Savannah - Final Day(s) - 11/4-5/12

Sun. 70-80 degree temps. History. A trolley tour. Pizza. Beer. That is what Savannah had ready for us on Day Three of our weekend ... THANK GOODNESS! Between Day One, The Marathon itself & the large amount of walking we did to wrap up Day Two my legs were ready for a break.

We started the day off with a big brunch at our hotel (only $10!!) and a trip to Starbucks ... yes I know. I never go to Starbucks unless absolutely necessary and in Savannah it was necessary. There wasn't a Dunkins in sight - as I expected.

As we left Starbucks, I spotted the Kindness Bus. How awesome is this?

I think EVERY city need a bus like this. Don't you agree?

We then headed over to the catch The Old Town Trolley Tour back near our hotel. Our guide's name was "Hollywood" and boy was he entertaining. :) Do you expect anything less with a name like that?

We had seen so much of the city between walking around ourselves, the race and the ghost tour, but it was nice to just sit and hear even more about the historic city of Savannah.

Technically the tour was one of those hop-on hop-off deals, but we had decided to just take it around one full circle: 1) because I had no desire to walk/wait for the next bus and 2) our guide was great and we didn't want to run the risk of getting on a different trolley and having a dud guide. :P

How Hollywood managed the Trolley around such tiny corners and down a tight steep cobblestone decline without hitting anyone or tipping it over.

Once we made it down the cobblestone, we were back on to River Street and were able to check out some of the amazing statues along the water.

The waving girl

Statue in honor of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games Torch

The trolley was full of runners (shocking I know) so we all loved the sign at the Thunderbird Inn.

Since we had a HUGE breakfast, we all decided to delay lunch awhile and we headed back to one of the famous cemeteries we saw on the ghost tour and the trolley tour.

The guides had said that the Confederate soldiers used the cemetery home base during the war and to entertain themselves they would mess with the tombstones, changing the information on them.

For example:

Can you see where the changes were made?

After wandering around the cemetery, we decided to just take in the beautiful afternoon and just sit in one of the famous squares. I couldn't tell you the last time I just sat in a park and enjoyed the surroundings. It was wonderful. We met a gentleman from Florida who had also run the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon so it was great chatting with him and getting his perspective on the race. He also had the Savannah Morning News, which had all the race participants in it ... so I of course had to borrow it.

And there it was :)

How cool?!?!?

After taking some time to relax, we all headed to Mellow Mushroom for some pizza and beer. The wife hadn't been to the chain since she lived in North Carolina over six years ago so we had to go (we don't have this chain in New England - that I know of).

Boy was it YUMMY!! We tried the pretzels to start with - delicious - then enjoyed their unique pizza. All in all - atmosphere, beer, food - it was a GREAT experience.

Unfortunately after we ate, we walked back to the hotel since it was time to send my dad off to the airport. :/ But it was great having him there.

My dad brought my Rock 'n' Roll bracelet that I forgot in Boston with him to Savannah so I was able to add my two charms from the weekend. :)

Isn't it one motivational/inspirational piece of jewelry? Thanks to the wife for picking it out for me. I can't wait to add new cities to it in the future.

We decided to take one final walk down River Street to stretch the legs before we finished the weekend off with a casual night in the hotel room. Michelle picked up a cute gift for a friend and we were all ready to crash.

But, we wanted a couple beverages for the night so thankfully our hotel bar was happy to oblige. :)

It was wicked nice to just all chill together - especially since we only get to see Michelle about once or twice a year - and just be.

Can you tell I moved alot that weekend?

Hello hydration!

After getting in my situps and #plankaday, we called it a night ... I just couldn't believe the weekend was about to come to a close. :(


Monday, November 5 marked the true end. It was basically: wake up, pack, eat brunch at the hotel (again $10!) and then it was off to the airport.

It was time to say goodbye to Michelle. It was so great that she was able to make it to Savannah from AZ and run the race with us. It was great seeing her and can't wait til we plan another race to run together again ... <<cough cough>> Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half <<cough cough>>

Right after this pic, it was time to board ... after a lengthy delay in Savannah and head to Atlanta and on to Boston.

Can you tell we weren't ready to come home? Actually, we were okay with the going home and seeing the pups part. It was more the hours that would be spent traveling back home that we really wanted to avoid.

But, I had to rep the Got Chocolate Milk Sweatybands after they refueled my body after the race and all weekend long!!

Despite the trip home getting off to a rocky/delayed start, the rest of the trip ran smoothly ... including some adult beverages on the plane. ;)

Hey, we had to enjoy the last bit of vacation weekend!

But, as soon as we stepped foot back in Boston I was reunited with Dunks ... phew!

We landed during rush hour so it was quicker/easier to take the T home rather than having someone come pick us up. But, I was really dreading the walk home from the T stop especially since I was still wearing capri pants. :P But we made and were greeted by two very happy pups, which makes all the travel in the world worth it.


I think you can tell through these posts that we all thoroughly enjoyed Savannah and would recommend it to anyone as a destination.

All you really need to know about Georgia is that is produces the 4 Ps: Peaches ... Pecans ... Pralines ... and Paula (Deen).

Savannah - Day Two - 11/3/12

Now what the HECK did I do on Day Two in Savannah? There was some major life-changing event in the morning, but for the life of me it's slipping my mind. Oh wait!

It was that little Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Marathon. Duh!

Here's the recap for that... ENJOY!

We left the Finish Line area by 1pm, which meant there was a WHOLE lotta day left to be had.

So what do you do once you finish the marathon?

Find beer ... and food!

Cuhlearly you know the priority for me :P

But, first we stopped at the hotel to change and somehow this was the outfit my peeps let me out of the room wearing:

I mean it's sexy, right?

And you are seeing it correctly - Lululemon cardigan and pants, compression arm and leg sleeves, a Sparkly Soul headband, flip flops and of course my race medal.

HOT. It will be all the rage next season.

We actually ended up going back to Molly Macpherson's for lunch. It was good food and it was one of the few places that didn't have a line out and around the corner.

After filling our bellies with food and beer, Michelle and Tori decided they needed to relax for a little while and wanted to head back to the hotel. I was feeling the opposite. I thought if I went back and laid down - my legs would tighten up or cramp.

So my dad and I dropped them off at the hotel and the two of us roamed the city. He didn't have a chance to check it out the day before since he got in so late so it was nice to show him River Street, Bay Street, etc. He also enjoyed that we were able to stop at a local watering hole, pick up a beer and keep on walking. :) We also hit up one of many candy shops so he could get a praline, what Georgia is known for. I opted for some delicious homemade fudge that was in a word - heavenly!

We made a big loop around the city before heading back to each of our hotels to rest up/shower/get ready for the night.

We had made a reservation for Tara Haunted Tours at 8pm that night. A walking ghost tour around historic Savannah entitled "Boos and Brews."  You guessed it folks - you got to carry a beer while you walked around hearing about ghosts. So there were ghosts for the wife and beer for me/my dad.

And yes you read that right, we are the people that ran that morning and signed up for a walking tour for the same night. Funny enough, we weren't the only racers in the group that night. :)

We were running late so we were only able to grab some chips & salsa at McDonough's Bar where the tour started, which meant we would have to eat at the final bar.

I don't like ghosts, but it was interesting learning about some of the history of Savannah and the wife was happy.

These bricks had people's fingerprints in them from when they were made

We also got to stop in three local watering holes along the way

We finished the two-hour tour at Moon River Brewing Company, where we enjoyed a late dinner and a few more brews. :)

After that the fatigue from the race really started to set in for me so we headed back to finally get some rest. But of course, I made sure to get my situps and #plankaday in before I hit the sack.

Overall, it was one perfect day in Savannah. I highly recommend Tara Tours to anyone looking for a little history of Savannah with a possible ghost sighting thrown in!

Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Full Marathon - 11/3/12 - PR 3:58:49 (9:07 min/mile)

I rocked. I rolled. I ran. I marathoned ... all over Savannah! And it was...

A-freakin-MAZING!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

I'm actually not sure there are enough exclamation points or emoticons that could capture the delight in this marathon.

Let's see where I left you all on Day One in Savannah. ;)

Ah yes - the alarm clock was set


I actually was able to sleep through the night and NOT wake up every 20-30 minutes checking the alarm to make sure it was set. Maybe because I made Tori and Michelle set their alarms as well JUST to be on the safe side. I would've had a wake up call as well, but for some reason our hotel room phone was defective. I almost walked down to the front desk to ask for a wake up call then realized I needed to get a grip. 3 alarms set was enough. :)

As soon as my eyes opened on that morning, the nerves started to set in.

I actually sat in bed thinking "I can't do this! There is NO way I will survive this today."

Michelle and Tori could see the concern on my face and reminded me that I would in fact survive. I had trained for this day. I would OWN it.

Thank goodness they were there.

Thank goodness for the countless text messages, tweets, Facebook messages and good vibes sent by all of you.

Thank goodness we were meeting my dad downstairs so I had to go to the Start Line.

Once the nerves started to subside, the excitement started to set in.

As we walked to the Start Line, which was thankfully just 1/2 a mile from our hotel, we were surrounded by thousands of other runners.

I LOVE that feeling. When everyone is stretching, checking their garmins, polars and phones to make sure everything is ready for the run.

The excitement of a race is contagious - it's as simple as that.

We approached the Start and we had to grab a pre-race photo. Thank goodness my dad was there to serve as OFFICIAL group photographer.

And then we passed it - the Start. Isn't it pretty? ;)

After we walked past the start, it was time to get in line at the port-o-potties. Well, first I tried to use the bathroom at the Hyatt, but that line was out and around the front desk area so we made an attempt at the port-o-potties.


There were too few port-o-potties for all the runners coming from our side of the Start Line. PLUS, as people tried to get to their corrals, they cut into the bathroom line thus lengthening it or having people lose their spot or a new odd line being started. Also there was just a tiny sidewalk for a port-o-potty line, a path to the higher corrals and people spilling over from the first few corrals.

I know the port-o-potties always seem to be a cluster at the Start, but this was one of the worst.

(Note: as I was walking around the city after the run, I saw a TON of port-o-potties with plenty of room for lines much farther down past the first few corrals. I'm sure many people didn't know about them, but if better adertised some of the congestion may have lightened up.)

It was 7:55 - Race started at 8:00 - and we had made zero progress in the port-o-potty line so I decided to bite the bullet and just head to my corral.

(Note: I had moved from corral 15 to corral 6 at the Expo so my start time would be earlier than originally expected)

I figured that since I was running the full marathon I would be stopping to use the bathroom along the course anyway - might as well just make it earlier than expected.

This was the first Rock 'n' Roll race I've done that had a half marathon and a full marathon so it was cool seeing everyone mingling together in the corrals before the Start.

That 10 minutes before my corral headed to the Start Line passed in a blur.

I was READY once we walked up the Start Line and I heard the countdown begin ...

5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1! GO!!!!

And we were off.

Either way it was marathon time BABY!

The streets for the course were nice and wide. At no point in the run was there any sort of narrowing or bottlenecking - even when running through the neighborhoods/squares of the historic district of Savannah.

The race started at 8am, but the streets were lined with fans/cheerleaders/bands. Older women out in their bathrobes waving to the runners, old men not sure what was going on, but happily smiling to the races and people of all ages setting our chairs on their porches and lawns to settle in and watch the run.

The signs were creative. The bands were working it. The water stops were well stocked. The atmosphere amazing.

I was trying out my new Garmin GPS watch for the race and was wicked happy with it. I loved having the current pace right there without having to fumble with my phone in the armband.

I was shooting to finish in under 4 hours. My ultimate goal was to finish under 3:59:26, which would cut 2 full hours off my first full marathon time in 2006.

This goal meant I needed to keep around a 9:07 min/mile pace. Thank you pace calculator for being my new favorite website. ;)

So as I approached the Mile 3 and caught a glimpse of the 5k markers, I spotted the empty port-o-potty. I figured that was as good a time as any to finally use it. Plus, would I look back at the marathon and really be upset with my 5k split - okay maybe ;) - but at least I'd know why.

Since the full and half marathon runners were all running together until Mile 11, I had to stop myself from getting caught up in the moment and speed my pace up. I had to real myself in over and over again.

Thankfully I was getting awesome text and Twitter encouragement from everyone as I ran that was keeping me motivated and positive. It also helped keep me on pace since my running partner/coach/BFF Sarah kept telling me my pace was spot on!!

It wasn't til I saw this sign...

... that the fact that I was running the FULL marathon hit me again!

Decent pic considering I was trying to run while do this ... full disclosure: this was my 5th attempt at getting a shot while moving. :P

Around Mile 11, the full marathon headed to the left and the half marathon continued straight on to the Finish.

Boy did the crowd thin out at that point. I kinda missed the energy of the larger group, but I was focused on the run.

Here's what kind of stunk. After running through Savannah for most of the half, the full marathon headed to the highway for what felt like a lifetime until we were able to exit the highway and get back to the "neighborhood" run. In real life, it was probably about 3 miles. But the sun started to shine and the heat started to climb as we made the trek along the highway.

While on the highway we hit the half way mark - never thought I'd be so excited to see a 13.1 mile marker. ;) I crossed the line at 1:57:53 - YES! Under goal. At that point I reminded myself: well just need to do that one more time.

But on the other side of the stretch of asphalt was a GREAT run through Savannah State University. I owe one big 'ol THANK YOU to those students! Miles 16-18 were through the campus, including a stretch that went through the football stadium along the track.


The students brought their A-game to cheering. There were high fives, hand clapping, cheers, songs, marching bands, the football/softball/basketball teams and what I believe was the ROTC.

Their energy gave me the boost I needed. As I entered the campus, I thought to myself just 10 more miles remaining - as soon as I stepped past 16.1 - I said less than 10 miles to go/out of the double digits. :P When I stepped off the campus, I had just 8 miles to go. Doable.

Once we left the school, it was time to head back to the highway to get back to downtown for the Finish.

My dad may be the best spectator around. He was able to see me at 4 different spots along the marathon course, which was pretty laid out - so that means the man was hustling!

Once Mile 18 passed, I was really getting good at texting and tweeting while running. Maybe since my pace slowed a little it made it easier. Or I'm just that talented and gifted. See my above picture while moving shot. ;)

But, I needed the support and the encouragement from everyone everywhere to make it through those last 8 miles. I could feel it starting to set in.

The heat was picking up. The sun was shining bright. I was ready to be done.

The doubt once again started to set in at Mile 20. The mile that many say makes or breaks a marathon runner. I can understand why.

But, every time I wanted to stop. Every time I wanted to just give up. Every time those tears started welling up in my mind. I clasped my hand. Why you may ask? Because a wise friend of mine gave me some words of encouragement and I had them written on my hand. Clasping my hand shut made me feel secure. Every clasp made me feel his AWESOME hugs. Every clasp gave me the love I needed to go on.

Thank you Alan (aka Sweating_it_off)/Sweating Until Happy)! xoxo

So as I crossed that 20 Mile mark and I kept checking my pace with Sarah - texting convos are hard through sweat and tears :P - and she kept telling me I was on pace. I was going to do it. I would finish sub-4. So I had to believe...

20.3 on the watch and I realized - this is the farthest I had EVER run consecutively. Hell to the fuckin' YEAH! I was bad ass and ready to finish this thing.

Then I started playing the games with my own mind:

Mile 20 - just a 10k to go

Mile 21.2 - just 5 miles to go

Mile 23.1 - just a 5k to go

... and at Mile 22, I saw my dad - for what would end up being the last time before the Finish - and I got teary again. He was cheering and taking my video and I could tell how proud he was. I just lost it.

I started walking for a moment, settled my emotions and got back to running. I had a goal to beat.

So as we ended back up on the highway I saw the Mile 24 sign. Just 2.2 miles to go...

Once we met back up with the half marathoners that were still finishing, the crowds grew in numbers, the signs were amazing, and it was time to bring it home.

Then there came a hill. I remember turning to the guy running next to me and saying "Can you believe they put a hill this close to the Finish?" For some reason he didn't want to chat. :P

Mile 26 - in all its glory - there it was.

I looked down at my watch and realized I had less than 4 minutes to get to the Finish and accomplish what I set out to do.

Getting to the 0.2 mile shoot ... seeing the Finish Line ahead of me ... everything around me became a blur. I couldn't hear anyone (as noted by a fellow WW Leader who said she was cheering for me and I didn't respond - Sorry Tara!), but of course I noticed that the camera guy wasn't taking pictures as I came up to the "Smile" signs less than 0.1 from the Finish.

Then I mustered everything I could and moved my legs as fast as I could across the finish. I stopped my Garmin and realized - I DID IT!


I threw my arms up with such excitement I could've pulled a muscle.

It was over. Wow! All that led up to that moment.

But, I was too busy grabbing my medal, my chocolate milk, my water and my bars to focus on all of that at that moment. :0)

 Thanks Got Chocolate Milk for the Refuel!

Somehow out of all the people, I spotted Michelle and Tori (who were proudly showing off their Half medals) in the crowd. After meeting up with them, I realized I could not catch my breath. I just couldn't get a full breath.

We found a patch of grass, I laid down, took some deep breaths and started to cry. Tori asked me "are those happy tears?" And I assured her they were in fact tears of joy that I couldn't stop from flowing.

But above all there were SMILES

I did it. I officially finished in 3:58:49 - beating my honest goal by 37 seconds. Yup, I took 2 hours and 37 seconds off my marathon time. :)

I keep looking at this picture on my phone and bursting with PRIDE!

I still look at the race info - the pace, the finish places - and I can't believe they are really all mine! I finished within the top 25% in all of the categories  - wwhhaaa??? Amazing.

I signed up for this marathon the day I hit my goal weight with Weight Watchers in January 2012 as a way to celebrate. Little did I know how much the training and the experience would truly enrich my life...

I was so happy that Michelle and Tori were there by my side at the Finish...

... as well as my dad throughout the course and at the Finish. I am wicked lucky that he makes the trek to see so many of my important races.

And I also thank my mom who hangs back to watch the pups!

So once I caught my breath and we all located each other at the massive Finish area, we got my medal engraved - a must for me at any race that offers it.

Isn't it beautiful?!?!

So I'm sorry this post got lengthy and probably me rattling on at lots of different points. But for me, this race wasn't about my pace at each and every mile - even though I kept track of those numbers - it was about the experience and finishing what I set out to do. I accomplished yet another thing on my bucket list.

The race course and scenery wasn't everything I imagined. I thought we would be running through more of the 22 squares Savannah had and less time on a highway, but I understand logistics can be hard. The crowds made up for all of that and then some.

So I will leave you with this note in terms of the marathon:

We all rocked, rolled and marathoned through Savannah!


Next post will cover the rest of the day or "post marathon" Saturday!

P.S. If you made it through the whole post, congrats!! Now get a beer - you deserve it. :)

Savannah - Day One - 11/2/12

Tearing up just thinking of last weekend... So sorry for the delay on the Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Marathon weekend recap! Emotions and life have come in the way of getting this post done sooner.

But here goes Day One!!


We headed to the airport at 4:30am. So yes this story starts wicked early in the morning.

I think I look pretty put together for that early in the day ... and representin' the blog with my Sweatybands headband!

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2012-11-02 05.09.48

And of course I was giving my wife the "Oh really" face that she loves so much. :P

After getting my final Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee of the weekend, it was time to chillax at the gate.

How cruel putting us right next to Harpoon IPA when it was closed.

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2012-11-02 05.19.31


We had two flights to get to Savannah - layover in Atlanta. In a truly "small world" moment, I spotted a Weight Watchers Leader I knew on each flight. One sitting across the aisle from me as she headed to the Dominican Republic.

I want to thank the second flight's Flight Attendants and Pilots for giving a special shout-out to all the runners on the plane!

We landed in Savannah and headed straight to the hotel. After immediately unpacking my clothes for the next day's marathon


It was time to hit the hotel gym for a quick 2-mile run (to shake out the legs after the long morning flights)!

2-mile run
2-mile run

Boy was it weird running on a treadmill - I hadn't done it in AGES.

Finally, it was time to check out the local cuisine (we hit up Wild Wing Cafe - delicious) and then headed to the John P. Rousakis Riverfront to catch the ferry to the Expo.

It was the first Rock 'n' Roll expo where there was a Half Marathon and a Marathon happening so the wife and I headed to separate areas to collect our numbers.

Of course, I made her take my standard "Countdown" pic!

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2012-11-02 14.52.24

I had read that KT Tape was going to be at the Expo and since I missed them at the RnR Chicago Expo I was determined to finally try them out at this time.

After picking up some Sport Jelly Beans since I of course forgot mine at home, we headed to the KT Tape booth.

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2012-11-02 15.37.11

I had to choose blue. I was really hoping it would help my knee, which had been sore for the previous two weeks. Thankfully nothing sharp, but a more dull constant pain.

After checking out the locations/dates for the RnR races in 2013, we think we are going to try and hit up the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half around Halloween. It is time to check out some new cities. :)

We got back in what seemed like the never-ending line to reboard the ferry and head back to downtown Savannah.

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2012-11-02 15.51.47

I will say RnR did a great job keeping the ferries moving so people didn't lose too much time standing in lines to board.

We arrived back to Savannah's famous River Street and did a little carboloading with a local brew from The Warehouse...

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2012-11-02 16.10.21
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2012-11-02 16.21.49

... and enjoyed Savannah's lack of an open container law.

Can I just say how odd yet awesome it was walking around with my beer? You don't want to chug or leave your beer behind - restaurants/bars give you a To-Go cup. My kind of city!

As we wandered back to our hotel, we set out to find the Start Line for the following morning and check out the historic Bay St.

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2012-11-02 16.26.21

We made it back to the hotel to settle in before our friend Michelle and my dad both landed/met us for dinner.

We went to Molly Macpherson's Scottish Pub & Grill for dinner. Why you may ask? They had a nice spaghetti dinner going on for runners.

It was great having everyone in one place the night before the race so we could come up with a game plan for the next morning: pre and post race meetups.

I also loved how almost every bar and restaurant in Savannah were so welcoming and supportive of the runners in town.

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2012-11-02 16.45.05

After getting back to the hotel, it was time for a little compression time with Zensah...

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2012-11-02 22.09.31

... before doing my #plankaday and setting the alarms for the morning!

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2012-11-02 22.11.49