A Simple Running Log

September 8, 2009

Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon race report

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:45 pm


I ran and finished my first half marathon. It was a hard race in which I learned a lot of lessons from my mistakes, but I did well and I’m psyched to do it again.

The crucial information:

  • Chip time: 1:54:10
  • Gun time: 2:04:19
  • Overall place: 2401/15792
  • Sex place: 675/9078
  • Division place: 175/1937

Yes, it was a bit more than four minutes slower than my goal time, but the way my legs felt when I hit the 10-mile mark, I was thrilled just to run across the finish line under my own power.

The whole weekend went really well. Kara, Clark and I left Seaford around 10:30 a.m. Saturday and made it to Virginia Beach with plenty of time to go to Dave’s apartment and make it to the health expo to pick up our race packets.

One cool surprise there — a short piece I submitted to a “Tell Us Your Story” link on the race Web site was published in the “Faces in the Crowd” section of the race program.

That night, we went to a barbecue at the home of a friend of Dave’s, where Kara got obliterated on wine and Maine moonshine. She was hysterical to watch. It wasn’t so funny anymore, however, when she came stumbling out of her bedroom after midnight, crying about how much she missed Huey. I told her I didn’t have time for that and to get to bed.

Surprisingly, Kara got up with the rest of us at 5 a.m. After a quick breakfast of cereal, we drove back to the house where the barbecue was to park. It was about a mile walk to the starting line. Once there, Dave and I got in line for the port-o-potties:

Port o potty line

Clark got some pictures of us waiting around before heading to our starting corrals:

Me and Dave before

Feeling strong before the race

Me before the race

The wheelchair division left at 6:40 a.m., the elite women at 6:45 a.m. and the elite men at 7 a.m., followed by the rest of us.

The two hour pace leaders were in my corral, so I wanted to get ahead of them, since I was aiming to finish 10 minutes faster. My corral was released, and it was so packed full of people moving much slower than I wanted to that I could see the pace leaders getting farther and farther away from me.

That’s when “start out slow” lost all meaning for me. I gunned it for the pace leaders. I moved up along side of them, and then tried to put as much distance between them and me as possible. I was cruising right along for the first half of the race, and hit the 7-mile mark in 58:31 — right on target for my goal time.

Somewhere between miles 9 and 10, the wheels started to come off. My hamstrings and calf muscles started screaming. At the water station near the 10-mile marker, I grabbed a cup of water and slowed to a walk to eat a GU energy gel packet I’d gotten at the 6.7-mile water station. I ripped off the tab and squeezed some of the blueberry-flavored gel into my mouth. And nearly threw up. It was like hot, super-sweet toothpaste. Disgusting. However, it’s full of carbs, so I choked down as much as I could, hoping it would help my leg muscles. I washed it down with the water and took off running again.

Those last three miles were so hard, especially the unbelievably steep bridge before the 11th mile marker. Thank God I spotted Kara and Clark in the crowd not far after the bridge. That was a much-needed morale boost.

Clark got a shot of me at about mile 10.7, looking like I felt MUCH better than I really did:

Me at 10.5 miles

And here’s Dave at that same point, not even looking like he’s broken a sweat!

Dave at 10.5 miles

The course looped around at that point, and Clark caught me again at about mile 11.5:

Me at 11.5 miles

Then we made the U-turn onto the boardwalk for the homestretch. My legs hurt so freaking bad, but I wanted more than anything just to finish. I passed a guy sprawled out on the boardwalk with medics swarming over him, less than a half mile from the finish line.

I made it to the finish line. It was such a great feeling — knowing I had completed something that really took a lot of effort to do. And I wasn’t far off my goal time. I’ll get that in Rehoboth.

Clark got me there, too. You can see me through all the thunder sticks:

Me at the finish line

In the runner’s chute, volunteers gave us cold towels, bags of ice, water bottles, Cytomax, bananas, popsicles, corn chips, a recovery bag with bandages and sunscreen and, most importantly, our finisher’s medals.

Kara and Clark found me, and then we headed to the family reunion area on the beach to meet Dave and Kasey. As expected, Dave smoked my time — 1:39:42. We had matching blood blisters on our left feet. Here’s mine the day after:

Race souvenir 2

Anyway, we hung out on the beach for a while, drinking our complimentary MGD 64s and soaking our feet in the water.

You can tell how hard I was working by all the veins popping out of my forehead!

You can tell how hard I was working by all the veins popping out of my forehead!

Me and Dave after the race

Then we went back to Dave’s apartment and took showers before walking to Red Robin for lunch.

Me at lunch with a tall draft

Beer and a chicken bruschetta burger never tasted so good.

Two days later, I feel great. I didn’t do anything yesterday except drink the first Dogfish Head Punkin Ale of the season. This morning I did some weight lifting, and tomorrow I’ll do a 4.5-mile easy run.

I thought I’d be hit hard by that “day after Christmas” feeling after the race, but I wasn’t. I’ve never been so pysched about running, honestly. I feel like I have a lot left in me, in this distance and others, and I’m just getting started.

Plus, it looks like Dave and I have started a new family tradition. We both want to run this race again next year, and Kara does too. She’s even trying to convince Huey to do it too.

So we’ll see everyone in Virginia Beach next Labor Day weekend for the race!


  1. Great post, with the exception of my introduction to Maine moonshine. Love the pics! They turned out nicely and I can’t wait for next year 🙂


    Comment by Kara Erskine — September 9, 2009 @ 7:50 pm | Reply

    • But your first moonshine experience was the highlight of the weekend, other than finishing the race, haha!

      Comment by aschmid3 — September 9, 2009 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

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