13.1/26.2

Virginia Beach Travel Blog

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sunrise

With a 7:00 AM start for the half marathon, our room started moving around 5.  I stayed on my air mattress for awhile, basically to be out of everyone's way even though they still had to watch their step to get past me (thank goodness the air matress had been a twin size!).  We wished Kimberly, Chrissie, and Chad well.  Or perhaps I should say Stephanie, Chrystal, and Gavan well.  The names on your racing bibs don't always match what people know you as (especially if you are jumping in last minute to replace someone else who couldn't make it).  Janie went down with the group.  Megan and I stayed up in the room a little bit longer for her to take her time to get ready for her first marathon since that race would not begin until 8.  This seemed a little mixed to me (why start the shorter race earlier) but I didn't mind the extra time to fully wake up.

Janie and Megan pre-race

It was definitely cold once we ventured out.  Janie had found a warm hotel lobby to wait so we joined her there.  Megan's friend Rod also found us and helped keep Megan calm as the minutes ticked by.  We heard that the start was delayed by 15 minutes; with some of the pacers also in the lobby we knew it was safe to wait. 

We split up once the actual start neared.  Like me, Megan was in one of the earlier corrals; I stayed with her for a bit and then took her warm clothes.  I headed down the street at a strong pace.  I wanted to get as far south as I could to cheer her on a bit into the race.  I made it past the mile 1 marker before settling in.

The wheelchairs came by first, a usual occurence this early in the race.

lead biker
  However, setting the pace was a jeep and then several guys on bikes with big green hats for the holiday.  The wheelchair racers also included a few special individuals who could not race for themselves and had a team pushing them along.  I would be amazed throughout the course by these people who would cover 26 miles not on their own but with the weight of another person, in body and in dream.

The lead marathoners came by at a faster pace than I had run my 8K.  Incredible.  This early on, the leaders were in a pack of a little over a half dozen.

I kept my eyes focused for my sister.  I had chosen what would be her right side of the street to be able to navigate my way during the race but I didn't know which side of the street she would be on.

wheelchair racer
  Luck favored us.  I spotted her coming, the bright green knee socks helped.  I snapped a picture and cheered loudly as she waved and headed towards the bridge and her steepest hill.

I turned around and walked north, my goal mile 14.  Since the half and full marathons shared a lot of the same route, I was hoping to see my half-marathon friends towards the end of their races.  Chad was the first for me to spot.  He was walking at this point but seemed to be in good spirits.  I staked out a spot on the dry ground to stay warmer and avoid a little of the wind.

My cell phone tried to keep me up-to-date with texts when my sister passed important parts in the route but really I just watched the crowd.  While the lead runners gained attention by their sheer skill, other runners also stood out, these ones for their costumes.

lead pack
  I saw a few guys in kilts, some women in green tutus.  Several runners sported big green hats or sparkly necklaces.

Megan came through, still looking strong.  She didn't see me, she was focused on her run and had headphones in.  Kimberly and Chrissie yelled at me a minute or two later; they were walking in, only a mile from the end and pushing onward.  I backtracked to a point where Mile 12 nearly intersected with just before 26 miles.

Here I cheered on random runners including the guy I had met the before the 8K.  I also just watched in awe as the lead runners in the marathon came pounding in, passing half marathoners on their way.

When I guessed that Megan was not far from the end, I relocated to the boardwalk.

Megan's first mile
  I waited, waited, waited, and then started yelling as she came into view.  I snapped a shot of her and then raced down to the finish.  With the wind and cooler temperatures I wanted to make sure that I was there at the end for her.  She came back into my view as she passed through the food and award stations after the finish.  She was definitely tired but kept moving.  Only after she reached me did she let the pain set in.  We stumbled down to the beach where she collapsed in the sand.  Rod found us shortly after Megan sat down in the sand.  He was a huge help getting Megan back to her normal self.  Once she felt stronger, we wandered down the beach for two reasons: 1) it avoided the crowded road where many runners were still coming towards the finish and 2) Megan was determined to jump in the ocean.
green tutus

Right next to our hotel we stopped for Megan to take her frigid dunk.  I prepared my camera, Rod prepared himself.  He would go in after her if she needed help.  She jogged to the water and splashed in.  She disappeared for the briefest of seconds and then came hurrying back out to us.

Our time in Virginia Beach was now limited.  Megan had to shower and clean up.  I focused on packing my bags.  We celebrated our races with the others including Janie who finished a little slower than she had hoped but had cut down her bathroom breaks (a lesser goal for her).  Then Rod retrieved my car from a few blocks down (the hotel only allowed one car per room in its lot).

  Megan and I hugged good-bye and we were all back on the road.

My journey home was less stressful than my drive down although it did involve an unexpected detour when I took the wrong turn and ended up going across a long bridge/tunnel--and then had to come back across it to get going in the right direction again!

This weekend was a great running weekend for us.  Megan ran only 8 minutes off of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, a goal for before she turns 30 in a few years.  I have decided that I am interested in building up to a half marathon by the end of 2012, so officially the running bug has bitten me again!

Vikram says:
The pic with green tutus is funny. Congrats on your blog!!
Posted on: Sep 14, 2012
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sunrise
sunrise
Janie and Megan pre-race
Janie and Megan pre-race
lead biker
lead biker
wheelchair racer
wheelchair racer
lead pack
lead pack
Megans first mile
Megan's first mile
green tutus
green tutus
around mile 15
around mile 15
carrying a wee passenger
carrying a wee passenger
donuts anyone?
donuts anyone?
almost there!
almost there!
sand sculpture
sand sculpture
running into the ocean
running into the ocean
under the water
under the water
oh this is cold!
oh this is cold!
seagulls
seagulls