Written on Saturday afternoon:
We are heading to Virginia Beach right now for my half marathon tomorrow morning—and driving my new “momma van!” We were going to wait until next year to buy it, but after riding with my kids in the car this past week, I knew it was time for something larger. I feel so blessed… it’s so spacious, I feel very safe in it, and we have a lot of “luxuries” that we’ve done without, like the DVD player for the boys (which is currently keeping them nice and quiet!) and the back-up camera. I don’t feel quite prepared, mentally, for the race, simply because of all the energy it took to buy the van, and the long runs that pretty much all went sour due to my GI distress. But that’s OK. I’m hoping I remembered everything I need, and hoping I get to the expo on time. It closes at 5 PM and it’s 2:30 PM right now. We have 121 miles to go… so we should get there right before 5, with any luck!
I wanted to evaluate my racing on the drive up, since this race was my very first race (ever!) 9 years ago this weekend. My friend AB had the brilliant idea—and I say that with just a hint of sarcasm! LOL—that we should run a half marathon over Labor Day weekend, back in the spring of 2006. We were seniors at West Point at the time. So, 4 of us piled in her Santa Fe, and we headed to VA Beach on a Friday night after class. It was a torrential downpour on the way down, and AB’s erratic driving had the other 3 of us, well, afraid for our lives! (and I mean no disrespect if you’re reading this, AB! You did get us there in one piece, thank God!!) In contrast, today’s drive has been most smooth… only a stop to close the hood (oops!), to switch drivers (since neither of us could figure out how to program the GPS system until an hour or so into the trip), and a potty break. It did downpour on us, but it’s now sunny, kinda strange.
When we arrived in VA Beach 9 years ago, I had made our hotel reservations for the DoubleTree originally, which split 4 ways was affordable for us cadets. I didn’t like how they charged my credit card ahead of time though, so I cancelled it and made reservations at the Days Inn. Well, we got to the Convention Center for packet pick-up, and saw the DoubleTree was next door… oops. Would have been a heck of a lot more convenient… and nicer! The Days Inn we stayed at was disgusting (i.e. hairs in the bed… GROSS!) and far away from the race site. So guess where the fam is staying this year? Yes sir, the DoubleTree 🙂
The day prior to the race? We walked Busch Garden. Not very smart, walking around all day, but had a blast nonetheless. And I think we got in for free. Gosh, we were such dorks, but man it was fun!
This year? Negotiating the purchase of the momma van, loading it up, and driving… albeit a bit last minute for everything. Oh well! Hopefully the legs will at least be rested. And we would like to get in the ocean when we arrive, if we have time.
The biggest difference? Going with my family. Hubby & 2 kids… if I could have seen the future 9 years ago, I think I’d be so pleasantly surprised how my life turned out 🙂 I’ve raced 27 times since then and now, so this is my 29th race (ever) and my 7th half marathon. I’m REALLY hoping this is a lucky #7 and I can beat my best time of 1:57, set in Germany in 2010.
My race strategy? Well, for starters, my IBS (what I think is causing all the GI distress) is the biggest concern. Everything hinges on things down below functioning properly. So I’ll be waking up at 4 AM to eat. I brought grilled chicken (maybe 3-4 oz), a sweet potato, and I’m going to buy rice. I have a banana and honey and bread if needed. I also bought Tums and Immodium for the ol’ belly. Hoping and praying that all is well down there tomorrow!
As far as the race, I’m going to carry Clif Shot Blocks and GU’s and/or Stingers for fuel. I’m not going to wear the fuel belt, but my Asics shorts have mesh pockets in the back for carrying the gels. The first few miles, I just want to take it easy (somewhere around a 9 min pace) and see how my stomach feels. I’m hoping to not have to stop for the bathroom but we’ll see. The outline for the race is as follows:
3 Clif Shot Blocks 30 min prior to start
Miles 1.6, take 1 Shot Block with water
Mile 3, take 2 Shot Blocks with water
Mile 5, take 1 GU with water
Mile 8, take 1 GU with water
Mile 11, take last GU with water
As far as pacing… all depends on how I feel. I’d like to at least maintain a 9 minute mile pace, which would put me right at my goal of 1:57. However, I feel I’m capable of faster than that, so we’ll just have to see. Nine years ago, I didn’t train much, and was only able to do about a 10 min/mile pace. We had to wake up at “the buttcrack of dawn” (something like 4 AM) and get there early for parking:
Weather—9 years ago was so bloody hot. I remember just being so hot and miserable at mile 9. I hit the wall bad. I didn’t know about fueling. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, so that may help me out (not overheating). Oh, and we took off way too fast, all of us following AB’s lead:
So interesting turn of events… we just got pulled over by a Virginia state trooper. It’s funny because 5 minutes ago we talked about not getting pulled over, but J is just trying to get me there on time. When we came 9 years ago, I was driving the first leg of our trip back to NY on Labor Day (Monday) and got pulled over, going 85 in a 65. Today we were doing 71 in a 55. We were able to talk ourselves out of it today (YAY!) but 9 years ago I wasn’t able to, and I got a hefty ticket of $180 or so, which really stung on cadet pay. Funny how we come full circle. Oh and my time was something like 2:11 when I ran in 2006. So please, if anything, let me beat that time tomorrow (since I hadn’t trained much at all when I ran that!)
Post race shots from ’06–we went in the ocean a bit, listened to 3 Doors Down, ate pizza and drank Mike’s, and I fell asleep from being sunburned and exhausted:
Now on to the Expo…