Half Marathon Number 14: Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach!
Friday, August 31st:
For the first time this year I can actually drive to a Rock 'n Roll event instead of flying, a real treat. This gave me one extra day at home, in my own bed, before heading back out on the road--woo hoo! While I do cherish my time at home I am actually really excited for this race because I get to see my entire family except for my sister, Maria, who can't make it to town this week. My other sister, Becky, lives in Va Beach with her husband and two boys so I always add this race to my calendar each year. Not only will I get to see them but also all four of my parents will be staying at her house this weekend: Dad and Suzanne are coming down from DC to cheer us on, Mom and Bob are coming up from Chapel Hill. It's Bob's birthday this weekend so not only will we be celebrating my 14th race of the year but also Bob's 67th year on the planet... a festive weekend lies in store.
A 5:30a.m. wake-up time for Jim and I this morning and we're on the road by 6:30, right on schedule. Yesterday I did my first radio interview ever via telephone with a VaBeach radio station and today I'm meeting a TV reporter at the Expo upon arrival in town. I promised my sister that I'd pick up my nephews on the way to the race check-in... the boys don't start school until next week and Becky could really use a few hours to get ready for the hoard of family descending upon her this weekend. With little traffic to hold us back we're at Becky's house by 11:00 am. We're staying at her house tonight before the rest of the family arrives then moving across the street to stay with her AWESOME neighbors, John and Sharon... more about them later.
For now, we unload our bags and load up my 2 nephews, Jackson and Joey, and it's off to the Expo!
|Jim in the back, Joey on the left and Jackson on the right... eating a sandwich at the VaBeach Convention center before heading inside.|
I love being with kids at the race Expos, so much more fun than just being by myself. I haven't had the opportunity since Portland when I got to hang out with my best friend and her girls, Ally, Emily and Harper... now it's fun with Jackson and Joey...
|I'm sorry, just couldn't resist staying for another number. :-)|
No Rock 'n Roll race is complete without an Elvis sighting (or twelve!)
|Time to "Journey on"...|
|Game face on!|
|So many vendors to visit...|
First stop, my friend Emily whom by now you are all very familiar with. Jackson took an immediate shine to her (can you blame him?!) and had fun visiting with her while I picked up my latest 1/2 marathon charm...
|The bracelet is getting heavy! You can see the VaBeach charm just above the Allard heart.|
Usually this would be the time I go to visit Merle at the Sweaty Bands booth but sadly, no Merle this trip. She's getting sweaty in Orlando this weekend (I think) so we'll have to make do with the virtual Merle:
We miss you in Va Beach, Merle, but it looks like you're in good hands.
:-)You cruise, you lose. Sorry Merle, this time Emily gets the air time... we had the reporter meet us at Marathon Jewelry for this one!!
|Emily let us use her booth as the backdrop for the interview... gotta share the media spotlight with my friends! In the background you can see the Mann's "Power to the Pea" booth which Jackson discovered for me while I was 'working'.|
Jackson and Joey were in heaven at the Expo with all the freebies and fun things to see, and would you believe that Jackson's favorite treat in the entire Expo was the packet of peas?!! Makes this vegetarian Aunt proud!
|Mann's gave out "Power to the Pea" packs and Jackson was right, they were delicious.|
Another favorite for the boys was the Starkist Tuna booth. Merle might have her studly shark in Florida but we have Charlie in VaBeach!
|Charlie was giving away cool prizes. You'll see what Joey won later in this post.|
While Jackson and Joey were "trick or treating" their way through the rest of the Expo with Uncle Jim, Aunt Beth took some time to get to the 'boring booths' for a little race planning:
|You think Miss Cover Girl is wearing a Sweaty Band? How come I never look like this when I run?|
|The Race Course. It doesn't look too bad from this perspective, does it?|
|Thanks, guys, for making the Expo so much more fun!|
|The best haul of the day... a 'Tuna Boat' for the pool!!|
|It's so cool to have my car with me for this race... it makes the errands so much easier.|
|Slaving away in the kitchen... good thing we're going out for dinner.|
|My lettering is a bit off, but hopefully with all the streamers and tape no one will notice. Normally I would re-do it but with friends and family arriving tomorrow I want to have my time to play too!|
Becky, Pete, Jim, Jackson, Joey and I went to dinner at the Lucky Oyster last night then I went straight to bed... yesterday was such a long day.
Today I slept in, a rare luxury these days, then helped my sister get the house ready for the incoming crowd. Did I mention how excited I am to see everyone? Not only will my family be here but also my friends from Raleigh, John and Mary Kramer, are coming up as well. They'll be staying with us across the street at the Yagers' since all of us will be running tomorrow.
Jim and I stole 2 hours to run a few more "errands"... the main one being a mani-pedi! Yes, that's right, Jim got a pedicure with me--all this running takes its toll on a man's toes, too. Actually I think Jim's just in it for the massage but it was nice to have his company in the salon for this peaceful respite in our crazy schedule. This time I didn't get a photo of him in the chair but you can flip back to the Pasadena blogpost for reference, he looked pretty much the same.
After our quiet time away from it all, we returned to the circus of my sister's home for a fun-filled afternoon/evening before tomorrow's Half Marathon.
Finally, the gang's all here. As they say at the 'Hoppers games... Woo! Woo! I am so happy when I get to see friends and family on the road and this race is the best of the whole year with so many wonderful people in town. We miss you, Maria, but we're having a great time anyway!
|My husband, always the workaholic.|
|Fun with mustaches...|
|Leave it to Mary and John to take pre-race carb loading so seriously.|
|Take-out food from a local Italian favorite, Rigoletto's, plus Becky's famous salad. YUM!! My Stepmom, Suzanne, making sure she's carb-loaded for being a spectator tomorrow.|
|Becky in the middle of their newly-renovated kitchen. Thanks for hosting us all!!|
With full bellies thanks to Rigoletto's Italian cafe we left my sister's house to sleep across the street at John and Sharon's Yager's last night. The Yager's are great friends and this is the second year they've offered to host our running entourage with the special perk of getting to use their incredible backyard pool--score!!!
John and Sharon have run the Virginia Beach Rock 'n Roll race EVERY YEAR since it began and said they're shooting for 25 straight years. Some years they train for it, some years (like this year) they don't. With today expected to be hot and humid I think they're hoping to meet my usual goal of simply finishing upright.
We begin the day at 4:30am and are out the door by 5:30am en route to our VIP parking lot, another terrific perk given to us this time by Competitor Group. Supposedly the rest of my family will make their way to the beach by time we're finishing, hopefully around 9:00am. We'll see who actually makes it, I'd be impressed especially if Dad does since, by his own admission, he "doesn't do mornings".
|Left to right: John Yager, Sharon Yager, Jim Austin, John Kramer, Mary Kramer|
|The bands are setting up along the race course.|
|Pre-race breakfast thanks to the VIP hospitality tent!|
|My friend (and marathon maniac!) David DeNeire along with Biggest Loser (Season 5) Dan Evans...these boys are ready to rock!|
|The all too familiar portapotty line.|
|Sun's coming up... must be close to start time.|
|Surprise! Friends from Greensboro, Bill and Julie Hughes, make another race-day appearance.|
UGH. That about sums up my run today. 13.1 miles of UGH. This was one of the most humid races I've ever run, I believe they said the heat index was 101 degrees by 9:00am. When I saw runners down at mile 6 I knew I wasn't the only one feeling the heat. Forget any PR's today, this was a day to just get it done. I was hoping to be able to get my time back under 2 hours after the last two events but I had to go to Plan B early and just slow down and enjoy the miles. I truly have never seen so many runners walking so early in a half marathon as I did today, and sadly I saw 3 runners taken away on stretchers. Hopefully everyone is taking heed of the pre-race cautions and drinking plenty of water. They even had "runner cooling stations" on the course today, these were air-conditioned buses parked along the course where people could pop in and cool down before continuing on towards the finish line.
And speaking of finish line, a sight for sore eyes!!
|John Kramer enjoying a hard-earned meal after a grueling day. He and I walked together for a stretch along mile 8 or 9.|
|Bob dutifully carried the Get Back Up sign for his second race of this year... you may recall that he and Mom made it to San Diego for that event in June. That makes a coast-to-coast effort from mom and Bob--thanks, guys!!|
|Another new friend, Krissy Foley, rockin' her Sweaty Band! Congrats, Krissy!|
|Thanks to WAVY-TV 10 and Channel 13 we got great coverage once again for our Get Back Up campaign!|
We really are fortunate to get such great coverage this year, and Virginia Beach was no exception. Here are the links to 2 of the stories that aired in the Hampton Roads area over Labor Day weekend:
I was in for a cool surprise when Marathon legend (and Rock 'n Roll racing's co-founder) Frank Shorter appeared! He's an idol of mine and after another knee surgery he's back up and running again...way to go, Frank!
|Frank Shorter and me. I'm actually shorter.|
|Two running legends... Frank Shorter and Mary Kramer. Mary had a GREAT run, especially considering the heat with a time of 1:54.|
|Frank poses with Sharon Yager after her great run. Her husband John is on the ground sleeping nearby, he had a rough race! I think my husband is on the ground around here somewhere, too. Both he and I had our slowest races of the year today.|
|Renee High is a phenomenal runner... she was the first local woman across the finish line with a time of 1:22!|
|David doing his post-race carb loading.|
|The backyard of our fabulous hosts!|
|Joey and Charlie Tuna get some quality time together. My turn next!!|
Race number 14 is in the books, my official time was 2:05:55. Next up, a trip to Boston this week for another presentation then off to Philadelphia for the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon... see you there!