Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon 2015 (Virginia Beach, VA)

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As much as I would love to write an entry about how amazing this experience was, in some ways it was and in others it wasn’t. What I can tell you is that from this I have learned some extremely valuable lessons about what your body is capable of, and when it completely fails you in the end when it’s had enough…

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It started out like every other typical race morning. The corrals were packed, and the level of energy was high. Everyone was in good spirits, even though it looked like at any minute the sky would give way to a huge rain storm. I happened to be next to an awesome group of people who were joking and snapping pictures while we waited for our corral to launch. The best part of race day is making new friends in your corral while you’re waiting. It was extremely humid, but in my mind all I could think was a nice shower would cool things off right? Man, was I ever wrong about that. At 7:30something our corral launched, and it had already started to sprinkle lightly. By mile 2 the clouds opened up, and the rain was pouring down on us. Between losing traction with the ground, and the salty rain stinging my eyes – I am sure I looked like a newborn baby giraffe trying find my footing and manage a steady pace. At mile 3 my race buddy (and partner in crime) needed to use the facilities, and I should have taken that time to adjust my laces and tighten everything down since now I had a river flowing through my shoes – but for whatever reason – I didn’t. From there things just continued to go down hill for me…

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Honestly, I think by mile 9 we had done more walking than running. It was not the strong finish that I had been hoping for after my performance at Shamrock Half, and more than anything I just wanted to finish. I felt like such a disappointment to myself. I had to remind myself that there are people who wouldn’t do what we are doing even if you paid them, and I paid to do this. Pull your compression shorts out of your butt, put your big panties on, suck it up, and keep pushing through.  There is so much that I have learned from this experience, but here are a few important points… 1.) Running to music is definitely better than running to an eBook that you downloaded to try. While it may work for others, for me I was restlessly bored and couldn’t find my stride. Plan your music ahead of time, so you don’t get bored while you’re out on the course. 2.) When your feet get wet in your running shoes, it’s a good idea to tighten everything down to keep your feet from slipping around. As a result I experienced my first ever bruised runner toes, but fortunately did not lose my toenails as result. 3.) Extra hair ties are a necessity in the event that your only one snaps around mile 5 when you’re trying to pull up your hair for the hundredth time.

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Regardless of the time, we finished which is what we set out to do. Do I feel slightly defeated, of course – but I can tell you this – I am far from broken or giving up. If anything, it is fuel to fire me to push myself further, and be stronger for the next one. I also learned what my body is capable of. I am hypoglycemic, and I wear a Road ID bracelet with a medical alert badge, for this very reason. After the race we decided to just leave and head to meet our significant others out for a celebratory lunch. We arrived at our location about a half hour before they were to open, which gave my body just enough time to let my blood sugar crash. By the time the restaurant opened their doors, the onset of the drop was beginning to show. Everything was blurry, and I felt extremely light headed. Once inside I braced myself against the bar, and next thing I knew I was going to pass out. There’s nothing scarier to me than knowing I am about to pass out – I just know, and I know there is no stopping it. My friend asked me what I needed, and all I could mutter was “sugar”. Someone brought me a sugar packet, but I couldn’t get it open. I remember someone opening it, I tried to get it in my mouth, but ended up coughing on the sugar because it was too late. The back of my head hit the bar, and I slouched to the ground. Fortunately, I came around quickly and was able to get a soda down and ramp up my sugar level quickly.  So the final lesson I learned from this half marathon is to always be mindful of my levels, and bring something with me on the course to replenish my sugar levels. If you have any health concerns or issues, be sure to let others know about it prior to your race. If you don’t have a Road ID badge (or medic alert bracelet) write your medical conditions in permanent marker on the front of your bib in the event that you have an issue on the course, this way responders are able to help you quickly. Rock-n-Roll Half Virginia Beach is a tough course, between the heat and elevations. To my knowledge, 6 people were taken by ambulance from the course to a near by hospital for treatment, several others dropped out for a DNF, and others didn’t make the cut off for time and were bused ahead to the finish. I am thankful that I was able to finish on my own two feet prior to the cut off, thankful for my running partner in crime who swore she would never run a half marathon (but did this one so I wouldn’t have to be alone), thankful for the opportunity to run the next one stronger, further, faster.

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