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Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Recap

Posted Sep 09 2013 12:02am

Hello friends!  I’m back from vacation, back from work, and back to blogging.  Lee and I spent most of the last week in Virginia Beach visiting Lee’s cousin, Shane, and his wife, Melissa.  We came home in the middle of the week and spent the rest of our vacation getting some things done around the house.  Even though I was home, I still stayed unplugged from my blog…I just enjoyed my time with hubby and the pups…but I definitely missed you all and am happy to get back in the swing of things!

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The main reason Lee and I were in Virginia was so that I could run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll series half marathon that took place last Sunday.  Lee and I thought about running the race last year with Shane and his in-laws but circumstances kept us from being able to do so.  This year, however, we made our vacation plans early and Shane and I registered to do the race (Lee thought about running but, due to his asthma, the last race he ran resulted in weeks of breathing treatments after, so he decided it would be best to sit this one out).

Lee and I started off bright and early on our trip around 4:30am on Friday morning and arrived at Shane’s around 12:30pm.  The trip was very fast and the time just flew!…no traffic, no wrong turns, and perfect driving weather!  After hellos and quick lunch, we headed over to the race expo to pick up our bibs and swag and check out the vendors.  I bought a new pair of calf compression sleeves and a couple energy gels.  After the expo, we grabbed dinner and then chilled out at home.  We took it easy during our first two nights because Shane and I knew we had a big day ahead of us on Sunday.

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The morning of the race, Shane’s father-in-law (who was also running) picked us up at 4:45am.  As soon as I walked outside, I knew it was going to be a tough race.  It was already 75 degrees and so humid.  The air felt so thick and heavy!  We headed to a local amphitheater and caught our shuttle bus that took us to the convention center where the start of the race would be.  Lee was a trooper and traveled with us so he could be with me before the race because he knew I would be a spaz…which I totally was.  I always get so amped up and nervous before everything and this was my first big race with thousands of runners, corral numbers, etc…I just didn’t know what to expect!  We hung around and chatted for about an hour before we had to head toward our corrals.  I was placed in corral #5 with the 2:00 pacers.  Shane and Mike, his father-in-law, were in corrals #12 and #13 with 2:30 pacers.  I took a Powerbar energy gel about twenty minutes before the start, hoping it would power me through the first half of race.

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(cheesin’ it up before sunrise!)

The first wave started and I crossed the start line about four minutes after 7:00am.  I started out slow because of the crowd and had to do a lot of weaving to get around other runners and into an open space.  I clocked my first mile at over a ten-minute pace and I knew I had some time and ground to make up!  Even though it was hot, I felt good during my first few miles and fell into a nice rhythm.  I felt as if I was running at a good pace, however, I knew I was running slower than I did at home during my training runs and I knew my goal of a two-hour finish was slipping away. Regardless, I, obviously, kept going and kept telling myself I could push myself to run faster and make up time.  I didn’t take any water during the first three water stations, but took one or two cups at every one after that.  I quickly walked through the first stations I used but for no more than 5-10 seconds…I wanted to keep moving.  Soon after we started, I lost the 2:00 pacers but around Mile 7, I saw them again when two of them passed me.  That alone gave me a little burst of energy because I knew I was still in the game and hadn’t fallen too far behind.

After that little burst of energy, things got a little ugly.  I always hit a wall around Mile 9.  At that point, I always feel so close yet so far away from the end.  I mean, I only have four more miles but, then on the other hand, it’s four more miles!!!!  The course also made it rough because, at that point, we were running through a military camp and, while there were people out on their porches and yards cheering for us, it was a very empty and isolated place to run.  That point of the race for me was totally all mental…there were times I wanted to quit, there were times I wanted to stop and just start walking, but none of that happened.  I knew I couldn’t let it happen and I refused to let my negative thoughts get the best of me.  Right before Mile 9, there was a GU energy gel station and I grabbed a Vanilla Bean gel and downed it.  I also grabbed two cups of water at the water station that was right after and took a little bit longer with my walking.  I probably walked for close to 30 seconds at the final stations at Miles 9, 10, and 11.

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(that’s me in the pink sleeves!)

Right around Mile 10, my race took a turn for the better as we turned out of the camp and were back on the main road heading back toward the beach and the boardwalk.  We were back in civilization and, boy, was I ever thankful for that!  I could seriously give the spectators big hugs and kisses because I  credit them for getting me through my last hard miles!  There were sprinklers and hoses for us to run through, there were huge garbage cans full of cold wet sponges we could use, and, best of all, there were Ice Pop popsicles.  I grabbed one and, while I did eat some of it, I just enjoyed holding it in my hand while I ran.  It was so cold and felt so good!!  The sun had been out in full force during the entire race and I don’t remember there being one little breeze anywhere.  It was hot and I just wanted to be DONE!  I pushed myself up the final hill back over a bridge that we crossed in the beginning and turned onto the street that lead to the boardwalk.  Ending the race on the boardwalk is such a wonderful thing!  Having the beach and ocean right there as scenery was amazing and the entire boardwalk was lined with spectators cheering and pushing the runners to the end!  From the entrance onto the boardwalk, the finish line is just a little under a mile away…although, it seemed like it was ten miles away.  I swear I saw the finish line banner for 20 minutes before I even reached it…however…I eventually reached it, threw my arms up, and crossed the finish line!!

I DID IT!!!

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I grabbed my medal, a finisher’s picture, a water, a chocolate milk, a cold washcloth, and a banana.  With my hands full, I headed onto the beach to find my family.  At the end of the runner’s fueling stations, I found Melissa, her mom, and Lee.  The gave me their congratulations and we waited for Shane and Melissa’s dad.  As I stood there, I dripped and dripped sweat and I wasn’t sure where it all was coming from!  My clothes felt like I dipped them into the ocean and put them back on…sweat just poured out of them.  Did I mention that it was really hot outside?  Anyway, Shane crossed soon after I did and Melissa’s dad came later.  We had all finished and I know we were all glad that it was over!

My official time was 2:08:22.

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Looking back, I was :o ver my goal time by eight minutes but I, honestly, did not care.  Goals are great in that they give you something to strive for, but if they are not met, you still have to see the successes that lie in the feat that you accomplished.  I was really happy with where I placed overall in the half!

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I was hot and I ran slow.  The race was the hardest one I have ever run.  I took more time at the water stations that I would have liked.  I pushed myself.  I did not quit.  I crossed that finish line.  No matter my time, I crossed that finish line and I could not be more proud!

My only final thought…when am I running my next one!?

Enjoy your Monday!!

With much Love and Laughter,
Kelly

Something to share:  If you’re a runner, how do you handle running in hot and humid weather?  What did everyone do this past weekend?…Anything fun?  Have you broken out your pumpkin everything or decorated for fall?

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