant right by our hotel. We stalked the weather forecast, and it was turning out to be really nice. Cool mid-40’s in the morning and topping out in the 60’s in the afternoon. That was the only thing I was jealous of, the beautiful weather forecast.

Because there’s pretty much zero parking in Savannah, we got the pre-paid parking pass for the garage downtown (thankfully), but the only downside was that we had to be IN the garage by 5:30 am. That’s an early morning for us all, but especially the kids. I was just hoping it would all turn out ok…we went to bed early that night.

Up and at ’em, we got to the parking garage with ten minutes to spare, so we hung out in the warm car for a while. Soon, we headed to the start area. The sun was coming up, and it was going to be a beautiful day!!


Before the race started. Such a FUN atmosphere!

Before the race started. Such a FUN atmosphere!

We saw a local friend who was running his 100+ half marathon, and made our way to his corral. Time flew by, the music was blasting some good tunes (it WAS the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon), and it was time for Andy to start!

I was planning to see him around mile 5 and then again near mile 8. After that, the course took the runners too far out of down town for us to be able to see them. The boys and I took off and started walking towards the mile 5 area, viewing beautiful Savannah along the way. Did I say that Savannah was gorgeous? Wow. We saw the first place people for both the half and the full going by, and it was impressive. So cool to see them go by so fast!

Random sign I thought curious. Kill your liver, save the kids?

Random sign I thought curious. Kill your liver, save the kids?

Gorgeous, beautiful morning in Savannah!

Gorgeous, beautiful morning in Savannah!

I anticipated Andy going around a 10 minute mile. Right about that pace, here he came. I was wearing my 2014 Boston Marathon coat specifically so he could see me (seriously, people on the friggin’ MOON could see me in that coat), and it worked well. He came over, threw his gloves off, and was on his way. I was so happy, so thrilled, so nervous for him.

Right at mile 5.

Right at mile 5.

The boys and I walked to the mile 8 area and waited. Soon, we saw him. It isn’t entirely too difficult to find a 6’5″ guy in a Clemson orange shirt in a crowd; however, I did realized that a LOT of people were wearing orange. He looked good, and I was, yet again, struck with nervousness, exhilaration, and happiness that he worked so hard for his goal and was doing it! And he was right on pace at a 10 minute mile. And was still at my mile 10 update. Boom. (I just realized that THIS was when I saw the leader group go by… but whatevs, I saw them and it was cool.)

Mile 8, going strong!

Mile 8, going strong!

After that, we had until he finished to see him, so we headed to downtown to grab some grub.  The food was warm, the waiter was super nice, and the coffee was filled with caffeine.  We decided to Forsyth Park where the finish line was so we could catch the bands playing and relax a little. In the meantime, the caffeine hit, and I had a panic attack because I didn’t get Andy’s 13.1 mile tracker report. What the hell. Then I heard a helicopter fly over. OMG. He’s dead. I knew it. He’s one of THOSE who has a heart attack in the middle of the race. THAT’S why I never got a race report. Ok, I had my cell ready, I was pacing as I waited (and waited and waited) to use the jons at the finish line. A bunch of people texted me about his progress. I c.a.l.m.l.y. replied to everyone except for one, where I exclaimed that I was FREAKED out that I hadn’t heard from him. Finally, I did what anyone else would do, check the online tracker and check on him. It said some awful thing that he was either really off pace or that he stopped running. Then I put in some random names (dammit, one didn’t finish and one was at the freaking front of the pack) and in that time, I realized that hmmm…. there WASN’T a 13.1 mile tracker report – 5k, 10k, 10 mile, 20 mile was it. WTF. There SHOULD HAVE been one. So I had to wait from the 10th mile to the 20th mile (literally, an eternity) for an update. My poor phone. I stared and stared at it to make it give me an update, and finally, FINALLY, he was at mile 20. Crisis averted. No heart attack. Sigh. How do people DO this????

Fountain in Forsyth Park. Had the lines to the jon been much longer, I'd have used it as a toilet.

Fountain in Forsyth Park. Had the lines to the jon been much longer, this would’ve been my toilet.

So we waited. Phillip Phillips came on the bandstand, and it was time to go watch for hubby. We were pretty early, but I really had no idea how he was going to run his last 10k of the marathon. The only thing I knew was that I was NOT going to miss him finish! We waited a while and again, right at the 10 minute mile mark, here he came around the corner. I was beside myself with pride, told the kids, “HERE HE COMES! THERE HE IS!” and we watched as he came down to slap our hands. He passed by, and I leaned over the fence so I could literally WATCH him cross the finish line, and then we took off to meet him at the finish.

On the home stretch!

On the home stretch!

I texted everyone I was in contact with who wasn’t tracking him themselves, and we made our way to see him. He looked just as he should… exhausted. But he was happy. He grabbed his food loot and we made our way behind the bandstand where we could sit and he could relax. Sigh. He made it. He worked so hard, and he can now call himself a marathoner. I couldn’t be more proud. And he got to hear Phillip Phillips’ song Home. It’s not a fave due to overuse, but it’s cool to hear a popular song live.

My Marathoner

My Marathoner

I have to hand it to all your Sherpa people. That is friggin hard work. Trying to get to a certain place at a certain time, looking through crowds, not really knowing if you missed them, waiting for automatic updates, not knowing if you missed them, and your face is one they seek. I’ve never been a marathon Sherpa before, and I would love to again. It’s a serious job, and I’m thankful Andy has been such a good one for me through so many races!

So will Andy run another marathon? I certainly won’t count it out. I think he’s ready to get back to some running, nothing serious, nothing too structured, but I can see him running another one some day. And I’ll be right there, cheering for him along the way.

**I have a few updates regarding my “training/injury”, but will post them on a different day. Let’s just say that, right now, I’m cautiously optimistic about running the Houston Marathon.



Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “RNR Savannah Marathon – A Spectator’s Perspective

  1. Congratulations! You guys are an awesome inspiration!!!

  2. Really enjoyed reading this Kelli. You are such an AMAZING support as a “Marathon Sherpa” for Andy!
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Thanks and he has sherpa’d for me so many times, I can’t even count, so he was due some support. I’ve watched a few 1/2 marathons and 5k’s he’s done but have never seen him on the course. This was so fun and will plan on doing it again. Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. Huzzah!!! Congrats you your husband!

    You sounded like I did during my husband’s English Channel swim. I was a mess and I didn’t even sherpa. My husband Sherpas for me like a champ, so it was neat hearing the other side of it from you (usually my hubs grumbles about how sore he is because he hates running. He even had a run in with an empty parked stroller during one of my halfs and ended up with bloody legs and hand.) the sherpa is no glory for sure.

    And those 2014 Boston Marathon jackets really can’t be missed. I get blinded with envy whenever I spot one.

    • One of the main reasons I want to run Boston again is for a regular (non-moon beam) color jacket 😉 And your husband hates running but swam the English Channel? Hmmm..
      I really did enjoy watching the race, so I may be more apt to go watch and cheer next time. And I love that: huzzah! I’ve got to use that sometime today….

  4. Congratulations Andy!! Being a sherpa is hard work, but it is rewarding and fun to give back. 🙂

  5. Thanks for being there for me on marathon day as well as during training. I appreciate the support.

  6. Pingback: Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Race Recap | Salt Life & Clemson

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