Monday, September 21, 2015

Race Report: Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon

Back in Virginia Beach...
After finishing the Mt. Nebo race and having lunch, I headed to Salt Lake City airport for my flight to Virginia Beach/Norfolk via Chicago Midway airport.  The flight left at 2:30 in the afternoon, and arrived in Virginia Beach close to midnight.  My race buddy Dana was kind enough to pick me up from Norfolk Airport, and then take me back to the Airbnb that I booked for the two of us only a mile and a half from the startline.  Because of my late arrival, we rushed back so we could get some very necessary sleep until the race started the following morning.  We stopped into a 7/11 so I could grab some Benadryl because I was having some crazy allergies upon arrival.

Why am I doing this again?
After about four or five hours of sleep (sigh), we got ourselves dressed and out the door to the startline at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.  It was actually nice that we walked to the startline, as I was able to stretch my tired legs out a bit and they felt good going into my second half of the weekend.   As we neared the Convention Center, it started raining, which was actually a bit refreshing with the temperature at that time of the day.

Fifty Staters at RnRVB
(photo by Chris Falconio)
I got together for pictures with members of Fifty States, Half Fanatics, and Black Sheep Run before we got on the course, and then under cloudy skies, the race began.  I jumped into an early corral and took off down 19th Street toward the ocean.  As I ran down the street, I saw Derek Mitchell running the 5K, who has lost over 100 pounds since starting to run at the beginning of the year and running 5Ks every month since March. By the Virginia Beach race, he's surpassed that goal, already finishing 14 5Ks!

Filipino Mafia ;)

Start line of the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon... it's a little windy!
Derek Mitchell, conquering his 14th 5K race this year!

We took a right turn onto Arctic Avenue and rounded 18th Street to make our way northward for a mile on Pacific Avenue.  We turned up at 29th Street and then took Atlantic Avenue southward until reaching 6th Street, where we turned to make our way down US Route 60 over the bridge taking us over Lake Rudee at around mile 3.5.  This turned into a LONG 3 mile stretch of roadway that seemingly never ended - General Booth Boulevard.  Despite the length, it was well supported with people cheering us on along the side of the road, and aid stations staffed with plenty of volunteers, as well as cheer teams!  I even stopped to twerk alongside some cheerleaders, who were elated to see me stop to have some fun along with them.

Treelined Prosperity Road...
Not long before the mile 6 mark, I had caught up to my friend Amy, who was having a tough race.  Seemingly, this Virginia Beach heat was making it hard for everyone.  We walked, chatted, and fartlek'd some for the next few miles, playing a little leapfrog as we went down Prosperity Road, where we actually had some pretty treelined sections of road.  We turned right onto Birdneck Road at the mile 8 mark, and entered Camp Pendleton weaving around the roads that passed through the complex for the next two miles.  Mile 9 had the iconic Brooks inflatable "rocker dude" arch presiding over the runners.  At some point in time around this area, another friend Ainsley and her sister passed us, with Ainsley carrying a portable speaker to keep the "party rocker" tradition going at this race.
Brooks Rocker Dude!

The last 5k of the race took us out of Camp Pendleton, and turned right back onto Booth Boulevard for two miles, but headed back toward the ocean.  It felt like an eternity, but there seemed to be more people cheering us on along the side of the road.  At mile 11, there were some folks in front of a house handing out beers - EXACTLY like what had happened last year!  I took one and decided to just drink one as I walked along the route instead of running with it to the finish line like I did last year (haha), but quickly realized how the heat would probably not make good out of me drinking an entire beer and still running a couple miles, so I only finished half of it and left the rest on top of a mailbox (sorry homeowner...)  I continued on, and schlepped my way back up the bridge over Lake Rudee and then took advantage of the downhill headed into mile 12.  We looped around Atlantic Avenue and then made our way to the boardwalk, where we had a mile left before the finish line.  Of course, there was a fake finish line along the way (that damn orange Humana arch!) but soon we saw the real finish in the distance.

Black Sheep Run before and after
RnRVB (photo by Almi del Villar)
Sadly, there was an ambulance only a few hundred feet from the finish blocking part of the boardwalk, which some of us learned was a runner who had required medical attention due to the excessive heat and humidity.  As runner passed the ambulance, the finish line was in clear view, and I crossed in 2:36:51, which I was more than happy with, after having finished a TOUGH downhill race the day before.  I mingled with some other Black Sheep Runners while trying to cool down with cold towels and water, and then met up with Dana and Hollie to do my traditional headstand after the race before heading out for brunch at Scrambled (the same place I went to last year with Donna, Hema, and Joe!  Darn good sweet potato pancakes, I must say!)  Afterward, I went back to my Airbnb for a much needed shower and a NAP, while Dana had to get back to the airport for her flight home.

Labor Day morning on the beach!
Bling photo with Dana and Hollie :)

Victory Headstand!
Good effort, Annette :) (photo by Annette Geringer)

Danielle and I - she was so kind to drive me up
to Philadelphia on her way home!
I stayed in Virginia Beach for an extra day, as I took in the Sheryl Crow concert later that night at the American Music Festival (always a fun part of the Labor Day weekend experience in the area), and then the next morning got some beach time in before I got a ride back up the coast with new friend Danielle and her daughters.  After five hours of driving, I got dropped off in Philly and then got on a train back to NYC.  SUPER long weekend of traveling - 4000 miles of flying, 400 miles of driving (thanks to Peggy and her husband in Utah, and Danielle from Virginia Beach to Philly), a 100 mile train ride back to NYC, and 26.2 miles of running! :)

Exhaustion.  But two 13.1's done!

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