Living a balanced life with lots of creative food, exercise and exploration!

Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon – DONE!!

on September 3, 2012

DONE.  As of September 2, I have officially completed my first half marathon at the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.  Without further adeiu, race recap time:

It wasn’t awesome.  In fact, my performance was border line abysmal.  At the START of the race, yes the start, it was 82 degrees and about 100% humidity.  It was completely stifling.  We walked out of the house, and it was like hitting a wall of thick air, and entering a sauna.  But, I had slept fairly well the night before and I was feeling cautiously optomistic….and super nervous.  Definitely the most nervous I’ve ever been before a race.  And my stomach reflected it…really uneasy but I figured it would abate as I ran.  Which it did, until Mile 12 – more on that later.

The race had a staggered start, to accommodate the 16,000 registered runners.  Phew! I started at 7:14 am, and the race progressed down Atlantic Avenue, the main stretch in Va Beach.  Many childhood memories 🙂


I stopped at the first port-o-john to relieve my bladder, about the 2 mile mark, but still felt fairly on pace.  That ended quickly.  As we left the strip and turned onto side streets, I was struggling to breathe.  Around 4 miles, I started to feel one of my many bandaids rubbing on another toe.  Thinking it was best to try to fix the situation than run 9 more miles with it like that, I pulled off to the side and took off my shoe to fix what I could.  Well, the medical tape I had used to secure the bandaids backfired and was rubbing the crap out of my other toe.  Nothing I could do but remove it and move on.  By the end of the race, the blister was literally the length of my toe.  Ouchy.

Anyway, miles 6-8 actually felt pretty solid.  The path meandered under tree cover, which abated the conditions a bit.  I got some GU at 8.2, and made it through the 9 mile marker, but my legs were feeling pretty heavy.

Then came the wall.  My body started breaking down.  My legs wouldn’t move.  I couldn’t get enough air.  I felt like I was going to vomit at any moment.  Thankfully, my Knight in Shining Armor of the day, who had run the 5K race, was around the 10 mile marker to support me.

Action shot:

Plan was he’d just run by me for a few, snap some pictures, then head back to the finish to meet me there.  Except I was pretty much dying.  And seemingly possibly close to joining the many people I had already seen being taken away by an ambulance.  But, with his encouragement, I kept going.  He forced me to drink the gatorade and water (thankfully!) and kept telling me I could do it.  Time be damned I was finishing this race.

Pretend happy face:

More accurate face:

At 11 miles, we set off jogging again after walking quite a ways.  Then.  We saw the Hill of Death.  Hell. No.  Back to walking :/

The last 3-4 miles were spent majority walking, with some shuffling pseudo running.  I wanted to run so badly, and just couldn’t make my legs listen to my brain.  At the 12 mile marker, we started the jog-crawl again, determined to finish strong.  Unfortunately, just before the 20K mark, my stomach seized and started hurting pretty badly.  So close to the finish and I didn’t think I could even walk with that pain.  After another brief stop, the pain abated enough to finish the race.  I somehow crossed the finish line…over 30 minutes after I had planned.

After the race I struggled with what I assume were the effects of dehydration: spotty vision, dizziness, stomach cramps, complete fatigue and later extreme nausea.

After getting some club soda, I felt well enough to take a much deserved dip in the Ocean.  The temperature was absolutely perfect.  Slightly cold when I got in, but my body quickly acclimated.  Floating in the ocean was a perfect way to loosen and soothe the sore muscles, all races should end like this!

After playing in the waves and body surfing for a bit, and we headed back for lunch.  My stomach was still uneasy, so I went with something simple: Bagel with cream cheese.

Later, after some napping and a nice long shower, plus some elevating of my legs while watching TV, we headed back down to the beach to watch Train, the headlining act of the American Music Festival, free to race participants.  We stopped for some Pizza (I’ll do a separate gastronomical recap later!) and a nice beverage as a reward 🙂

Then, we went down to the beach to catch the show.  We were a little late, it was about 9:15 and Train was scheduled to go on at 9, but we figured bands are usually late.  Wrong.  Oh. So. Wrong.  We arrived as they played their last song.  Apparently, the event organizers decided they should go on an HOUR early, to avoid possible impending storms…but didn’t tell anyone.  After the barrage of emails leading up to race day, not one notice was sent out.  Many angry and confused runners wandered around the beach in disbelief.  Despite putting on a great race, this was a HUGE blunder by the Rock n’ Roll peeps.  I was SO excited to see Train, and the Boy only raced the 5K to get free tickets to the show.  Fail!  At least we caught the fire works :/

All in all, I’m glad I did it.  It’s a huge accomplishment for me.  Despite my terrible time, I know I gave it all I had.  I pushed myself harder than I ever have, and left it all on the course as they say.  Not sure that I really earned the bumper sticker, but it’s a start.  I’m proud that I was able to keep up my training, despite moving, and changing from a sub 40 hour work week to a 55 hour one, and many way-too-early morning workouts.  It wasn’t exactly a stellar performance, but I earned that medal!  I’m happy I set this goal, and worked toward it and achieved it.

More posts to come, a training reflection as well as a more fun post on the eateries of Virginia Beach!


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