I ran the Virginia Beach Half 2 years ago and loved it, so I was looking forward to running it again. I love the course, the music and finishing on the boardwalk. I hate the heat and that it is the last day of my vacation, which means I am tired and I have to endure an eight hour car ride home immediately after the race. I would much prefer the race were on the first day of my vacation.
This half marathon was the hardest half I have ever run. The moment I stepped out the door at 6 am to head to the start I knew that this race was going to be tough, because the humidity was high and it was hot. I walked to the start with two other women who happened to be leaving the hotel at the same exact time and as it turned out one of the women was the writer behind Lazy Girl Blogging. Small world.
It was a beautiful start!! The race started at 7 am and I crossed the start at 7:09 am. Rock’n’Roll has perfected this race, even with all the runners, the start was smooth. Unfortunately, starting my Runtastic app was not as smooth. I hit start on my phone to enable live tracking and Runtastic decides that this was the day they needed me to resign into the app before allowing me to start it, not cool.
The only other complaint I have about this race this year is that they added a 5K to the mix. The people running or walking the 5K were all mixed in with the runners for the first 2.5 miles. Now if all these people were running I would have been fine, but the majority that I saw were walking and since there was no separation from the half marathoners, I was dodging walkers for the first 25 minutes of the race. I found this to be pretty annoying. My suggestion would be to either start all the 5K entrants in the later corrals or have a separation between the 5K participants and the half marathoners.
I passed my hotel at the 5K mark and my husband only managed to get a shot of my back. The congestion finally cleared right after this point in the race.
By mile four I was soaked with sweat, I was following all the other runners crossing to the other side of the road just to get under the water that the nice people were spraying out into the road. I have not run through so many sprinklers since I was a kid.
Around mile 5 we crossed paths with the wheelchair racers and the lead runners. These people are so fast and made this race look easy. One of the lead runners was actually pushing a jogging stroller carrying a handicapped person, I could barely carry myself and this guy was running about five minute miles, with a stroller!
The next few miles were uneventful. I even managed to pick up my pace and pass quite a few people, including two ladies running in Wonder Woman outfits!!!!
Mile 8 = my wall. I vividly remember mile eight from two years ago. This was the point where I wasn’t sure I was going to finish. I was hot, sweaty, nauseous and tired. I walked, took a picture and then pushed myself to begin running again.
Right after this mile we entered the military base. As I ran through the base I thought of all the men and women who serve our country, I kept going because I knew that this race was nothing compared to what these people do to keep us safe. I also knew when I exited the base I would be at mile ten, which meant I would be a mere 5K away from the finish.
There was motivation all along this course: music, spectators, other runners, and signs.
“I eat heat and humidity for fun”
Hahaha! I wish I did.
The bridge leading back to the boardwalk was right before mile twelve. I wanted to run up this bridge, I even managed to make it half way, but I couldn’t do it. I walked up the rest of the way and only began running again on the way down. Most people were walking up this bridge. As soon as I hit the bottom I knew there was only one mile left and I would be running the entire mile if it killed me.
The spectators along the boardwalk, which included my family, was the motivation I needed to finish strong. I even passed the 2:15 pacers right before the finish line.
This was an amazing race!! The hardest I have ever run, the longest I have ever run a half, but still amazing.
I would definitely recommend running this race!!! Just be prepared to run in the heat and humidity!!!! If we go back to Virginia Beach I would most definitely do it again!!!!! Despite being a hard race, this is my favorite half marathon thus far.
What is your favorite race??