Posts Tagged With: first marathon

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

The Moment You Realize A Runner Has Become…. A LONG DISTANCE RUNNER


First of all, I have some ‘splainin’ to do.  I admit it, last week, I threw myself a teeny tiny little pity party over this stupid swim stuff for the half iron.  I’ve been known to freak out over things, exaggerate, panic and all that stuff, and this really wasn’t any different. EXCEPT that I’m doing something that I’ve never done and have always been afraid to do. But instead of being the shrinking violet who shivers with fear in the corner, then stomps her feet in frustration with balled up fists and screams with crazy eyes,  it’s time to bring out my inner beast and get this swim thing done.

no fear

I mean really, what’s the worst that can happen? 1) I can get bit/eaten by a shark. And as mentioned by one of my fellow running buddies Jack, that’s a hell of a way to go out. Extremely unlikely, obviously, but hey, if by some slim chance the sharks get nutty on race morning, I could make the headlines. I’ve never done that before. And 2) What IF I don’t finish? What am I going to do then? Cry? Quit? No, I’m not. Knowing me, I’d be even more determined to try it again. And the more space I get from the above-mentioned party, the more ridiculous it all seems.  Thanks for pointing that out, Gary. Sorry about that little blip, but sometimes, we all just need to have that party and then get over it. Getting over it is the important part.

But now, on to the title subject matter. It happened slowly. Very slowly, over a decade and several years.  He wasn’t planning on it happening either, and in fact, he probably resisted it.  Over ten years ago, he dabbled a little. He ran a half marathon, training here and there along the way. Just enough to get the job done. Then the running stopped. Ok, there were bouts here and there, but it certainly wasn’t enjoyable (for either of us) or lasting or consistent. He would find pretty much any and every reason to NOT run. Too cold, too tired, too windy, too much beer, not enough time, it’s cloudy, the sky is blue, you get my drift. Three miles was a pretty big deal to him.

Then a year ago, a shift in attitude started. He said, “I want to run a half marathon per quarter.”. I was surprised, but honestly, thrilled. His blood pressure was getting high and he had to be put on medication. I don’t know how much heredity has to do with high blood pressure without being overweight, but the coins were not stacked in his corner on this one. Don’t get me wrong, a half marathon is nothing to sneeze at, but he was able to run one without running more than 7 miles and probably only putting in 10-15 miles per week, if that.  It’s my fault as I was taking up all the weekend times for MY training for Boston. But then again, he never argued.

So, after two half marathons in 2014, IT happened. My husband walked into the room and casually mentioned, “I think I’d like to run a full marathon.” My first reaction was “PSYCHO!!! HAHA!!!! SUCKA!!!!”. No, it was a mix of dreading having to share weekend workouts, and it was a mix of excitement. Now he can see how it feels to train for a run a marathon. Now he can feel the joy of accomplishment like I’ve been able to. Now he’ll know why I’m exhausted and hungry all the time. Good Lord, our food bill is going to be INSANE! I told him that it would be an interesting shift in thinking and that running anything less than 5 miles would become the threshold of feeling like a workout. I must have made marathon running look good, eh?  He’s been my best supporter and friend in my running adventure, so it’s time that I do the same for him.

There he is, all innocent. He is totally oblivious to what decision he will make in just a month. Heh, heh.

There he is, all innocent. He is totally oblivious to what decision he will make in just a month. Heh, heh.

Signing up for a marathon doesn’t make you a long distance runner. But it does change you. You have to look at things differently, IF you do it the right way. You have to prioritize your schedule, your days, coordinate with your spouse on who runs when and where and who will take the kids here and there, who gets Saturday, who gets Sunday, and all that stuff. As you train, your mind shifts. You think differently. You slowly become a long distance runner. You. Slowly. Become. One. Of. Us. Phase I of the conversion happened a few months ago.  I knew he was an OFFICIAL long distance runner was when he said, “I only have 8 miles on Saturday”. Haha. “Only”. ONLY long distance runners think that running 8 miles isn’t very much. As soon as he said this, I immediately replied, “You’ve become one of us. You’re converted. Anyone who thinks that running 8 miles as “only” is officially a crazy runner. Welcome to the wonderful world of long distance running.  I’ve been waiting.”

Phase II of this conversion happened today.  We were talking about our schedule in October and when he would cut a tree down in our yard that makes a huge disgusting mess pretty much all year long. He told me he would cut it down the weekend of my swim race, when he would only have 8 and 12 miles to run so it would be easy, no problem to cut a tree down, cut said tree into pieces, and haul it into the back yard. I laughed at him again and said, “Listen to yourself.”

It’s not like there’s a vocabulary test to take to be a “crazy runner”. Hmmmm, I wonder what would be on it though.













You slowly morph from a runner to a long distance runner. I know I did. And I watched my husband do it too. It’s been interesting. It’s been fun. It’s taken some patience and cooperation for us both to get our workouts in. The house isn’t as clean (totally my fault), and sometimes we run out of milk.  But it’s ok. We have our carbs and Gu. Haha.

Anyway, I’m so proud of what my husband has done in his training. He hasn’t missed one run. He runs in the rain, he runs when it’s a million degrees with a zillion percent humidity (seriously, I’m not exaggerating), he runs with a group, he runs alone, he gets up before 5 am to run, his blood pressure is LOW. He’s reading more Runner’s World than I am, he is learning what Gu tastes like, he is practicing carb loading and what meals work the best for long runs. He is being an excellent role model for our sons, too.  Week by week, his idea of running shifts and his perception of what it takes to run marathons is becoming reality. Going through an experience is so much more valuable and different than watching someone else do it, no matter how close you are to the other person.  And because I don’t hold back, he knows the nitty gritty of MY training experiences. All of it. His race is the RNR Savannah on November 8th, and I have full confidence that he will cross that finish line with a smile on his face and a feeling of accomplishment that nothing else could ever give him.

Welcome to the crazy long distance runner’s club, Andy!!!  I am SO proud of you!!!!


Andy is always there with me, so it's my turn to be there for him as he crosses that finish line.

Andy is always there with me, so it’s my turn to be there for him as he crosses that finish line.




Categories: half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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