Like I shared in my expo recap, I had a migraine come on during our drive down to Virginia Beach Friday evening. After two doses of medicine, using a cold compress, drinking some ginger ale, and getting some sleep, I thankfully woke up the morning of the 8k in much less pain. I was tired and drained of energy (like I frequently am after having a migraine), but I was so glad to not have my head throbbing anymore, and that I was no longer nauseous. I was also glad that I would be able to run my first race of the Dolphin Challenge as planned.
One of the many great things about Shamrock was the pre-race communication, so we were well aware of the road construction in the oceanfront area. We made sure to leave our hotel in Norfolk with plenty of time to allow for traffic and possible delays, and 20 minutes after leaving the hotel pulled into the 31st Street parking garage. We were very thankful to have been able to park as close to the start and finish line as we did. We used the bathrooms inside of the Hilton connected to the parking garage (yay for real bathrooms on race day!), and then made our way towards the start line, where we met up with Jenny.
After saying goodbye to Preston (he elected to only run the half marathon and not the Dolphin Challenge like Kathleen and I), we headed to the corrals. All three of us were in Corral 4, so it was nice to have friends to chat with and hang out with prior to the start of the race.
The 8k started at 7:45 am, and within six minutes we crossed the start line. Kathleen and I had planned to not only run the 8k together, but to also take it easy since we were both hoping to PR at the half marathon the next morning. We ran 1:1 intervals (one minute run, one minute walk) up until the last half mile of the race, then ran a 2:1 interval, and then ran the rest of the way to the finish line. The 1 minute intervals went by really quickly! Both Kathleen and I have become used to running longer intervals, but we knew that we needed to hold back on our pace and to save our legs for the half the next morning.
I absolutely loved the 8k course. The entire course was in the oceanfront area of Virginia Beach. I was very familiar with the course that we ran, as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon course utilizes much of the same route. We started on Pacific Avenue running south, then after a couple of blocks made our way over to Atlantic Avenue, running south towards Rudee Inlet, and then at 2nd Street turned left, and then ran the second half of the race on the boardwalk. I absolutely loved how flat the course was (net elevation change of 21 feet), and being the big beach fan that I am, loved running about half of the race with the ocean as the backdrop to the course.
The crowd support was great, and the water stations were plentiful for the race (there were two of them), and they were well manned. My one and only complaint about this race was that water was only available on one side of the course. I wish that there had been tables on both sides of the course in order to avoid weaving and crowding at the water stations.
After crossing the finish line, we received our awesome 8k medal, as well as a Shamrock coozie. We also received a sugar cookie in the shape of a Shamrock (which was absolutely delicious), granola bars, pretzels, a banana, and a bottle of water. Post race we met up with Jenny and Julie on the beach (and celebrated Jenny’s 8k PR!), and then made our way to the post race party in the party tent on the beach. Inside of the tent we were able to enjoy Yuengling while listening to the band, who were spectacular. It was a great post race party, and very festive.
While inside of the tent we met up with Sarah. She shared her tips for the half marathon the next morning based on her experience running it in 2014. I was very appreciative of her tips, especially her forewarning about the head wind that we’d encounter at Fort Story.
After spending about an hour inside of the tent, we headed back to the hotel to shower, and then returned to the oceanfront for lunch at Waterman’s Surfside Grille. After lunch we spent some time walking around the oceanfront doing some window shopping. After stopping for ice cream, we spent over an hour sitting on the beach enjoying the gorgeous weather. Yes, it might have been in the 50s and I might have been wearing jeans and a jacket, but the sun was shining brightly and it felt fantastic to sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather. I forgot about how strong the sun can be even when its in the 50s, and may have gotten a slight sunburn on my face. Oops!
Later that afternoon we headed back to the hotel, and I took a nap before dinner. We found out that our hotel was hosting a special pasta buffet for runners, for an unbeatable price of $13.95 per person. It was nice to enjoy a leisurely dinner at the hotel and then relax a bit in the hotel room before heading to bed. Before bed, I laid out for my clothes for the half the next morning, packed my Gus and Clif Shot Bloks in my hydration belt, and headed to bed in hopes of getting a good night’s sleep before my big race of the weekend: my fourth half marathon.
QOTD: Have you ever gone to the beach when it isn’t “beach” weather?