By this time, you’re well into your training program for Savannah’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon this November (and if not, consider this your gentle reminder). But you know all too well that race-prep requires much more than speed work and endurance runs. There’s the process of carefully selecting your wardrobe and making sure every lucky talisman—from your PR socks to the smelly visor (can’t wash away the magic!)—is accounted for. And whether you’re travelling from out of town or a local, there are hundreds of race-day logistics to consider, from parking and potties to post-race relaxation and revelry. Your stress-free solution? A downtown vacation rental.
And here’s why:
1.Location, location, location. Racing is expensive. There’s the registration free, hi-tech shoes and $10 socks that, yes, are totally worth it. But don’t skimp on the accommodations. Sure you can save a buck and crash on your former college roommate’s sofa, muddled with dog hair and Dorito dust from his toddler’s fingers, but you’ve earned a real vacation, sans fur and food bits.
2.It’s hip to be square. Make yourself the envy of your friends—local or otherwise—by taking up temporary residence on one of Savannah’s historic squares. While they’ll be bleary-eyed from a 4 a.m. wakeup and a 20-minute drive, you’ll be refreshed from a long sleep and leisurely coffee. Shallow? Maybe. Smart? Absolutely.
3.Parking wars. While Gen. Oglethorpe may have laid out a brilliant city plan, he didn’t have the foresight in 1733 to accommodate our modern parking needs. And when a race with thousands of participants fills his squares, the best way to get to the race start is to parachute in. Or, walk a block or two from your vacation rental.
4.Quiet, please. The problem with staying in your own house prior to a race is that life doesn’t recognize the great challenge you are about to embark on. The dog still needs to be walked, your kids need breakfast and your husband can’t find, well, anything. And while all of that matters on most days, not today.
5.Sleep tight, get it right. Pre-race anxiety always makes it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Crisp, fresh sheets always help—as does a bed to yourself. Spread out like a starfish and pull the covers to your heart’s delight.
6.Porta Potties stink, literally. All the porta potties in the world are still not enough to accommodate the thousands of runners who have to go at least three times in the 10 minutes before race start. Simple math will tell you that when you get to the front of the line, you’ll wish you weren’t. Enjoy a porcelain palace all your own.
7.Ditch with dignity. During last year’s race, unexpected weather (i.e. hot as hell) forced my running partner to bail at mile six—conveniently near the house where she was staying. This allowed her to forgo either a long walk of shame or an ambulance ride. Once inside, she cried, showered and then cheered on the finishers, and no one knew any better. #sortofwinning
8.Post-race party central. Sure the headlining band is worth hanging out for, but it doesn’t hurt to first gather the forces at your pad. There you can recount the race with the only other people who really care. And Bloody Mary’s are best mixed in a blender—your place has one.
9.Shower power. No one needs to smell how hard you worked. Proof of your effort should be your finishing medal, not your body odor. Plus, they’ll be more likely to congratulate you if they can get within 10 feet.
10.Roadies… For runner, marketing manager, singer and blogger Cecilia Arango, roadies are a way of life. “Sure, you can lace up your shoes and run our magnificent oak tree-lined roads and explore our beautiful city, but that's not the roadie I’m talking about,” says Cecilia. “I'm talking about a good ol’ Savannah roadie, or what we refer to as those plastic cups you see at the doors of each bar and dining establishment in downtown Savannah.” In this town, beers and race bibs go hand-in-hand.
11.…and foodies. You can either play it safe by making your go-to plain pasta or oatmeal in-house, or visit the many restaurants in walking distance. Savannah has everything your tummy desires. “Get your cash and make sure you grab a fat slice of pizza from Vinnie Van Go Go's,” advises Cecilia. “And do not leave Savannah without having a scoop of Chocolate Chewies and Cream from Leopold's.”
12.Safe house. Chris Ramsey, a seasoned runner and General Manager of Fleet Feet Savannah has seen it all—and some things he probably wishes he hadn’t. So keep it indoors if you fall into the “not fit for public” category. As he puts it, “When you can barely walk--from either too many miles or too many beer, it's nice to crash in your own place without anyone around to see the state you're in,” he notes.
Or, as Cecilia explains, “To summarize all above in one word, staying downtown is all about convenience!” We agree.