September 11, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclosure: As Rock 'n Bloggers, we were provided with a Tour Pass for race entries.  We also received the VIP race day package. No compensation was received and all opinions stated here are our own.

Our first experience with the Rock 'n Roll race series was the Virginia Beach half marathon relay in 2012.  It was such a fun experience that we have repeated this race three times.  2015 was the 15th anniversary of this race and the shirt and medal are extra nice.


Saturday morning we visited the expo to pick up our race packets and browse the vendor booths.  Bib and shirt pickup was seamless with helpful volunteers with big smiles.  Both of us love the Brooks runhappy booth which is always located at the entrance of the vendor area. The past few years, I have bought  cute racer back tank tops, but this year, I only found one thing I "needed" and that was a cool gray visor that has reflective pinstripes. Sorry I have no photo because after cruising the rest of the expo, I passed on going back to the Brooks booth and have it on order through my local Fleet Feet store! One thing we love about the Rock 'n Roll expo was the number of race organizers who had race information and discounted sign ups available. While we did not take advantage of anything, I already have a few races in mind when I go to the NYC Marathon expo in October.
Some fun areas to pose for photos!

Some other fun things at the expo included this huge sign listing the names of all the legacy runners.  Fifteen years in a row running the same race is pretty amazing!

Saturday night we laid out our race clothing and making adjustments due to the rainy weather forecast.  We decided on a 5:30am start from Christine's house and after about 45 minutes, we were parked in the VIP parking area directly across from the convention center. We grabbed our check bags and entered the convention center for the VIP pre race area that provided food, stretching areas and some real bathrooms.  We had fun meeting up with Lacey (Fairytales 'n Fitness) and Kathryn (From Dancing to Running).


Soon it was time to leave the lovely climate controlled convention center and head to our starting corral.  Christine moved back to run with me in Corral 4. Our race day plan did not have a time goal, but rather a strategy goal of running a negative split race.  With fall marathons less than 2 months away, it seemed like the perfect time to do a training run with a little push at the end. We decided to use the Galloway run/walk method with 9 minutes running/1 minute walking and started the race just after 7am.

With the humidity very high, we wanted to be sure to start out slowly so our first three miles we averaged 9:40 pace.  Our first mile was a little quicker than we planned, but race day adrenaline seemed to kick in a bit.  After crossing over the Rudy Inlet Bridge, we headed towards the Virginia Aquarium and the Pungo area.  Most of the race is on quiet tree lined streets but with cloud cover and high humidity, what we really were wishing for was a good rain shower to cool us down.  Miles 4-6 we slowed our pace a bit reaching the 6 mile mark at 1:01.35.  One of the great things about these races are the bands along the route that keep you entertained every few miles.  Miles 7-9 are probably my least favorite part of any half marathon.  While I did not do a mental note of exactly when we picked up our pace, based on my race splits from my Garmin, miles 10 through 13 got progressively faster with the final full mile at 9:16 pace.  Our finish time was 2:06.57 which was well off our PR's but both of us were very satisfied with the result.

Celebrating with mimosas post race!
Highs of the race:  The course support is fantastic at this race.  The water stops were easy to navigate and the GU station around mile 8 was also perfectly executed with cheerful volunteers.  As usual with a Rock 'n Roll race, the bands along the course were not only energetic but highly entertaining.  At each band spot, I turned off my Ipod and listened to the tunes. Some of the other fun things along the course include the inflatable runHappy guitar man from Brooks Running and the many locals who come out to support the participants.  There were hoses to run underneath and more than a few had ice pops, orange slices, twizzlers and other goodies that they gave out to runners.  The local schools had cheer leading groups also entertaining the runners with their pompoms and loud encouragement.  Post race food is great including Gatorade, water, chocolate milk, chips, Power bars and bananas.  The supply was plentiful and the volunteers got people through the finish chute quickly. Side note:  There may have been additional items, but we did not grab much since we were eating breakfast in the VIP area restaurant.

Lows of the race:  There was only one that I will mention and Rock 'n Roll could not control this. The weather was not conducive to running/racing.  Virginia Beach is a lovely location for a race but Labor Day weekend is typically very hot and humid.  It is important to keep in mind that this course is not meant for PR's but to enjoy running a race.

We would definitely recommend this race weekend and hope you consider adding it to your bucket list. Hopefully we will be back next year!

Don't forget to sign up for Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas using discount code :WERUNDISNEYLV  You will receive $15 off your entry!

Since today is Friday, we linked up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney for the Friday Five.  Check out the other blogs in the linkup!
(Pam)

30 comments:

  1. I've always enjoyed this race each year and I am sad they no longer offer the relay. Glad you ladies had a great race (except for the weather). Sorry I missed you ladies. -M

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    1. We also wish they would bring the relay back. It is alot easy running in the heat and humidity if you have a smaller distance to cover! Missed you too

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  2. Love the art on that medal! One thing I like about the Rock and Roll races are that they have Gatorade and Gu on the course instead of other brands of similar products. Glad you had a good time!

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    1. Yes, I love that they provide the lemon lime Gatorade and normal GU flavors.

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  3. This always sounds like a great race, maybe one day I'll make it down there!

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    1. You should put it on your list. It's always a fun weekend.

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  4. What a fun race! It's on my bucket list! Great job ladies!!!

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  5. Rock n' Roll races seem like so much fun! They are definitely on my "to run" list for sure!

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  6. i always think about this race, but the weather is always rough that weekend. you ladies look great in all your pics! :)

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    1. Thanks Courtney. Yes, the weather is tough, but as long as you don't push it, the race can be fun!

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  7. Sounds like you guys met your goal of negative splits at the end there! Looks like a fun race but the note about the weather is definitely a helpful reminder.

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    1. Yes, even early fall races are tough in the south, but I still love this one so much.

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  8. You guys always make this race look fun.... but then I remember the heat and humidity.

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  9. great race recap! Labor Day weekend is always tough for weather

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    1. Thanks, I agree that Labor Day weekend is tough unless you are in the mountains.

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  10. 100% agree: this is NOT weather for a PR. I know this, but had to talk myself into it when I hit 6 miles in very good time. Ah well.

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    1. Yes, I totally get it Elizabeth. Christine ran really well for the first half last year and then realized a great time was not in the cards. Heat and humidity do not equal PR's

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  11. VA Beach RnR always looks like so much fun but every recap I've read talks about high humidity. I'm glad you had s good time, though!

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    1. Thanks Jamie. Yes, I would not recommend this to anyone who struggles in the heat, but for the average runner, it is a blast and a really fun weekend at the beach.

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  12. I skipped put this year in fa or of spending labor day with my family but heah, the heat and humidity is killer! You ladies rocked it and you both look fabulous!!!!

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    1. Thanks Mar. We always enjoy this race despite the weather!

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  13. It was great to see both of you last Sunday! I actually thought it felt a lot cooler during this year's race than in past years, but maybe that was because it was cloudy instead of sunny.

    Congrats to both of you on a strong race and rocking that last mile!

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    1. Thanks Kathryn. Lovely to see you too and glad you had a great weekend in Virginia Beach

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  14. Miles 7-9 are also not my favorite section of the half marathon - only good thing is we get to the single digits. Hope MCM and NYC training are going well for the both of you - so close!

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  15. Great time sin that super hot weather.
    I love the shirts this year.

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  16. Way to go ladies! I'm so bummed I didn't do this one! Hopefully next year!

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  17. Congrats on an awesome race! You guys look great, as always. I'd love to do this one, but, as you mentioned, running on Labor Day weekend is SOOOOO not something I'm interested in, haha. But as long as you keep your expectations in check, it's all good! :)

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