Home stretch to Rock n Roll Savannah!
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry for the Rock n Roll Savannah Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Holy cow, we are just one week out from Rock n Roll Savannah! Although my training was less than stellar, I am feeling ok going into race week.
In my last Rock n Roll Savannah post, I told you all about the reasons why this race will be special to me. I also went over all the different race distance options. This time I thought I would talk about the course, live entertainment and area attractions.
Overall, the course looks to be relatively flat. The most elevation gain is 70 feet. Hills around 4.5 and 11 miles approximately. It starts in front of city hall and winds through historic downtown Savannah. Finish line festival in Forsyth Park, which is full of southern charm.
Check out this video which shows highlights along the course:
Of course, Rock n Roll races are always known for terrific live music on the course. They are also known for the post race concerts. This year’s headliner is Fitz & The Tantrums, with hits “Out of My League” , "The Walker" and “Handclap”. Since one of the friends I’m doing this race with is walking it, I think I may actually still be around to see the headliner!
The expo takes place on Thursday and Friday at the Convention Center. We are going to park in downtown Savannah and take the free Savannah Belles water ferry across to the expo! Where else can you do that? I’m looking forward to just sightseeing along the river in general. And the historic homes and uniquely southern architecture.
My top 5 to do’s in Savannah:
Weather is looking to be fabulous!!! Low of 60 and high of 80 and sunny. I'm excited to do this race with friends, as well as meet up with 2 of my fellow BibRave Pros!
If you need to squeeze in another marathon or half, join me! Right now, you can save $15 with BIBRAVE15 on the half or full.
"Disclaimer: I received a pair of Oofos recovery sandals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Earlier this year, I discovered the magic of OOfos. When I heard they had a product line that gives back to charity, I was very interested to know more.
The Project Pink line at Oofos is a collection of sandals that utilize the incredible OOfoam technology, but also gives back to breast cancer research.
First, let’s talk about the technology that makes oofos so special: (read more here)
For recovery, it provides the support and pressure where you need it. More on that in a bit…
I brought my Oofos project pink sandals with me to Ragnar Michigan. I put them on at the end of the race and even ran across the finish line in them. Here’s me in my finisher pics wearing my Project Pink sandals!
The entire day after the race was spent in compression tights and oofos, while I went out to lunch, a festival and wine tasting!
But the REAL test for me came after my half marathon recently. I suffered through a very hilly half marathon and the bottoms of my feet were SO sore. Everything else on my body felt pretty good except for my feet. I put on compression socks to get that squeeze and they felt good while I was laying down, but walking across my house was painful. It dawned on me before we went out to dinner to put my oofos on, even just walking around the house. Seriously, it was night and day. Feet felt instant relief, all because of that foam! My feet felt so supported. No more barefoot!
I just can’t recommend oofos enough for recovery (and everyday, really). Ok now back to the cause. $10 from every purchase from the Project Pink collection goes directly to the Dana Farber Breast Cancer Foundation. It’s a win-win! There are 8 styles and a variety of colors to choose from, ranging in price from $44.95 to $59.95. Shop the collection here. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to do something good for yourself and good for others!
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry for the Craft Classic Phoenix Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
The Craft Classic Race series includes craft beer-themed races in San Diego, Phoenix and Seattle.
I was disappointed not to run this race last year due to injury, so I was looking forward to getting the chance to run this race this year! Running and craft beer are two of my favorite things! Aside from the beer itself, there was the promise of unbelievable cool swag! More on that later.
Hill training is not something in my regular repertoire, so I was worried about the challenging hilly terrain of this course. Rightly so…
Going into this race I got in the mindset that this would be a “training run” for the Rock n Roll Savannah half marathon I have coming up 3 weeks later.
I was excited to have many friends running this race to join in the misery…I mean fun! Aside from my local running group, I had my Team Nuun buddy Jeremy (@runblogaz) and my fellow BibRave Pro Christine (@cginpnw). She flew in from Spokane and we met up for breakfast the day before.
Packet pickup was held for two days in two separate locations for convenience, as there was no race day packet pickup. I headed over on Friday on my lunch hour, and was soon tempted by tiny samples from Huss Brewing Company, the official beer sponsor. I managed to avoid them, but I was quite excited about all the other swag!
Speaking of swag, inside my bag was my personalized race bib with beer can background, the softest tank top ever that said “on a beer run”, my groovy beer socks I prepaid for, a Huss Brewing pint glass, and an unexpected surprise – a nice pair of sunglasses! Wow.
I tried to lay low the day before, carbing up and hydrating. The race took place in Fountain Hills AZ, about 30 minutes from my house. It was pitch dark until about 25 minutes before the race start. It made it a little challenging to meet up with friends when you couldn’t see anyone clearly. I made it in time for a meetup with my local Moms Run This Town (MRTT) chapter.
I was also looking forward to seeing a good friend of mine who had taken a break from running half marathons, but was inspired to do this one due to the incredible swag and beer! As the start time got closer, my nerves were in overdrive, which was odd given the fact I had written this off as a training run.
It was still “cool” outside – mid 60’s with a light breeze. The race started with a gentle downhill, which is always appreciated. We all knew what was coming though. We looped around the town’s iconic fountain and meandered for a few miles with small rolling hills. And just when you think "this isn't so bad", the monster hill started. Somewhere around mile 4 a hill started that just didn't quit. At one point it was so vertical that I was walking fully leaning over to feel like I was moving forward. It was truly insane. Around mile 5 before we got a brief reprieve from that hill, our local MRTT chapter leader was there cheering us on. It gave me a little oomph to run for a minute (ha ha ). She captured this photo of me acting like it didn't suck.
Some of my other MRTT friends passed me at that point, and I was officially beat down. The pity party/walkathon was in full swing by now and it was walk/run as best as I could. By mile 8 we were heading downhill, so that gave me a boost. Miles 8-10 went by pretty quick. We hit a strong headwind when we turned onto Shea blvd, but otherwise things were still going ok.
From miles 10-13, even though they were smaller rolling hills, and still some downhill - if I hadn't been beat up so much on those earlier hills maybe I would have had more energy to keep going. But the truth is, I gave myself permission to walk as much as I needed to, and that added a lot of time onto my finish.
I tried some new fueling during the race - I used Clif shots at mile 4.5 and 9. I hate the consistency of gels. I felt a tad queasy after the first one, but it ended up ok. I can't say that the caffeine gave me any noticeable energy boost. There was Nuun on course (yay!), so I was drinking a ton of Nuun and water at every stop. For whatever reason, I was SO thirsty!
There were what seemed like a million race photographers on course, more than I have seen at most races, especially one this size. Seeing them so often did make me pick up the pace and smile though! The mile markers were courtesy of Huss Brewing. Seeing the pint glass at every mile marker also made me smile!
After I passed the last photographer at 12.9 miles, I turned the corner and praise the Lord, it was a straight shot to the finish line! I used all that energy I had saved up by walking and hightailed it to the finish. My buddy Jeremy caught some of the pics of my finish.
So then it was finally time to enjoy that finish line party I'd been waiting for! It was a little confusing. Your race registration got you one free beer, which you had to pick up in one location - then if you wanted additional beers, you had to go to another tent on the other side of the beer garden. It wasn't far, but still odd. Of course there was only one type of beer for the free one, but 5-6 to choose from at the paid tent. It was getting very hot very quickly in the sun, and there was zero shade. It seemed like people weren't hanging around very long.
We did stumble upon a fun photo prop area - we couldn't resist the opportunity to ham it up with beer themed props.
Check out the elevation profile - we had over 800 ft elevation gain, my fitbit said I climbed 70 floors!
Overall, I came in at 2:26:16. It was my 3rd slowest out of 49 half marathons. 257/403 overall, 128 out of 228 females and 17/27 in my age group. Meh.
I came away with some final thoughts about this race:
"Disclaimer: I received a pair of Skins A400 compression tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
I’m a big fan of compression tights, for both running and recovery. I was excited to try the new A400 Compression Tights from Skins. I was not previously familiar with this brand, so I was curious to see what they were all about.
It came in shorts, 3/4 capris or full length. I chose capris since that is the most versatile for Arizona weather.
The 3/4 tights are “high rise” – they came up to my belly button. Bonus: it helps keep excess tummy held in and smooth. The material is very, very soft, and light. I put them on and they fit like a glove. Like a second skin, but not super tight like some other compression tights.
Technology behind A 400:
I went for a few runs in my tights – they were light enough that I didn’t get hot. The tights move with you, they don’t feel constrictive or restrictive.
I also used them for recovery after my Ragnar Michigan relay. I wore them the day after for the race. My quads were crying a little from the race, and these tights felt fantastic. I will say that even a small pocket for a key would be a huge plus. The website mentions a waistband pocket, but I did not find a pocket on my pair.
The A400 women's 3/4 tights retail for $119.99 If you want to treat yourself to a pair, you can save 20% with BIBRAVE20 through the month of October!
Ragnar Michigan 2017 Recap
It’s the Monday after Ragnar Michigan, and the #ragnover is real! I’m reflecting on an amazing weekend – and even though I hate Mondays, I can’t stop smiling.
I have been looking forward to this race for months. This team "Whose Leg Is It, Anyway?" was comprised of a few friends that I have done Ragnars with before, and some friends of friends, and some folks from Twitter and Facebook running groups. I had so much fun at last year’s Ragnar Michigan race, that I just HAD to put my captain's hat back on and do it again.
I flew out with my friend Connie and met up with some teammates in Grand Rapids. We had to wait for our van to pick us up, and due to a flight delay we had 4 hours to kill! We took an epic Lyft ride in a tricked out Escalade over to a local tavern and enjoyed some grub and excellent Michigan Craft Beers.
We spent Friday night at a house on a lake about 15 minutes from the start. 9 of us stayed there, with the other 3 members arriving Friday morning with van 2. Weather was pretty good – around 60 degrees and clear.
Our start time was 8AM, so we rolled on out to Pere Marquette state park in Muskegon. The start experience was so much nicer this year – it was not pouring rain – hooray! – and it was bright and clear with a lovely sunrise. What a difference!
Runner 1 (Mark) headed out and we headed out to get ready to send out runner 2 (Colleen). She was the only Ragnar newbie in our van. I know Colleen from Twitter so it was cool to get to know her in real life. My friend Connie was up next and came in with a classic baton handoff fail.
I was up next for a 6 mile run. Jeremy (one of my running besties) was out doing the “Ragnar leg” – a 9.1 miler that earned a special bonus “Cherry on top medal”. Lucky guy.
Finally it was my turn. I ran from Duck Lake state park to Montague, a cute little town on a lake. A good portion of my run was along the lake which was awesome. That’s the best part of this race, there is pretty much a body of water on every leg of the course
I handed off to Matt and we cruised on to exchange 6 to meet up with van 2. Of course, had to stop at the gear tent and pick up all the essentials!
My Ragnar pal Toby was co-captain and in charge of van 2. This year he brought his brother and 2 running friends with him. The one big bummer of Ragnar is not getting to hang out with the other van and get to know those people.
It was finally LUNCHTIME! We went to some local roadside restaurant/pool hall. We had the nicest, coolest waitresses on this trip. They were all fascinated with what we were doing, and wanted us to have a great experience. It was spot on.
We had a little downtime at the next major exchange before starting our night legs, but not that much really. We were running right on schedule according to our projections!
As the sun started setting, the temps were dropping. We were at Lake Michigan at Pentwater beach at sunset. It was really chilly, but absolutely stunning!
The colder it got, the more worried I became about being too cold on my night leg. Luckily I only had a 3.5 miler, and I just happened to have my BUFF USA Thermonet scarf & beanie. My night leg ended up being pretty nice. I think I was done by 1030pm.
After Matt finished we headed up to the next major exchange and turned in for the night. Our van was quite spacious so I got to stretch out on an entire seat, what a luxury! It was 37 degrees when I woke up around 345, I was shivering in the van.
While Connie was out running we stopped at the scenic overlook in Arcadia. I remembered this from last year. Unbelievably beautiful!
Ok, time for my last leg! I was sort of looking forward to my last leg because part of it was on a pretty trail. Unfortunately they took some of my runner 6 leg from last year and added it to runner 5’s leg. So after the pretty trail I now had this hilly road section that I did not enjoy last year. I had a quick handoff from Jeremy and headed out for 6.6 miles. The trail was quite pretty, leaves were turning. That damn hill near the end had to be walked. Oh well, I was happy to be finished without any major knee issues!
Headed to the last major exchange which we used as an excuse to take silly pics. We were pumped and on our way to Traverse City to celebrate! Stopped at the Lake Ann Brewery for lunch with a cool small town vibe. Could have stayed there all day. It was right on the course so we got to see runners and vans coming through.
There wasn’t quite enough time to go back and shower and get back to the finish, so we went straight there. Picked up some extra bling – most of us had done multiple ragnars this year so we earned some cool connector pieces.
Finally our van 2 showed up and it was time to bring in runner 12 Romero and cross the finish line. As usual, we had to rush out from there to get ready for dinner, and didn’t hang out for more team/individual pics, beer garden, etc.
Overall, we finished in just over 32 hours. I’m so pleased with how well everyone got along. This was one of my very favorite Ragnar experiences – if not the best. Good friends, great runners, and the best scenery in my beloved home state. Ragnar Michigan, I just can’t quit you! I know I will be back.
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!