An Intimidating Slip of Paper


Not every long run goes as expected. After last weekend’s amazing 20 miler, I was excited to attempt 20 again, even though my running coach suggested against it.

Earlier in the week, I reached out to Fleet Feet Savannah to see if I could join their Saturday long run group since a number of locals are training for the Rock and Roll Savannah Marathon, which is the same weekend as my marathon.

I was ecstatic when they said yes and spent last night carb loading with my family before lacing up my shoes at 5:30 this morning. I enjoyed a Thomas Bagel Thin for the first time! It was delicious! I have to see if I can find these in New York City!

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I left the house at 5:55 in order to make it to Fleet Feet by 6:15. It was pitch black out, the wind was howling, and it took me ten minutes to figure out where to park.

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As soon as I turned the corner towards the store, a friendly face screamed my name.

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The tall blonde woman in the above picture, Coach Wilson, was my middle school gym teacher and softball coach. I hadn’t seen her in 14 years yet she still remembered my face and name. How’s that for a small town feeling? It turns out that she organizes the weekly long runs with the Fleet Feet team.

While everyone signed in, she handed each of us small slips of paper with running routes.

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This small piece of paper was very intimidating this morning. I immediately realized just how far a “long run” is in Savannah and how far you can travel through town. I saw streets on this sheet of paper that I’d never think of going to on the same day; in totally different parts of town ranging from midtown to the downtown historic section. To anyone reading this post who also runs a training group, I highly recommend using bullets and offering Ziploc bags for sweaty runners to put the paper in so it doesn’t get ruined from the sweat.

After twenty minutes of stretching and waiting for people to show up we finally started, broken into groups by pace. I joined the 10:30 pace group, looking forward to getting to know the men and women running and talk about training.

Unfortunately, I quickly found out that this group is a “run/walk” training group. No one mentioned this to me when I called or showed up this morning. Therefore, I didn’t realize that my running group would stop every 5 to 8 minutes to walk for a minute.

This didn’t go over very well with me as I’ve never trained in this manner. By mile 3, I decided that I’d stay between the 10:00-10:30 pace groups for safety but run solo.

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One of the benefits to running with the group was definitely the random water stations scattered throughout our route and always knowing that there were people behind and in front of me.

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By mile 8, when I stopped for water and this quick snapshot, I was feeling pretty good but didn’t have the excitement in me to attempt doing 20 miles especially since my coach didn’t feel a need. Knowing that I have 20 miles on the plan next weekend in Tampa with Meghann made shortening today’s run very easy.

Suddenly I was over half way done and therefore left the water stop with a huge smile! I continued from midtown towards downtown, passing our local Junior League along the way!

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The final miles of my long run were in our gorgeous Forsyth Park. The park’s path is exactly a mile and flanked by Live Oaks and hanging moss. There were lots of workout classes taking place in the park, surrounded by happy dogs playing in the grass.

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I finished fourteen miles at a 10:44 pace, feeling strong and excited for next weekend’s 20 miler.

I was greeted by a very welcome sight when I got home, ice and a huge Jacuzzi bath! This is definitely a benefit to doing long runs at home in Savannah versus New York!

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It still amazes me that I ran through so many different neighborhoods this morning. Running through Savannah was so different than even New York as I know the roads and distances so well.

Question: Do you find it harder or easier to run when you know the route well?

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  1. Theodora October 9, 2011 / 11:49 am

    1. Glad you didn’t do 20. Three 20s in a row is an awful lot for your body to take!
    2. You can def find the Bagel Thins in NYC.
    3. Love that you passed the Junior League!
    4. COME BACK!

    • healthyh October 9, 2011 / 3:13 pm

      1. Glad I didn’t do 20 too! I miss you too!!

  2. Summer October 9, 2011 / 3:22 pm

    For me, it’s easier to run when the route is unfamiliar. I don’t get bored because the scenery is different and I’m on alert for the next turns I need to make.

    I run the same routes over and over and over and over and I’ll be bored to tears even just running a simple two miles. I know exactly what to expect from every step, and unless someone has left something crazy in their yard, there’s nothing new to look at.

    I live in Columbia, SC but I’ll be in Savannah for the RnR half in a couple of weeks, I’m excited! Nice job on the 14 miles, probably for the best that you cut it short. Three 20-milers in a row is a LOT.

  3. Michelle @ Crazy*Running*Legs October 10, 2011 / 1:16 am

    So fun to see pictures of Savannah!! I hope we get to run by SOME nice areas during the marathon. I know parts of the race aren’t in the best areas.

    It’s probably a good thing that you cut the mileage down yesterday. Your legs will feel fresh(er) next weekend!!

    Since you are a local – any restaurant recommendations for a pre-race dinner? Thanks!

  4. Tropical Eats October 11, 2011 / 1:11 am

    you’re doing 20 in tampa this weekend?!

    you are my hero! hydrate like crazy the day before.

    awesome job in Savannah! that little paper is intimidating.

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