Sep 8, 2011

Virginia Beach Rock and Roll Half Marathon!

Me and Sarah with bling.
My friend Sarah and I traveled to Virginia Beach with our beaus this past Labor Day weekend to camp out and run the Rock and Roll Virginia Beach ½ Marathon. (Here's some pictures.) It was the first time either of us had run a continuous 13.1 miles and we finished with enough energy that we were able to lie on the beach, gorge on s’mores and drink beer till 10 that night. Totally epic if you ask me. And I don't want to brag, but we walked away with a super sweet medal of a gold glittered sea shell… so did the 11,219 other people in the race but that doesn’t discredit our triumph over B.O., sticky GU hands and, of course, 13.1 miles of road. To me, the medal is still sweet. You can engrave it with your name and time but I'm fairly certain that’s not something I want to do.

The course was flat with lots of shade, making it bearable, the weather was gorgeous and the bands that lined the course about every mile kept us going with rock classics and a punch of adrenaline (I mastered the running hip gyration jump. Close your eyes and imagine.) Also along the street were people spraying hoses, a lady with a bowl of cantaloupe (which I think Sarah was lucky enough to get a bite of) and, at one point, the remains of what was once a High Flyer Wagon full of freezie pops. There were loads of local cheerleading teams, an Elvis, some cowgirls, spectators dressed in their finest rock star costumes and a guy who juggled the whole race. Sadly, he started with 5 and ended with 4. The most amazing though was an amputee who did the whole race on crutches (holy freakin’ wowzers!). Several people were pushing disabled family members in strollers, including what appeared to be a 70 year old man and his wife which nearly brought a tear to my eye. Ryan Hall and several all-star runners were there and it was absolutely nuts when we were on our second mile and they had looped around back toward us on one of their last. The winner finished in an hour and two minutes. That's under a 5 minute mile!

As expected, there were two hurdles, which are also lessons:
There were more bands than toilets along the route in a crowd of 11,000 people. Not cool. Since there were no bushes in sight, I had to wait 7-10 minutes at mile 8. Afterward, I maintained a 9:45 pace until about mile 12 when my left leg started to feel sore. By mile 12.5 it had seized up and I found myself bounding on my right leg because I could hardly bend my left. But, determined as hell, I hopped across the finish line with my worthless leg and put on a celebratory cheer for the camera. I hoped for a photo where I was as mildly attractive as you can expect to be after 13.1 miles and got this:
Rock this!
Which is better than this:
Breathing through the pain. So hardcore.

Immediately over the finish line I rolled into the medical tent where my leg as wrapped in ice, I ate a mini salt packet and they kicked me out to retrieve my medal, find Sarah and get arm loads of food handouts. Within a few minutes the salt took action and my leg cramp weakened so ate another for good measure. I found Sarah and my second medic – my boyfriend Will, who stood there with two miraculous Dunkin’ Donuts bagel sandwiches. Sans potty break, my time was in the 2:25 zone. Not bad for a first.

Need noms now!
I am quite proud of myself and I am extremely proud of Sarah who hardly trained but ran the distance without stopping. I've known her for nearly 15 years and she's pretty rad like that. I loved the race and think it was the perfect first 1/2. There is another R&R in DC in the spring that I plan on running and I'm hoping to recruit a few of you to run with me. If you don't live in the area and want to run your first, I suggest this one because of the lively atmosphere. True I have nothing to compare it to but it was a great experience which says a lot.

As far as my future running plans, I unfortunately can’t run the full Richmond Marathon in November that I planned on doing. The summer heat put me back about three weeks in my training and I don't want to push it. But I am signing up and setting time goals up for two more halvsies this fall, finding spring marathons and I continuing my ultra training.

See us in the front? Sarah leaping in yellow with other friend Sarah and me.
Let the rainy fall training begin!

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