Virginia Beach Travel Blog› entry 8 of 35 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!