Chit Chat

Rock N Roll Savannah Half Marathon – Pre-race thoughts


The race is just a few days away and I realized I need to talk out my thoughts and feelings of this race going into it. I haven’t been completely honest with my readers about my goals for this race. The only person who truly knows what I’m gunning for, is Lana. For good reason, I talked through this race with Lana. We run almost exactly the same times right now, and we train together. If anyone knows what I’m capable of right now, it’s her and I trust her to give me her honest opinion about what she thinks I can accomplish. However, I haven’t put it down on paper because that makes it official and allows the possibility of having to write a recap where I didn’t hit my “A” goal. (we’ll get to that in a minute.)

This will be my first half marathon race since the birth of my daughter Valerie. This post comes on a good day because today happens to be her first birthday. Happy Birthday sweet pea, mommy loves you! As you may remember, I ran 9 days leading up to the birth of her. After I had Valerie, I was running 4 weeks later. I did run one half marathon while I was pregnant with her but I don’t count that as a race, that was more of an experience. Prior to that I ran 2 half marathons. My first was the shit show I call the Francis Marion Dirt Dash that I was completely under-trained and under experienced for, clocking in a 1:58. The result was puking in my mouth at mile 10, finishing the race barely walking, and having a knee injury that kept me out of running for 6 weeks. Then came half marathon #2, Sweet Tea half in Summerville which I more adequately trained for and clocked in a PR of 1:53:32. I completed that half with almost perfectly even splits, and I finished injury free!

So as of right now my current PR sits at 1:53:32 which occurred back in November of 2014. This PR definitely doesn’t reflect my current fitness. I’ve progressed more since having Valerie than I did before I got pregnant with her and I will 110% contribute that to Lana. Yeah, I have a runners crush on my training partner and I am the runner I am today because of her. Fast forward two years and one baby later, and here I am, ready to toe the line at my next half marathon and hoping for a huge PR.

The last time I did a half marathon, I stuck with comfort. I gave myself a 10 second range to stay within that I knew I could run comfortably. This time around, screw comfort, it’s time to see what I can really do. I plan on giving this race 100% of all that I have with a race strategy in mind. This means it’s going to be hard. I’m going to have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable for longer than I’m used to. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to do endurance with pain. Sure, I’ve done up to 18 mile long runs but they have been at a pace that I can maintain a conversation during, so this race is going to be a test for me.

Let’s talk about goals. With every race you should give yourself 3 goals; A, B, and C.  ” A ” should be your ultimate goal that is a little bit of a stretch but if all the stars align, you reach it. “B” goal should be more conservative, a goal that you’re 80% sure you can accomplish given your training and race day conditions. “C” should be something that will absolutely happen and that you can be proud of. With that, I’ll give you my official goals for this half marathon.


A: 1:38 – Quite honestly my heart rate just skyrocketed just from typing that out. Yes, my A goal is to do a 1:38:xx  half and I think that given the right conditions for the course and weather, I could achieve this time.

B: < 1:45 – I can say that I’m positive that with the training I have put in and my 44:58 at the James Island Connector Run 10K, a sub 1:45 is completely doable barring anything crazy happening on the course.

C: Cross the finish line injury free. – This one honestly might not happen because I’ve been battling IT band/ Knee issues for the last two weeks.

You may have noticed no training recap last week and it is because I took the entire week off after my 18 miler because my knee started to hurt. I spent every day icing it, resting it, and working on my hip strengthening exercises. I went to my Physical Therapist who confirmed with me that my IT band is all knotted up and pulling at my knee. This week I have only done a 4 mile run at an extremely slow pace just to test my knee. I have all the confidence in the world it will be better by the race but I may be hurting post-race.

A pre-race massage tonight, Physical Therapy tomorrow, and lots of rest stand between me and the race. It certainly was more of a taper than I would have liked but I am sure I didn’t lose any physical fitness in the two weeks that I took off/easy. I have a plan in place to keep this at bay while I train to qualify for Boston at the Charleston Marathon.

Race strategy: 

Miles 1 & 2: Start out absolutely no faster than 7:40 min/mile pace. If you start out too fast, you’ll 100% regret it by the end of the race. I’ve learned this the hard way which is why I’m aiming to clock the first few miles somewhere around 7:40 pace and slowly settle into goal pace of 7:30

Miles 3-10: Aim for even splits of 7:30 min/mile pace. Obviously I can’t hit it exactly with every mile but as long as I stay within a +/- 5 seconds of this pace I’ll be happy.

Miles 11 & 12: As long as I’m still feeling good, my plan is to slowly increase speed here by 10 seconds per mile.

Mile 13 + .1 : The final mile will be an all out, give it everything I’ve got sprint to the finish line.

So there we have it. I’m gunning for a 1:38 and I’ll give it everything that I have. Friday I head out for Savannah to hit up the race expo and enjoy a relaxing evening in a hotel room, all alone. After a long week of Valerie having a cold and teething all night, I’m looking forward to a good night of rest. I’ll check in on Friday night to share how the expo was, until then, I’m going to go ice my knees.




8 thoughts on “Rock N Roll Savannah Half Marathon – Pre-race thoughts

  1. Michelle! Great post and glad I found it as I’m running my first RnR Savannah half (and it’s our first time to Savannah). Your goals are fantastic and although I am somewhat “less fast” than you are, I am with you on putting it all out there and seeing what I’ve got! Have a great race!


    1. Hi Jennifer!! yay for your first RnR Savannah Half. I have heard nothing but great things about it, so I’m really excited to check this race off the list. You’ll love Savannah, I’ve been a few times with my husband, it’s a very beautiful city. Wishing you the best of luck at the race as well!


    1. I was checking out all those online calculators and tried playing around with them. I think had there not been wind and the hills, I could have knocked off about 30-40 seconds off JI, so with the 44:30 in the calculators, it gives me the 1:38. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced hard for that amount of time though so I’m worried my endurance may not be up there. We shall see. 🙂 Thanks lady. Whats up next for you on the race calendar?


      1. Is this your first RNR? I just had my first half of the season and had no idea what to expect. I started super slow and went by feel and got a PR by 5 seconds! I was in shock! WOOHOO! My next race is another half to complete the bridge series in about 3 weeks. I’m debating whether to do a Thanksgiving one or not after that 🙂 Good luck good luck!


      2. It is my first RnR. I think if I enjoy it, we are going to do Nashville next year as a family trip. I love that bridge series you are doing, the medals look awesome for it. You will rock it! and I say, yes to the Thanksgiving race, everyone loves a good Turkey Trot. Lana & I are doing the one here in Charleston, that will be a first for me as well. I missssssssssssss you by the way. It’s not the same being out there without you.


  2. Your A goal is very realistic!!!
    You’ve had a great training cycle and have the ability speed and endurance to reach your goal! Take care of those knees and I think you may even surprise yourself on what you can do on a flat course!!
    I’ll be looking forward to the recap!
    You got this Chica!!!!


    1. Thanks girl!! I’m excited to see you rock it out at your half marathon too. It’s been so long since I ran a half that I’m just worried about the endurance factor. Hopefully it all lines up for me tomorrow morning. I appreciate the vote of confidence. 🙂


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