My Big Day!
Virginia Beach Travel Blog› entry 7 of 34 › view all entries
Waking up went easily even if it was early for a Saturday. Could've been a lot worse though. My race had an 8:00 AM start time; tomorrow the half marathon would take off at 7. I got dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, then pulled my warm-up pants on over the shorts. I knew that I wouldn't need them for the run but there was no way I was standing around for a half hour without them.
Out in the main room Janie was already up, coffee brewing. I don't touch the stuff but Megan was happy to see it. Janie pointed out that you could just see the edge of the race route from our room so of course I had to go out on the balcony. Sure enough, down to the right you could see bright orange cones marking the final curve. I had a simple breakfast (bagel) while the other two girls woke up and we had official introductions.
Megan and I headed downstairs with lots of time to spare. We jogged the several blocks to where the corrals were set up for the race near 31st street. That's when it decided to start to rain. Not too heavy but enough to make us take shelter under the covered drive in front of a hotel. I tried not to be nervous about the weather but I had chosen to wear a white shirt...luckily it stopped after about ten minutes. I had stretched a little and people watched. Lots of green. I got a kick out of the back of one woman's shirt: "You just got passed by a pregnant chick." I think I'd like to do that if I ever do a 5K while pregnant....long ways off!
With race time approaching I shrugged out of my warmer clothes and headed over to the corrals.
Megan left at this point to stake out a spot somewhere in the first mile.
The last race I ran was on a back country road with about 40 runners and walkers. It had some slight hills and was very natural. Today I was running right down the tourist area of Virginia Beach. I was only one of hundreds of runners--and it felt great. There is an energy in running with others that I rarely experienced in my solo training nor had I ever run in a race anywhere close to this magnitude.
Knowing the route definitely helped. I could count down blocks and guess-timate where the mile markers would be. At about 2nd street we reached the end of our southern journey and turned to head back north via the boardwalk. There was a slight incline here, the only spot in the entire route. The race map had shown the route to be basically flat; two guys behind me decided to point out that the hill was not on the map! The wind came off the ocean now, not bad but still there.
I saw Megan again just past the mile three mark. I had been checking my watch at each mile marker and noticed that I was keeping up with about a 9-minute mile pace. I called out my good timing to her and she cheered me on. Less than two blocks later the dreaded side cramp hit. I forced myself to keep jogging even if my steps were stilted and short. I tried not focus on the people passing me and instead on my breathing. In high school I had once dropped out of a race due to cramps and that thought was always in the back of my mind when it happened.
I passed the guy I had chatted to at the start; we exchanged hi's but I pushed on through a strong wind now. At the last set of turns, the girls from our room were down on the street and cheering me on.
I picked up my medal and shirt along with food and water. Then followed several confused minutes while I tried to figure out where my sister might be waiting for me since they did not have a meeting area broken down by last names. Megan did find me though and greeted me with a proud hug.
I don't remember much of the next few hours.
Our afternoon was spent at the Expo and then the Virginia Beach aquarium. At the expo Megan picked up her bib number and racing bag. She also got a sticker for her car to mark her first marathon.
At the aquarium Chad joined us, having safely journeyed from North Carolina. However, while we were still waiting for him to arrive, Megan and I grabbed a late lunch from their cafe. The food was a little pricey but good.
The aquarium is divided into two buildings; we only visited the larger one since everyone else in the group had a big race the next day.
After the aquarium we went briefly back to the hotel before heading out to meet up with another friend of Janie's for dinner. We had a big group at dinner, our six plus four more adults and four kids. It was a waterfront restaurant but no one had fish. I had a burger (hey, my run was done!) and almost everyone else opted for some form of pasta.
We had a short, quiet evening before turning in for the night. Chad got the living room to himself on the sleeper couch. Megan and Janie shared one bed, Kimberly and Chrissie were in the other bed, and I camped out on the floor on an air mattress.