03 September 2006

Race Report: Virginia Beach Half Marathon.

Race Report: Virginia Beach Half Marathon.
September 3, 2006.

hip time: 1:49:14
pace: 8:20 place: 1632 (out of 16,170) (!)

James and I were planning to leave Baltimore Friday evening. Thanks to pouring rain and tree branches blocking roads (in Virginia Beach), we decided to leave Saturday morning.

We left Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. James packed a backpack. I packed a huge suitcase and a backpack. Shocking, I know. The trip took about five hours — stopping once for gas, Snickers bars, and a bathroom trip (that’s right — one bathroom trip for me!).

We arrived at Kate’s beautiful house (on a golf course, huge ceilings, very cheery) and went to lunch with Kate and Jarrett at a local Mexican resturant. Who knows if a taco salad in a fried taco basket was the ideal day-before-the-race lunch, but it was damn good.

James and I then left for the race expo. I picked up my number, my tshirt, and my chip, and then explored the expo. Because I have a hard time keeping my wallet shut, I bought black shorts (long story but I needed ‘em) and an Italian charm bracelet with a Rock&Roll half charm (a starfish playing a guiter), a 26.2 charm with a runner, and a Baltimore marathon charm (a crab). I can’t wait to fill my bracelet with charms from halves and fulls in the future.
We then checked into our (oceanfront) hotel and rested for a bit. I laid out everything I needed for the race (hey, I had a lot of stuff!). Then, back to Kate’s for a pasta dinner. Kate and Jarrett picked up a bunch of different pastas and sauces and texas toast garlic bread (and Ben & Jerry’s. Yum). It was a great night — very relaxing, very carb-o-licious. Then, back to the hotel to crash.
I set four alarms (both cell phones, the hotel alarm clock, and the wake up call) to make sure I’d be up in time. I woke up at 4:00 and couldn’t really fall back asleep — I was having strange dreams about the race (including that it started in the Inner Harbor and that the water fountians didn’t work). I got out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to get dressed, pin my number on, attach my chip onto my shoe, and brush my teeth. James and I left the hotel at 5:30 a.m. to head to the start village. After stopping at 7-11 for two yohoos (James) and one packet of Pepcid (me), we arrived at the start village.

The port-o-potty lines were, as expected, ridiculous. We waited in line for 30 minutes, which was good — it gave me something to do besides freak out before the race. Then, finally, it was race time!

We started out in corrals — the fastest first — to avoid start of the race congestion (much appreciated). I was in the fourth corral, and crossed the starting line at 7:04:something. There were 25 corrals! The first few miles went as expected — finding my stride, getting breathing down, that sort of thing. The bands and the cheerleaders on the course provided entertainment (although the cheerleaders went from cute and perky to really freaking annoying later in the race). I started feeling kind of “eh” at mile 6-7. The sport drink was Amino Vital (what, oh what, is wrong with Gatorade?) and it. was. horrendous. It tasted like stagnent water and the only reason I drank it was that I knew I needed something with salt. Gross gross gross. I kept on. VA Beach had a competition for the most spirited neighborhood. Not sure who won, but the pirate ship was cool and the guy yelling “Shivver me timbers … keep running you swallywags” was hilarious. I saw James at mile 9 1/2ish with his very sweet sign (I love you! Run, baby, run! Go Tricia!), gave him a kiss, and kept going. Anyhow. I saw Jarrett and Kate about a half mile after that (so sweet of them to get up so early to see me!). At mile 10 I thought “only a 5K left” which wasn’t the smartest thing to think because I don’t like 5Ks. I rearched the turn around point and started running on the boardwalk, which was very cool. The last 2-3 miles feel so freaking long! I saw James, Kate, and Jarrett at mile 12 1/2ish, which was a nice boost. Then, finally, the finish line was in sight. I pushed it, gave it all that I had, and crossed the finish line at 1:49:14 (my watch time, which turned out to be the exact same as my chip time). The winner did it in 1:03:30 … yeah, that’s a 4:51 pace! Jeebus that’s FAST.

After I finished, my stomach was very wacky. I knew what was coming and leaned over a trash can. One of the volunteers at the finish line told me I needed to keep walking, keep moving, so I did. And then puked three times. I gotta say, I thought it was pretty cool. I was assigned a “walker” who put ice on my shoulders and walked me through the finishers’ corral. I grabbed water, a banana, and my free flip flops (although the smallest size they had was an 8, boo!) and went down to the beach to find everyone. Oh, and I got my very cool metal — a sandpail … how cute is that?

The race was really well oraganized — there were A-Z signs along the beach. I found James, Kate, and Jarrett on the beach … and then soaked my tired feet in the ocean. We walked back to our hotel (stopping for pancakes — YUM) and then went to the beach. Laying on the beach and playing in the ocean after running 13.1 miles was heavenly. Kate and Jarrett headed back to Kate’s house, James went back to the hotel, and I walked around the town for a bit. Virginia Beach is a cute place.