Disclaimer: As a Rock ‘n’ Blogger I received complimentary entry into this past weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll races. As always, all opinions are my own.
This past Saturday I kicked off the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach weekend fun with a new to me race – the Mile on the Sand. When I decided to sign up for this race I thought to myself, “How hard can it be to walk a mile on the beach if I’m wearing shoes?”
In anticipation of the Mile on the Sand, I completed a couple of mile (or longer) walks on the beach when we were in Florida last month. And those walks were completed barefoot. Granted, my walks were down by the ocean and on a Gulf Coast beach as opposed to on an Atlantic Coast beach, but still, I thought that those walks would prepare me for this race. Boy was I ever wrong.
Since we arrived in Virginia Beach Friday night after the expo had closed for the day, we arrived at the oceanfront well in advance of the 8:30 a.m. race start time so that I could pick up my bib. Bib pickup was a breeze, and less than five minutes after arriving my bib was pinned to the front of my shirt. Unlike with the half marathon, the Mile on the Sand was self seeded. There were signs posted ranging from seven minute mile pace up to 12 minute mile pace. I lined up towards the back of the 11 minute mile pace group figuring, there was no way that this race would be that difficult.
Just before 8:30 the National Anthem was sung, and then race officials slowly started moving participants towards the start line. During last year’s inaugural race there had been an issue with overcrowding on the sand which resulted in sand flying everywhere. As a result, the corrals were nicely spaced out this year, and as I slowly made my way towards the start line I not only got to see people start the race but finish it as well since it was an out and back course.
Just before 9:00 a.m. I crossed the start line, and as soon as I started walking the race I knew it would be anything but easy. My shoes quickly filled with sand, which caused my toes to become very squished, and made walking in the sand even more difficult. The further I walked, the more I realized just how much of a calf and leg workout this race was going to be, but I kept on trucking and moving forward.
I eventually reached the halfway point, and started making my way back towards the start/finish area. Despite how difficult the race itself wound up being, I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery of the race. If I could, I’d go to the beach every day of my life, so completing a race on the beach was a dream come true. I crossed the finish line at 17:56, by far one of my slowest walking paces ever. But it didn’t matter since I was at the beach.
After crossing the finish line I received my medal, water, and a couple of snacks, and quickly met back up with Preston. I also retrieved my beach towel, and then we headed out towards the ocean to take some post race pics before making the almost mile walk back to the convention center where we had parking our car.
We arrived back at the convention center shortly after the expo had opened for the day. After quickly changing my shirt in the bathroom, we headed into the expo to retrieve our half marathon bibs for the next morning. Like what we’ve experienced at previous Rock ‘n’ Roll expos, the expo was well organized and the lines for bib pickup were either short or non-existent. We browsed the official merchandise, but were underwhelmed by this year’s selection. Preston usually likes to get a pint glass to commemorate his major races, but for whatever reason there weren’t any pint glasses available for purchase at RnRVB this year. The one item that did catch my eye was a Rock ‘n’ Roll onesie, which I thought was adorable and perfect for our little guy since this was his first half marathon. However, the price tag was a huge turnoff, and with how quickly babies grow I decided that the cute onesie wasn’t just worth the price.
After picking up our bibs and browsing the official merchandise we walked around the expo for about half an hour or so, but in general felt underwhelmed by this year’s expo vendors. It also seemed as though there were fewer vendors there than in years past, and the one and only purchase of the day that we made was a pair of Nike Tempo shorts for me that were on super sale at the Sports Authority booth.
Despite the lack luster feel of this year’s expo, it was overall a great morning and a great way to kick off race weekend.
QOTD: Have you ever run or walked a race that you thought would be a walk in the park but turned out to be otherwise?