Rock N Roll marathon series sends out emails for all their upcoming races to their past race participants. I saw an email a few months ago about Virginia Beach. I saw the medals and was hook, line and sinker. I went ahead and signed up. Few weeks later I started looking for hotels. It did not dawn on me that the hotel prices would be sky high. I reached out to my TRI sister Sharon Johnson who I knew had done the race previously. She reminded that the prices are $$$ and they run about $200-$300. I kept chastising myself for not checking hotel prices before I signed up. What’s done is done. I eventually book a reasonably priced hotel in Norfolk according to google maps it was about 15 minute drive from the race start.
I was rolling solo for this race. I tried to persuade my partner in crime, my mother, into signing up but she turned me down. Tall drink and his crew were signed up for the half. There was going to be a few familiar faces at the race.
Rock N Roll sent an email about the remix challenge. They offer a Saturday race, mile in the sand. If you do the Saturday race along with any other distance on Sunday you get the remix challenge medal, that makes a total of 3 medals. If you know me I LOVE bling and i can not lie. I sign up for the mile in the sand. 3 medals coming up!!
I travel to Virginia Beach Friday afternoon. As I arrive at packet pickup, i check my phone and see a weather update from the race indicating the mile on the sand has been cancelled. Shocked but not disappointed. Hurricane Hermine is headed towards the east coast and she means business. I am at the race bib line, volunteer tells me about the race being cancelled but I will still pick up my medal and beach towel further down the hall. Race is cancelled but I still get my medal, beach towel SCORE!! I head to the 5K line, once i get to the counter the volunteer ask if i was signed up for Saturday’s race. I respond yes and she gives me a black wristband that I will need to pick up my remix challenge medal on Sunday. Did i mention since Saturday’s race is cancelled, they are giving us refunds. Won’t he do it? Will he won it?I prepaid for a parking pass and stop by and pick it up. Volunteer tells me i have to be parked no later than 5:30am. My mouth hits the ground. I need to go to bed STAT. I’ve picked up all my stuff and head to my hotel.
Fast forward to Sunday morning. It’s race day. My alarm goes off at 4am. I’m about 19 minute drive from the convention center. I figure i would leave about 4:45 just to give myself extra time. I arrive at the convention center about 5am. I am not alone. The other early birds are there as well in FORMATION. After i park i have 2 hours until the race starts. A part of me is thinking if need be i could get a quick nap in but i know how much i enjoy my sleep so i stay awake listening to the radio. At 6am, my bladder tells me it needs to be emptied. I finally leave the comfort of my car. I head over to the porta a johns and take care of business. I head over to my corral, #15. People are slowly showing up and lining up in the corrals. I meet a lady in my corral who is a local. She has done this race before but has gotten injured and been sidelined for awhile and this race is her way to get back into the race game. As we are waiting, another Half Fanatic asks me to take her picture. Turns out she is a BGR runner from Greensboro. I tell her I’m from Raleigh. Like one of my TRI sisters told me back at 24HOB in Charlotte, “Jo you don’t have a problem making friends”. I really don’t. Tall drink and his crew show up.
This is Shawnell’s 2nd half. This is Donna’s 1st half. I tell her she looks sleepy. She is. I told her you’re here now. Too late to turn back.
Race starts at 7am. Since we are in corral #15, it’s about 7:30 before we actually cross the start line. Once we do, i start my Garmin. This is his first race 🙂 The race starts in front of the convention center on 19th street and we head towards the oceanfront, just like Surf N Santa 5 miler in December except is not 40 degrees outside and it’s not 5:30pm in the evening. I head out and i can tell I’m moving pretty fast because my Garmin is reading 17:00/mile pace. Holy smokes batman!! I haven’t seen that pace in about 3 years. I’m going to assume the Garmin is playing with me. After awhile it reads my normal 20:00/mile pace. I try to not concentrate at looking at my watch. I’m listening to my music and moving. We make the first right. This is Rock N Roll race so there should be music. We make a left turn. We go about a block. we make another left and pass a church. They have a group singing. We are at mile 1. The Garmin vibrates and shows me my pace it’s 20 minutes and some change. I’m thinking to myself the treadmill workouts have been paying out. Shout out to my trainer Gregory Clanton AKA Tall drink who has been pushing me. We make a right turn and another right onto Atlantic avenue. As we do i see the hotel my mom and i stayed in back in March for Shamrock. I’m thinking oh so we will not be finishing by King Neptune, BUMMER! King Neptune is a must see attraction at Virginia Beach.
We are headed down Atlantic, finally pass the water stop. Thank you to all the volunteers. Without you, races would not happen. I can see in the distance the 5K turn. I look and it’s the same turn for Surf N Santa right by the hotel Angel Chappel Jones and i stayed at back in December. It’s pretty obvious I’ve been up here a lot for races. There was no mistake that i was going to miss the 5K turn because adding an extra 10 miles is not part of my plan. I make the left turn onto the boardwalk. I see runners already on the boardwalk. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!! There are folks finishing the half already. The fast folks started earlier so that makes sense but it still boggles my mind these folks are finishing 13.1 miles in 90 minutes. Let’s take a minute and do the math. According to my calculations that’s about a 6.87 minute/pace. I can’t even imagine. Hats off to those speed demons!! That’s BQ qualifying time. I’m on the boardwalk which is full of spectators on the sidelines cheering. I cross the finish line and the time clock reads 1:31 minutes. I know that’s not my time the race clock time. I stop my Garmin for some bizarre reason that sucker wants to keep going. It takes me 2 good tries to finally get it to stop. Need to read up on the proper stop/start process. I’m given my 5K medal. One of the medical teams comes up to me and ask I’m ok. Maybe I looked like i needed help. I told her I’m fine. I’m going to try to not read anything into that. She was doing her job. Where is my side eye emojii???
After i receive my medal, volunteers are passing out water, gatorade. I lost count on how many times my picture was taken. I enjoy the RNR races but I have to tell you they need to step up their post race refreshment. I have probably gotten spoiled by races that have pizza, barbecue sandwiches, irish strew. Yep i have gotten spoiled. A slice of pizza would have hit the spot. I ask a volunteer as i exit the finish line area where do i pick up my remix challenge medal and he points to a table further up the boardwalk. I head over and i hear a volunteer explain to someone that you had to have signed up for the Saturday race to get it. As i walk over and show my black wristband, she tells the person “this lady LOVES to run” No i love the bling!! Rock N Roll VB is in the books.