Rock n’ Roll Savannah Marathon Recap

I started my race day at 4am. I hopped out of bed when my phone started ringing and stumbled into the bathroom to get ready. I got into this get up…


Which took all of about 10 minutes (and yes, I put makeup on for races). Then I have no idea what I did for the remaining 50.  I checked my email. Read some blogs. Freaked out a little. The usual stuff.

We headed out to the Savannah Mall around 5-5:15. I made Paula listen to “Let’s Go to The Mall” on the way. I think she thought it was a real video. We got right outside the mall area in about 25 minutes and then proceeded to sit there for another 15 minutes in traffic. I MAY have yelled the hubby a little bit. Sorry babe. Can we blame it on race nerves?

We finally parked and hopped on a shuttle (code word for school bus) within minutes. On the way out we realized we JUST beat the rush. Thankfully we weren’t running late!

We got to the race site about 40 minutes later and started walking towards the start. Out of nowhere my running group buddy Becky ran up behind me to wish me good luck! How funny that in a group of 23,000 runners I see her immediately??

We then start looking for a place to pee and walk past a gazillion porta-potties with huge lines. We finally give up the idea of finding a short line and just get in one. We waited about 25-30 minutes and the nerves kept building and building. Luckily, during that time we spotted Paula’s running buddy, Brad who planned on running with us.

{In case you were wondering if Paula *hearts* Mr. Darcy. She totes does.}

While we were waiting to pee the race processional started. The National Anthem was played (with a major snafu — “I Love Rock n Roll” was playing in the background!) and they started letting the corrals go. I was silently freaking. We were in Corral 12 — and we JUST made it before they let us go (we did a little warm up run to get there). I *almost* forgot my water bottle, but thank goodness the hubby remembered he had it at the last minute!

We took a quick picture right before the gun — and we were off.

I remember shouting to Paula… “We are running a freaking marathon!!”  I think reality finally set in.

Miles 1-3 - The first 3 miles were cold (they gradually got warmer). I couldn’t feel my feet. I couldn’t feel my hands. They were also fast and exciting. We ran through some of the poorer parts of Savannah – but whatever they lacked in money, they made up for in spirit and soul. This was definitely one of the highlights of this race. People were out there shouting, “Good morning!” and just shouting and cheering for all of us. I wished they were at the end of the race too! Another awesome moment was at Mile 3 — the garbage truck guys were out dancing and high fiving with their trucks. It’s seriously the little things!

We kept a moderate pace (my biggest fear was going out to fast) and we hit 5K at 31:37.

Screen shot 2011-11-07 at 8.38.38 PM

I also spotted Allison around Mile 3ish and she was looking strong! Around that time I also tossed my throwaway jacket.

  • Mile 1: 10:01
  • Mile 2: 10:04
  • Mile 3: 10:26

Miles 4-9 - I took my first gel at Mile 4 (and continued to do so every 4 miles) and then we ran for a long time into the sun. I remembering commenting to someone that I didn’t know which was worse – the sun or the wind. I had no idea those words would come back and haunt me. Definitely the wind. Without a freaking doubt.

I knew that we would see the hubby between Miles 6-8, so I had my eye out. Sure enough – he was there around Mile 7.5ish, just before we headed back into the downtown area. He snapped a picture, yelled at Paula, and shouted that he would see me again at Mile 14. Woo!



Miles 8-9 were a huge rush because it was packed full of people (mostly drinking). I got a lot of shouts for my sparkly skirt and people calling my name out. I have to admit, I felt like a rockstar!

At Mile 8ish, Paula commented that it was the longest we had ever run together in a race (which was true) and then I promptly lost her at Mile 9. They stopped for water – but I kept going. My legs just did not want to stop -and I decided to listen. Around that time I also finished my waterbottle of Nuun and started walking at every water/Cytomax stop.

  • Mile 4: 10:19
  • Mile 5: 10:46
  • Mile 6: 10:20
  • Mile 7: 10:28
  • Mile 8: 10:13
  • Mile 9: 11:01

Miles 10 – 20 - Thus began the lonely race without Paula and Brad. Though I did see them a few times as we did a few out and backs (which, for the record – I hate) and it was fun to cheer for each other! These 10 miles felt the best and they also just zipped by. I was able to pick up my speed quite a bit, and I manage to get a minute or two ahead of the 4:30 pace group. I crossed 13.1  at 2:16 – which was pretty much RIGHT on target with my goals.

I saw the hubby again at Mile 14ish – and threw the armsleeves I was wearing at him.

[blackbirdpie id="132830288601550850"]

Don’t worry – this was a good thing! After I saw him, I knew it would be another 10-11 miles before we met again, so I popped in my earbuds and started to jam out to my music.

At mile 18ish they had table salt laying out on the table and I grabbed a few packets and totally sucked them down. My hips/legs were starting to feel crampy. I have NO idea if it was really the salt that helped, or it was just psychological – but soon after I took the salt I felt a million times better.

  • Mile 10: 10:17
  • Mile 11: 10:17
  • Mile 12: 10:04
  • Mile 13: 10:05
  • Mile 14: 10:00
  • Mile 15: 10:05
  • Mile 16: 9:52
  • Mile 17: 9:58
  • Mile 18: 9:57
  • Mile 19: 10:16
  • Mile 20: 10:15

Miles 21-25 - I still felt great going into Mile 21. In fact, I managed to pull out my phone and text the hubby “21″ to let him know where I was. Then the great highway run of 2011 occurred. It started with a slow and gradual climb up an on ramp (if I knew Savannah at all I would be able to tell you which highway we were on. I don’t and honestly, I never want to be on that stretch of highway again). After the first climb, there was a second climb. Again, gradual – but completely against a massive headwind. This headwind lasted for the next 3 miles. Later I found out we getting hit by wind gusts between 15-25 mph. I totally believe it. Not only was the wind uncomfortable and made me wish I hadn’t thrown away the armsleeves – but it made my nose run like a hose. A hose that I repeatedly wiped and blew into my shirt (you’re welcome) and chaffed my nose. It’s still raw.

Around Mile 23 the 4:30 pace group passed me. I could tell you that I felt motivated to go faster. That I wanted to catch up with them, but no. It just made me angry. At this point, I just started screaming, “I hate this f*cking course!” at the top of my lungs. I also texted the hubby and told him I hated the effing wind. Except I used the real word.

Then, Coldplay’s “Fix You” came on my iPod (I listen to it on shuffle – I like not knowing what’s coming next) and for whatever cheesy reason, it spoke to me.

When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

It wasn’t like I was dying or was even considering stopping – but when I heard those words I stopped bitching. I got into my head and I ran. Not fast – but with determination. I turned me around.

At mile 25 I finally saw the hubby again. I ran over, I kissed him, and he said “You’re my favorite runner!” (Which then apparently everyone around him repeated – ha ha). I was ALMOST done!!!


And then – possibly the BEST moment of the race – I heard a voice or a runner behind me. It was Becky!! She was hurting, but commented that I was doing awesome and that I was going to finish and to push ahead. I can’t explain howit felt to see the person I had trained with all summer! She inspired me to kick it up and push it.

  • Mile 21: 10:18
  • Mile 22: 10:30
  • Mile 23: 10:45
  • Mile 24: 11:06
  • Mile 25: 10:41

The last little bit - JUST as I crossed the finish line, I heard the announcer call my name. Then she shouted, “Michelle – You’re looking very sparkly! That’s Michelle Wright everyone!” I’m not sure if anyone heard it (and who knows, it might have all been in my head) – but then I crossed the finish. Hands held high! I WAS DONE.

Screen shot 2011-11-07 at 8.37.39 PM

Screen shot 2011-11-07 at 8.37.46 PM

Screen shot 2011-11-07 at 8.37.08 PM

Screen shot 2011-11-07 at 8.38.09 PM

  • Mile 26: 11:04
  • .2:  10:12

Final chip time: 4:33:21

Screen shot 2011-11-07 at 8.51.50 PM

I didn’t reach my A goal (which was 4:30), but I was close and ultimately, I finished and I finished STRONG.

Screen shot 2011-11-07 at 8.37.55 PM

{apparently a runner’s high also looks like a marijuana high – not that I would know anything about that!}

I found Becky  after and we took this horrible photo… It’s so us.

and then I sat down on the curb with a water and a banana and waited. My face was happy, but my legs felt like they didn’t belong to me. It was surreal.

The hubby finally found me and we claimed my free beer. My phone’s reception wasn’t that hot – so we wandered around for a while before realizing that Paula had texted me.

We did a slow run at each other once we found each other (OK, actually we helped her off the ground) and then we grabbed her free beer and reunited with Brad one last time.

Then grabbed the next shuttle back to the mall — where we ran into Allison again! I thought it was funny how we kept running into the same people. What are the odds? We chatted with Allison and her boyfriend Ryan all the way back to the mall.

They are seriously cute people. Can you adopt adults? Because I would totally adopt them!

When we got back to the hotel the first thing I did was take an ice bath. And the second thing I did was scream.

{Most attractive picture. EVER.}

It was so. so. so. cold and painful – but I think it definitely helped! And bonus? My legs actually fit in the tub!

Overall – I REALLY enjoyed running the marathon distance. People keep asking me if I’ll do it again and the answer is definitely yes. Will I ever run Savannah again? The answer is definitely no. I hated the course. I hated that the majority of the crowd support was the first 10 miles of the race. I hated that effing highway and the headwind that I couldn’t train for.

That said, the next time I run a marathon I WILL break 4:30 – but I wouldn’t change a thing about my race strategy. It definitely worked for me!

And lastly – I know I sound like a broken record – but thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support! I couldn’t have done this race without my wonderful hubby who was the best cheerleader I know, our wonderful family members who watched our kids the entire weekend we were away, Paula for being my best running buddy ever, Kate for listening to me babble on for months, and everyone who followed me along believing in me. You don’t even realize how powerful belief is until you experience it.

Now that this post took me forever to write – I think it’s finally sinking in. I am a marathoner!!!


  1. LOVE the gunmetal skirt, you look great. I heard the wind at the end was killer, great job pushing through. Congrats!

    • Thank you! And while I’m not usually a running skirt kinda girl – I LOVED running it!! I may have to convert :)

  2. I love Mr Darcy too. Ms Bennet is a lucky lady.

    And you guys did really great!!!!
    Alecia recently posted..3/4 of a Cigarette

  3. Love the outfit you settled on and love all the photos. You did such an amazing job, and I’m so proud of you! I’m so excited that all your hard work paid off. You’re such a rockstar!
    Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups recently posted..Breakfast salad

  4. lovelovelove your recap – it made me smile and I’m so proud of you! So glad you had such an awesome race and marathon experience. You’re a rockstar runner!! Congrats on a stellar finish – Team Sparkle for the win!
    Melissa recently posted..Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap

  5. Congratulations on your strong finish, Michelle! I know how hard you worked all summer :) How did you end up liking the dry-fit shirt you wore?
    Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance recently posted..A Bib, Please?

    • Thanks girl!!

      I really liked the shirt! I ended up buying it from Target of all places (they actually have them on sale right now for $9.99! I might have to buy like 10 of them :)

  6. If Robin Sparkles ran a marathon, she’d kill to have your outfit! What a great recap! And you and Dan may just be the most adorable couple on the planet. I love that you ran over to kiss him. Too cute.

    And you? You freakin’ rocked that marathon! So amazing. So proud of you!
    Jackie @ MomJovi recently posted..Queen of the Castle

    • Ha ha! Robin Sparkles WOULD be proud :)

      I don’t know if we are the most adorable couple – but he is a pretty great husband!!

      Thank you SO MUCH for your kind words and support! So when are we going out to celebrate??

  7. Michelle! So amazingly proud of you! What an inspiration you are! And I LOVED the skirt and that you rocked it during your marathon :) love you girl! Muah!

    • You know it took me all day to realize who this was. Ha ha!! (the email threw me off – but DUH!). Thank you so, so, so much. Can you believe I ran a freakin’ marathon???? (I seriously can’t)

  8. Loooove your recap post! And I agree… that damn wind was SO MUCH WORSE than the blinding sun. Holy bajesus. So glad I ran (literally) into you so much over the weekend!! You and Paula (and your hubs) are a hoot and I wish Ryan and I lived closer so we could hear more of your college-year stories in person. My goodness, y’all had me crackin’ up! If we ever come to Orlando I will let you know! And for the record, if adopting adults were possible, I’d so be down :)
    Allison @ Happy Tales recently posted..Ready to RUN!

  9. Congratulations on a great race! It’s been fun following yours and Paula’s training. And it’s great to hear someone who had FUN running a marathon – pumps me up to run my own!!

  10. Great job Michelle! You came out of this like a true champion!

    P.S. I found the salt packets so bizarre.
    Holly recently posted..Kick it in Gear

    • Thanks girl!!

      Salt can help with muscle cramps. It’s definitely weird (and I’m sure the volunteers were like Wahhh?) – but they had it out at the exact right spot for me! If you’re ever feeling crampy during a run – I recommend trying it!

  11. Maryellen says:

    You are amazing!! Love the re-cap.. and your great finish! Loved staying with your babies… that was another type of marathon race!! I am so proud of you as everyone else is in our family! Ms Marathoner”!!

  12. First of all, I am now wearing makeup to my races. And listening to Robin Sparkles beforehand. And I totally want that Mr. Darcy sweatshirt.

    So much to say: Wind is the worst. THE WORST. Fix you? LOVE! I do the same thing with the shuffle on my ipod during races. Your hubs is the cutest with the “you’re my favorite runner.” Your sparkles are awesome, and I actually got a little teary looking at your finish line pics–so inspiring! I am impressed by the ice bath maybe as much as the 26.2. I can’t deal with cold. But, YOU ARE A MARATHONER!!! Like I said on twitter on Saturday #likeaproudmama :)

    XO & Congrats!!!
    Melissa recently posted..That’s What I Like About . . . me?

    • Awww thank you!!! I can’t wait until your run your 1st marathon. I know you are going to — and you are going to ROCK IT.

      I really think the sparkles made the race for me – and I’m sure I can race without them now. Ha. Did you sign up for Sarasota yet??? We need to race together! (although – you are bad ass fast, so I have some training to do!).

  13. Victoria @ Running Peanut says:

    You. Are. A. Marathoner! Yeah, baby! I loved reading your recap. I felt like I was right there along with you!

    How was the salt packets? Had you ever used them before? I’ve never tried that!

    • Thank you!! You’re group WAS right along with me for a good part of the race. Ha ha. It was so funny seeing them!

      I’ve never used salt before, but I’ve read that they can help with muscles cramping and it really did. I downed the salt and chugged some water – and felt better within the mile. I know Paula uses salt tabs – I think for the same reason (and she can’t stomach gatorade).

  14. Just in case you need reminding, you’re the shit. You’re a MARATHONER. I’m so proud of you, I knew you would kick ass cause that’s how you do. Great job! :)
    Carolina @ Peas in a Blog recently posted..Pea & Mint Soup.

  15. Woohoo you are a marathoner!!! :) Loved your race report, it totally made me cry happy tears, especially reading about how Fix You motivated you at the end. LOVE it! And love how music can do that….it’s like the ipod knows what you need. You ran an amazing race and should be so proud of yourself! So happy to hear you had such a great first marathon experience, despite the sh*tty course and wind! So, I know you’re only 3 days post marathon, but are you planning to run the OUC half in December? :)

    • Aww thank you!!! And YES – it’s funny how your iPod “knows” what you need to listen to. It’s happened more than once to me.

      I’m not running OUC – but only because I’ll be in Vegas. I LOVE that race though – are you running it? Up next is Vegas, Miami, Gasparilla, and Sarasota (pretty much a race a month!).

  16. This was fun to read and almost makes me want to run another marathon so I can wear a sparkly skirt. Great job, Michelle! There are several marathons in Atlanta, should you want to see a different part of Georgia. Although they are much hillier.
    Lee recently posted..In the Doghouse

    • Thank you!! Even if you don’t run another marathon – you can still wear sparkly skirts for other races. Team Sparkle all the way!

      My pace lead lived in Atlanta for a long time – so I’ve heard A LOT about the races in your area. I MIGHT consider running the Georgia Marathon some day. It’s at a great time of year AND it’s run by Publix. They have great races (in my experience!).

  17. Congratulations Marathoner! I think I totally would have cried when your husband said you were his favorite runner at mile 25…ok, I may have teared up a little bit just reading about him telling you that…
    Theresa @ActiveEggplant recently posted..Date Night in the Deep End

    • Thank you!!

      Awwww! It didn’t make me tear up – but it definitely cheered me up! I was so mentally drained that point.

  18. What a wonderful recap! I mighta cried a little… okay, I definately did. You are a marathoner!!! And a mighty fast one!

    I think my iPod knows me too… it always seems to play the right song at the right time. I hope it’s up to the task this weekend.

    All the recaps I’ve read about the expo made me tell the hubs last night “We are leaving early Saturday so I can get to the expo early.”

    I’m so proud of you.. I can’t wait to read about your next adventure!!
    Tara @ recently posted..Home stretch…

    • Awww — no tears!! (We’ll blame it on taper, ok?)

      Thank you so, so much! I can’t wait for you experience your first this weekend!

      Definitely try to get to the expo early — and any kind of transportating, parking, shuttling situation you are in. Early NEVER hurts.

  19. You are awesome! congratulations!!!
    Christina recently posted..BOO!

  20. CONGRATS MICHELLE!!!!! You are awesome! It sounds like despite the wind you had a really fantastic first marathon. I hope you are enjoying some much deserved rest time. Can’t wait til you decide which marathon will be next!
    Jess recently posted..Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Week Nine

  21. Congratulations Michelle! Sounds like you had an amazing time throughout the whole thing. Have a safe trip back to Orlando!
    Faith @ For the Health of It recently posted..Girl Bonding

  22. julie16750 says:

    Really enjoyed reading your recap. The skirt looked great (glad you went with Team Sparkle!) and “Fix You” – how perfect. Your recap makes me want to take the leap to a full. Congratulations on a job well done.

    Hope to meet you gals in Vegas!

    • Do a full!! It may not be pretty – but it was definitely an experience I will always remember.

      What’s funny is that Fix You was the last song I added to my play list. I almost didn’t include it because it starts out so slow – but at the last minute I threw it in there. I’m not religious – but God certainly works in mysterious ways!

      Yay for Vegas! I am getting so excited about that trip!

  23. Great finish! I rather enjoyed hearing the SSB with “I Love Rock n Roll” in the background. It was very… festive!

    And I definitely agree with you: I will never run Savannah RnR again- the highway with the wind SUCKED!
    Danielle @ Long May You Run recently posted..Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Race Recap

  24. It wasn’t all in your head…I was watching the video stream on the RnR website while I was stalk…,er,tracking your progress and I heard the announcer. That’s why I tweeted, “That’s Michelle Wright!” right after you finished. I was almost as excited as you. Okay, maybe not, but it was pretty cool. Congratulations on being a Marathoner! Great recap!

    • So funny that you heard it too!! I was totally psyched – it was really the icing on the cake :)

      Thanks so much — and I love that you were “stalking” me!

  25. Woo-hoo, congrats on the finish! Great job on meeting your goal. You and Paula are seriously adorable – you look like you two would be an absolute riot to hang out and run with. Oh, and for the record – love that Coldplay song. Gives me chills every time!
    Megan @ On The Road Again recently posted..It’s All About The Want

  26. Michelle, congrats! I’m hoping to sign up for my first full in 2012; I’ve done 2 half marathons and it’s time to step up my game! Would you mind sharing what plan you used to train for your full? I know it was a longer one which is what I’m looking for (sorry if you’ve mentioned this in a previous post and I missed it). Congrats again and love the skirt!

  27. You are seriously so badass. I wanted to die in my 10k and you ran a marathon… and ran is well. I’ve loved following your training and it’s such an inspiration!! Love you girl!

    … especially for making paula listen to lets all go to the mall!
    Becca recently posted..Not So Goodlife

    • Well, you are a different type of badass! I’ve been to those body building competitions (my brother competes).

      Hee – so I’m guessing you are a HIMYM fan too? Do the Candians really love Robin Sparkles? :)

  28. Congratulations!!!!
    Maggie recently posted..It’s that time of year again

  29. Congratulations Michelle!! You are a marathoner!! I know that must feel SO good! I’m sorry that the course was rough but overall your attitude about the race was very impressive – we all have those moments during a marathon where we hate life and hate the race, so the fact that you were able to snap out of it and keep going strong is awesome (I also love Coldplay’s “Fix You’ – so so good!) I hope your legs are starting to feel recovered and that you’re still riding the marathon high. Congrats!!

    PS. The gunmetal Team Sparkle skirt looks awesome. I love it!!
    Lauren recently posted..NYCM Spectator Tips: Views from the Sidelines

    • Thank you so much!! It’s somewhat comforting to hear that even the super fast and experience marathoners what to scream “eff you” at the course every now and then :)

      My legs feel great now – thankfully it only took a few days to return to normal.

      I LOVED the Team Sparkle skirt! SO fun to run it.

  30. Ummm…. You rocked it. :) I would be so proud of that marathon time and, you’re right, that headwind was a bitch. But we survived and have the medals to prove it. Whoop. Whoop.
    Meghann recently posted..I run for the shirt

  31. Congrats Michelle -you did an amazing job and you are a marathoner! Great race outfit too!
    I love that you listened to “Let’s go to the Mall” on your way to the mall -ha – I’m a big HIMYM fan :)

    Awesome job again!
    Cate recently posted..Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago

  32. catching up on your blog and CONGRATS on your race!!!!!!!!!!!! omg you did awesome! 4:33 is a time to be very very proud of! your splits are amazing and consistent all through. i hope you are still basking in the glow of 26.2!
    Christine recently posted..The Mind for a Marathon

    • Thanks lady!!

      I did think of you during my run. My hip started to cramp up and I thought — salt, I need salt! Sure enough, salt helped.

      RIght now I’m basking in the glow of a super awesome head cold – but it does feel pretty sweet to tell everyone I just ran a marathon!!

  33. This is such a great story! Congratulations!!

    I’m just browsing blogs about first marathons – I’m training for my first in 2/2012. :-)

  34. I just read this one because I am training for that same race … Savannah in November … as my first full. We love Savannah so are excited to spend the weekend there but now that I’m reading about the course – yikes! Praying for no wind.

    Also, I was *totally* crying at the pics of you crossing the finish line. Inspiring!!
    Andi recently posted..Gasparilla Distance Classic 15k Recap

    • I’m hopeful that RnR learned from their mistakes (it was the inaugural race) and it will be an awesome race for you!!!

      I’m still glad I ran it — and thrilled that I finished. And I will definitely run another one.

      Thank you for the kind comments! It’s still a huge moment of pride — I can’t believe I ran a marathon!


  1. [...] good job at keeping everyone spaced appropriately. In fact, around Mile 3, I ran into (literally!) Michelle and Paula, two other bloggers running the [...]

  2. [...] is my journey! Follow Me!Miles Miles this Month: 71.2 Miles this Year: 1,009.36 Most PopularRock n' Roll Savannah Marathon Recap (64)Life Lessons from #CFLBlogCon (44)What I Wish I Knew (43)Guess What????? (37)A Lot of Firsts [...]

  3. [...] what exactly was I trying to prove? And then the damn song came on. The same damn song that came on during my marathon that made me snap back together and finish the race strong. Yes, it was Coldplay’s Fix You. [...]

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