September 3, 2014

Virginia Beach Rock 'n Roll relay fun!

On Sunday, the Rock 'n Roll race series hosted another wonderful half marathon in Virginia Beach. The half marathon relay is a great option since historically Labor Day weekend is a very hot one at the beach.  This year proved to be no different as Christine, Megan and I arrived at the oceanfront around 6:00 am, and it was already very warm and humid.




Megan, my formidable relay partner, was doing the second leg, so we needed to find the shuttle buses so she could get on before 6:30am and the road closures. The race was scheduled to start at 7:00 am so it makes for a long wait for the second runners. 




Most runners,  including Megan had fun chatting while waiting for their teammates to arrive and pass the drumstick baton. Luckily, they only make you give a high five to your teammate and the drumstick is just a nice souvenir!  However, I did notice several runners carrying the stick. They clearly did not know that it was optional to carry.

The race started promptly at 7:00am and by 7:03am my corral was called and it was time to run.  The heat did not bother me at the start, but I certainly noticed it was humid and difficult to breathe.  This race has loads of great scenery, bands and people cheering for much of the course, so the miles do go by quickly.  My favorite parts include the Rudy Inlet bridge where you can see gorgeous boats and the bands that dot the course nearly every mile!  My cell phone was tucked safely in the zippered pocket of my skirt and sadly I did not get one race photo.  However, this photo was taken by Christine's friend and it was early in the race and while he tried to shout out to me, I evidently was "in the zone"!



After mile 7, I was anxiously watching race signs so I did not miss the relay turn off from the half marathon.  It was clearly marked and I gained some momentum and finished strong with a high five to Megan and then she took off!  After stopping to pick up Gatorade, water and a Power bar, I walked towards the shuttle buses, and saw both Megan and Christine pass by just past mile 10.  They both yelled and gave me big smiles, but sadly I only got back views as they ran by.

Megan was excited!

Immediately I needed to get to the bus shuttle to meet my partner at the finish line.  Sadly, because I waited to see the runners at mile 10, I missed the chance to see them until they had already crossed the finish line and received their medals.  We reunited, commiserated about the heat and had a finisher photo taken with our medals!



The Rock 'n Roll race series is one of our favorites, but of course nothing is perfect.  The relay has some challenges and here are my lists of pros and cons.

Pros:
*  Virginia Beach is a great race location with a lovely beach location
*  A change to experience a half marathon by sharing the miles with a friend
*  Great finisher medals, specific to the relay
*  Lots of food and drinks at the finish line chute for runner number 2 who ran 5.2 miles.

Cons:
*  Walk to the shuttle bus area back to finish line was not well marked.
*  Gatorade, water and a Power bar were the only food offered to the first relay runners who ran 7.9 miles
*  Exchange area was missing volunteers to guide runners to buses and assist if you had questions

Overall, this was a fantastic race and the second time I have participated in the relay.  I can't wait to do this one again and yes, we did spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach and Megan took this cool photo with her medal!

 
Read about Christine's half marathon experience here.

19 comments:

  1. If I ever do this race again I will probably do the relay option ( I say this now but we will see, haha). I did the relay last year and I was one of those people who carried the drum stick cus I didn't know we didn't have too. After doing the entire race this year and seeing all the benefits of being the second runner of the relay ( ice pops, wet sponges, lots of finish line snacks), I now realize the first relay runner kind of gets the short end of the stick so to speak, considering they run more miles then the second person. I ran the first leg last year and I waited on the shuttle bus so long that I too missed my partner cross the finish line! Great job to all of you and sorry we missed you after the race. -M

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    1. Unfortunately, they changed what they offered the first runners this year. Two years ago there were bagels, bananas, granola bars plus drinks. It was just not enough after a long run in the miserable heat!

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  2. Sounds like a fun race! I wish they'd had more fuel for you though! This race is on my bucket list!

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    1. I know you love the beach Mindy, so you would love this race.

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  3. Awesome job ladies! Sounds like a super fun race (and I love the medal)! My friend and I are thinking about doing a relay half marathon next February...just waiting on her to say for sure if she is up for it!

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    1. The relays are really fun Lauren. I would definitely do one again.

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  4. Congratulations and awesome job :). I love the medal, it's very cute. I do agree they should have more food at the exchange point though. Running for any length of time in the heat is pretty taxing on your body and you need to refuel. I bet VA Beach is really beautiful... never been there.

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    1. Thanks. Virginia Beach is not too far for you to drive Amy. This race weekend is particularly fun with the American Music Festival concerts going on!

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  5. I did not even think about how long the second runner would have to sit there waiting to start. I don't know how I would feel about that, I am not very good at waiting patiently.

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    1. I waited two years ago and it really was fun because I chatted with lots of the other runners. The time went by quickly!

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  6. Those medals are super cute! I hate humidity but I've heard that race is awesome. Congratulations!

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    1. We love our medals too. Humidity is just awful for running, but since I live with all summer I knew what it would be like!

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  7. I need to get down to Virginia Beach for a race sometime, it sounds like there are a lot of great races in that area!

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    1. Yes you do. Christine would love you to visit for a race weekend!

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  8. Both the 5k and relay turn offs were very well marked, and lots of volunteers were out helping direct runners the right direction. Kudos to RnR for making it easy to know where to go on the course. I'm sad to hear that the same wasn't true for knowing where to go after finishing the first leg of the relay. Hopefully RnR will improve that next year.

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    1. Totally agree Kathryn. I had no trouble with the relay turnoff and was tempted when I saw the 5k turnoff. However, Megan would not have been pleased for me to not show up at the relay exchange!

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  9. How fun - I had no idea there was a relay option!

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    1. Yes, and it really is nice, especially on a very hot and humid race day!

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  10. Can you post your times/paces?

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