Virginia √ (9 STATES COMPLETE)
WE MADE IT!
We headed over to the expo after a relaxing day hanging out on the beach. The expo was a few miles away from the hotel in the Virginia Beach Convention Center – we drove over since we were going out to dinner afterwards. Parking was plentiful and super easy.
The expo led you through a logical series of sections. Before entering the hall there was a location to check your bib number and fill out your waiver of you hadn’t done so already.
Entering into the hall was packet pickup – the lines were super short and moved quickly.
RnR series uses a different type of chip/tag timing than I am used to. It’s not difficult you just lace it through your shoe laces. There was a quick video as you left packet pick up to ensure you understood what to do .. We all know that people are going to have some crazy interpretations, but RnR did do a great job of informing runners.
As you exit T-shirt pickup you enter through the large Brooks vendor section and are then led into the rest of the expo.
There was a great selection of vendors all offering a variety of things rather than everyone having pretty much the same thing. Caroline and I lost Chris and Greg, but we kept wandering. We stopped over at the Sports Authority section where we both got a couple of pairs of Thorlos Experia socks for cheap! I also got some Body Glide to try out.
There were a couple of booths from sponsors that offered opportunities to support runners via mobile messages, runner tracking, posters, and more! I loved the positive energy at the booths and the four of us took full advantage of all there was to offer (some were forced -ahem-Greg). We took our time wandering and got lots of free samples before we left to our delicious hibachi dinner. YUMMM.
MILE IN THE SAND:
None of us actually did the mile in the sand, but we did walk down and watch it. It was a beautifully windy morning and the view was gorgeous.
The night before we went to an earlier dinner at a small little Italian/sub place where I got my usual pre race meal. I know there is a lot out there about what to eat and what not to eat, but it truly is all about what works best for you.
Before going to bed I drank my rehydrate. To get ready for our 5 am wake-up.
- 1/2 bottle water with PB Nature Valley Bar
- Spark with 1/2 scoop Rehydrate
- Before heading out the door 2 O2 Gold with Arginine Extreme
Rock n Roll had worked with the city to use the public transportation busses from various spots along Atlantic. As we walked out of our room we saw the busses lined up right out front of our hotel, we walked right on to a bubbly, happy bus driver.
It was only a short drive away, but a nice amenity.
Naturally my first stop was the port-o-potties – call me crazy, but this was truly the best set up I have ever seen! They had multiple rows of the set-up pictured throughout the entire area. This eliminated so much chaos with lines and took away any ‘confusion’ (ahem cutting) on which line went where.
We stopped to snap a few pics and headed over to a corral. Chris (The Gem) and Greg were running the 5k while Caroline and I were running the half. Both races started together which was a lot of fun. The four of us had all different corrals, but we wanted to stay together – luckily corrals were not enforced at all. We did follow the runners code and went to the slower corral, well one in front of it.
As the crowd was getting hyped up and warming up with some sweet moves … It started raining. This may have been a saving grace it was a light rain and definitely added a little humidity, but also cooled it down.
The waves start went smoothly and much quicker than I thought they would. I went into this race with a plan to hydrate more often than I normally do – a gulp a mile. I have found in training that Gu Chomps work the best for me – 2 chews every 3 miles.
About less than .5 mile in Chris and Greg took off weaving and bobbing through the crowds. Which actually didn’t thin out until mile 3ish, and even then you were constantly surrounded by runners. Caroline and I didn’t want to do the whole bob-and-weave situation and waste energy so we tried to maintain a straight path. Despite these mile being in main roads spectators were SOO quiet in the beginning – one runner even yelled out “you aren’t watching a funeral procession”.
We were running at a steady 12:20 pace. It was around Mile 4 where Caroline decided to tell me that she had been training at a 10:1 minute run:walk ratio. The “imma punch you” face came out, but I should have known to ask.
We saw the lead runners pass by us on the General Booth Overpass. We fell into a run:walk pace that worked for us and we’re going along fine.
Around the 10k mark there were messages posted on a huge screen that people were able to send to runners through the booths at the expo. The Gem and Caroline’s brother (Greg) had written us messages and the popped up on our way by. That was such a fun touch and great to see.
I had absolutely no excuse not to stay hydrated– there were PLENTY of water stops along the course and the bands along the way were a fun distraction from what everyone was putting their bodies through.
We did a good amount of walking in this section of the race. Carol’s first race experience took a little dip in these miles when she got the ever dreaded site stitches which we later discovered was from the sugary Gatorade. We were able to enjoy some of the bands we wandered by and take in the surroundings of the race. Throughout the entire course there were TONS of groups official and unofficial handing out water, drinks, freeze-pops, beers, cups of ice, sponges, etc. I thought the sponge idea was great, and would be even better on a hotter race day when you really need that heat relief.
HOME STRETCH HERE WE GO! I was extremely proud of Carol, pushing through side stitches sucks, and they can be stubborn and refuse to go away some times.
We kicked up the pace on the overpass downhill and pushed it to the end. Once we were on the last stretch it was a mile long straight away along the water to the finish. The cheer squads continued to have amazing energy even at hour three of the race. Towards the end of mile 13 we saw (what we thought) was the finish line marker and pushed it as hard as we could to it, only to find out that, that blow up orange Humana blow up arch was only a misting tent and there was still about a quarter-mile to go. We had a good laugh, slowed it down for a few seconds, and pushed it in to high gear again to the real finish line. The beach walk was quite deceiving and made the end look closer than it was .. but WE MADE IT!
I was so excited we finished together and so excited that Caroline had just finished her first half! I gave her one of those awkward side hugs and looked around for her medal … anddd that too was a little further away. We got our medals and saw Chris and Greg over the barrier. The Gem had a bag in hand for me, he is adorable – I had read in someone’s recap of last years race that there was a ton of free stuff at the end, but impossible to carry it all without a bag – so there he was prepared as always.
There truly was a TON of goodies – waters, Gatorade (SKIP), Chocolate Milk, granola, ice bags, chips, Power Bars, fruit, cold towels, and other snacks. Gem with the bag for the win!
I was able to find Beth, a friend of mine from college – this was also her first half and she absolutely KILLED IT with a little over 2 hour finish time – wooooiee!
Caroline, Greg, Chris, and I walked briefly to get away from the large crowds and then stopped to snap a few pics and stretch out.
We eventually made our way slowly back to the hotel which was a mile away – I think this was perfect to properly cool down and not immediately sit down. I have found a solid post race routine that I feel works wonders for me:
- Cool down walk
- Rehydrate & eat a small snack
- Take Omegaplex
- Lay against a wall with my legs up
- 10 minuet ice bath
- Foam roll and additional stretching
I was told that this half is held in conjunction with the Music Festival every year, which is pretty awesome because with your race bib you get free entry into the concerts held throughout the weekend.
We only went to Sunday nights on the main stage – Phil Vassar and Sheryl Crow – but every night we could go out on our hotel balcony and there would be a band playing on the small stage along the beach walkway. We left the concert around 9:45 to walk back to the hotel and heard numerous bands playing along the way such as Reel Big Fish.
Overall take away from the race – it was a pretty flat and quick course and definitely PR-able. The course is point to point (you do not finish where you end), finishing on the beach is amazing. With 10,000 runners there was plenty of freebies to be had and water available at every point. I will definitely be participating in another Rock n Roll race. My dad is thinking Vegas next November YESSSS!!!! Who’s in!?
This particular race makes for an amazing mini vacation between the beach, boardwalk, surrounding area, the music festival, and the race series there is tons to do, affordable, and lots of fun!
Rock on, Run Strong, Live Happy,
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