The temperature for the the Virginia Beach Half Marathon was in the mid-80s, well within my range considering I had trained in heat as high as 100 degrees. I finished two training runs of more than 13 miles over the last two weeks, so the distance shouldn’t have been a problem. But the 90%+ humidity had my shirt wet even before I made it to the starting line.
As I reached mile 6, I heard one woman shout out, “Just mile 6? You got to be kidding me.” By that point, my socks were so drenched in sweat I felt as if I had been running in puddles.
By mile 8, my run pretty much became a walk. I even took a couple of sit-down breathers. As I rested on the side of the road, a dozen or so fellow runners asked “Are you alright? Should we get somebody?”
Although at times I wondered if the drop-out wagon would catch up with me, the slow pace carried me through. As I hit mile 11, I felt good enough that I could have probably started running again. But taking my time and enjoying the sites and sounds seemed to be the more comfortable option.
All-in-all, not exactly my best performance, but I finished. I know I need to get in better shape before my next half. And hopefully the weather won’t be so sticky.
Still, I wasn’t at the back by myself. There seemed to be quite a few slower runners. In fact, John Bingman, the most famous penguin, was in the race. I had planned to run the beginning of the race with his group. I started at the very back, where I thought he was going to be. But the author of The Courage to Start who was coming back from an injury apparently started slightly ahead of me. I likely passed him somewhere in the confusion of the first two miles and our paths never crossed.
The event itself was well run. The expo and the start went as smoothly as would be expected given the size of the event. Getting to the starting line proved to be a short walk from a drop-off point. At some races, I would have been forced to drop out because of my slow pace, but they really went out of their way to support the slower runners. The time limit was a very liberal 18 minutes per mile.
Given the humidity, it probably would have been good to have a couple more water stops. One of the early stops ran out of cups. While there were bands, cheerleaders and some spectators along the way, it didn’t compare to the energy level of major big city races.
Virginia beach is the largest city in Virginia at a population of nearly 450,000 and the 39th largest city in the U.S. In addition to the famous beach area, it is the home to four military bases and more than 170 farms.
24 runs down, 108 to go.
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