Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon Recap

by - Monday, September 07, 2009

How do I feel now? Ouch
How did I feel at mile 12: Where is that damn mile 13 marker
How did I feel at mile 8: Is there no freakin' shade on the rest of this course?
How did I feel at mile 3: Hey if I can keep this pace I'll set a PR
How did I feel at the start: If these nerves don't calm down I might puke

I guess that's the short version of how this weekend went. You can stop reading there if you want, but then you want know what my finishing time was. Brace yourself though, this bad boy is long. But I have pictures!

The weekend got off to a great start when my parents picked me up on their way to Virginia Beach and we didn't hit a lick of traffic. By some miracle we managed to get out of the the D.C. area and down 95 South on a holiday weekend without getting stuck in anything. I was hoping the good luck would carry over for the rest of the weekend.

After meeting up with my cousin and her baby daughter for lunch, my mom and I hit the Expo to pick up our race packets and of course check out all the freebies.



I tried some delicious smoothies.


And had a chiropractor analyze my back. Apparently my muscles are all kinds of tight.


And then I had some yummy cheese.


Oh and my mom and I got our picture on Runner's World.

I also tested a whole bunch of different energy drinks (a review to come later) that I didn't realize at the time were energy drinks and therefore had caffeine in them. I haven't had anything to drink with caffeine in it for over a year. I was seriously wired the rest of the day.

BF got into town late Friday night to complete our group. My mom, the BF and I were all doing the race and my dad was there for race support.

After waking up ridiculously early on Saturday, we all hit up the free breakfast at our hotel before I headed back to the Expo with the BF so he could pick up his stuff. It was his first Expo and he seemed to have a good time.

We hit the beach for a little bit afterwards, but I was worried my pasty-white self would fry even with tons of sunscreen on. The rest of Saturday was spent chillaxin' and ended with a carbo-liscious pasta dinner.

I couldn't fall asleep until kind of late Saturday night. No matter how much I said I was just going to do this race for fun, part of me was still holding on to a glimmer of hope that I'd be able to pull some miracle out of my butt and beat my PR. I couldn't get the nerves to calm down at all, but I eventually fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.



I make a "running person" every night before the race to make sure I don't forget anything. I made the BF do it too. Look at all the extra crap mine has on it haha.

The alarm blared at 4:30 a.m. I got the coffee brewing for the BF and then busied myself with my normal pre-race routine. After I was dressed, I ate my bread and PB and sipped on some Gatorade. Since we had to catch a shuttle to the start at 5:30 and the race didn't start til 7 a.m. I took along a Gu and some water to take a few minutes before the start.

At the start I did my normal I am nervous and must use the porta-potties three times before the race starts.


In between bathroom runs I managed to meet up with Lindsay from Chasing the Kenyans! (Who by the way, totally kicked ass in the race, but you can read more about that on her blog)


My mom, the BF and I before the start (and before the sun was up)


BF and I before we lined up to start the race.

Corrals started going off and eventually mine was underway. I crossed the timing mat, started my watch and was off. Mile one came in around 9:48 and I knew there was no way I could that pace for long, so I backed off a little bit and settled in to a nice groove for the next couple of miles. There was a decent amount of shade on the early miles and I was happy to have it because it was a warm and sunny day outside.

I was enjoying the music and the crowd support and I was hitting pretty great splits until the cursed water station at mile 5. I vaguely remembered this water station sucking big time from the last time I did this race. And oh man it was so much worse this year. I was averaging around 10:15ish miles until mile 5 when I lost like three minutes just trying to get through the water station. The road narrowed like crazy so people were super close, a bunch stopped to walk and there was just really no where to go.

I was able to find some running room and there was a bit of shade near mile 6 so I picked it up a bit. I don't remember much about mile 7.

Mile 8 was one of my least favorite miles in the whole course. There was no shade. It was through an Army base with little crowd support and my legs were not happy. That was when I instituted the run five minutes walk three minutes plan.

Mile 9 and 10 were fun. Great crowd support. Fans with hoses spraying down the runners. Lots of music. Some of my favorite miles of the race.

I saw my Dad right before or after mile 11 (I can't remember which now). He gave me a new, cold (thank gosh!) water bottle for the rest of the race. I was still doing some walking and running but I was feeling pretty good.

I got to mile 12 though and I felt like I couldn't move my legs. I'm not sure what really happened, but I just couldn't run. I told myself I was going to try to run for three minutes and I'd push and run and then have to stop. I'd look at my watch and realize I'd been running for like 50 seconds.

At that point, I gave up caring about my time and just decide to enjoy the rest of the race. I was super close to the boardwalk, there was a dude with a TV camera up in my face so I hammed it up a bit and I walked the rest of the boardwalk until the mile 13 marker, when I of course picked it up and sprinted strong to the finish.

After getting my medal and ice cold towel (thank you volunteers!) I was on a mission to find my mom and the BF. BF answered my text message and told me he was near mile 11. So after getting out of the clusterfuck that was the finishers' shoot, I sprinted back down the boardwalk to go cheer for him. He was looking good near mile 11. I hung around for a bit to see if I saw my mom, even though I figured she was probably ahead of him, I couldn't be sure because she was having horrible Achilles problems and could barely walk on Saturday.

After a while, I headed back up the boardwalk to see the BF finish. In the meantime, I got a message from my Dad saying my mom had finished! Whoo hoo! And not long after I saw the BF approaching the mile 13 marker.


BF at mile 13.

I screamed really loud and then sprinted the rest of the way alongside trying to get a picture of him crossing the finish line. I didn't manage too, but I think I sprinted faster for that than I did in the entire race.

I met up with my mom and dad and a family friend of ours who also ran the race. He and my mom actually crossed the finish line at the same time. How cool.


Mom, Patrick and me after the race.

I also caught up with two other friends of mine who both ran the race. They both rocked it. It was one of the girl's first half marathon and she finished in just a little over 2:30! Her sister finished in under two hours.

I also found of a friend of mine from high school was at the race to watch his girlfriend run so we were all able to meet up later that night. It was like reunion weekend.

The BF and his cousins could be brothers.

We caught up with the BF and his grandparents and cousins who had come to watch the race. BF finished in under three hours with almost no training. He went in not sure he'd be able to finish. (You may remember earlier this summer BF was training super hard until his knee started acting up.) But in the end he totally rocked it.

My mom did awesome too, finishing in 2:33. She said her Achilles hurt the entire time, but not bad enough to force her to drop out.

And I finished in 2:27:33. That's about nine minutes faster than my last VB time and about 10 minutes slower than my PR. I'm not happy with the time, but I'm not unhappy either. It was a fun race, a great weekend and just an overall good time.

The only real post race soreness I have is in my quads. They hurt like a mo-fo. I can't walk down the steps in my house. It's embarrassing. But oh well. It should be gone in a few days.

Sorry for the long, long post. But stayed tuned later this week for a guest post from the BF talking about his first half marathon experience.

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19 comments

  1. Woooohooooo!!! I think you rocked the rock&roll. :-)

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  2. Very cool! Glad you had fun. I have to take back all the times I called the BF a pussy now, I guess. He actually finished, and with a decent time to boot!

    Now get him to run a sprint triathlon. I stand behind my theory that a half mary is harder than a sprint tri. Would love to get his opinion.

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  3. How cool that you had so much support out there. Great race report. :o)

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  4. Good job, sister, and congrats to you, the Moms, and the BF!

    "Clusterf*ck"? Man, sister, I didn't know you cursed! That's hawt!

    Not Hawt-Emily hot. But still ... pretty hawt.

    I'd like to use the remainder of my time to call Carolina Cletus a p*ssy.

    That's for the BF. Tell him I said he's welcome.

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  5. Sounds like you had fun! And congrats on another great finish!

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  6. Great job! Nice to have so many loved there and involved. Cheers!

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  7. Amazing!! You did great. I'm certain that my blog report post 1/2 marathon will be as long and with slower times.

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  8. 10 minutes better is good!! BF is tall! LOL... Do you wear heels when you guys go out on a date? ;-)

    Nicely done, Jess!! I think you accomplished the most important thing, and that was to have fun! Woo hoo!!!

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  9. ah the pre-race porta potty...possibly my least favorite dance.

    way to go on keeping such a great attitude and deciding to just enjoy it when it felt tough! I love that!!!

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  10. congrats Jess. Va Beach (and the Shamrock full/half) both run thru that base. When I did Shamrock it was actually pretty cool because the jr. recruits were out their cheering. but then again that's in March and you're running in September. Big Difference!

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  11. Love your race report, from start to finish, pictures and all. I so love running the half marathon distance and am very sad that I can barely get out 3 miles painfree. I am hoping this changes soon!

    Great job to YOU, the BF, and your MOM! WaHoO!

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  12. How incredible... not only did you run a major race but it was a real family event... v. cool :)

    Congrats to all of you :)

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  13. dude you were so popular this weekend with all your meetups! you should definitely be proud of yourself, you finished and are still standing even though your training wasn't quite where you wanted it to be. once the shade disappeared it definitely got tougher, but at least it wasn't super hot. those cold rags at the end were AWESOME. i need to set that up next summer for all my training runs! it was so great to meet you and hope to 'run' into you again at another race. i'd run with you whenever!

    congrats also to bf and mom!! i hope he isn't hurting too bad so that he'll want to do another one with you :)

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  14. Expo freebies are the best!

    I'm glad you had a fun weekend with the family! Congrats to all the runners this weekend...don't want to leave them out!

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  15. Great job! SO cool that you ran it with your mom!!

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  16. Great race report! I love that you guys all did the race together

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  17. I'm so late! Great job on a fun race!

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  18. verrrry late :) sounds like you had fun and sometimes thats the most important thing :) congrats on another race finish!!

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