Wednesday, September 7, 2011

VA Beach Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Recap

Eight weeks of training finally came to an end this past weekend!

I started out strong with training in July, but August involved almost a week off for vacation and less than stellar runs on my end. I knew what my goal was - finish in less than 2 hours, but wasn't sure if my lackluster training could meet the bar.

As our alarm went off at 5am, the thought of getting out of bed did not appeal to me. What is wrong with me? I should have been excited!

Once I did roll out of bed, the anticipation set in, I munched on my oh-so-delicious peanut butter Clif Bar, and Justin and I hit the road to the starting line.

Check out the hat!

I was so excited to wear it :)

I must note that the previous night, we "carbo loaded" and unfortunately toed the starting line with big bellies. Justin thought he could make it to the porta potty and back 5 minutes before it started, but it was too late, no bathroom for us for another 13.1 miles. Granted there were porta potties along the way, but who wants to stop at those when you have a time to beat?!

So instead we stayed in our corral and found a spot next to the 2 hour pacer group. I thought this was a good idea at the time, but eventually disliked the feeling that I "had" to run with them. I enjoy just running. I love being in my own head. When I'm focusing on other people, I get mentally drained and lose my "running groove."

Anywho, we ran with the pacer group for the first 8 miles. First mile was right on schedule - 9:10. The second was at 8:50. Ugh, I felt good, but I didn't want to be regretting it later. None the less, I chose to stick with the group.

Around mile 7, I began to feel the symptoms of cramps thus my pace suffered. I started looking for a porta potty...oh please let there be a porta potty was all I could think. At mile 8, I was a very unhappy runner, but caught site of a porta potty and told Justin to just keep going! He was feeling good, and I knew he could run faster without me. As I turned off the course, I could have sworn he kept running.

I was in and out in 2 minutes (TMI?) and off I went. Little did I know that Justin did stop and wait for me, but I didn't know or see him! He said he waited for about four minutes until he saw a guy get in the same porta potty I used and then realized I left without him!

After the pit-stop, I began to feel like it was actually a race. Before I was running to stay with my pacer group, now I was running because I loved how I felt and for the first time that day, really wanted to not loose sight of a sub-2:00 half marathon.

Between miles 8 and 10, I felt strong. I was running hard and felt completely in sync with my body. Around mile 10 I saw Justin about 40 feet in front of me. "Wow, am I really running that fast? Did I actually catch up with him?" were the thoughts racing through my mind. Then I thought, "Oh no, I hope he's ok. Why is he way back here??"

At mile 10, I was at 1:32:56. Justin was at 1:33:06. Notice - I was ahead of him! Clearly this is because I accidentally left him, but this shows that he passed me between mile 10 and 11, which is when I saw him 40 feet in front of me.

I began to pick up my pace in hopes of running next to him to the finish line. I closed in about 20 feet to him and then we hit the 11 mile marker. I knew he was about to take off for the finish line so I didn't even bother wasting what little energy I had left just to say "hi!".

So on I went, in tune with my pace, and racing my heart out for the finish line.

I wanted a sub-2:00 hour half marathon more than ever at this point.

Mile 12 included the second hill of the race, which wasn't that bad compared to how tired my legs were from the past 12 miles.

From there I rounded the corner to the beach where the final band was playing the song "Summer of '69" and I felt like I was floating on air.

It was a straight shot along the beach to the finish line!

I picked up the pace to give it my all...

...and concluded with a time of 1:59:55!

Yes, I accomplished my goal by 5 seconds!

Hey, this also included a porta potty stop, so it could have been less ;)

Hooray for a PR! Hooray for my second half marathon! Hooray for being able to run! Hooray for being able to accomplish my goals! Hooray for being a happy girl whose in love with life!

I found Justin after I crossed the finish line and we headed to the beach for our celebratory beers.

Such an invigorating race.

The spectators were fantastic. The themed groups cheering us on all along the way were so fun. The bands at every mile rocked. I definitely recommend running the Rock 'n' Roll marathon series.

Final Stats

Pace 9:09
5k 28:14
10k 56:39
10 miles 1:32:56
Chip Time 1:59:55

This run has left me on a high all week. I want to run so bad now, but I'm waiting until this weekend to give my legs time to recover. I learned this the hard way after my first half marathon when I tried to run 5 miles only two days after it. Better to be safe than sorry!


What's your favorite race? Haven't raced before? What's your favorite achievement? What do you do when you need to rest, but still want to work out?


  1. hooray for breaking 2 hours! that's a huge milestone - nice work lady! I hope you're recovering well :)

    My favorite race is the NYC Marathon, hands down. Best experience ever!

  2. Way to go, girl! Congrats on meeting your goal! And with a port-a-potty stop thrown in ... quite impressive. The story about Justin waiting for you is so sweet. And good call on resting this week. It's tough to do but so important. Very excited for you!! P.S. The hat is adorable :)

  3. @Emily @ Liberty Moves Thanks! I especially loved it when I passed boys along the course :)

  4. @KellyBased on your last NYC Marathon sounds like so much fun! I love following your current training for the next one!

  5. I'm so proud of you!! What a huge accomplishment, I hope you celebrated (and are still celebrating haha!) I definitely know what you mean about it being so draining to focus on other people when you run instead of just getting into the groove of your body, your pace, your determination to just go. It totally exhausts me when I'm thinking about someone else's pace or run rather than just getting into my own head.

    I SO want to do a Rock N Roll half marathon now... Maybe that will be my next goal for Fall - I think there is one in Nashville that is really fun. Hmm :)