Why did I go to VA Beach to run a half marathon? Why that is a very good question. VA Beach is near nothing. Ok, it's not anywhere near me that's for sure. Well, one of my BQ Babes came up with this crazy idea of going down there and running it. Then the crazy idea turned into let's do it as a team. The time worked perfectly as a Boston tune up and these girls are a good time, so I was in. I talked Loren into it too.
To break up the trip, Loren and I headed to my mom's on Friday night. Flo met us there Sat. morning and we headed off to meet our team captain, Kat, down in VA.
A word about google map directions: ok, really, who reads completely through them before heading out on a trip? I never do. I will from now on! Believe me, if it says "ferry" any where on the directions, you're getting on a boat. With your car. We ended up on the Cape May Ferry. And boy were we lucky. We got there about 15 before the boat was leaving and they only run 4x a day. If we had missed that one, we would have been screwed. That little adventure started us off.
We got to the hotel and met Kat and got to the expo will little time to spare. Big shout out to Kaptain Kat for finding us a hotel 4 blocks from the start and about 6 blocks from the finish. It was perfect. We ran to the start and didn't need to check a bag!
The morning of the race, the alarm went off at 5:30. Got up, did all my PT, shoved food down my throat. Loren was not feeling well, she had been having stomach issues. I wasn't sure she was even going to start.
At 6:30, we collected the other girls and jogged over to the start. We were all in the first corral. The sun was barely up, it was just under 50 degrees, a perfect start.
At the gun, we were all off. At mile 1, I was concerned I had gone out a little fast but I felt good. That's a trap. You always feel good at mile 1. Unless you're Loren, then in this race, you feel like you're going to puke. She tucked in behind me and said she was going to hang with me. This was an odd feeling for me. When and if we ever race together, she's either pacing me so she's in front or she's just no where to be seen because she is a lot faster than I am. It was a little strange having her just hang on my shoulder and I couldn't help but worry about how she was feeling.
I didn't have to worry for long. By mile 4 she was ahead of me. By mile 5, I couldn't see her anymore.
Around mile 4, I caught Kat and I was feeling good. I noticed I had fallen in step with a guy about my age. He and I ran a few miles together silently. It's amazing these unspoken relationships you have out there running. We knew we were running together, but not a word was said and I was glad to have him. Then, as can happen in relationships, I left him.
Even though I was concerned I may have gone out too fast, I was feeling good and showing no signs of fading. I took a gel at 5.5 miles and decided if I still felt good at mile 7, I was going to pick up the pace and run the last 10k like a 10k.
And that's exactly what I did. I was passing people left and right and my pace was dropping.
The course is and out and backish course with a loop. It's known to have some strong winds. For most of the race, it was not a problem. As we made the turn, I could feel it sideways but it didn't impact my pace.
Let me just say, this is a beautiful flat course with tons of support. And beer at mile 3 and 9.5, which yes, I saw people taking both times.
Mile 9.5 I took my 2nd gel. I use to be a 1 gel gal for halfs, but I've found a 2nd one late in the race just tops off the tank enough to give me a nice push.
Here we were back on the out and back and I could feel the head wind. I was trying to tuck in behind people but I was a bit in no mans land. I would come up on someone and end up just passing them.
Just before mile 11, I was in a pack of 4 women and we were all working together. I dropped 2 of them. Me and 1 woman were really pushing each other, back and forth. I thought good, she's gonna get me to the end strong. The wind was slowing me ever so slightly but I was using her to get me going. Then and mile 12, she just stopped and stepped off the course. I had a second of looking back to see if she was ok and thought about calling to her to get her going, but ya know, no time for that now. I pushed on.
With about a half mile to go, we heading on to the boardwalk. From here, you can see this huge statue of Neptune and the finish line. It seems ENDLESS. There's something tough about seeing the finish line and it just not getting any closer.
Push push push....huge crowds. I hear the announcer call my name and I stop my watch.
I'm thrilled, beating my old PR of 1:42:02. Slowing chipping away, soon I WILL get under 1:40.
Flo and Loren were waiting for me just after the finish line. Flo finished in 1:35:02 and WON HER AGE GROUP. Loren finished in 1:38:25. Kat wasn't far behind me with a 1:44:01, a PR for her as well.
Once we all finished, it was off to the ocean for nature's ice bath. Man the water was cold but felt so good on the legs and we were all giddy as little kids.
As far as the team race, we won the women's open division. We were also 3rd team over all, out of 32 teams. The only teams in front of us were a men's masters team (1st over all) and a men's open team.
That's right, the women bring home the hardware. Except there was no awards ceremony of even results posted anywhere.
While we had great conditions for our race, the marathoners didn't fare so well. They started an hour after us and things heated up quickly with long stretches of the course having no shade. We hung out at the finish and watched pace group leaders come to the line alone. Sad sad sad. So sorry for everyone who was out there doing the marathon death march.
While our drive home was very long, we did manage to avoid any and all ferry rides.
Here are the splits/stats for the race:
.1 .44=6:53 pace
over all 379/6546