Thursday, September 5, 2013

RNR Virginia Beach Half-Marathon

This was one of those races that I REALLY didn't know how it was going to go until  it was actually race time. I knew I would be capable of a PR (if I could handle the heat, and my legs were feeling good), but I also knew it would be completely possible to just have a rough race with the conditions.

I ran 10.45 miles with Hollie at an 8:35 pace on Saturday. It took a full hour before my legs felt somewhat normal. I didn't know if it was keeping pace with the sluggish feeling from the rest of the week, or from sitting on a plane and in airports all day prior. Either way, the run didn't leave me feeling any better for Sunday.

Saturday we hit the expo, and then did a grandma style early dinner (which I actually prefer the night before races) , then hit the mall for a bit, and got large bowls of ice cream. Yeah not exactly the traditional  "pre-race style", but that's how we roll.

Sunday morning we were up bright and early, shuffled around the house in my sweats for a little bit then made a PB&J and got myself ready. I have found that getting up early and eating PB&J works really well for me on race day.

We made our way to the start, waited a while for porto-potties---then made our way to gear check and eventually the start line. While walking to the start the announcer was getting everyone revved up for the hand cycles to start and I looked at Heather and told her I was starting to get excited. If there is something I can always count on- its the adrenaline of the start line to really get me going. I have said a million times... I LOVE the start line. I get pumped very easily but I tried to keep it tame... I still had no idea what I was capable of. I haven't actually raced a half since last fall. The 2 halves I have done this year weren't exactly optimal conditions(Flower city half the day after the duathlon, and the other was the half at end of Musselman). Not that this 75+ with 95% humidity is optimal but you get where I'm going with this, this was the first attempt at racing one all year.

I was insta-sweating, but tried not to think about it too much. This was exactly how Cleveland started this year, humidity was high, but almost felt a manageable at start and quickly escalated. I rolled through the first few miles at a little over 7 each.

 Note this is also the first half I have run without GPS, so it was an adjustment for me. I had a basic watch on, and their were clocks at mile markers so I had a decent gauge of how I was doing.

I told myself to just keep trying to run multiples of 7's as long as I could. Around mile 4, I somehow found my stride getting quicker and I just mentally was getting amped up even more. I found my splits going faster, and decided to try for a PR. I wanted to maintain steady pace and not kill myself right away which require self control, but paid off. Around miles 7-9 I was really feeling the heat as there was no shade on the military base. Mile 8-9 in particular I felt tired and my calves were whispering mean and dirty things sweet nothings to me.

 I kept waiting for the turn that would take us back on main drag. Finally it came. and then I had something that happened that made me VERY nervous. I got the chills. Folks, you don't get the chills when it's that hot...unless you are pretty dehydrated. I saw people being pulled off the course left and right by medics and probably would not have reacted well if someone tried. So I spent the last few miles bobbing and weaving avoiding the medical tents from seeing me. I took some water at a stop and pushed forward. At this point I wasn't really paying attention to my watch but knew I was going to be very close to a PR, I just didn't know how close. Around mile 11 (?) you go back over the bridge (the only 'hill' in the course), I saw a few girls in my range and pushed up the bridge to pass them... I pushed a little much and got to the top and felt very nauseous and wanted to throw up.... luckily it passed when I started going down the other side of the bridge.

 The rest of the race was kind of a blur for me. I remember there were more spectators... and I remember stepping onto the concrete of the boardwalk, hating it, being able to see the finish but feeling like it was so far away. I didn't have the kick I would have liked. and part of me wished I looked at my watch and saw how close I was. I crossed finish in 1:30:55, my PR is 1:30:42.... 13 measly seconds.

After the race I pretty much made way way through the food area, downed a bunch of water, Gatorade, got my picture taken, grabbed my gear bag and headed to the beach for family meet up areas to wait for everyone.

This is pretty much what I looked like. Tush in the sand, downing fluids and goldfish and not moving.

Post-race was fun, relaxing and enjoying the beach- hanging out with awesome people, and cooling off with an ocean dip. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning/afternoon on vacation if you ask me.
I'm not sure if I was so happy to be done, or in the ocean, or both.
Kristy, myself, Hollie & Heather
Thoughts on the race:
* I'm proud of the race that I ran, I played it smart and started more conservative leaving me with a little more energy to play with as the race went on (and the temperature went up).

*I didn't have the kick I normally do- maybe I just didn't have it in me, maybe it was the concrete boardwalk, maybe it was the heat....either way, not as strong as I would like- something I want to get back to working on.

* Am I sad/mad that I didn't PR? Absolutely NOT. I ran a strong race, and didn't go into it with the intention to PR. Of course I would have been ecstatic if I did PR, but I certainly won't beat myself up over this race.

*This was my first Rock N' Roll Race. Do I think it was worth the extra money to do such a big branded race? Maybe. The course was fair, the miles were marked, there were adequate water and aid stations, I really don't have any complaints about the race itself. As for the bands on the course, I guess it was a nice distraction but I ran with my own music so it wasn't that big of a deal for me. Overall it was a well run race, and a fun atmosphere, can't ask for much more than that.

*Spending the weekend with great friends laughing and enjoying each others company was the best part. I could have gone down there and not raced but still got the time with them and been just as happy, but yes I am glad I ran. I absolutely can't wait until November when Hollie, Heather and I will be together again for another Epic reunion! I also get to see Kristy again in a few weeks when she comes to Rochester so that will be fun too!

Have you ever run a RNR race?

Last time you surprised yourself in a run/race?


  1. My last surprise was winning my age group at the i5K race in April. It was warm, but I ran with extremely sore legs from BodyPump the day before and still ran it in 23:53. I was really shocked because it was so hot and my legs were so wiped out! I was even more shocked that I won my age group with that time.

    I haven't done an RNR race but it seems like a really good event and very well organized, which is important when you have a huge race. I also think that's why they cost more, because you just have to have more people to operate them and of course the bands cost, to have them out there. Looks like you had a great time, and it stinks you didn't PR but you came THAT CLOSE during such a hot and humid race, so maybe your next half will be a PR :)

  2. My very first race was the Rock N Roll St. Louis half last year and I liked it but not sure I would willingly spend that kind of money on another half marathon when there are ones closer to home and way cheaper.

    Sounds like the heat was rough and glad you made it thru the race with out affects that others were having.

  3. You are awesome! A run in the heat is definitely tough for anyone especially if you got chills mid race. It sucks they didn't have any shaded areas, either, but what can you do? I wouldn't be upset with your time given the conditions of the race. You rocked it, girl! Way to bob and weave to avoid medical attention. It probably would have been hilarious if you started pawing off workers. LOL

  4. Way to go Laura. Don't stop now!

  5. Running is very unpredictable, especially when you add weather to it! I have not been doing well in heat and humidity, I know that's tough. But awesome race! You came so close to your PR by pushing yourself when most people would have backed off - definitely a race to be proud of. Nice job!!

  6. You had a great race and I know I've told you already but given 10 degrees cooler you would have easily PRed. You'll certainly get there if you are given a chance between marathon training. I had such a good time with you and miss you already!

  7. You absolutely destroyed this race, seriously. To come that close to a PR in those conditions? Friggin' rockstar. I almost couldn't even believe it when you told me on the beach! 4 weeks til Wineglass and I absolutely can't wait to see what you'll do. I am going to just keep telling myself that we are both going to have an amazing day and a fantastic race. Woo!

  8. Great run Laura! To get so close to a PR in tough conditions (while not setting out to PR) is awesome...way to go!

    Looks like you girls had a great trip, thanks for sharing.

  9. Awesome time and sooooo close to a PR! You have been running in such hot and humid races lately. Once the fall weather hits you are going to be cruising through your PRs!

    I am not a fan of RNR races, especially now that they dropped their support for the elites. My opinion is that they are out to make a profit and could care less about the safety of runners. The RNR marathon I ran didn't have water for most of the race and didn't have bands for the first 13 miles.

  10. I would not call that conservative! Wow congrats. I think the heat is the biggest saboteur of them all! I did RNR Philly and I agree about the music. I surprised myself when I bonked at the very end of my half iron but then I surprised myself when I got to the finish line.


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