Beginners and Beyond


2013 Rock n Roll Savannah RR (my first HM) (Read 87 times)


Running for TJ

    Rock N Roll Savannah Half Marathon 11/9/13


    About 2 months after I started trying to become a runner, the inaugural Rock N Roll Savannah Marathon was held in November 2011.  One of the local TV stations covered the race on-air and live streamed on-line.  That day I sat and watched hours of on-line coverage thinking I’ll never be able to do that.  Fast forward to November 9, 2013…I DID IT, I ran my first half marathon – the 2013 Rock N Roll Savannah Half Marathon! 


    I arrived at the Savannah International Trade Center for parking at 4:25am (I hate to be late).  They offered free parking and water shuttle service across the river right at the starting area.  I quickly found my starting corral area and then just walked around trying to stay warm.  As early as I was I was among a crowd at 5:15am waiting for the gear check to open.  I was hydrated to near saturation from the past few days and started a series of trips to the porta-johns.  Time flew by to start time. 


    The race started promptly at 7am with the elite runners in corral 1.  As you may have guessed, that group didn’t include yours truly.  My start corral was 15 based on my estimated finish of 2:30.  When we took off all I could think of was the progress I have made in 2 years and the fact that I had self-committed to do this for TJ (my son that has Cerebral Palsy and is confined to a wheelchair). 


    Mile 1 felt amazing and was done in 11:20 so I’m right on schedule.  I hit the 5K point at 35 minutes and was feeling really good about my run, other than the fact that my Garmin froze at 3.08 miles.  My watch will do this occasionally, usually at the worst times.  I knew I hit the first mile clock time at about 30 minutes so I knew I could subtract about 18 from the clocks and know how I was doing.


    At the 10K point I was feeling very good about my race.  I had the 2:30 pacer about 200 yards behind me and I felt like I was cruising.  I learned something really interesting at this point of the race too.  There was a water/Gatorade station at this point.  I’ve never run a race where Gatorade was offered during the race and was amazed at how long it takes to run all of that sticky off the bottoms of your shoes after passing through these areas!


    Somewhere between miles 9 and 10 is where the wheels started falling off my bus.  I started getting a muscle cramp in the middle of my back.  My split at 10 miles was 2:04 so I was still somewhat near my goal finish time.  At about the 10.5 mile mark the cramp was getting BAD so I started walking.  I walked for about a mile and it seemed to go away.  I started back running within sight of the 12 mile sign but could tell immediately it wasn’t going to be comfortable.  The last probably 1.3 miles seemed to take forever with the bright spot being when we made the last turn and could see the finish line.  I sprinted the best I could to the finish.  Crossing that finish line was a huge accomplishment for me physically and emotionally, thinking of my little buddy.  My finish time was 2:50:54.  While I was somewhat disappointed with the time, I’m happy beyond belief by the fact that I can say I ran a half marathon!


    Just for this race, I had a “Team TJ” shirt made.  On the front it has “Team TJ” in large print and on the back it has “Running for TJ…because he can’t” with his picture on it in the center.  All through the race I would hear “Go Team TJ” from the spectators and I can’t even guess how many runners would comment during the race that they loved my shirt.  All of the positive comments made me realize how just meaningful this accomplishment is. 



    Things I learned from this experience include: I didn’t train well enough in my opinion, I need to do some core strengthening exercises to alleviate the back cramps, Gatorade makes the street super sticky, and it’s amazing how hard you are willing to work to do something to honor someone that can’t do it for themselves.


    A sad note from the race, a 35 year old male runner collapsed at the finish line after completing the full marathon.  Unfortunately they were unable to revive him.  My heart goes out to his family.


    As for the people of Savannah…the City of Savannah encouraged the different neighborhood associations along the route to decorate and cheer the runners as a part of a contest.  I think there were 5 different areas that we passed through and the citizens were amazing.  One of the areas was obviously not as well off as most of the others but these folks were awesome!  I’d like to say thank you to all of the citizens that were supportive to the runners and inconvenienced by road closures for this event. 


    Unfortunately, I won’t be able to run this race in 2014 due to a far more important race commitment in Northwest Alabama.  I will be doing the RnR Savannah in 2015 and beyond!


    Will I train harder and continue to run in half marathon distance races?  YES!


    The race swag shirt is a Brooks shirt!  This is by far the nicest tech shirt I now own!


    ...and the finisher medal that I'm far more proud of than the two 5K AG medals I have!



    Thanks for taking the time to read my report!!

    You have to run through the valley if you want to get to the mountain top!


    Next goal:  Mad Marsh 50K (November 2014)

      Love this! What a journey, and what a labor of love for TJ. Congratulations!

      delicate flower

        Way to go, Robert!  Congratulations on completing your first HM!  Sorry about the back problems though.  That had to be frustrating.  Terrible news about the 35 year old runner too.


        I like your spirit though...already looking ahead to your next one!



          Congratulations on your first HM!  You are doing so well and learned what to do for next time. Great job.


          Im very sorry to hear of the fallen runner. My thoughts are with his family.

          Bad Ass

            Great job!  Congratulations!


            Very sad about that runner.

            Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

            Next:  RnR Country Music Half Marathon


            "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

            Jack K.

              Way to go, Robert! Too bad about your back, and besides, the first one is the hardest. Keep it up and you will soon be in corral 1! Also, the Team TJ shirt is the coolest. Smile

              2014 races

              Santa Anita Derby Day 5k - 5 Apr  

              Mountains to Beach Marathon - 25 May

                Congratulations Robert!  Awesome feat.  Coincidentally, I was in Savannah early Saturday morning for a college visit for my youngest son  and  while I was watching the local news which showed reporters near the start, I wondered whether you or Kara were running in the race.  I had explained to my DW about you running for TJ.

                Loved your photo and the shirt which you made honoring TJ.

                “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot


                Running for TJ

                  Congratulations Robert!  Awesome feat.  Coincidentally, I was in Savannah early Saturday morning for a college visit for my youngest son  and  while I was watching the local news which showed reporters near the start, I wondered whether you or Kara were running in the race.  I had explained to my DW about you running for TJ.

                  Loved your photo and the shirt which you made honoring TJ.


                  Thanks.  Kara wasn't running but I did see her at about the 6 mile mark cheering.  Well, actually she was fooling with her phone and I scared the crap out of her!

                  You have to run through the valley if you want to get to the mountain top!


                  Next goal:  Mad Marsh 50K (November 2014)

                    Congrats on the first of many more halves. You and your family are an inspiration. I can't wait to meet you all.


                    Caretaker/Overlook Hotel

                      Great job!  Congratulations!


                      Very sad about that runner.


                      Ditto!  I dunno 5 years ago I didn't care about running so can't say i heard, but I swear it seems like too many people dropping dead at the end of marathons.  (I'll use it as my personal excuse to never run a full)


                      Totally enjoy your accomplishment.  Forget the time.  Knowing a HM is half the battle.  You'll be much better prepared & could probably run another PR on that same course if you ran it again in a month without trying any harder than you did today!!





                        Congratulations on all the accomplishments this race has been for you.


                        Barking Mad To Run

                          Congrats, Robert, you did great and you did TJ proud!  Nice report and nice photos!


                          Very sorry to hear about the runner who didn't make it.  As you said, heart goes out to his family.

                          "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt

                          on my way to badass

                            Awesome report!

                            Still waiting for the perfect race picture. 5K PR-35:38 First 10K 4/26/2014 First HM 9/21/2014

                            Bin Running

                              Congrats, Team TJ! Robert you did great.. Enjoyed the RR.

                              2014 races

                              2XU HM - 02 Mar (1:44:55)

                              BeHero 10K (Hong Kong) - 23 Mar (46:13)


                              JP Morgan 5.6K - 24 Apr

                              Run350 HM - 27 Apr

                              Sundown HM - 31 May

                              Catleesi; mother of cats

                                Congrats on your first HM Robert! Love the Team TJ shirt, he's so lucky to have such a great dad Smile


                                Definitely start incorporating some core work, after you do that consistently for a while I'll bet the back pain will be a thing of the past. I don't do anything core-specific, but my non-running workouts (lifting weights) engage a lot of core muscles and I feel like a much stronger runner for it - last fall my back would start to get sore on anything longer than 4 miles or so, but I haven't experienced that at all this year.

                                I pick things up and put them down, and when I'm not broken I run.