Race Recap: Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

The doctor gave me an okay to run/walk the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. Granted, I was under strict instruction to stop if my knee started hurting aching even a teeny bit. IT Band Syndrome is not something to be messed around with. My knee hurt all week, but nowhere near as bad as last Saturday.

Friday following my appointment, I immediately packed my bags and waited for Chris to get home so we could head down to Virginia Beach.


The weather on Saturday and Sunday was painfully humid. You walked outside and immediately started sweating. I spent Saturday hanging out with one of my best friends, Lee Anne. We went and explored the race expo and then headed over to the beach to catch some sun.

Sunday morning I woke up at 3:15am. A little earlier than I wanted to be awake, but I was up and shockingly could not fall back asleep. Chris woke up a short time later and began to get ready to leave for the race.

On our way over to the start line, we stopped to grab some breakfast. I enjoyed a delicious bowl of frosted flakes and a donut. The fact I didn’t experience a sugar crash mid race baffles me but I needed something, anything to get me going.

I don’t remember the last time I had a donut. I enjoyed every bite of it.

We arrived at the start-line village a few minutes before 6am.

I immediately went to the portapotty line and once in the potty, I regretted my decision. After almost tossing my cookies donut, I chugged water and began to wait. There was water, fruit, and bagel stations all around but with the smell of the portapotty still fresh in my mind I was unable to really enjoy all that was surrounding me.

The crowd seemed really pumped up given how early it was. There were swarms of people everywhere. Chris told me following the race that there was over sixteen thousand registered participants.

Around 6:45am I said my goodbyes to Chris and went to my assigned corral.

The start line was slightly anti-climatic. The few races I’ve participated in haven’t had corrals, so waiting a few minutes in between each release was kind of boring. The adrenaline started to drain a little. Though, I will give credit to the announcer, he was doing his best to pump each crowd up as if they were a group of elite runners.

After the bullhorn sounded for corral eleven, I was off. It was about 7:15am at this point. I started the first few steps slowly telling myself that I wasn’t going to run, that running would be a bad decision. However, with the crowd of people around me all taking off and trying to find their groove, I kind of felt like a jerk strolling along.

So, I started running.

I began to tell myself that when my knee starts to hurt I would stop. I decided to move slowly. No pushing myself to the limit because I hadn’t exercised in a week and who knew how my knee would react to my normal pace.

I managed to run about two miles before I felt the familiar pain in my knee and decided to walk. I was only two miles in. I wanted to finish the race or at least get far enough to feel proud about my outcome given the circumstances.

I walked eleven miles. I did try to run here and there, but only a few steps at a time. Whenever I saw the mile markers I ran the short distance to them and walked until I saw the next one.

It was a long race, but it didn’t feel long.

Around mile six, I knew I had blisters forming on the bottoms of my feet and on the sides. I stopped for a few moments to put band-aids on, my horrible attempt to dull the pain. The pain became worse with each passing mile. During mile eleven, I felt the blister on the side of my right foot pop. By mile twelve, I was taking baby steps. Each step was accompanied by a whimper. I just kept repeating to myself that it would all be over soon and it probably wasn’t as bad as I was imagining.

Shortly before mile thirteen, Chris greeted me on the course. He knew I was in tough shape given the mass amount of texts that I sent him during the race. However, after he saw the expression on my face he knew it was bad news bears. At this point I was hobbling along the Virginia Beach boardwalk with the finish line in sight. I immediately started crying when I saw him because of the pain. I leaned on him, gripping him arm first and then just squeezing his hand. I needed his support to cross the finish line. The pain in my feet was so severe that I didn’t even notice that my knee was flaring up.

We crossed the finish line together at 3:53:03.

The emcee/announcer came up to us while I was hobbling along and made a comment about how Chris didn’t want to run it with me but that he still got to cross the finish line.

I finished the half marathon. I am officially a half-marathon runner (err… walker!)


After crossing the finish line, all I wanted was my medal and my chocolate milk. Unfortunately I only received one of those things. They ran out of chocolate milk before I finished.

C’est la vie. I came to Virginia Beach to get my medal and that is exactly what I left with.

My feet on the other hand will need some major recovery time. The blisters I mentioned are about the size of an infants hand. I have two on each feet, one on the balls of my foot near my big toe and one on the inner sides near the heel. I can’t walk without holding onto something and without walking on the outside of my feet. Ouch.


I’ll save you the gory photos of what they actually look like, just know that I need those big band-aids for a very good reason. I couldn’t even take ONE step after removing my shoes yesterday because they were so tender and my feet were so swollen. It was disgusting.

My body definitely took a beating. Would I do it again knowing the results of participating? Definitely.

Other things to note about the race:

  • It was eighty-eight percent humidity on Sunday morning at 7am. We stepped outside and immediately started sweating. Because of this humidity, people were passing out left and right. I’ve never seen so many medics in my life.
  • The course was flat minus a bridge that was maybe .15 of a mile. The bridge was a baby hill in comparison to what I am used to, but no one stopped to walk it (except me). The course is also an up and back kinda course. It makes it hard for your supporters to see you at random spots but its really not so bad.
  • The bands along the course are not the greatest. There was an 80’s vibe going on with each of the songs being performed but it was more like bad karaoke instead of rock concert.
  • Water stations/gatorade/Gu/medicial stations were evenly spaced throughout the course. I never felt like their presence was lacking. One station did run out of cups for water while I was there but I was carrying a water bottle so I wasn’t affected.
  • Portapotty’s were ALL over this course. It was nice considering the lines in the beginning were slightly outrageous. I saw at least one at each water stop as well as a few others along the way.

This was a fun race. I enjoyed the course and the atmosphere. It was definitely a much different feel than the Leesburg 20K.

I only wish they had more chocolate milk. And that I had worn different shoes.

My stats:

5K: 48:31
10K: 1:40:13
10 Mi: 2:49:10
Pace: 17:47
Chip time: 3:53:03
Clock time: 4:09:46

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Race Recap: Leesburg 20K

Start Line

Yesterday morning, Kristen and I ran the Leesburg 20K.

The goal? Finish the race. Just keep moving and finish. I will worry about time for the half marathon, but this was a training run. I was going to do twelve miles this weekend anyway so I might as well add a little extra and get a free t-shirt. However, this race felt more like a dead sprint for seasoned runners. And I was definitely out of place.

The course was beautiful. Loads of trees, shade, and wildlife. We ran the majority of it through the W&OD trail which prevented spectators from collecting along the sides and cheering like you would see in a road race. The lack of crowd support forced me to get inside my head and convince myself that I could finish.

Somewhere on the Internet, there was mention that this was a particularly hilly course. Totally not the case at all. I expected a major incline, not a few small rolling hills.

The stations were spaced out perfectly (less than every two miles!) and equipped with gatorade and water. One of the stations also offered Gu but only in the fruit flavors and we know how I feel about fruit. There was also whisperings that there would be a bathroom stop around mile 9, unfortunately this was a lie unless they meant nature.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to make any pit stops along the way. Maybe my subconscious knew that the possibility of a bathroom stop was a lie…

I moved slowly from mile to mile. Like a tortoise. I might’ve been shuffling at one point.

At mile six, I made use of my Nuun hydration tablet. A small boost of energy flowed through me and I was on my way. At mile nine, I opened my Clif shot gel. I managed to only get through half of it before a bee flew toward my face and I chucked it. The sugary sweetness from the gel reminded me of frosting and I remember thinking that I wish I had a cupcake instead.

“Just keep moving,” became my mantra.

Running

During mile 9, I turned to Kristen and told her I wanted to die (I’m dramatic). At this point, my arms were chaffed so bad and the bottoms of my feet were on fire. I’ve never had an issue with chaffing until today and wow did it hurt. The pain in my feet is a rubbing issue I thought I was used to but I was wrong. Annoying.

Just keep moving.

I crossed the finish line at 2:46:21. Pace was 13:25.

I walked more than I should’ve, but I finished. I finished the 20k. I was second to last for my age group, but I finished.

An award I definitely earned today.

Unfortunately, they did not give out finishers medals. I know there was an awards for the top 3 finishers in each age group, but the ceremony was over before I crossed the finish line.

I feel like the last person in each of those age groups deserves recognition as well, so I made the medal above as a consolation prize even though I was runner-up for last.

As I was trying to cross the finish line, this man who had completed the 5K ran up to me with this giant American flag that he proceeded to thrust into my hands in order to pump me up. I appreciated the patriotism but at that point I felt like all of my limbs were going to fall off. The flag was heavy and weird and ugh.

Talk about awkward.

All participants were invited to a post-race brunch hosted by one of the sponsors. The post-race party was severely picked over at this point. Apples, bananas and water were all that remained. I’m sure had I finished sooner I could’ve enjoyed more of it, but I didn’t care.

I planned in advance and made reservations at my favorite restaurant for brunch.

Amazing.

Totally worth every ache and pain I felt in my body at that moment. I almost ordered the croissant french toast as well, but refrained.

After brunch, I returned home where I proceeded to put my compression socks on and make myself comfortable on the couch. Many naps and a lazy afternoon followed.

It felt like my calves were being hugged. A glorious feeling.

Now that I’ve finished this race, I am pumped for the Virginia Beach half marathon. My time goal for that has always been to finish in under three hours. Now, I want to finish in under 2:45. If I can just pick up my pace a little between now and then, I am confident that I should be able to finish with time to spare.

I suppose I will just have to keep reminding myself to “just keep moving.”

Have you ever competed in a 20k? How did it go for you? Do you stress about meeting time based goals or do you just aim to finish? Any tips for me on how to improve within the next two weeks?

High Fives All Around

Friday night after writing about my fears, I went to sleep. Shockingly, I managed to do this with little issue. The nerves were ridiculous, y’all.

Saturday morning, I woke up at 5:45am. Seriously. I ate some cheerios and hung out for a little bit. Decided that watching a little bit of TV was a good idea so naturally I turned on my favorite channel, Investigation Discovery. The show on at 6am was Cold Blood. The plot… was about a woman that gets raped and murdered on a run. No joke. I can’t make this stuff up. So there I am chomping on my cheerios in my gear scared out of my wits that this could be me. Like the universe telling me to not go outside. I waited around for a little bit for the sun to really come out and then I was off.

And off I went. Just running. And running. And running.

For TEN MILES. Actually, 10.18 miles. I successfully ran 10.18 miles. And I am just as shocked as you are.

I achieved so many personal records during this run. I PR’d in distance (obviously), pace, and just overall time. When I ran eight miles, I had to stop and walk after six miles because of a leg pain and I ended up finishing in an hour and forty minutes. Last week when I did nine miles, it was a painful overall time of two hours and twenty-three minutes. For 10.18 miles, I completed it in an hour and fifty-eight minutes. REALLY!! Before Saturday, I had a tough time finishing five miles in under an hour and here I am doing ten miles in under two hours. And I ran my fastest [recorded] mile EVER.

Honestly, when I stopped, I cried. I was so overcome with emotion and accomplishment that I couldn’t control the few tears that sneaked out. If you had told me in April that by the first week in August I would be able to run 10 consecutive miles without stopping, I would’ve laughed in your face. In April, running this distance was not even on my radar, I just wanted to get back up to being able to run two miles without stopping to walk.

If you’re wondering why mile six was a little faster than the rest? I ran to the closest place I knew that was open and had a bathroom for a much needed bathroom break. Definitely running for a greater purpose at that moment.

Right now, I am continuing to enjoy the mass of endorphins from the ten miler. I am also a little [only a teensy bit] concerned about how the runs this week will go considering I seem to suffer from performance inconsistency.

The biggest question I need to ask myself right now is does this double digit training run make me a runner? Woahhhhh.

Double Digit Fears

Tomorrow I am planning to break the double digits in my training runs. And I am a little more than kind of scared. And nervous. Scared and nervous. Not sure if this is the best way to prepare for this major obstacle in my running career, but maybe it’ll get the adrenaline pumping.

Ten miles. Ten miles might actually be mine tomorrow.

But what if I fail? Well, I try again next week I suppose.

I did my speed work training on Tuesday night with little to no issue. Besides the heat on Thursday my four mile run was pretty smooth. Does this mean that tomorrow will be a terrible run? I really really hope not. After the debacle that was last week, I am really hoping that this will go much better.

Shockingly, I am planning to wake up early. Like, before I normally do for work. In order to go running. This is how serious I am about this. Tomorrow’s temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 90s with ridiculous humidity. I feel like if I have any chance in doing this well, then I need to get up before the sun and finish before 9am. Ugh. Also, I am not going to eat oatmeal tomorrow before the run. I’ve been eating cheerios before long runs because it agrees with me, last week I switched it up with oatmeal and I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fail of last week.

Hopefully these changes result in a big win push of confidence for training. I definitely didn’t think that eight weeks ago I would be as committed today as I was on day one. And I don’t plan to quit until I have that marathon medal in my hand.

Did you feel like a superhero after your first double digit run? What did you do to prepare? Any words of encouragement you can offer up to this scared running girl? Let’s discuss!!

PS – I redid my about page. If you want to get to know me a little better, check it out.

Weekend?! Oh right.

This past weekend. Holy moly. Whirlwind. Does not even begin to describe it.

Let’s begin with Friday evening.

Lindsay, one of my closest friends, met me at work so we could head into DC for Truckeroo.

Lindsay really does not enjoy having her picture taken. Or having a friend that will go to great lengths to pretend to send a text msg and actually snap a photo instead.

There are so many things I love in life, but one of my top favorites is a food truck. Supporting small and local restaurants all while enjoying tasty and delicious eats. Sign me up. Everytime. So, essentially, Truckeroo is a monthly event held at the Fairgrounds outside the baseball stadium that features 20+ trucks.

Yum!

In preparation for the evenings festivities, I enjoyed one of my favorites, District Taco, for lunch.

If I could eat tacos everyday, I would be the happiest person ever.

Once she arrived we were on our way. Unfortunately, we were just a little too hungry to get too many photos of everything we sampled but I did manage to snag a few.

Cap Mac. They have a gift for taking already amazing macaroni and cheese and making it out of this world delicious.

Feelin’ Crabby. Lobster and crab roll sliders.

We also sampled some icecream and Korean BBQ tacos. The food did not disappoint, and I honestly had zero doubts at all. I’ve been asked by multiple people “do you trust it? the meat and stuff?” uh yes. Hands down. I would choose a food truck over a chain restaurant anytime.

Saturday, I went to Pittsburgh to see Girl Talk perform a hometown show with Jennifer, Denean, and Christopher. This show was ridiculous! I had such a blast just dancing and grooving to all the music. Under the advice of Jennifer, I wore workout clothes to the show. Best decision of my life. This was an outdoor show, it was about 100 degrees with humidity and I didn’t really care if they were ruined.

Downside – beer spilled all over Chris and I, being shoved all over the place, and my toes smashed so many times I thought they were broken.

Upsides – he played music from Feed the Animals, All Day, and a bunch of new stuff.

We did a quick driving tour of the city (aka we got lost). Clearly, Chris is a baller in my aviators. 

We moved around a lot during the show. 

Needless to say, right now I am feeling pretty exhausted. But I am PUMPED.

Did you have an exciting weekend? What did you do? Does your town/city have food trucks and have you taken advantage of them? Whats your favorite?