This weekend was supposed to be just a 10-mile run, but instead Julie and I headed down to Virginia Beach for the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon. Before we’d planned on doing the Marine Corps Marathon again this year, we’d already decided to run this race. Even better, we had some friends that we’d be running with; Kimberley and Martha from up here in Washington DC (who we’d run with for the past two years), and Teri from down in Norfolk (whom I met in 2001 when she ran with our group while in town).
We headed down to Virginia Beach on Saturday to try and avoid the worst of the Labor Day traffic (but of course there was still a lot), and before we knew it, Sunday morning had arrived! Julie and I got to the start line pretty quickly, but there was an insane amount of traffic and Teri, Martha, and Kimberley probably only got there about five minutes before the start of the race! (The race organizers need to work on traffic control a bit more!)
The five of us headed off, though, and within a couple of minutes we were into the groove. After about a mile and a half, though, we lost Kimberley and Martha who decided to run at a slightly slower pace. In retrospect, a very smart move! Julie, Teri, and I kept pushing on… but it was a really hot and humid day, and by mile 6 I was starting to drag. Julie asked if I wanted to shift down to the pace that Martha and Kimberley were using, and I agreed that once we hit the mile 7 marker (and thus, over halfway through the course) it would be a good idea. Teri zoomed off when we slowed down—she was doing really well and I knew she was going to make her sub-3:00 time goal easily. (I, on the other hand, had given up doing so.)
Part of the problem was that most of the course wasn’t really near the beach, so we were slogging through really humid and nasty terrain. Right around mile 9 or 10, the course veered a little closer to the beach itself and I was starting to feel better. Unfortunately, Julie’s knee was starting to bother her so we talked about what our plans were. Julie decided that once we made it to the Boardwalk, she was going to slow down, but we’d stick together until then. I think Julie wanted to keep the faster speed going and probably could have, but with the marathon at the end of October, it was definitely wiser to not risk injury.
We finally got to the Boardwalk, and then… Kimberley caught us! Wow! She’d really been zooming along and totally made up any lost time. Kimberley and I ran the last mile and a half together, and crossed over the finish line at the same time. Julie and then Martha were close behind us, and Teri had indeed made her goal! Hurrah! After that it was time for pictures, Gatorade, and then heading back to the hotel to take a wonderful-feeling shower.
In the end, I wasn’t thrilled about my performance. Now I know I wasn’t pushing myself as hard as I could have considering that Marine Corps Marathon is still on the horizon, but even then, I just wasn’t happy. Sometimes you just don’t have a good run, and that happened for the race. Ah well, there’s always next year!