On Saturday night, Chris and I made smoothies to drink in the morning since we were waking up at 4 AM. We combined a banana, strawberry yogurt, a single serving vanilla protein drink, frozen blueberries, a few frozen strawberries, and a handful of frozen peaches. We blended and stored it in the fridge overnight. Bedtime came early– about 10:30.
After my alarm went off at 4, I threw on my running clothes and ran downstairs to finish off the smoothies. I poured them into glasses and added probably a tablespoon of chia seeds to each glass (thanks Carter for bringing us chia seeds!!). We gulped the smoothies down while we made sure we had everything. We grabbed our bibs, connected our shoe tracking chips, and I packed my Camelbak. I debated bringing the Camelbak, but I was so happy to have it for extra water in between stations and to hold my phone, ID, and a little bit of “emergency cash.”
Chris’ brother-in-law, Jamon, picked us up right at 4:45 and we easily found parking in a lot a few blocks from the start line at the VA Beach Civic Center. We arrived at the civic center around 6 and took some time to take pictures and explore the starting line area. As I said on Tuesday, Jamon dressed up like Johnny Cash – the man in black!
The race was really well organized and had UPS trucks to check your stuff, in addition to tables with bananas, water, and mini bagels. The three of us split a mini bagel and we each had a small water. Soon it was time to head to our corrals!
Jamon was at the front of the pack so we went our separate ways. I ended up moving back a corral to run with Chris. Here we are— nervous but excited! There was a ton of positive juju in the air — I’ve never felt so excited and happy to run in my life! Our corral began the race at about 7:13, it was still a decent temperature at this point and the start of the race felt great!!
One thing that I did find annoying was that there seemed to be a lot of people walking in the beginning that were in our corral and the corrals in front of us. It was hard to pass and get into a comfortable area. I would say we didn’t really get into a good spot until mile 4. I guess that’s a downside to a race with 10,000 people!
I felt pretty good throughout the beginning of the race, but it started to get REALLY hot and humid around miles 5-6. We also ran through an area that was surrounded by trees, but the road was still sunny, so it was just really hot with no air – yikes!!
Around mile 9, I started to get my second wind, but it was still super hot! Luckily there were tons of water stations. Some of the water stations later in the race were handing out water soaked towels and sponges. I drank at least two cups of Gatorade at every water station after mile 7 and poured water on my head to keep cool.
Finally, we hit mile 11 and were in the home stretch. This part was my favorite!! We ran past a ton of homes and everyone was out on the street cheering! People were handing out ice pops, grapes, water, and were spraying us with garden hoses! The support from the community was truly incredible and made the last couple miles way easier to finish! Mile 12 went up a hill (Ouch! I was glad all of our training runs ended in an uphill climb!) and then mile 13 finished up on the boardwalk!!!
I stayed with Chris for a majority of the race, but sprinted it out at the end! I finished in 2 hours, 27 minutes, and 50 seconds. I was so happy to have run the entire race without walking to make it to the finish line!
Sure, I would have liked to have finished faster, but considering that we only trained for 8 weeks and that it was SUPER hot, I am pretty happy!!! Chris’ brother-in-law actually said that the race took him about 30 minutes longer than usual to finish a half marathon because of the heat and humidity. I’m also relieved we all finished safely because people were being carted off on stretchers throughout the course.
After we finished, we were given water, Gatorade, chocolate milk (the best recovery drink!!), bananas, pretzels – you name it – they had it!
We also received our finisher’s medals!!
It was definitely an awesome experience and I am a big fan of the Rock ‘n’ Roll series. I wish we had more time to explore the expo on Saturday (although neither of us have money to burn so that may have been dangerous!). I also loved the live bands throughout the course.
I must admit though, my favorite part were the groups of local cheerleaders that were scattered throughout the course! They were AWESOME and got me so pumped up every time we ran by a group. I was so excited to see an email stating that the race donated money to the top three cheer programs!!! It’s pretty great for a race to give back to the community like that!Now that I’ve had some time to reflect, I do think I want to run another half marathon at some point. Not next month or anything, but I would like to at least run one near my hometown so my parents have the opportunity to watch. Maybe next spring– we’ll see!
Regardless of whether we do run another race, I would like to keep up our runs in the mornings and on the weekend. I feel healthier and happier on the days we wake up and work out and I would like to continue this trend. We ran 4 miles both yesterday and this morning, so we’re off to a good start!
If we do run another race, I would like to train longer than 8 weeks. I would also definitely like to increase our pace and just get more accustomed to long runs in general. I feel like I always got really tired during mile 6 and would then get a second wind. It would be nice to push that “tired” wall to a few miles later! I think going forward Chris and I will incorporate sports drinks and maybe gels into long runs to help our bodies cope. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted!!
Thanks so much for the support, this was definitely an awesome experience and I am so happy we decided to run.
Have a wonderful weekend!