“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Monday, September 17, 2012

Virginia Beach RNR Recap

Race: Virginia Beach RNR Half Marathon
Distance:  13.1 miles
Date:  September 2, 2012, 7:30am start
Finish time:  2:35:40
What sets this race apart:  Part of the Rock N Roll Marathon Series

Labor Day weekend, I got on a plane to travel to a race for the first time.  (We drove the last time I went to an out-of-state race).  I also left the baby overnight for the first time!

I traveled with two of my training buddies, Lynne and Laurie.  We shared a suite at the Holiday inn that had two queen beds and a pull out couch...and our patio doors opened onto the beach!
Sunrise from our room the first morning
We flew in Friday night and attended the race expo on Saturday.  I have to say, the major benefit of big races may be the expo goodies.  It was truly one of the best expos I've ever gone to.  Usually, I could care less about expos.  I don't know if it was because this was a race-cation, because I was kid-free, or what, but I really had fun!  I purchased a few things, enjoyed lots of freebies, and even did the silly photo shoots!
Yes, that is tuna fish.
I neglected to place the purchased items in the photo, these are the freebies.
...and I got to see the Goofy medals in person!  The photos just didn't do them justice.
Laurie and I will both be traveling to Florida for the Goofy in January
As we left the Expo, we all commented on how HOT and HUMID it was.  Unfortunately, it was a little bit of a race-day-weather preview!

We had some hiccups when it came to finding a place for dinner the night before the race, leaving all of us a bit dissatisfied with our meal.  We also walked many more miles looking for a spot than we'd really intended.  Once I got my spaghetti at the place we settled on, the sauce actually TASTED oily.  I opted to not finish the meal, and wound up eating wheat thins for dinner when I got back to the hotel.

I actually slept decently the night before the race, and I had my usual pre-run breakfast.  (I packed my granola cereal, wise decision).  Nonetheless, I had some GI issues that morning.  We made two port-a-potty stops pre-race, and both times I was doing more than peeing.  (TMI?)  I also had a bit of a dehydration headache and drank an EXTRA bottle of water at the start line. (I'd already drank 16.9 oz before leaving the hotel).  I also felt the need to take a second salt pill.  Before. The. Race. Even. Started.

We all started in the same corral, which gave us some nice photo ops!
Gotta love those early morning starts!
I started the race exactly how I wanted to, a little on the slower side of my race pace to get warmed up, then I settled in around a 10:30-10:45 min/avg.  I had decided I was going to walk through all the hydration stops to make sure I stayed hydrated.
Mile 1: 11:00
Mile 2: 10:27
Mile 3: 10:38
Mile 4: 11:07
Mile 5: 11:04
Mile 6: 11:15
Somewhere around mile 2, I felt like I needed to take a GU, but I didn't.  Big mistake.  The water stops were fairly far apart for a hot race, so by the time I made it to the next water stop and took a GU, I was already starting to feel pretty bad.  I was still on pace to make my race goals, but began to re-evaluate.  Based on how I was feeling, and the heat, continuing at that pace would not have been smart for my health and overall marathon training.  I started walking slower through the water stops and taking both water and Gatorade.
Mile 7: 12:10
Mile 8: 12:25
Mile 9: 12:59
This is where everything blew up.  After walking through the mile 7 water stop and gagging on the GU I attempted to take, I kept walking even after I was done with the water stop.  Mentally?  That was the first sign of game over.  In mile 8, I got the first concrete symptoms of heat stroke and realized that I wasn't going to make a PR.  I started walking in earnest, and embarrassingly, pulled out my cell phone to send  a few text messages.  I sent my husband a message saying that I wouldn't PR and that I was walking.  I sent my friend Lynne a message that I was walking and waiting for her and Laurie to catch up to me.  Enter the self-abusing thoughts.  I questioned whether or not I was really a runner if I couldn't even run a half marathon without walking, I questioned whether or not I should keep training for a full marathon, and I called myself an idiot for signing up for the Goofy Challenge in January.
Mile 10: 13:35
Mile 11: 12:02
Mile 12: 12:30
Mile 13: 12:34
Last bit: 9:27
Garmin distance: 13.21 miles.
During mile 11 is where Lynne caught up with me.  I ran with her for a bit, before telling her to go ahead and walking a bit more.  What made it especially hard to get motivated is that most of the people around me were also walking.  It was just that hot.  The heat index was 95 at the end of the race.
But a free post-race slurpee makes everything better!
What did I learn?  Heat is my kryptonite.  Of course, I already knew that.  It didn't help that we'd had a couple of cooler weeks in Ohio before traveling to this race.  I also learned, if I am going to sign up for a race that has potential race temperatures in this heat range, I need to do some of my summer training in the afternoon, instead of doing all of it before the sun rises.  This will allow me to be better heat acclimated.

What I liked about the race?

  • Great swag
  • Great post-race refreshments: Gatorade bottles, chocolate milk, oranges, popsicles, slurpees and more
  • The bands on the course were pretty decent.
  • Flat - only hill was the overpass, which we did both directions.
  • The expo
  • The themed neighborhoods.
  • Post race concert

What I found disappointing?
  • The frequency of the water stops and how well they did or did not keep up with the crowds.  I did manage to get water at each stop without terrible delays, and even got a second cup to dump on my head at several.  I felt they were too far apart given the temperatures that day.
  • The crowd.  I love big races, but this race never thinned out.  And with the heat and how many people turned to walking, it made navigation tougher.
  • The weather.  Hotter than normal, but not outside the range of average for VB that time of year.  Note to self: check that when signing up for a race next time.
  • The medal ribbon.  The medal itself is pretty awesome, the ribbon takes away from it.
  • For a rock and roll event, I expected more bands.  It seemed like there are actually more on-course entertainers at both of the big races in Columbus, OH.
  • My performance.  Not going to lie, I was extremely bummed at how poorly I performed.  I walked as much as I ran those last 5 miles.  It actually felt harder than my 20 mile training run I completed this past Saturday.
Post race ocean celebration!
Jumping into the ocean with Lynne and Laurie after the race was probably my favorite part of the entire trip.  (Although salt water and chafing are not a good combo!)

After lunch, we read by the pool, which was also nice.  Then, we all went parasailing, my first time ever!
We were 1000 feet up!
That night, we saw Train in concert on the beach, which was pretty fun.

Despite a bad race performance, it was a pretty fun girls weekend and a nice break from being a full-time mommy!


Have you ever had a race that just didn't go as planned?  How did you bounce back?

What is your running kryptonite?

Have you ever been parasailing?

Would you rather run a half marathon at the beach or go parasailing?


  1. I had a 10k at the beginning of the summer in the heat that was miserable- I can't imagine doubling the distance in the heat! Glad you still had a good time and got to get away with friends. And congrats on another half done!

  2. Even in that picture, you can tell I am not relaxing! What a wuss I was!

    You did great - the fact that we all had good times despite the heat says we ARE runners (or a walker) that have trained. You are doing amazing with your speed this season and I know you will be just fine!

  3. Man, that kind of heat....no one PRs in that. Heat is also my Achilles heel. Don't be hard on yourself. And even without the heat, you're in the middle of tough training. This race tells you nothing about how it's going to go next month--don't worry!!

    The Denver RnR is this weekend and I'm not running any of the races, but I'm damn sure going to that expo. It will be fun to go to an expo without being worried about too much time on my feet.


Comments pretty much make my day - so thank you for yours!