After spending Friday driving up, and Saturday enjoying the expo and Mile in the Sand, it was finally time for the big event. I laid my clothes out the night before to make sure I had everything ready. Notice the CamelBak and sunscreen – I wanted to be prepared for this hot and humid race.
While I did not have any time goals for the race, because I knew the weather would not be ideal, I did have plans. I planned to listen to my body, stay hydrated, and have fun.
I took it easy and went with what felt good.
My first five miles were about a 10:30 pace and I was really happy with my progress. I enjoyed running down Atlantic Avenue and seeing a bit more of Virginia Beach
*They announced after the race that this was a 14 year record for the highest temperature and also the highest humidity during the race and I could tell that affected me as I went on.*
The next 5 miles were a bit tougher. We ran through a military base and a few neighborhoods. The course support was great! Not only were aid stations set up around the course with water, Gatorade, and hoses to keep you cool, but tons of people had their own personal hoses and sprinklers going in front of their yards and were letting everyone run though them. Since I wasn’t doing this race for time I swerved though every sprinkler and hose I could find. Even though I felt like I was running just as hard as before those second five miles were closer to 11:00, and even though I had not set any time goals, I started to hope for a finishing time just below 11:00 minutes per mile.
Then miles 10 and 11 came along and boy were they ugly. The sun had come out full force and I felt like I was slogging along. I had no energy left and just felt zapped. It was a struggle to hold a 12ish pace. I was exhausted, and my legs didn’t have much push in them, but I was close to the end. I tried to smile through it and even stopped to dance a bit with a few of the groups of cheerleaders. (You can see all the new necklaces they gave me in the picture below.)
Finally, I hit the mile 12 marker and was able to pick it up a bit the last mile. This was my favorite part of the course because the boardwalk comes into view and you know you are nearing the finish. The support was awesome with people lining both sides of the boardwalk. I tried to really push that last half mile or so down the boardwalk, but definitely had no finishing kick, I was exhausted.
I crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:26:26 for a 11:04 average pace.
I quickly grabbed a cold water at the finish line and made my way to the Chocolate Milk tent. I feel so blessed that I was able to race with Team Chocolate Milk for this event and was ready to tell everyone thank you and grab a a nice cold bottle. Not only did the cool chocolate milk taste great post run, but I also knew I was doing something good for my body since it has an awesome mix of protein and carbs to add in recovery.
I then headed down to that water where I stripped off my Mizunos (I ran in the Wave Rider 17) and stood with my toes in the ocean for a while. This was a fabulous way to regroup and take a little breather post race. It gave me time to organize my thoughts about the whole experience.
Even though this is by far one of my slowest half marathon times, because it was so hot and humid, I would still recommend this race. The support was great, it was a flat course, and the finish on the boardwalk was amazing. I would just suggest that everyone goes into this race with the goal of having fun and no specific time goal because the heat is brutal.
After I pulled myself away from the ocean I went to take full advantage of the VIP band I was luckily enough to get through Team Chocolate Milk. I have never been a VIP to anything, so I was not sure what to expect, but everything was amazing. Before the race we got to wait in a nice, air conditioned building with real restrooms and then after the race it was time to eat!
Overall, it was an amazing experience and I am so glad that I was able to go.
My next travel race with be Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah. I am running the half and looking forward to some cooler weather come November. Remember, if you want to join me there you can use the discount code SQUAREZERO for $10 off your registration.
What is you next race?
Have you ever been to Virginia Beach? What about Savannah?