September 4, 2014

Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Recap

Sunday was just like I expected, a hot and steamy day.  Despite that, I still had a goal for the race - to run another sub-2:00 half marathon.  I hadn't done it since my big PR at Shamrock and I was itching to run a 1-something half marathon.  It wasn't really a logical idea and it didn't make sense given the weather…or the fact that my legs were tired from two hard weeks of marathon training.
Waiting for our turn to start
After dropping Megan off at the relay exchange, the waiting game began.  Mom and I milled around the starting line area and were able to catch Kathryn in the nick of time before the race started.  I think I jumped in my corral less than 5 minutes from the start which was very atypical for me…normally I'm there early and getting prepared.  Oh well!
Moments before the start!

Wishing Kathryn well in her PR attempt…she did it!!
We caught the sun rise at the start - beautiful! 
I settled into a comfortable pace for the first few miles and noted the stifling humidity early.  I found myself breaking a sweat before mile 1, but I reminded myself that I knew this would happen.  As I was trudging down Atlantic toward the bridge, a familiar face pulled up next to me and it was my friend Lacey.  We chatted for a minute and then she was on her way.  I loved getting a chance to see her on the course - there is no better mental boost than seeing a buddy!

Fast forward to mile 7 and I was eagerly awaiting the relay exchange and seeing Megan.  As I neared the exchange area on the other side of the cones, I saw her smiling and waving.  It was another great boost and was sadly short-lived.  I jammed through the exchange and then hit a major wall about a half mile later.  I struggled BIG TIME until about mile 11 when I was able to pull myself together.  An icy pop from a spectator, cool sponge, and a pink Hawaiian lei were just what I needed to get my head on straight.
Jamming down the Rudee Inlet Bridge
Soon enough, I was cruising down the Rudee Inlet bridge approaching the 12 mile marker when I knew I would make it home.  As I was nearing the finish line stretch, two girls were quickly approaching me and about to overtake me in the stretch.  I wasn't having any of that so with every last bit of gas left in the tank, I kept pace with them to cross in 2:04.40.  
Making the turn onto the Boardwalk

A few blocks from the finish!
I was clearly a bit off my goal but I was proud of completing this race for a few reasons:
- When the wheels came off, I got them back on, which is a first for me!
- I had fun!  I rarely take treats from spectators but I really enjoyed the last few miles of the race.
- I was able to zone out on pace for a few miles in the middle stretch (around 5-7).
- I got to see friends along the course and was proud to celebrate a friend's PR at the finish line!

Other things I like about this race:
- Awesome diversity of post-race treats at the finish line including bananas, Power Bars, chips, popsicles, chocolate milk, Gatorade, etc.
- Great bands along the course to keep you pumped up.
- Awesome crowd support, plus freebies!
- Scenic course
- Water stops were well-organized and stocked with water and yellow Gatorade.  Plus they had a gel stop with salted watermelon Gu - yum!

Disclaimer: As a Rock 'n' Blogger, I was provided with a free race entry, but all opinions provided in this post are my own.
Read more about Mom's relay experience here.

I'm tempted to take advantage of the throw back pricing for next year's race.  It's $45 for the half marathon through September 5th.  Amazing right?!



  1. So glad that those girls at the end of the race gave you the motivation to push yourself to the finish line! And I must agree, those Popsicles at the finish line were perfect! Preston and I are very tempted to sign up for next year given this week's registration special. Some 5ks and 10ks that we were are the same price!

    1. I was daydreaming about those popsicles! They are seriously so perfect at the finish line at a race like this. Definitely hit the spot! I am really tempted to register, but I want to check into the deferral "rules" first since that's in the back of my mind if I decide not to run next year.

  2. It was great seeing you too during the race. You still had a great time despite the heat. Signing up next year is so tempting with that price. But who knows where I will be at that time. I can never commit this early. -L

  3. Sounds like you had a great race despite missing that PR. It's hard to get your mind back in the game when you struggle. I love that you were able to enjoy the last few miles! Congrats!

  4. Great job Christine! I am so glad you had a great race with a few firsts thrown in there! I always love it when I zone out during those middle miles too!

  5. I have a terrible habit of completely throwing in the towel when I hit a wall, particularly at Disney races because I know I can find a friend to be miserable with, lol! Great job, you still ended up with a good time. :)

  6. I loved the support on the course too. I think you did fabulous for a tough race.