This was the race I had really been looking forward to! Not only because of the race, but because we managed to turn it into a race-cation in Virginia Beach. Originally, Steven was going to watch the girls while I ran the race, but since Kevin ended up being able to make the trip, he volunteered to watch the kids and Steven was able to sign up for the race at the expo.
We left for Virginia Beach on Friday around 1:45. Unfortunately, we hit lots of traffic. We finally got to the expo around 7:00, where we met Sam. Sam and I picked up our bibs while Steven registered for the half marathon. We took some pictures and then walked around the expo for a bit. We didn’t really buy much, other than a St. Patricks day hat for Gabby.
After the expo, we checked into the hotel. I was disappointed to find out that the indoor pool was closed due to a water main break. We unpacked & settled in and went to bed.
When I woke up Saturday morning, I realized the 8k Sam was signed up for (she did the Dolphin challenge, which included the 8k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday) was passing by our hotel on the boardwalk. I sat on the balcony looking for her but never spotted her. We met her after her run at Pocahontas Pancakes and had a delicious breakfast.
After breakfast, we went back to the hotel and took the kids to the beach to play.
It was cold! After walking back to the hotel, we rested a bit and then headed out to buy Steven a long sleeve shirt for the race and pick up breakfast for the next morning. Afterwards, we walked over to Planet Pizza and had dinner with the Lents. After dinner, we went back to our rooms, showered up, laid out my flat Kim and made sure everything was ready for the next morning.
After the kids showered I took them to Sam & Kevins room. The girls stayed with Kevin and Sam stayed with Steven and I so we wouldn’t have to wake the kids up early.
Race day! We woke up around 5:00 (I think?!?). Steven, Sam, and I got ready. I ate my yogurt and then we drove down to the parking garage on 20th street and had to walk the remaining 22 blocks. We checked our bags and then made our way to the starting area. We hit the port a potties and then headed to the corrals.
I kissed Steven and wished him luck and then Sam and I lined up with the 2:15 pace group. I had heard it is a nice flat course so I was hoping to PR, and figured staying with the 2:15 pace group until the end would help me do that (current PR was 2:15:15).
Miles 1 – 4.5: It was time for the race to start. I hit START on MMR and while putting my phone back in my fuel belt, something fell out of my belt!!! My initial reaction was to just leave it (thinking it was a gu) until I heard someone say its an ID!!! My License!! I usually check them or put them in a different pocket but forgot to. We had to race back to the start while dodging the remainder of our corral to get it. I grabbed it and started to run again, only to realize my credit card had fallen out too!! Back one more time to grab that! OMG…what a start! Thankfully it was at the beginning of the race when I still had plenty of energy and endorphins were pumping. We saw that the 2:15 pacers were way ahead of us and spent the first 1.5 miles trying to catch up! We finally caught up, but I was already feeling exhausted. Once we got into a good rhythm with the pacers, I felt much better and my anxiety level finally started to return to normal. We stayed with them for a while. I think it was around mile 3 when Sam said she was going to settle into a little slower 10:30 pace. I decided to slow down to get my music out and before I knew it, I realized Sam was ahead of me. I raced back up to her and was pleasantly surprised that she had decided to keep it up a while longer!! We walked at mile 4.5 to fuel. I had lost one of my gu’s at the beginning of the race so I only had one left. I ate it, but wasn’t concerned because I knew they would be giving more out on the course somewhere between mile 5 and 6.
Miles 4.5 – 9: After fueling, we settled back into a good pace. Somehow my music was set to repeat the same 4 songs so I did have to figure that out. After mile marker 5, I grabbed a Gu to save for later. I lost my favorite running sunglasses somewhere between mile 4.5 and 5. We entered a military base along this stretch, which meant we had virtually no crowd support. The course was pretty flat so I guess you take the good with the bad. I remember hitting the 6.5 mile mark and telling Sam we were half way done. Somewhere between 6.5 and 7, Sam and I separated. At mile 9, I walked again to eat my gu.
Miles 9 – 12.5: I wasn’t able to get the entire gu down so I picked back up to a run and held onto my remaining gu in case I needed it later. We came off the base and were back onto the main street in Va Beach (Atlantic Ave, I think). I kind of liked that at this point, the streets were numbered so I just kept telling myself “only xx streets to go”. Truly, a dream come true for a person with OCD. I wasn’t sure exactly which street was the end, but thought it was in the 30’s. I was beginning to struggle around mile 10 and made a deal with myself to get to mile 11 and then I could walk and finish the gu, which is what I did. I kept feeling like I was struggling and that my pace was probably suffering, but in fact my pace had actually picked up. So, right here when I needed my music to push me the most, a “horizon” song that came standard with my phone came on (I had just purchased the weekend before). It was NOT a runner song. So I had to grab my phone and when I put it back, I didn’t quite get the zipper all the way around and BOOM…my phone hit the ground. UGHh!!! I grabbed it quickly while just about killing another runner who ran into me (sorry dude!).
Mile 12.5 – 13.1: Somehow dropping my phone pushed me into high gear. I don’t know if it was because I was worried I lost some time picking it up but I was running much faster than I thought possible for the end of this race. At this point, I was pretty sure I was going to PR, and I just was giving it everything I had!! The course turned onto the boardwalk and I knew I was close to the finish!! ONLY…not quite close enough. Its really deceiving because you think you are almost done, but in reality, you still have a few minutes to go. I started feeling like I had to slow down…that I would never make it! With probably .1 to .2 miles to go, I did end up slowing down a little bit and was searching the crowd for Kevin and all the kids. There were tons of people so I was never able to find them. I FINALLY crossed the finish line and stopped my garmin. I knew I had a PR!!! I collected a water, medal, cookie, beach towel, and hat. I exited down to the beach and started looking for Steven. After about 10 minutes, we all started reuniting on the beach! Steven and Sam both PR’d as well!!
The after-party tent was very crowded and we didn’t want to wait in line for drinks/soup. We hung out on the beach for a bit but it was very cold so we didn’t stay too long. We headed back to the hotel to warm up and shower. We all got ready, checked out of the hotel and headed to Planet Pizza for lunch (out of convenience…not because it was very good). After lunch (and a drink) we went down to the beach and let the kids play one more time.
On our way out of Virginia Beach, we saw the Pirate Ghost Ride was open and just had to stop for that. The girls really enjoyed it and then we were on our way home.
We had a great weekend and 3 PRs!! I would definitely register for this race again!
My official time was 2:13:46. My splits according to my Garmin:
Mile 1 – 10.04 (including me running back to the start to grab my id/credit card)
Mile 2 – 9:49
Mile 3 – 10:25
Mile 4 – 10:01
Mile 5 – 10:54
Mile 6 – 10:04
Mile 7 – 10:16
Mile 8 – 10:10
Mile 9 – 10:07
Mile 10 – 10:27
Mile 11 – 9:58
Mile 12 – 10:09
Mile 13 – 9:52
Mile 13.1 – 1:46