[caption id="attachment_2101" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Black Girls RUN! Founders (l to r) Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey"]
When I moved to Virginia Beach a year ago, every runner I met insisted that I run the Rock n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon
. The race got so much praise, I convinced Ashley that we should make it an official Black Girls RUN! race in 2011. Besides, who wouldn't want to run a race on the beach?
Unfortunately, I realized how difficult it is to train for an early Fall race. Between the heat and humidity, work and enjoying summer (maybe a little too much), finding time to train was tricky. While I slacked on my long runs, I upped the ante by working with a personal trainer for strength training and to work on my endurance. Boy did it pay off, but I'll go into that later. But, I'm not one to make excuses so my lack of training was something I was going to have to face on race day.
This was my first Rock n' Roll
race and I have to say I was pretty excited to finally experience all the hype around the series. It was created in 1998 and debuted in San Diego and thirteen years later, the series hosts more than 16 races across the nation. But what sets Rock n' Roll apart from the others? According to race organizers,
"the Rock n' Roll Series melds the excitement of a rock concert into an endurance event, infused with live bands performing at every mile along the course. Cheer zones complete with high school cheer squads and screaming fans fuel participants' motivation to reach the finish line."
In my book running and music is a match made in heaven, so what's not to like?
Each race in the Rock n' Roll Marathon series has a two-day health and fitness expo prior to the event.When we walked into the expo, it was outfitted with a red carpet, massive lights and music. I have to admit, I was totally feeling the rockstar vibe. Once we collected our bibs and t-shirts we were off to explore the expo floor. Granted there wasn't anything
spectacular or great about the expo (as you participate in races, you'll find some expos are better than others), I was excited to see Brooks
as a major sponsor (have you heard about the Brooks Run Happy Cavalcade of Curiosities Tour
?), as well as P.F. Changs
(they gave away fortune cookies with running fortunes). I was also excited to see Cytomax
, which has been a staple of mine since I was introduced to it by my husband, as well as Newton
The morning of the race, we arrived early to catch a shuttle to the start of the race. Luckily, we caught the next to last bus that was transporting runners from parking garages about 7 blocks away from the start line. Arriving at the race gets me every time. As predictable as the seasons, by stomach started rumbling and giving me trouble. Nonetheless, we caught up with a few members of Black Girls RUN! before heading to the corrals. I immediately noticed that they weren't strictly enforcing corrals which gave us an opportunity to start the race together. Now to the good (and bad parts).
- People dressed up in costumes. My favorite? Beaker from the Muppets.
- Plenty of water stations
- Cytomax stations and Gu station
- Variety of bands playing along the route
- Free concerts for race participants
- View of the ocean at mile 12/13
- Weather was overcast and cool miles 1 - 10
- Race results were posted by the time I got home
- Race photos were posted two days after the race
The race medals are AWESOME!! *bling*
- The race route went through some sketchy parts of Virginia Beach (i.e. Camp Pendleton. We're talking barracks and trailers)
- The route also had a lot of boring/non scenic area
- The sun came out in full force around mile 10
- Random: I didn't PR (but that has nothing to do with the course)
- The last 1.1 miles to the finish line on the boardwalk was horrible. The closer I got to the finish, the further away it appeared.
- The board walk was chaotic after the race. There wasn't enough room to let runners get to the family reunion areas without running into families also trying to get to the family reunion area.
- Random: I had a slight wardrobe malfunction at the beginning of the race. Yikes!
Overall, I give the race 3 running shoes (out of 5). With a more scenic route and a more organized finish, I'd definitely do it all over again.
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