Yesterday was the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon, and I had a very good time for the most part.

I got a new cool medal!  R walked around the house wearing it and all my other ones for a bit yesterday.  It was funny.

My finishers medal!

I didn’t sleep well the night before, which was really annoying.  When my alarm went off at 445am, I was really wishing I didn’t have to get up, but alas…I did.  I had set out all of my gear on Saturday night, and D set up the coffee pot to brew at 445, so all I had to do was jump in the shower, get dressed, and have some coffee and breakfast.  I had two pieces of whole wheat toast with sunflower butter and sliced banana.  I really like this breakfast.  I realize that I strayed from my typical pre-race meal of a Clif Bar, but my stomach had been a mess since the night before, and I didn’t want something as heavy as a Clif Bar before the run.  It must have been a good idea, because my stomach was fine during the race.

I woke D up at 6am, and we were on the road by 610 for him to drop me off near the race start on 19th street in front of the Convention Center.  He dropped me off at 640 as close as he could, and I walked to my corral.

When registering for a long run like this, you have to indicate what you’re projected finishing time is.  Based on that, you get assigned a number and a corral.  The point is to have the slower runners near the rear so they don’t get run over by the faster ones.  There were 27 corrals in all, and I was in 17.

A view of the starting line as the sun was coming up

My corral #17

The race was a “wave start” which means that each corral is walked up to the start line, the gun goes off (really, it was a fog horn though), and then repeat.  At 630am the wheelchair invitational started, which is anyone either competing in a wheelchair or pushing someone in a wheelchair.  At 645am, the elites started, and at 7am, corral 1 went.  By the time corral 17 hit the starting line, it was 740am. 

It was a beautiful day, around 70 degrees when the race started, and around 80 when it finished.  There were bands stationed at every mile and many local cheerleaders encouraging everyone on.  It was hard not to smile.

Band at mile 5 – where I stopped for a potty break

I didn’t bring any water or fig newtons with me on the run.  I did bring two Gu’s though.  They had Cytomax and Water every 2 miles or so, and I felt that was enough.  One of my big fears that I have blogged about before was not having enough hydration in our ridiculous Virginia heat.  I’m starting to ease back a bit because 1-it wasn’t hot yesterday, and 2 – I may be over hydrating just a bit, which impacts performance as well.

Everyone once in awhile, we’d run under silly gateways of some kind, usually marking the distance you hit, such as the 5K mark, the 15 K mark, etc.  I’m not sure which one this was, but thought it was amusing enough to take a picture of.

one of the rock n roll gateways on the course

I didn’t stop to take a picture of the finish line.  I was too busy scanning the crowd looking for D and the kids.  The plan had been for him to drop me off, run back home, grab the kids, take them for a quick breakfast, and then get to the finish line to see me cross it.  I was very excited because it’ll have been the first race they’ve ever come to see me at.  I texted him when I was 4 miles from the finish to make sure he could gauge about when I’d be done.  Unfortunately, a combination of bad time management and bad traffic kept them from getting there.  I won’t lie…I was crushed.  So while I enjoyed the run a lot, I felt no joy when I crossed the finish line because the people I was supposed to share it with weren’t there.  I’m now over the disappointment of yesterday. I know he wanted to be there and as upset as I am at his inability to manage time, I know that it wasn’t on purpose, and he felt bad.

As usual, one of  my favorite parts of the run is just all of the people that were there.  During the long wait in the corral to start, I was talking to a woman who was very nervous, as this was her first 1/2 marathon.  We talked a bit about what to expect and how much fun it actually is.  Of course seeing the wheelchair participants is always very inspiring, and when they looped around in front of the crowd, all the runners and spectators alike started cheering.  I read a story of one participant that was especially touching.  A soldier had been injured in Iraq in 2009 and suffered severe brain injury.  He’s entire platoon took turns relay-style pushing him through the course.  It’s that type of love, focus, and dedication that makes me love the running community so much.  I saw all types of people there for a cause or running in honor of a loved one.  There was the always dominant Team In Training for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society.  There were people wearing t-shirts for cancer research, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, homelessness, and pretty much every charity you can imagine.  It’s really beautiful to see.  I actually became interested in wanting to sign up for one I have never heard of before Team Challenge – to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis research.  Since D has Crohn’s and I watch how much it affects his life, I feel very strongly that I could run in honor of him and help raise money.  Right now, it seems to be a pretty new group, and the closest chapter is in Washington DC, and the only run they’re currently training for is the Las Vegas Rock N Roll in December – which is too close to the October race for me to run in.  After my marathon in Chicago is over, I’m hoping to start up a local chapter here, pick a spring run to train for, and help the 1.4 million Americans just like my husband.
There were people running in costumes – a guy in a cape that was near me most of the time and  I saw a girl dressed up as a guitar, and even saw a guy running barefoot.  There was a man who was “running” on crutches.  He had one leg – and no prosthetic.  He literally used his crutches and arms to finish.  I can’t imagine how difficult that had to be. 
After the race, I walked to where D and the kids were waiting (in a 7-11 parking lot) and we went home.  No staying for the after race party this time.
I took a shower, pouted for a while, and watched TV.  Part of the entire weekend is the American Music Festival that gets put on at the Oceanfront.  When you run, you’re guaranteed race entry as long as you have your running bib.  When I signed up, I purchased the extra ticket for D so we could go party for a bit the night of the race.  I figured I could spend the day recovering and relaxing, then hit the beach at night for a concert.  That’s what we fully intended anyway!  We left home around 6 after feeding the kids dinner, and went down to the beach.  Once we got there and stared wandering around the boardwalk, we both decided we didn’t have much interest in seeing Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon, so we walked along hand in hand, stopped for a beer and some onion rings, and then came home.  It turned out to be a very lovely evening in the low 70’s, and couldn’t really ask for a nicer night to be down at the beach.  We spend the evening cuddling and watching TV after putting the kids in bed fairly early.  All in all, a really nice day and I’m very glad I did it.

Oceanfront in the early evening

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I am a 45 yo busy career single mom and doctoral student attempting to find her inner athlete, be a gluten-free(ish) vegan, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, box, do yoga, dance, travel, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

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