chip time: 2:00:26
overall place: 3683/15791 (top 23% of finishers)
gender place: 1229/9077 female (top 13.5%)
age group: 325/1937 (top 16.8%)
I ran a Rock n Roll race, didn't drink a beer at the finish nor attend the concert post run (blasphemy, I know) but I had a great time! It was a busy 36 hours! Let's start at the beginning...
I made the solo drive Saturday morning up to Virginia Beach. 6 hours in the car with no company and no kids = car karaoke! I sang my way through 5 decades worth of hits and just about gave myself carpal tunnel on my wrist from hitting the radio's "scan" button so many times. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
First stop once I arrived to Virginia Beach: the expo! I went to pick up my packet, but per usual, forgot to print out my confirmation sheet. So I looked on the massive bulletin board with 22,000 other names to find my bib #: 4153. I walked around the corner to check in and found out my corral number: 4. Out of 27. What? Did they think I was fast or something? 3 corrals behind the professionals and 23 ahead of everyone else! I wondered if they had me confused with someone else until I remembered what I put for an expected finish time. 7 months ago when I registered for this race, I was convinced I'd be 3/4 done with my Boston bound FIRST training. I put down a 1:45 as a finishing time. But, life got in the way, Boston dreams were temporarily put on hold... now I just needed to make sure I didn't get run over at the start , heh heh.
The Sugoi tech shirt is nice, a wave design on the front and a guitar on the back:
The expo was great. I'd give it an 8 out of 10. Lots of stuff and a big variety. Although I must say, Myrtle Beach Marathon expo has been just as big in years past (go us!). I picked up a few things at One More Mile, finally got to see if my blackberry really would fit into a Spi-Belt (it does, I was sold), and got to run around in a pair of Newtons (which I really liked, the only thing holding me back is the price tag...$179 for a pair of sneakers? ack! The sales guy suggested the Gravity Trainer since I already have a forefoot strike....size 10 if anyone wants to send me an early Christmas gift, HA!!)
ANYWAY, one of the highlights of the expo was when I was drooling over the 2009 Disney medals (there were like 12 of them! I had no idea they offered so many races) and randomly ran into Jennifer, one of the awesome sherpas for Cancer to 5k! I was SO glad I got to see her, in a sea of 20,000+ runners and their family and friends, what were the chances!
So that night, new friend Jessica (from my online running moms group, it was so awesome to meet her!) and I met up with some other online running friends (Dave and Carlton from the Big Cat's group, and a couple of their friends) for some carb-loading dinner at a little restaurant called Zia Marie The company and the food were both excellent. That ravioli was blindsided by my hunger,it never stood a chance, haha. The rest of the night was just the basic pre-race routine, like making sure I didn't forget to put my timing chip on my shoe.
Race Day: We were up at 4:15, drove to the Virginia Beach Amphitheater for parking, and were on the shuttle bus to the start by 5:30. Thankfully, these early morning wake up calls are old news to me. I felt great.
I toyed with the idea of moving back a few corrals to start with Jes. My current PR is a 1:59:31, and I knew that I might be able to break that today, so I decided to stay in corral #4, therefore not having to weave around thousands of other people. It was a good decision, because for the first few miles I was surrounded by a pack of people running at the same pace that I was (around an 8:25/mile)
The first half of the race was great. I felt good. My running felt good. Everything just felt good! I stopped and walked through each water stop, since the past few long runs I had been doing a 5/1 run walk interval (so today turned into more of 8:xx/0:30 intervals).
First half of race:
Mile 1: 8:23
Mile 2: 8:33
Mile 3: 8:21
Mile 4: 9:06
Mile 5: 8:50
Mile 6: 9: 11 (stopped right after mile 5 marker/water stop to GU)
Mile 7: 9:02
Mile 8: 9:07
Now here is where the "fun"comes in. For those of you who have been following my blog know, I've spent a lot of time this summer working on and experimenting with my nutrition. The first HUGE mistake I made this race (and really, I'm not a newbie so I should have known better) is that I decided to leave the amphipod bottle with the nuun in the car, so that I would have two free hands to run with my camera and take pictures. Instead, I would take a risk and use the cytomax provided on the course. *sigh* WHEN will I ever learn? Around mile 7/8 I started getting those chills that always signal to me that my electrolytes are low. I had tried drinking the cytomax, but it was disgusting, and made my stomach turn every time. Ick. Nuun, I will never leave you home again. NEVER!
SECOND mistake: I glanced at the race map the night before and assumed by the little water droplets on the picture that there were water stops every mile. The website claims they fell like this: miles 1.3, 3.2, 4.9, 6.7, 7.9, 9.6, and 11.3. All I know is that I started to get really tired and knew I needed to gu around mile 8, and didn't see another water stop until after 10 (at least according to my Garmin). It messed with my body and it messed with my head. It's that fine line of not wanting to have TOO much nutrition (and the dreaded gu-belly), but not wanting to burn out. I am 100% positive that my diet as of late has not helped. Taco Bell, Mountain Dew, you all know what I'm talking about, I certainly blog about it enough, haha. Needless to say, I have some work to do.
I will say though, I used the Blueberry-pomegranate Roctane Gu, and had zero stomach issues during the race. Post race my stomach did a few flip flops, but after about 30 minutes I was fine.
All that said, part 2 of the race looked as follows:
mile 9: 9:23 (where is the water?!?)
mile 10: 9:22
mile 11: 9:43
mile 12: 9:33
mile 13: 9:51
13-13.27 (Garmin claims we went over) 2:06 (7:55/mile)
The craziest thing happened to me. I was literally 25 yards from the finish. I had just run 13 miles already. And my body just....stopped. I just stopped, like I couldn't go any further. I can't pinpoint the exact reason. I wasn't entirely out of breath, a little labored breathing but certainly not gasping. My legs hurt, but no shooting pain or anything. It was just like my gas tank was running on fumes and the fumes were gone. I was all the way to the right of the finisher's chute and a spectator just gave me the most startled look , like "why on earth is she stopping NOW?" She said something generically motivating like "you are almost there!". I had to laugh at myself, who the heck stops seconds in front of the finish line!! I had to take a second and will my body to keep going. And so I did.
As I was pushing myself to just get to the finish line already (I had already realized I just missed a PR) this couple in front of me slowed to a crawl with their arms in the air (they ran this way for like 20 yards, trying ot get a good finishers photo. The not tired Heather now sitting in front of the computer in her house now realizes that it was a special moment for them, and they wanted to commemorate that with an awesome finishers picture. I give them kudos. But at the time, the "I JUST WANT THIS RACE TO BE OVER" Heather was thinking "get the *&%$ out of the way". Lucky for me, the photographers not only caught this precious moment on film, but they posted it on the main page of the race's website, for the rest of the world to share. HA! (go here http://www.rnrvb.com/ and click "view event photos". Enjoy my "ah crap I just missed a PR" face, haha). I crossed the finish line, 58 seconds short of a PR, got some water, an ice cold towel draped over my neck (awesome), my medal, and the best post race treat ever: A banana and a firecracker Popsicle! See the glitter in the water? Ohh so pretty!!
Jes finished her first EVER half marathon! I'm super proud of her! And equally as exciting, my friend Sabrina and her sweet baby girls came down to the finish! I was SOOOOOO HAPPY to see her! The girls and Sabrina's hubby Josh gave us a VIP ride back to our cars at the amphitheater so we didn't have to take the shuttles (and risk not being able to sit down, haha).
So all rambling aside, here are my final thoughts on this race:
2) Don't take your chances on nutrition Heather, what were you thinking?!?