Today I ran my 10th half marathon- the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. This not only hits a mile marker for me in the number of halfs I have completed, but also in that it’s the halfway point in my training for the OBX Marathon in November.
I was up at 4:30am this morning to get ready and to settle my always nervous stomach that never seems to calm down before a race. I opted for cereal this morning instead of my usual oatmeal because I’ve noticed if I don’t drink the milk when I’m done, it actually stays calm in my belly. I left at around 5:25am to go get Mary, as she was running the race too, just doing the relay instead of the whole half. We arrived at our parking spot shortly before six, and were getting excited as we got climbed out of the car because we saw other runners walking over to the convention center! We had a pre-race photo taken by a few other runners, and quickly made our way to the corrals.
It was a cooler morning than it has been for most of the summer at 69 degrees, and I was super thankful about this as our corral was called to start the race. I was assigned to corral 13 this year and was pumped because 13 is my lucky number- so I was destined to have a good race, right?! The clouds rolled in as we approached mile 2, and I was wondering if it was gonna rain on us. They stuck around until mile 8 with no rain in site, but definitely blowing cool breezes. This was a nice change after having run the RNR for the past 3 years and it being warm and sunny every time.
I always worry about leaden legs at a race, but today, there were no such things, and I barely felt pressure behind my knees until approximately mile 8. This pressure is something I’m coming to get used to because it’s simply a result of being a female runner and the way our hips and legs are angled. A few quick high knees and butt kicks helped with this one (thanks to my high school track coach for killing us with these- it does help!). I didn’t realize how much I had been relying on my water bottle during my training runs until I ran the race today. The water stops were about the right distance apart for when I needed a drink, but I definitely could have used another drink between mile marker 10 and 11. It makes me reconsider what or if I will carry a water bottle for the marathon in November.
One of the things I love along the course of the RNR are the bands, the cheerleaders, and the spectators cheering you along the way. This is all great motivation to keep going! I am thankful for those spectators who shared their water with us today via sprinklers and hoses- it was so worth it to run through the spray when the sun was shining hard over our heads!
This year the course was rerouted so that not so much of it was through Camp Pendleton, and this was something I was thrilled about. They took out the extra boring loop around this empty field that you could see across, and seemed to drag on for miles. It was much better going back out the way we came in, and running the other way. As always, the bridge tries and tries and almost managed to kick my butt. I need to keep training on that bridge so it doesn’t knock me out next year, and so I’m ready for the hills at the end of the OBX marathon.
Overall, I ran the whole race, only pausing briefly for water and gu, and finished strong by sprinting the last block and a half on the boardwalk. I thought I had pushed hard the whole race by keeping up with Mary and pushing myself the last mile, but I still had just enough in me to sprint across that finish line! I finished with another PR for this year- 2:22:42! This is almost 3 minutes better than the Chesapeake Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon I did in April at 2:25:09. This was a fantastic race! 🙂 Live. Love. Run. Passionately.