The inaugural Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5K weekend quickly arrived and what a blast we had!
It seems like it was yesterday that Robert Espinoza from Fleet Feet Sports Savannah asked me to go to a focus group to discuss ideas about a race catered only for women.
I enjoyed every single part of the event from the moment I got involved with it. New Balance, one of the main sponsors, had an awesome presence throughout the whole process and treated us, ambassadors, like queens (yes, this means we got all sort of awesome gear!)
The weekend schedule was pretty neat:
Thursday: Girls Fashion Night Out at Fleet Feet
Friday: Race Expo at Hilton DeSoto
Saturday: Race day!
Sunday: Yoga at Ellis Square
Thursday night I went to Fleet Feet where I modeled some of the official race gear with my dear running partner Andrea and fellow race ambassador Victoria. We had a great time surrounded by the female running community while enjoying bubbly drinks and indulging in healthy snacks.
The following morning Victoria and I went to Mid-Morning Live on WTOC to talk about the race and then headed to the expo.
This expo was like no other. It was definitely very exclusive and anyone could tell that the vendors where the best of the best in town: Leopold’s Ice Cream, Satchel, The Salt Table, Savannah Bee Company, among others. There were games, giveaways and a great atmosphere. The volunteers were super helpful and the space was gorgeous (did I mention it was at the hotel’s ballroom?)
This people are so smart that instead of giving away another t-shirt as part of the race packet, they gave every single runner an unique New Balance gym bag! How cool is that?
When you got to the main part of the expo it was basically a super classy New Balance women’s store full of their latest gear. Shoes, shorts, tanks, you name it! I ran into a few friends, including another fellow ambassador, Ashley.
Then the night came and Andrea and I started texting. She wanted to PR and for that she needed to come under 1:44. She didn’t want to run alone and was asking me to help her achieve her goal. Honestly, I didn’t feel ready to take this responsibility. For the past four months I’ve been focusing more on biking and swimming than anything else because I have my 2nd Half Ironman coming up very soon.
This was my 3rd half marathon of the year. My times on the other two were 1:47 and 1:44 so I told Andrea I was going to do my best to help her PR and keep her company (I guess it was kind of a realistic goal) I wrote a pacing chart on my arm that had my previous PR on top and the time we were shooting for in the bottom:
I woke up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday with the great surprise that it was 40 degrees and sunny… Perfect running weather! I put on my clothes and headed to the start line at beautiful Forsyth Park in Savannah’s historic district.
I ran into Andrea, we warmed up and were ready to run… It went by sooo fast!!!!
The route was simply gorgeous. If you are from out of town, this race definitely showcases the beauty of our town. We ran trough different parks, and squares surrounded by great spectators, fun music and the best volunteers (especially at the first water stop where my favorite running people where ready to hand us water and take my extra layer of clothes… thanks Savannah Striders!)
The sun was shining and Andrea and I kept the conversation to a minimum in order to keep our 7:35 pace. When we hit mile 12 I realized that not only Andrea was going to come under 1:44 but that I was going to PR too!!! This made me so excited that for a second I thought I could break 1:40 so I picked up the pace. I started running as hard as I could and when my watch hit 13.1 I was at 1:39 and some cash (yay, I did it!) But, if you are a runner, you probably know that during races you usually run a little bit less or more than the actual distance… This time it was 13.25 miles for me that I completed in 1:40 (a PR by 2:43 min.? yay again!)
I was not expecting this. I’m definitely convinced that all these months of not so much running and plenty of biking and swimming have only make me a stronger runner! I’m only logging around 20-25 miles on the pavement per week but it’s incredible what cross training can do for your performance.
The race ended and we were soooo excited! We hanged out for a bit drinking mimosas, enjoying good music at the park and having great conversations with friends! I stayed for the awards to cheer on some of my fellow striders who also killed it!
The next day, to close this awesome weekend, they offered a yoga class at Ellis Sq. with Biza, one of my favorite instructors here in town but, of course, I got sick… I didn’t get home on race day until 2 p.m. so I guess the cool weather + the sweat was not a great combination. I didn’t make it to the yoga but I heard it was great. Isn’t this smart? Yoga is definitely the best way to stretch sore muscles and have an active recovery after a hard workout.
This is definitely a race that I’ll include every year into my calendar. Thanks again to the Sports Council, New Balance, Publix and Fleet Feet Savannah for putting together such an amazing event that makes us proud of our beautiful city!