Yes, I did it. I ran in the Rock N Roll half marathon in VA Beach on August 31, 2008. I finished within my personal time goal of 3 hours. I am happy to say my first half marathon was a success.
Bill, Terry, Heather, and I left for VA Beach on Friday. We got a late start and were caught in all of the beach traffic. We arrived around 7 pm, and met up with Michelle and Jon. We were staying at a hotel right on the beach. While the actual hotel was not that nice, the location was wonderful. We walked along the boardwalk until we found a nice seafood restaurant for dinner. After dinner, we enjoyed the music of Starship (oh yeah, We Built this City on Rock and Roll!!) before heading to have more beer.
On Saturday, we all met for breakfast, then headed to the expo to pick up our race numbers. The expo was great. I picked up a few souvenirs, and we all got some freebies and samples. We also got tons of info on other races in the future. After a quick lunch, we headed to the beach. I hung out with Jon and Michelle in the sand, while the remainder of our party hit the surf. We met more friends, Tommy and Dianna with their daughter Caitlin, at an Italian restaurant for carb loading. Sadly, the restaurant was packed and the kitchen got very backed up. Our food took about an hour and a half to arrive. By the time we got back to the hotel, we had missed the Billy Idol concert, my one regret of the weekend.
Sunday morning started early with a 5:15am wake time. We headed to the starting line and each of our individual corrals. Luckily, I saw some friends from the local Galloway program at the expo, so I knew where to meet them. Good thing, too. My Garmin jammed at the start. If I had not found them, I would not have had any way to know when to take walk breaks during the race.
Our corral finally made it to the start (we were 21 out of 24). My group (we started with 6) took off like a flash. I feared I would not be able to keep up, but I knew I wanted to finish within 3 hours. Quickly, one person dropped off due to the humidity. Another lady decided we were too slow. Soon the third stopped to get some salt. Then, there were 3. We enjoyed the run through the neighborhoods and the base while enjoying the sounds of various bands along the way. I made sure to drink at each water stop, and tried to dump water on my head, too. Around mile 9.5, I could tell my friends were getting tired. I decided to carry on by myself in pursuit of my goal time. I headed over the bridge into downtown feeling tired. Luckily, I saw a friendly face in the crowd. Terry was taking pictures, so I had to smile and wave. It sure did give me a boost through mile 11. I was on my own, listening to my body and finding my own pace. I was so happy to make that turn up the boardwalk, but I still couldn't see the finish. Finally, the line was ahead on me, and soon I was passing the 13 mile mark. That last .1 mile was a killer, but I did it with a smile on my face.
I crossed the line and went through the well staffed end zone. I got water, snacks, my medal, a wet towel, and a goody bag before heading to the family reunion site. I found Heather on the beach, and we were joined by Terry and Bill. Heather did well - she beat me by about a minute and 10 seconds, but was slowed by a bathroom break. Bill did well, too, but did not break 2 hours as he had hoped. He was slowed by his friend, Chris, who was a victim of the heat. We quickly found Jon and Michelle who were joined by Tommy, Dianna, and Caitlin. We all took a picture with our medals, then enjoyed the beach party. After a quick lunch, we all rested for the remainder of the afternoon.
My dear friend, Devi, called to see how I did. I was so shocked and pleased that she remembered. It was good to talk about the race with someone who had been there, done it, and races much further as well. The ladies I ran with up to 9.5 miles also called to check on me.
After dinner, we went to the big beach concert, The B-52s. It was not really our sort of music, but we stayed anyway. Love Shack was pretty good. We enjoyed the fireworks, as we did the previous two nights.
Monday was time to head home. I never realized how sore I would be. Bill, Heather, and I were pretty miserable after a 4 hour ride home. My hips really hurt, but I feel much better today. I hope to be back to running on Thursday.
All in all, it was a great weekend. I have the bug now. I am already trying to figure out what my next half marathon will be. I am so proud to have completed the race and to have done it in 2 hours, 57 minutes. Check out Jon's blog to see what he thinks.
The best part of the whole trip was being able to experience it with my husband and our dear friends. I am so glad that we were all there together. It made victory even sweeter.