In honor of today’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, I’m writing my final throwback race recap. Final, that is, unless I find more old pictures from another race from yesteryear…
In 2002, five of my runner friends from the group I coached at Worldgate Sport & Health, my husband, and I signed up for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon. It would be both Bill’s and my first half marathon during a time when we were running multiple marathons a season – just a month after this race we would run three marathons over a four week period.
Leaving our oldest son Joseph with friends so he could run in his first ever high school cross country meet, Bill, Daniel, and I drove to Virginia Beach on Saturday morning stopping first at the race expo to pick up our packets and do a little shopping.
After trying to enjoy some time on the beach with the wind kicking sand in our faces, we gave up and headed to our hotel room to get ready for our pre-race dinner with our friends. Bill also had several friends from work running in the race so we had one big fun combined group!
During dinner, Joseph called to say he’d finished in the top ten out of about 300+ at his very first ever high school junior varsity cross country meet – not a bad start for a freshman!
Sunday morning we woke up to a hot and humid start to the day. It drizzled for a little while just before the race started causing it to get even muggier. Without a camera with me to capture specific events, I don’t remember a lot about the race other than I was really looking forward to being entertained by bands along the way.
Unfortunately, there were cheerleaders placed right before and right after each band so we could only hear the bands when we were right in front of them. That’s right, we’d hear the cheerleaders cheering their hearts out as we approached the band, then for about thirty seconds we’d hear the band until we started hearing the cheerleaders on the other side.
The cheerleaders were so cute and encouraging and I would have loved having them spaced out so we could hear them until we were out of their sound range and then hear the bands from a distance as we approached and passed by. Since that was my one and only experience running in a Rock ‘N’ Roll race, I don’t know if that’s something they’ve figured out and addressed since that race.
Keep in mind that 2002 was long before I had a Garmin, so I had to depend on the race mile signs to know how much farther I had to run until I got to the finish line. I think we made a left turn onto Atlantic Boulevard heading north before turning onto the concrete boardwalk to run back south and into the wind toward the finish line (looking at a current map, the course seems to have changed since then).
Atlantic Boulevard seemed to go forever before we turned around, and then I didn’t think I’d ever get to the finish line once I got on the boardwalk. Of course, I’d missed seeing the twelve-mile marker and assumed that I was farther along in the race than I happened to be. #pregarminrunnerproblems
Indeed, I eventually finished with a time of 1:56:38 (8:54 pace) and I couldn’t complain considering the humidity. Once across the finish line, we were presented with a cute multi-colored finisher’s medal. At that time most medals were pretty simple so it was a fun change from my other mostly boring marathon medals.
After the race I found my Worldgate co-workers Brenda, Susan, and Nicole and we all hung out for a while.
While we enjoyed the post-race festivities, Elvis stopped by with a race photographer in tow. Daniel wanted the picture so I purchased it and he put it in a frame in his room. It’s not every day that you get to see Elvis on the beach!
Daniel played in the surf while Bill and I munched on our post-race food, and Bill might have even taken a dip before we all headed back to our room which conveniently looked out over the race finish line.
After showers and a quick nap, we headed out for lunch and then came back to our room to watch our Hokies play LSU in a rare Sunday afternoon college football game. We won 26 – 8 which was icing on the cake for a great day.
The headline band that year was Hootie & the Blowfish so later in the evening we strolled out to listen to them for a while. The weather was anything but cooperative so we didn’t last long. I’m not sure if this is Hootie or their warm-up band, but it was really cool to see the stage set up out in the sand on the beach.
After spending one more night in Virginia Beach, we drove home on Monday just as the weather was turning delightful… Still, we had made the most out of our little racecation, even with the weekend’s gloomy, drizzly, and humid weather.
- Have you run a Rock ‘N’ Roll race?
- Have you ever gone on a racecation?
- Did you race this weekend?