Race Report : Rock N Roll VA Beach Half Marathon

On the heels of my latest learning moment, the Buckeye Half last weekend, I ventured down to the ocean side for an attempt at a final road half marathon for 2011. Today’s post will strictly be about the event, tomorrow I will share tales of the vacation aspect.

Like the last 200000+ races I’ve done, the race started in a way where I felt annoyed with myself thinking I could post a race report mad-lib.

I woke up ____. My stuff was ____. I arrived at ______ and I _____. By mile ____ I was ___.

Luckily the day turned into something other than a repeat.

Now I did wake up “late”, but I woke up on the floor of a strange apartment with two other girls (sounds like a great Sat night, huh?) Together we stumbled around in the dark getting some version of dressed and out to the car. Since I won’t know how they feel about me using their names I will call them L and K. K is on Team Marathon with me, L just wanted to do the race and is a friend of K’s. I drove us to a fellow teammates house, but since we were running a little late, she had already left so it was time to just leave the car and get moving.

Along the way we were worried we wouldn’t make the starting line on time. I wasn’t too worried, I figured if it was anything like Chicago then 700 was not when we would be starting. My only concern was my drop bag and how I refused to run with it for 13.1 miles. L was in a beginning corral and wanted a good time so she took off jogging while K and I walked at a brisk rate. K and I both do trail running as our primary sport so we weren’t sure how today would end.

As we neared the starting street a car pulled up and asked if we needed a ride. We (myself and K, L was long gone) agreed and popped into the back of the truck and chatted with another running late runner. Her husband/boyfriend/male driver chatted with us too. She was running in memory of her dog who had recently passed (how sad). When I wondered out loud what to do with my banana peel the driver said “I eat mine” to which the lady quickly corrected “Oh, you do NOT”. He was a lil red neck in looks. He had his hair and beard neatly placed in pony holders.

We made it to the start and K and I thanked them and took off. It sounded like she gasped and said “Wow” when we took the corner to see the sea of people in the street. I didn’t think it looked like too many and as I snapped a picture my camera died.


Later I confirmed in the results, just over 11,000 runners. She paused to do the pledge, while I walked with a few other people toward the trucks. Finally I had no choice but to run across the parking lots to the trucks as they were shutting their doors! Yikes! Bag was safe and secure as the lead people were being released. I made my way over to the crowd and snuck into a section. I was assigned to 11 or 12, I found myself standing with 10. I danced to “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts and moved across the starting mat about 12 minutes after 7, listening to loud speaker announced warnings of “It’s a hot day” “It’s a strange hot for those out of the area” “Don’t try to push” “Find someone to talk to and just aim for fun”.

I found the first few miles to be easy, I ran them around a 10:30 pace and only hated when we passed a few restaurants and I found myself tasting fish the scent was so strong. It was also funny to pass a hotel advertising “2010” specials and wondering if I was going crazy. Right away I vowed to hit every aid station even if I felt I didn’t need to stop. By mile 3 and the 5K mark I was feeling beat. Still I was pleased with my time, I was keeping a reasonable pace and wasn’t pushing too hard. I waved and smiled at the camera, hoping for a better video than I had in Chi-town.

Suddenly I felt terrible and as we approached the first slight hill, a bridge/on ramp, I wanted to stop. I drank some Cyclomax and slowed my pace, but didn’t stop. The next thing I knew I was over the bridge and down the road and passing mile 5 marker. I was well under an hour and feeling fine. Not great, but fine.

I paused a moment to get a paper towel from the med tent and wipe my face. Oddly it didn’t occur to me that although I was sweating enough to be drench, enough to be dropping sweat all over, I wasn’t getting salty. At no point in the race did I felt salty sweat, I still can’t explain this, but I think it’s important. At this stretch the runners passing mile 10 were going past and I didn’t understand until later that I was watching Ryan Hall in action. I wondered why he looked familiar! ha! A guy shoved his visor in my face without saying anything and it took me quite a while longer than I am proud to admit to realize he wanted me to read it…and it was a Team Marathon visor! Oops! Go team!

Around 6 they had a salt table (packets like you would get at a fast food place) and I ate some Sports Beans and salt. I also stopped to use the bathroom. While in line I watched K run by and she looked good. I forgot to mention L passed me in the first few miles, she looked GREAT!

After leaving my “break” it took a moment to find my groove again, but I don’t regret the stop. My CEP’s were being wonderful and I think a major factor in my feet not swelling. the 2:22 pacer passed me and I was sad, but I realized something interesting. I was in the heat and the humidity and I wasn’t puking…I wasn’t ill at all. I felt fine. I was having FUN. How could this be?

Mile 7-8-9 were mentally strange to me. I was looking for my groove, I hate that stretch of any half, and we entered an area which reminded me of a deserted fair grounds. Long buildings not connected to each other on plots of grass with gravel paths all around. No people standing around cheering. Hot and boring. I dropped to a few paces below 12 minutes and couldn’t get the energy to run. We passed under an inflatable rocker as we left.

Once I knew I was near mile 10 I perked back up a lot. I still wasn’t sick, but I had walked more than I wanted. And when the 2:30 pacer passed me (while power walking) that sent a blow to my ego I wish I could have ignored. Shortly after I hit mile 10 and it was over 2 hours. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that for 10 miles and I was mad at myself. So I tried to pick it up and recover for the final 5K.

The last few miles I listened to music, ran through sprinklers and reminded myself to just enjoy the process. This is my last road half for the year, last for probably at least 6 months. I needed to enjoy it. My PR was not in reach, but a good time still was. I saw a man in a speedo with high heels. WTF? A woman flew through signing at the top of her lungs. The group of runners bonded, I smiled and just kept trekking along. On the return trip we met the bridge again and I smiled from ear to ear as I powered up and down passing a ton of people.

Somehow I had it in me for a final “kick” and I passed a lot of people again on the final longest stretch of the boardwalk. I loved the icy mist machines and looking over to see sand and ocean rolling up against us. The inflated finish arch seemed to never get closer, but I kept pushing. Part of me wondered if I could have pushed and met 2:30, but I stopped thinking that as soon as it happened. After all, I was about to finish a half in the heat and humidity without getting sick and having a blast! I was about to accomplish something.

Thank gawd I kicked it over the line to finish in a chip time of 2:43:47 I was pleased with my performance and even more pleased with how I was walking around after and didn’t spent the remainder of the day in misery land. With what pics I did see I seemed to be having a really good looking cute and thin day so I’m peeved most of my images are at an angle and I’m cut off. SERIOUSLY Brightroom? Ugg.

K finished a few minutes ahead of me, she wasn’t feeling well and spent a lot of time in the RR. L finished in 2:02 which bummed her out, she wanted a sub 2, she wanted 1:45, and when she crossed the finish line the passed out. They almost took her to the ER. Apparently they took her temp (not in her mouth) 6x and when she drank the Cyclomax she said “This is wonderful” to which the nurse said “No, it tastes like shit, you’re just really dehydrated”. Good times.

Here are the pics and my pace chart.

Click to enlarge
Happy w/ my medal and the AC
These girls wouldn’t move, it was very annoying…
Not gonna lie, I like my legs in this shot
I’m lifting my arms to brace myself, I’m about to crash those pink girls
See? I’m about to make the “stop” gesture to push them
As usual, aside from my face, this is good. EYES OPEN how hard can it be?
Where’s Waldo? Look in the middle near the 2011 date
This time I’m next to the word “photo”
Very bottom on the right, above “room”

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