Welp, Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach is now one for the books. The race was not one that I had been training for per se but it was more of a training run leading up to my marathon in November. I didn’t have any real expectations other than race hard, race well, and PR. Not asking for too much ;). The race itself was on Sunday and the expo was Friday and Saturday. I got into town at my parents on Thursday and decided I would to the Expo on Friday.
While I love a good expo, and it’s probably one of my favorite parts of the race, I don’t like a crowded one. So my mom decided she would join me and we got there around 2p, and just as I had wanted it was not super crowded. We went in I got my gear bag and t-shirt and then we proceeded to wander around and see what we could find. Several hours later and a wallet much lighter we left the expo. My mom decided that she and my Dad weren’t running that they would volunteer (She really just wanted a t-shirt). So they signed up to volunteer.
The plan was to get there on Saturday night after a dinner party my parents had. Well my mom wasn’t ready to leave so we took off from our house much later than we were supposed to and got to the hotel at 1:30a. The alarm went off at 5a. UGH! My parents dropped me off at the start line around 6a and proceeded onwards to their volunteer station. I still had time to spare so I hopped in line for the port-a-potty then got a banana and walked around, I’m sure looking quite unpleasant, but I’m just not a morning person.
It was at this moment when it dawned on me what corral I was in. Corral 5. I knew I was in this corral but I had no idea how many corrals there were. This was the closest I had ever been to the start line in a race. I started seeing people walk by with their bibs that had their corral numbers on them. 12, 9, 21, 18. Hmmm I must have picked the wrong corral. Crap. Well if anything this will motivate me to run faster. They finally opened the corrals. I went in. Stretched. Tried to relax. And here. We. Go.
The race started and the pacers for the 1:52 group were right in front of me. I thought, hmm this is good I’ll try to keep up with them. WRONG. They took of like gazelles and I slowed my happy behind down. Then my right shoelace started feeling loose. Are. You. Kidding. Me??? We just started! I’m not about to pull over. I’ll wait it out. I got to the first mile fast. Really fast. A little too fast. Part of me wanted to slow down, but the other part of me said ‘Keep going! You’ve got a nice stride going! It’s too early to be getting passed!’
Coming around mile 2 we headed down the streets passed the beachfront hotel. Then I heard my mom’s familiar voice. I gave my parents a wave and a smile and kept moving. The next few miles were pretty uneventful someone dropped their Garmin watch (not sure how you could lose that and not notice) and another runner was racing through the crowds trying to figure out who it belonged to. There were also some weird turns. Well I guess I shouldn’t say weird but there were lots of turns through the various city blocks.
Mile 5 was long. Very long. It was flat. Boring and I could see runners ahead of me. Far ahead of me. Then I looked to my left on the other side and saw mile marker 11. I thought to myself that I would be glad when I got to that marker. Then I saw them. As I was just getting to or just passing mile 5 the Kenyans were coming up on mile 11. ?!?! Now clearly I know that I am no elite runner but are you kidding me?!? That broke my spirits for a while.
Miles 6-10 were long. Very long. And boring. My pace started to slow down and my right quad was starting to ache. I was soaked in sweat. Much of this part went through Camp Pendleton. There’s a loop around the camp and you can see all the runners who are ahead of you and can see where you have to run until you get to where they are. Ugh. Should have just kept my head down. Approaching mile 9 I was in almost a funk. I really wanted to slow down but my pride wouldn’t let me. I was off pace as it was and not willing to slow down just yet. I only had a few more miles left and a goal to reach. Too make matter worse the pace group for 2:oo passed me. Dangit!! Had I really fallen that much off pace? Then a boost came on from my iPod. Bieber’s “Never Say Never”. Now I’m not really a fan of his music and I only have this song on my iPod but it couldn’t have come at a better time. Granted the song is kind of cheesy and embarrassing but it did the trick. I decided to choose a better attitude and picked my pace back up.
It felt like it took forever to get to Mile 11. I started slowing down a lot. I kept telling myself that I had under a 5K left. I could do this. I could do it. There were a few people in front of me that I zoned in on. I decided that I wouldn’t let them get further in front of me than they were. I also began running alongside people. You could tell that people were starting to rely on others around them to get themselves through the last couple of miles. The last part of this mile also included going up a ramp. I knew that I needed to turn it on now. I was almost done.
I came through mile 12 strong. I was almost done. A few more turns and I would be on the final leg towards the finish. I started to smell the ocean. Yes!! The last half mile felt like it went on forever. I could see the finish line in the far distance. I wanted to pick up my speed but I had nothing left in me. I looked at my watch and my time was at 1:58 and some change. I knew I wasn’t going to break 2 hrs. And at this point I didn’t care. I just wanted to be done. And just as I was approaching the finish line P.O.D’s “Alive” came on. I love this song and it was such a perfect song to cross the finish line to.
Finish: 2:03: 45
The part that happens after runners cross the finish line is always somewhat humorous to me after the fact. God bless those volunteers that work the finish lines and food lines. All us runners can be grumpy, we’re smelly, we may have vacant expressions and we have the wobbly legged noodle leg walk. I was very happy that they had cold towels at the finish line. I got my goodies and my medal and proceeded to find my parents. There were quite a few people getting into the ocean and I wanted to but I didn’t want to get sand on my feet. HaHa. I also didn’t even get my free beer! I just didn’t feel like it would sit well with me.
While I didn’t race as well as I would have hoped, I’m still pleased with my performance. Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah is in 60 days and once I start getting into my longer runs I feel confident that I’ll have a good race. 🙂
Also HUGE kuddos to Alana Hadley, a 14-year-old young lady who ran the race yesterday in a time of 1:17!!!! Wow. Wow. WOW!!