Race Recap: Rock N Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon

Before the race
My cousin and I before the race

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.

Start Line
Start Line

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.

Just keep swimming.... (er, running)
Just keep swimming….
(er, running)

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

The finish line was in sight.
The finish line was in sight.

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.

Proudly showing off my bling.
Proudly showing off my bling.

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!

My cousin and I after the race
My cousin and I after the race

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.

Love the race bling.
Love the race bling.

Half Marathon #4

Virginia – State #3

Official Chip Time – 2:45:44

Pace – 12:39

Overall – 6909 out of 9853

Happy as a clam :)
Happy as a clam 🙂

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


27 thoughts on “Race Recap: Rock N Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon

  1. Awesome recap!! I haven’t done a half marathon…maybe one day. Gearing up for a 5k and a 5-miler first! I lived in SC for two year and my body got used to the heat & humidity. Now, I’m in NE Ohio- 60 degrees and I’m freezing and my nose is running…lol Good job on your run!!!

    • I saw that you couldn’t wait to get back to SC. 60-degrees is my ideal running temp! And FYI – as soon as I crossed that 5K finish line, I signed up for my first half marathon. Its my favorite distance to train for!

  2. Congrats on an awesome race, and a fun race recap. I can sympathize with the icky humidity factor. I raced this weekend too and it was brutal. Ugh. Way to push through

    I am running my first Rock ‘n Roll at the end of the month can can’t wait. I’m looking forward to a fun event. Your post just made me even more excited to run it!

  3. Well done! Especially running in that heat. Living in England I’m not used to heat at all and just can’t run well on hot days- it’s always more of a shuffle. I’m great at running in the rain though. I’ve had so much practice its become second nature to me 🙂

  4. Nice job!! I love that moment when you realize it’s just a 5k left! And I love your finisher picture! I always look like hell when I cross the finish line – I think they miss taking of picture of me out of pity. And man, they had popsicles? That’s the best finisher food ever….especially for a hot day in VA beach. Love your recap!

    • Thank you Kristen!! RnR has an AWESOME finish line. The popsicles are great. There were even people handing them out on the course but I came by too late. I just got to see all of the wrappers littered on the ground 😦

      Too funny about the finish line pics. We are always our own worst critics, I’m sure you look fine. And either way, who cares. You just kicked a**, its okay to look like hell!

  5. Awesome race report! And congrats on racing in tough conditions. For the past couple of weeks it has been brutal (mid 90s and humid) in St. Louis and I can’t imagine trying to race it. It would definitely be “game over”! A fellow coach told me once.. “When it is really hot, don’t race for a time, race for position” and this has stuck with me ever since (and I tell those that I coach this as well). What it means is… if the conditions are bad enough, you most likely will not be able to hit your goal (that you could probably make if the conditions were good), but the heat and humidity is affecting everyone, so race against them and see where you end up in your age group! It makes you feel like you still did your best given the conditions and still kicked a lot of butt in the process! 🙂

    Oh and great selfie at the bottom of the post! Love it!


  6. Great post. I love and hate half marathons. In the few I’ve done I’ve foudn them exciting and excruciating (that last 3 Km’s suuuuuuck) but then the finish, cheered on by everyone is fantastic. I’ve done mine in Sydney Australia – always perfect.

  7. I am running my first half marathon this coming Saturday. The weather here is very hot, and humid. I am hoping for a cool down before this coming weekend. The heat also takes a toll on me, and I’ve been “almost “dehydated a couple of times despite drinking what I would consider plenty of fluids. Good job on your half, and the medal is freaking sweet!

    • Do it! RnR always puts on a great race. I’m very disappointed that after 3 years, they pulled the one out of my local city (Providence). The numbers just weren’t there. I think if they lowered the price *a little* they could have stayed and attracted more people.

  8. Great job! I just did half marathon number 10 yesterday and it was cold and rainy! Which I think I prefer to what you had! I hate running in the heat, makes me melt! I haven’t done a RnR race yet, but I hope to someday. I don’t like to run in crowded conditions though so maybe I wouldn’t like it?!

    • Christy, the RnR are crowded but they do a good job organizing the start and after the first mile or so the pack thins out (at my 11ish min pace at least). The race support makes it worth the extra people.

  9. great recap! I linked up my Rn’R recap from Nashville- wow! what a party! It was my first Rn’R race and I loved it! Nashville has tons of hills and I was not ready for that (Florida is really flat) and my garmin said I ran more than 13.1 too. I would love to try another location. 🙂

  10. Great recap! I have raced quite a few RnR Half Marathons but never that one. They do have great expos and support. The climate where I live (SoCal) is perfect so when I have to run in humidity or high altitude or too cold…it’s tough on me! My favorite post-race indulgence is a hot bath after a nice dinner and good glass of wine.

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