This past Sunday I lined up for my fourth Virginia Beach Rock and Roll Half Marathon. While I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon for fun earlier in the year, this past Sundays race was actually the first half I have raced healthy in almost two years. It had been that long! So I’ll be honest here and admit, I was scared. Training has been going well so I should have felt confident but the lack of recent race experience had questions rambling through my mind. What if I bonk? What if I have a personal worst? What if I hate every mile? Turns out I never bonked, I didn’t have a personal worst, and most importantly I loved every mile.
The weather for this race is consistently bad every year. With that in mind, my coach and I set a good goal of 1:25-ish. Maybe faster, maybe slower, but the real point was to shake the rust off my racing legs and mind, erase any sort of doubt that I am not where I need to me and quite simply, get ready for that racing pain again. Mentally I needed a springboard for a great Fall season.
Race morning the Mr. and I arrived at the start by 6:00, in time to go into the indoor warm up area. Apparently for RnR even if you run well under the VIP/elite standard time, you don’t actually get to use the VIP/elite bathrooms that you qualified for, but I was graciously given a wrist band by someone who didn’t need theirs to wear so that I could use the restrooms that I arguably did but didn’t qualify for (makes sense right?! Nope). Very grateful for the gifted bands because my stomach was in knots. I was able to stretch out and have some quiet time before warming up with a great friend, Michele G. After the warm up, it was time to line up. I got to see a few of my favorites including Hollie! Something about hearing the Star Spangled Banner, but I instantly calmed down and felt ready to go. The first few miles were a breeze. I saw one of the best cheer teams I’ve ever had twice within the first 5 miles and knew they would be waiting at mile 12 for me as well. When I started to fade a bit from 9-11 I told myself, just get to 12!! Pic of them below.
We had rain in our eyes for a good part of the race. If it had been a goal race I may have been frustrated but luckily I was able to just keep chugging along. The only thing that was bothersome is that I couldn’t find anyone to work with until the very last mile. I never expected in a race as large as this for us all to string out like that but I spent just about 12 miles running alone. Thank gosh for the amazing spectators who braved it out in the rain and wind.
Last time I ran this race was a death march after mile 8 and I ended up in the medical tent. That was in the back of my mind in this race until about mile 6. I knew by then that while I wasn’t running my fastest half ever, that I wasn’t going to bonk either. I was able to relax a bit and caught and passed a big pack of runners. A few miles later though at 9 I started to suffer. It was a bit physical and a bunch mental. It was a mistake on my part and something to keep in mind for my next half in October. Not having a specific goal pace in mind was unusual for me and it was easy for me to tell myself my pace was on track when really it was slipping a bit. I lost focus and let up quite a bit until mile 12 when I saw my friends including Mr.Law again. They were a huge, awesomely obnoxious motivation and I wish I could bring them to every mile of every race I ever run again. I instantly picked up the pace like I should have done miles ago (live and learn) and finished strong even though I was out kicked by a good friend in the last 400, ha. I finished 8th female in 1:25:42. Well off my PR (1:20:08) but I was honestly thrilled with my performance. It was exactly the confidence booster I needed at this point. My goal for my half (Crawlin Crab Half) in one month is significantly faster.
After brunch with friends we went home and thought I would collapse but instead we went on family walk. You can get an idea from the sky the blustery day we had. That little girl and her brothers start school this week and I selfishly believe that will be a huge benefit to my training. The next race up is an out of state race this next weekend. It’s shorter but hilly so good practice for me for the Philly Marathon rollers. I’ll be better about updating now that school is in session so I will let you know how that one goes. Thank you all for reading and thank you to everyone who sent kind words on social media. Have a great week all!!