On Sunday, I completed Half Marathon #4. It was a hot & humid day in Virginia Beach and clear to everyone just what the heat can do to a runner.
I woke up around 5:30 am to start getting ready. Thinking that the shuttles stopped at 6, we planned to walk ~1.5 miles from the hotel to the start line. Which would double as our warm up.
My nerves were going wild. (it’s so funny what race day does to you even when you know you’re not going on there to win!)
My mom took a couple pre race shots of my cousin and I and we headed out for the race. It was our lucky day, about a block from the hotel, a shuttle was waiting!
With close to 10,000 people running, the start line was jam-packed with people. We found our corral and waited as the waves started being released. Anxiety was high as we slowly moved towards the start line. 11 minutes later, it was our turn to take off. Only, we didn’t really move very fast! It was so crowded! It was very hard to find your own pace but we did the best we could and started out on our 13.1 mile journey.
The course was “flat & fast” so I really wanted to PR but I had to listen to my body and it wasn’t a fan of the heat. I knew my training hadn’t been consistent so my only true goal was to finish.
Mile 1: 10:38
Mile 2: 10:24
Mile 3: 11:17
There was a small climb over the first of 2 “hills” at mile 3.5.
Mile 4: 12:08
Just after mile 4, the leaders started coming back. I always love when the course allows you to see the leaders. It is a bittersweet feeling. The amazement of just how fast these runners are and then the harsh reality that you (I) still had 9 miles to go!
Mile 5: 12:51
My favorite memory of the race was right about mile 5. I’m running along and a girl in a tutu passes me, just as I hear a MAN saying “damn, should have gone with the tutu today!” So as I’m laughing in my head, the man runs by me – in a FULL combat uniform, Kevlar vest and all. In 80 degrees, 94% humidity. Yup, should have opted for the tutu, my friend! I was unable to see if he was running for a particular cause, but either way, he made my day.
Mile 6: 13:35
A little past mile marker 6, we turned off the main drag onto a narrow, SHADY road. It was a nice break from the blazing hot sun but the course was still very crowded. Runners of all skill levels jammed onto a street, all trying to run their own race.
Mile 7: 12:31
Mile 8: 12:28
Right before mile 8, the 2:30 pace group caught up to me so I ran with them for a bit. We crossed over a small stretch of a very dusty, gravel road onto Camp Pendleton. The base was wide open, no trees, lot of sun. The heat was really taking its toll on me at this point. I was taking water at every stop & running through hoses and sprinklers where ever someone was spraying the runners.
Mile 9: 13:13
Mile 10: 15:15
Back onto public roads, we were in the home stretch. “It’s only a 5k”. I was ready to reach that boardwalk!
Mile 11: 15:15
Right at mile marker 11, they were handing out sponges soaked in ICE cold water. BEST. IDEA. EVER. It cooled me down to the point where I felt a new-found energy. I was ready to run. I was ready to finish.
Back up the “hill” and down into mile 12. As I was running towards the hill (which was bigger than the 1st but still not a New England sized hill) it looked as if the crowd of runners was standing still. I knew it would be a slow climb to the top.
Since I was walking, I decided to shoot a quick text to my family to let them know I was about a mile out.
Mile 12: 12:39
At the bottom of the hill, we reached mile 12. Around the corner, on 5th street, there was a women yelling all the right things. I cannot remember what she said but it brought a tear to my eye and kept me going. The final water stop was manned by Travelers (one of the big sponsors of the race). They must have had at least 20 people, all cheering runners on with great enthusiasm.
Mile 13: 11:09
This mile seemed to go on forever. Once we turned onto the boardwalk, we could see the finish line but it never seemed to get any closer. I wanted to be done. I needed to be done. I finally spotted my aunt and cousin, cheering loudly for all of the runners. I called out and caught their attention. Picked up my pace and geared up for the final kick. Then I saw my mom, and the finish line was just ahead. BEST. MOMENT. EVER.
0.26: (8:58 avg. pace) (My garmin read 13.26, must have been all the weaving through people early on.)
I ran over the line and did a quick jump. They didn’t catch it on camera. Who knows, maybe my feet never left the ground but I felt ecstatic. I was done.
If you’ve ever ran a Rock N Roll race, then you know how great the finish line is. They have everything you could possibly want. Water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, bananas, popsicles, cold towels, pretzels… the list goes on and on. With that being said, get me the F* out of that finishers shoot. It went on forever. We were a bunch of sardines shuffling down the boardwalk having endless things handed to us. I just needed to break free. So I did. And perfect timing too because my family was right there!
Overall, I had a great race. I was a little disappointed in my time because the course was so flat. I would have liked to have done better but I know I did what I could. Although popular, and very crowded, I love the Rock N Roll Race series. I don’t think they leave any detail out. They put on a great expo (more on that when I post about my entire Virginia Beach experience), the music is fun (although more would be nice), cheerleaders on the course were great, lots of water stops, GU, sponges, cooling buses, awesome finish line goodies.
Half Marathon #4
Virginia – State #3
Official Chip Time – 2:45:44
Pace – 12:39
Overall – 6909 out of 9853
Have you ever run a half marathon?
What is the climate where you live?
What is your favorite indulgence after a long run?
Edited to add: Linking up to Fitness Friday