By Darlene Baltimore
The 2011 Rock n Roll Savannah Marathon and Half Marathon was the culmination to my training during the heat and humidity of the summer months. After waking up for early hour AM runs, I wonder what I would do with all the free time training had consumed in my life. Do I continue training with aspirations to run an ultra marathon in 2012 or do I scale back to add more balance to my busy life style? These are some of the questions that I contemplated as I began to taper in my final weeks of training.
I had taken almost a year off from running while going through a devastating divorce. After finishing the Georgia Publix Half Marathon in the spring, I made the decision that it was time to run my next marathon. I decided on the Rock n Roll Savannah race because it was an inaugural event and I had heard so many great things about Savannah and wanted to visit. Little did I know how that weekend would be a life changing experience.
A few weeks prior to the event, I was asked to participate in the Race and Relax weekend hosted by Run Wifey Run on behalf of BGR! I was humbled by the offer and accepted proudly to serve as an Ambassador for BGR! Another surprise was that the ladies of BGR! ATL had put together a goodie basket of pre and post race day essentials and presented it to me at the Tuesday Standing Run prior to my trip. I felt blessed to have the love and support from my running family. I was on high heading to Savannah ready to conquer 26.2 miles.
The Expo was disappointing for several reasons. The traffic made it a nightmare to reach it and find parking. Once I made my way inside the convention center it was over crowded and a bit chaotic. I was not able to enjoy the vendors and shop like I wanted because of long lines to buy merchandise. I left the Expo feeling a bit annoyed, hoping that things would get better.
My pre-race dinner was held at The Chart House with the women of Race and Relax. The restaurant was located on the River Front. It was a great view to watch the ferry and barges go up and down the river. I had an amazing evening, eating and fellowshipping. Through the ice breaker, I was able to learn a little about each woman and what led them to participant in the weekend. What I loved the most is that the group was so diverse, but we all came together because of our passion to run. These women are such an inspiration and motivate me to push harder toward my goals both personal and professional. To top the evening off, John Bingham aka The Penguin stopped by to greet us and share a few encouraging words and the American Cancer Society provided us VIP access to pre and post race activities. What more could a girl ask for?!!!
The race experience was AWESOME!!! The people of Savannah made the runners feel really welcome. Volunteers and spectators were out bright and early to support us. It felt like a big party the majority of the course with lively bands and cheer zones. The water stations and port-a- potties were strategically located and well equipped to handle the large crowd. The icing on the cake was that I set a new PR, 4:02 for the race.
After the race, we enjoyed VIP treatment and headed to the Pirate’s House for lunch with the women of Race and Relax. During lunch we shared the good, bad, and ugly of our race experience and many of us had already planned our next big race. We all received great swag bags and a trophy to commemorate the event and to show that we were all winners by finishing the race. Thanks Race and Relax for a memorable weekend. You really know how to do it BIG!!! Special thanks to BGR! for allowing me the opportunity to participant. I had a wonderful time and made new friendships!!!
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