Sunday, March 23, 2014

Savin Rock Half Marathon Race Recap

When looking to actually make 14 half marathons in 2014 possible I started looking around the state. I wish someone would just put them all on one website and make my life easier...but anyway, I found the Savin Rock Half Marathon in West Haven. It's only about 60 minutes from where I live so I registered very early and pretty much forgot about it...

I set my alarm fro 5.15am knowing I would forget something and need extra time to scramble for it. I don't know about you but I'm not really good at preparing for local races. I don't lay my clothes out the night before, and make sure everything is in one place? pfft, don't make me laugh... So I grabbed my Running Princess Glass Slipper shirt off the couch in the living room, grabbed my New Balance leggings from the basement couch, Miguels Nike long sleeve from the dryer, whoops left my socks on the floor on the side of my bed...sneakers? Shit. Where are my sneakers? Oh, hmm on Miguel's side of the bed, weird... runDisney Princess 2013 jacket, on the chair in the bedroom, Gu/Powerade Gel in the kitchen, rain jacket in my closet...back upstairs. Back downstairs into the kitchen to grab my powerade from the fridge...

(Ignore the hot mess that is our room...)

Are you as exhausted as I am!? I really need to start runDisney preparing my races around here.

The drive was actually pretty quick. Packet pick up, start and finish line were all at the Savin Rock Conference Center. I don't know why I didn't realize it but we were RIGHT ON THE OCEAN. How gorgeous is this view!

Bib numbers had been emailed on Friday which was another first for me, for a local race. It looked like a large number of people were running the half. I went and told the volunteers my bib number and was given my shirt. I was a little more than a little disappointed that they were not tech shirts. Okay, IF you are doing men's and women's sizing, tech material is the only reason to have separate the two.'s a cute shirt.

I spent about an hour in my car trying to warm up. I don't know why I felt so cold but my teeth were actually chattering uncontrollably just walking from the car to the conference center and back to the car. I had a really close spot too. I relaxed, listened to music to get myself into the zone and people watched. About 7:40, 20 minutes before the start I thought I'd pee just to be safe, I didn't know how the course would be set up and if there would be port-o-potties but I knew I really didn't want to stop unless I had to.

The line for the outside port-o-potties was dumb, like almost 30 people deep. There was no way I'd make it. I remembered seeing a bathroom inside. There were only 15 women in front of me there. I thought that seemed safer....NOPE. This is where I am slightly unfriendly at races. Unless you are disappearing to Narnia in the bathroom there is no reason to take 3 minutes to go. If you need more, maybe running today is not your best health choice. Luckily there were 2 ladies in front of me running the 5k which started about 15 minutes after the half. They let me go in front of them and I made it to the start line at 7:59. We didn't start on time so I had the opportunity to snap this photo. <3

Start Line.

I didn't know what the Shoreline Sharks Race Series was at the time, but I'm so in now.

I positioned myself in the middle of the pack. I was hoping I'd be able to find someone to keep a pace with. Well, let me tell you, these are some FAST runners. I ended up trying to stick a woman in a Shoreline Sharks long sleeve shirt on, it had an IronMan logo on the back. She had a GREAT pace and here stride seemed effortless. The first 4 miles were along the ocean. It honestly felt like we were moving like molasses. I kept thinking mile 3 was coming up...nope that's mile 2...At mile 4 we took a right up a hill. IronWoman, we shall call her, powered up the hill, I tried to remain close but could not keep the arms reach pace I had before. I stayed about a house or so behind for the next two miles until...oh wait...what's that... ANOTHER HILL. I tried to catch up while she was walking but nope.

At mile 6.2 I sent a photo to Miguel, Kristy and my parents with a very vivid expression of how I was feeling about the hills...

This is Mt. Everest. This is the hill that killed me. I tried my best to go to a run/walk/run method. I had only run prior to this point. I would run from cone to cone and then walk from cone to cone. It didn't feel good but helped a little. The downhill on the other side was pretty steep and covered in gravel...not cool.

Miles 8-13 Were tough, there was one, maybe two more hills thrown in the mix and once you hit 10.5, the last water stop it was all flat from there. The whole race I had kept my Nike SportWatch on pace to keep myself under a 13 mm. I glanced at the distance a couple of times but mostly was concerned about pace. Right before the last water stop at Mile 10.5 I glanced at the elapsed time. I had less than 3 miles left and I had been running for 2:04!! I knew with a little bit of perseverance I could PR.

That's when I passed by a cop directing traffic. He held his hand out like he wanted a high five, so being on the high I was...yup....I high-fived him. He looked confused at me and I kept running hahaha. Sorry Officer!

Then Mile 11....I hit the wall. Every part of my body hurt and I felt exhausted. Although we were running by the ocean again I could only muster to enough energy to go back to my run to cone, walk to cone method. I think one of the worst parts of running towards you goal is you know it's there, but it seems SO FAR away. I think it mentally messed with me. It wasn't until the end of Mile 12 when I saw this.

I knew I owed it to everyone in the Armed Forces. What I was doing although painful, paled in comparison to what they had and are going through. Touche, Savin Rock, touche...

 A quarter of a mile later I crossed the finish line to have my name called and glanced at the time clock. 2:41...2:41...2.41! I did it!
I PR'd. I took 9 minutes off my ING Hartford Half Marathon time which had previously been my best time to date.

(Sadly this is probably my best race photo to date, and it's a forced smile haha)

I took my photo with the ocean to my back, how awesome is this medal! It's a RUNNING SHARK! As much as Disney races mean to me it's hard to put this race on that same level...this medal probably means the most to me out of all of them so far...

Not only did I lose my job at the beginning of the month, but for the first time in my life (well since I was 14) my future was up in the air... What would I do? Where do I go? How do I handle this? 

For the first time in a long time, I can truly say I am happy. I cannot remember feeling this amazingly calm and happy. It's hard to describe. I'm not stressed. I'm not angry. I'm not feeling negative. I feel like myself, the person I'm supposed to be. I had a lot of time to think during this course and I know my life is finally on the right path, even if I don't know where it goes, I know I'm happy.

I have the most amazing support team...that's all of YOU out there. Those who are constantly rooting for me, cheering me on, just showing me love. I'm eternally grateful and can only hope to return the favor for all of you.

Thank you.


  1. Yay! I'm so happy for you. Both on the PR and being happy! Both are very very important haha

    1. Thank you! It's taken me a while to get here, for both. :)

  2. You are so awesome!! Congrats on that amazing PR! That medal is soooo cool and very well-earned. I really want to do a race next to the ocean someday. I bet there is nothing like it!

    Remembering an amazing reason to run - our military members - helps me get through tough parts of my runs as well. With everything they put themselves through, we can run 13.1 miles, right?! HOOAH!

    1. Thank you! I LOVE this medal so much, it's so different from the rest of mine. It's almost surreal to smell the ocean as you run knowing the finish line is right there.

      You got that right girl! HOOAH!

  3. Congrats on the PR, and that's one sweet medal!

  4. Congratulations on the PR. Love the medal!

  5. Awesome job powering through those hills! Congrats on smashing through to a new PR! And great job embracing the freedom to make your life whatever you want it to be! Freedom is an amazing gift, don't be afraid to pick a path and charge down it!

    1. Thank you!

      That's exactly what I'm going to do and I've never been more excited :)

  6. Great job Meg! I am so happy for you! By the way, have you seen ? Just search your state and it will pull up what races are available. I've notice that many of the larger ones don't get listed, but it still gives you an idea of what's out there in your area!

    1. Thank you :)

      I have looked on that website, but I think I did it halfheartedly, I'll have to look again. Thank you for the suggestion!

  7. West Haven is so pretty, it must have been awesome to run so close to the shore (although in warmer conditions I'm sure it would have been 10x nicer!) Yay for a PR!

    1. It was actually really pretty once you got to the top of the hills hahaha.

      Thank you :)

  8. I hope this isn't too creepy but I remember seeing you at Savin Rock because of your PHM jacket! And then two weeks later I saw you again at Middletown Half and wondered if you had a running blog! I was clicking through a few CT blogs tonight and that's how I found you. Small world! Both courses were no joke - I am running Fairfield in a couple weeks and I'm hoping for a flatter course :) Glad to have found your blog!