This recap is long overdue. Pre-2nd baby, I was able to pump out recaps to post that following Wednesday. That is so not possible with an infant, lol. It’s been a quite morning and I have some time to kill so I’m finally able to get to this.
We (my family and I) left the Baltimore area for Virginia Beach on Friday morning. We were trying to get there by 2 PM but logistics didn’t quite play out according to plan. All par for the course when you’re traveling with an infant and have to stop every 2 hours. We finally arrived to the Virginia Beach Convention Center close to 4 PM. Packet pick up was easy enough. Since it was early in the day (people were still at work), there weren’t any super long lines. After getting my bib I went over to runner’s solutions to move up corrals. They had placed me in corral 4 which had a finish time of 1:00 to 1:20. I knew I wasn’t super fast but definitely faster than a 10 min/mi pace. Corral changes were easy enough in that they took you on your honor instead of checking for proof (I had it ready just in case). After that was fixed, we looked around at the expo vendors. There wasn’t much in terms of vendors for this race. Their Yuengling Shamrock weekend definitely draws more vendors but it’s a larger race. We took off after about 5 minutes and headed over to our timeshare.
The timeshare my husband was able to secure was right on the waterfront. We stayed at the Ocean Sands Resort. When we pulled up I noticed it looked at bit dated and I worried a little that it might be a hole in the wall resort. It actually wasn’t bad. Our suite was nice and roomy and all the suites faced the ocean. We could hear the ocean at night which was interesting, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate ambient noise. It would drive me insane when I was up nursing Jake.
Once we settled in there, we headed over to the Melting Pot for dinner. It was decent and the light meal I wanted since we ate some fast food for lunch that was sitting pretty heavily on my stomach that day. It wasn’t too pleasant, though, because my daughter lost her patience and wanted out soon after we started the main course. We’d forgotten how long it took them to get the food started. We were there close to 2 hours after we were seated. We’ll definitely make sure to get a sitter next time if we ever plan to eat there again.
The plan for race morning was for me to get up, nurse Jake, and head out to the starting line solo. My husband picked the resort we stayed at because it was only a mile from the convention center (where the starting line was) and about 4 blocks from the oceanfront finish line. That was extremely convenient for me. The race began at 8 AM so I decided to get up at 6, get ready, nurse, pump, then head over to the start while taking a detour to get my pre-race caffeine (a ritual for me). That all actually happened and I was able to get out of the door around 6:45. I jogged over to a coffee shop I found the night before, Bad-Ass Coffee, and I hung out there for about an hour since it was right across from the convention center and it was really chilly outside. Completely off-topic to running but they had some amazing 100% Kona coffee. I had a latte and was so satisfied with the punch it gave me and how well made it was. If you’re ever in the VA Beach area you should definitely try them out!
When it was quarter until the start time, I started to walk over to the start. Turns out the start was all the way at the other end of the convention center so it took me 10 minutes to get to my corral. I chose to be placed in Corral 1 since the cutoff time was <50 minutes. I wasn’t 100% sure I’d finish under 50. However, with my 23 minute 5K I figured I at least had 4 “leeway” minutes for a 10K. It was readily apparent that runners didn’t have to show proof of time for placement. There were a few runners ahead of me discussing how they hoped to finish in an hour…how they wanted to run a 9 minute pace. I was a little surprised that they admitted not being fast enough for the corral but didn’t want to move back. However, to each their own. I know there’s some self-satisfaction when you find yourself in the first corral. It always makes my day =).
I took in everyone around me for a few minutes. A lot of people dressed up, myself included, since it was Halloween after all. I put on the same Captain America outfit I did for Avengers last year so it wasn’t anything amazing. However, some people around me were so creative. A lot of the Team Hoytt runners had transformed the wheelchairs into different types of vehicles. There was a Batmobile pushed by Batman and Batgirl, a Ghostbusters van pushed by a Ghostbuster and the Marshmallow guy, and the Millennium Falcon pushed by a Jedi and Stormtrooper to name a few. It was awesome. The race director was Donald Trump and looked very much like him. He bantered on stage for a bit with the rest of the race crew then announced the National Anthem. Shortly after it was over, all the Team Hoytt and Ainsley’s Angels runners were sent off. 5 minutes later our corral was let loose!
We headed east on 19th Street towards the waterfront, then we made a right onto Atlantic Street and headed towards Rudee Inlet. Along the way were many race supporters that were awesome to see. There were a few bands playing Halloween music and there was a group dressed up as zombies, stalking runners as they went by. I loved the zombies because they were very committed to their roles. This entire route covered the first 2 miles. It was a really easy 2 miles as it was flat, heck probably slightly downhill. Once we reached Rudee Inlet, we came across the first water stop then turned left on 2nd Street and then immediately left again so that we were heading north on the waterfront boardwalk.
This first portion I felt pretty good. Since I wasn’t “racing”, I decided to just run at a pace that felt good. I couldn’t see my watch because I wore it under my costume’s glove so I technically ran “blind”. I felt really great from the start and did feel like I was flying. I know I wasn’t running a 7 minute pace but it felt great to not have my lungs burn early on for a change. I knew from the start that I didn’t want to push too hard since I’d be covering 2 more miles than what I was used to. I wanted to finish strong and not burn out before reaching the finish. So far it seemed like that plan was working out well.
The first boardwalk part of the route was really pleasant. Usually there’s a strong breeze coming from the ocean and there was nothing this time. It was nice not having to fight against the breeze. The one downside to the lack of breeze was that we were exposed to direct sunlight without some sort of relief. It got hot fast. Thankfully, this waterfront portion didn’t last long. We turned left at 10th Street then right to get back on Atlantic Ave again.
At this point point I came across the 5K marker. I glanced at it as I passed it and saw I passed just under 23 minutes. I knew this meant I was running around a 7:30 pace, a bit surprising to me. I felt fast but not that fast and definitely thought I was closer to 8 minute miles. This gave me a little more pep and the encouragement I needed to keep going at my pace.
As I continued north on Atlantic I covered mile 4 and most of 5. The water stop was between miles 3 and 4 but I decided to forgo it since I don’t usual hydrate during this distance on training runs. There were more supporters and bands along the way. The route was entirely flat with maybe some slight inclines but nothing you’d notice unless you really paid attention. Once I reached 40th Street, I made the right turn to get back onto the boardwalk. Mile 5’s marker was right after the right turn onto the boardwalk.
My legs were starting to feel pretty fatigued at this point. The most I had run postpartum was 4 miles so I knew I would feel some of the strain once I got past that marker. However, I still felt pretty great and knew that there was merely another 1.2 miles left. I kept on pushing, maintaining maybe a 7:30 pace but not too sure since I couldn’t see my watch. This portion felt like the longest of the whole course. As I mentioned before, there was no sea breeze. The sun was beating down on us and I was definitely feeling it in my cotton long sleeve shirt and rubber mask. I could see the finish line flags in the distance so I just kept my head up and pressed on. Once I got near the area that our resort was in, I started looking up at the buildings. I did manage to find my family out on the balcony and it was really exciting to me =). My daughter didn’t quite see me but that was okay. I was just happy to find them.
On this last stretch, there was another band and a group that did Thriller dressed up like Michael and the zombies. That brought a smile to my face =). At the 6 mile marker the final banners and flags lined the course. This was when I could see the clock clearly and decided to push for the end. Coincidentally, this was also where all the race photographers were. I took off and was determined to finish at or under the 46 minute mark. I made it right at the 46 minutes on the clock and broke out in a huge grin. My previous PR for this distance was 47:XX so I knew I had set a new PR. I definitely wasn’t expecting that but was beyond elated that I accomplished that.
I went through the runner chute and picked up my medal, runner gift (a Tervis cup), and the typical post-race food. I slipped out as soon as I could and headed back to our resort. I was sweaty and really hungry at this point. I just wanted to get back, shower, change, and get breakfast. The finish was at 18th Street so it was 6 blocks before I reached our resort. That felt like forever at that point because I was starting to feel the soreness. Once I got back, I checked out my shoes and realized that they were done for. My soles finally wore through so I would have to trash them. That made me sad because they were my favorite model and they don’t make them anymore. At least they went out with a bang =).
Overall, this was an amazing race and just the experience I expected from J&A Racing. They are a great race organization located in Hampton Roads and all of their races are fun and well worth the registration prices. You’ll never be disappointed running one of their races.
As for me, I did end up fairly sore the next day. My legs were fine but my pelvis was pretty much screaming at me that afternoon and the next day. Taking it easy the next few days made a huge difference and I felt like my old self by the time Friday rolled around.
My next tentative future plan is to run Shamrock in March. I’m hoping to complete their Neptune Challenge as long as my husband’s schedule can support it. Running 39.3 miles in one day is rather intimidating but I think I may be able to swing it. Training for it will be interesting, that’s for sure. Fingers crossed I’ll reach that timing mat on time =).