Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon: Fun beach atmosphere and a fast last mile!

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Here’s the view as I was about to start the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 3. I like how you can see the Ferris wheel! (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

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Here I am right before starting the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

What better location for a post-race party than on the beach? That’s what you get at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, which I ran for the first time on Sunday, Sept. 3.

I ran this race for BibRave, and I packed up my BibRave gear Friday night, getting ready to leave early Saturday morning, when I’d run another race on the way — the Mike Sterling 10K. I picked up my friend Lynn on Saturday, and we both ran the Mike Sterling 10K before continuing on our way to Virginia Beach.

 

Upon arriving in Virginia Beach, Lynn and I met up with our friend Veronica and went to the Health & Fitness Expo. I had heard from Veronica about some of the cool stuff there, and I was excited to get a chance in the Brooks Running wind tunnel. It was like on game shows where people get in a box and try to grab flying money.

You had to spin a wheel for the chance to get in, which I did. I grabbed at pieces of paper, and there was a chance of getting free shoes, which I didn’t win. However, I had a lot of fun trying it out — and watching the video of myself.

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Here I am in the center at a fun photo op at the Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday, Sept. 2, with my friends Veronica (to left) and Lynn (to right)

Packet pickup went smoothly. There were no lines to get in like there were at Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington, D.C. earlier this year, and I was able to quickly get my race bib and shirt. Since the shirt from Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington D.C. ran on the smaller side, I decided to size up when I registered from a women’s medium to large, and I’m glad I did.

 

At the expo, I bought a wine glass with this year’s Virginia Beach race logo on one side and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series logo on the other side, along with a pink Brooks shirt that had a fun, summery race map on it.

There were some fun photo opportunities at the expo, which I took advantage of. I also signed the Rock ‘n’ Roll banner and the Jaybird banner, using the hashtag #bibchat.

For dinner, my friends and I carb-loaded at La Bella Italia, then returned to the hotel, which was right on the beach and not far from the start and finish.

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Here I am posing for an individual photo at the photo op.

In the morning, I put on my BibRave tank and Buff and headed to the start line with my friends — I had not run this race previously, but the start line was new this year, at 14th Street and Pacific Avenue. My expected finish time put me in Corral 6, which I think was a good place to be given that the 2:15 pacer was in my corral.

 

At 9:39, my first mile would be my second-fastest of the day — my fastest was my last mile, which I’m happy about. First, we ran north, but then we turned to go south on the main strip of Atlantic Avenue, by plenty of beach stores.

The course took us over a bridge — this was the only noticeable hill on the course for me, and we did hit it twice — out on General Booth Boulevard and through Camp Pendleton, then returning and heading up on that bridge again before finishing on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

It seemed to start out humid, and I decided to stop at all of the water stops, particularly since I’ve had hydration issues before. I used these as my walk breaks, and there were no other times when I was forced to walk. There were a lot of water stops, though — which is a good thing. The only one I didn’t stop at was the last one, as I figured I would have certainly no problem making it to the end at that point. Thankfully, there were shaded areas on the course.

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Here’s the race shirt, along with my bib and finisher medal. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Like in the St. Michaels Running Festival Half Marathon, I think stopping at the water stops kept me feeling great. I actually found myself feeling like I was not pushing enough and feeling almost too good. So, with about five miles left to go, I decided to try to step it up. I realized that I could likely come in ahead of my last half marathon time at the St. Michaels Running Festival — and I did, by 10 seconds.

 

I ran the last mile in 9:30, with the two preceding miles at 9:44 (Mile 12) and 9:51 (Mile 11).

My final time at Sunday’s race was 2:14:07, a 10:14 average pace. I ran the St. Michaels course in 2:14:17.

I never run races with headphones, and it was great to have the various bands along the course. It was also fun seeing the various people along the course on Sunday. Near the beginning of the course, there was a person who had a poster that was a photo of a cat.

The crowds in the downtown area early on weren’t too loud — a fellow runner told them he or we needed the crowd support — but as the course went on, there were various groups cheering us on and people with ice pops. I really appreciated a guy at about Mile 6.5 who was spraying runners with a hose. I took the spray, and I felt like it really refreshed me for the rest of the race.

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This was a fun decoration to run through on the course! This was the only photo I stopped for, as I was trying to keep up a good pace. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

After finishing, I received my finisher medal and continued along in a food line. It took a while to get to the end of the line, and it was tough to hold everything, but after taking a brief break to sit and eat a ice pop, I met up with my friends and we got our post race beers — which said “Run Done Beer Now” on the can. We could hear the music of the post-race party, and the headliner was Sister Hazel.

 

The half marathon bib also got us into the American Music Festival that evening, and my friends and I saw 3 Doors Down and The Wallflowers while sitting in the sand. We also got to enjoy other time on the beach.

Since I also ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington D.C. Half Marathon earlier this year, I will be getting the Double Beat Heavy Medal in the mail. I also ran that race for BibRave.

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Here I am after finishing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon.

I’d definitely like to run this race next year. Interested in running? Get in for the lowest rates by Sunday, Sept. 10, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time (2:59 a.m. the next day Eastern Time).  Events for next year will be held Sept. 1-2, 2018, and it’s currently $59 for the half marathon, $30 for the 5K and $19 for the Mile in the Sand – register here.

 

Splits: 

Mile 1: 9:39

Mile 2: 10:33

Mile 3: 10:25

Mile 4: 10:10

Mile 5: 11:16

Mile 6: 10:10

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Here’s my Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon finisher medal with the backdrop of the beach, taken from our hotel balcony. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Mile 7: 10:35

Mile 8: 9:59

Mile 9: 10:03

Mile 10: 10:18

Mile 11: 9:51

Mile 12: 9:44

Mile 13: 9:30

Last part (watch had .22 or .23): 1:55

Total: 2:14:07 / 10:14 pace (official time – watch had 2:14:08 / 13.23 miles and 10:08 pace)

Check out my BibRave review here.

Like She Runs by the Seashore on Facebook here

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