Last weekend I participated in my 3rd half marathon. It was my first Rock n Roll series race and I have to admit it was a total blast...including the 23,000 participants!
Here are the positives...we must start with the great things about me and the race, first.
1) The music/ bands at every mile were a ton of fun, even when the scenery/ view wasn't that great! One can expect that if you are running 13 or 26 miles through one city that at some point you will travel through either an industrial section and/ or a "less fortunate" area. For those of you familiar with Savannah, you know that the city is full of both! The first 6 miles were through a 'not so great part of town'. HOWEVER, the crowds(and, yes, everyone was out at 8 am) were awesome! Never was there a moment during the ENTIRE 13 miles that there wasn't at least 10 people along side the road to cheer people on!! Lined up...everywhere!
2) Continuing with the crowds...I have to compliment the residents of Savannah as they were most welcoming to visitors. Signs were in the stores welcoming runners, specials at restaurants for runners, etc...and the list goes on and on. Of course, we brought it tons of revenue (estimated $25 million) for the city. But, you could just feel the welcome and warmth. Way to go South Ga!
3) Great signs! Everyone sported awesome signs of encouragement. My favorite one read like this:
Go, complete stranger, GO!!!
I just love a smartass that makes you laugh!
4) The weather...was nothing short of awesome! It was a tad bit cold to start, in the 40's. But, for runners, that's perfect! The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze (with no gale force winds, thank goodness).
5) The volunteers...what an outstanding job they did! I ran/ walked through several aid stations of water, cytomax (similar to gatorade, although to me not quite as good), GU energy gels (which I was surprised to see were available for half marathon participants-usually that's just for the marathoners..go GU!), and medical aid stations (which, unfortunately, I did utilize-only once, as about mile 9 I noticed I was experiencing some severe chafing on my inner thighs-I am not sure why this happened as I put my anti-chafing lotion on-who knows..maybe the cold or sweat wore it off or maybe I didn't put on enough-it was 5 am when I awoke-all I know is the vaseline was a god send!).
6) The medal and photo shoot after the race were super! I actually had a good race picture! (watch the video of my finish, too-how cool! that's me in the pink shirt and black skirt, about 12 seconds in to the video)
7) The organization of the start and time corrals was great, even though everyone did not abide by there assigned start corral. With 23,000 runners you absolutely have to be 100% organized and everyone cannot start at the same time, for no other reason than some person/ idiot, who will insist on walking the entire race, will line up at the front. I am not sure why...and, personally, I wanted to knock a few of them out (in fact, I almost got in to a fight at my first half, as I forgot I had my headphones on and proceeded to complain about a group of walkers that were 5 wide in front and would NOT get over-well, when they heard my comment I did not apologize...what did I have to lose at this point. I asked them to get, like, 2 wide so someone could pass if they wanted. They gave me a snide 'eat shit' look but did manage to move over-personally, I didn't care if I made them mad...it was my race, too!). I digress...for the most part, everyone started with there correct group which led to a smooth race run.
The negatives...or shall we say things they could improve on:
1) There will never, NEVER be enough porta-potties. I think someone said they had around 230..really? Did they take into consideration the amount of women participating in the race, which I am pretty sure was more than half? The 'lack' of porta potties led many runners to head to the woods.
|You can bet there weren't any of these in the woods!|
It was kind of funny because during one section of the run, that was mostly industrial and there were some woods around, you could look out and see nothing but people standing in the woods and/ or running from the woods (and I don't mean just guys, either). I considered this myself, as every time I saw a porta potty during the race (which was almost every mile) there was a line 10 people long. Fortunately, I didn't have to go that bad.
2) The Expo-This was my first and it, sadly, left a lot to be desired. I am not sure what I was expecting but it was really crowded. I saw some running apparel/ gadgets that I liked but they were way overpriced. I've seen the sale/ knock off prices on the internet. There was no way I was paying those prices!
I really can't think of any other negatives...but, I do have a couple of opinions/ observations I would like to share:
1) Do runners own any other clothing besides race t-shirts and stretchy pants? I mean, seriously....do you, or are you allowed, to wear those race shirts (and I mean the shirts you get from participating in the race, mostly the cotton ones) to work? And, ladies...come on. You can wear workout pants sometimes (although I don't know of many booties that I've seen that need to have them on in public) but it's a good idea to have something else in your closet besides workout pants. (and you know that most of the people that wear these in public do NOT need to be wearing them at all!)
|That's right...too much junk in the trunk!|
2) I've read that on race day you do nothing out of the ordinary. This applies to wearing new or a different pair of shoes. Really? Do people need to be told this? I guess this explains the people stopping at the aid stations putting band-aids on there toes. All those cute shoes that they have for sale at the expo are great but it's just not a great idea to wear a different type of tennis shoe on race day. Even the Brooks salesman doesn't advise this, and he's trying to earn a profit!
3) People that run barefoot are an accident waiting to happen! Yes, I did see one crazy person doing this. I am really surprised that RnR series allows this. I have nothing more to say about this...
4) Stuffing your belly with a bagel, eggs, sausage, etc...before a race is probably not a good idea. For this, r refer back to the porta potty comment. Fortunately, this wasn't me. I know my belly way better than that. I am betting these people could be some of the same ones running to the woods!
That's it...sorry so long.
All in all, it was a great experience and the people watching was spectacular!
It's unfortunate that there was gentleman (37, I believe-ouch! Just 1 yr away from my age) that did expire. I haven't heard the details, as their wasn't much on the internet as of Monday. It's very sad but it seems to be a reality for every large race. It's just a risk you take, I guess, with everything.
I'm not sure I will do Savannah's RnR half marathon again, basically because I may want to experience another race. But, I do have my eyes/ goals set on doing a marathon and it will probably be a RnR event.
I am looking at one in this city, March 2012....I will keep you posted!
|I think it would be a LOT of fun to run through on the National Mall! How fun!|