This Saturday, I completed the Virginia is for Lovers 14K. Luckily, we live about 10 minutes from the race site (the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater in Virginia Beach) so I didn’t have to get up too early to be ready in time. I got up around 6 and had a bowl of cereal and got all of my gear together.
We got to the ampitheater around 7:15 and there was a little bit of traffic getting to the parking lot, but we made it with time to spare. It was so cold standing around waiting for the race! They delayed the start by 15 minutes. I think that was due to the traffic getting into the parking lots.
Overall, this was the most fun race I’ve participated in so far. The only thing I would have changed is for them to put up those markers at the start that indicate where you should be according to your anticipated finish time. Because no one really knew where to stand at the start, the first half mile was a little crazy. There were walkers in front of me and fast folks behind me so I was trying to pass and being passed at the same time. Due to this, I started out faster than I intended and couldn’t get myself to slow down later when the crowd had scattered. I finally got myself to slow down to a 12:30 pace and was feeling really good until about mile 7. The last two miles were a definite struggle because the wind really started to blow and I kept getting snow in my eyes. I stopped to walk once to regain my energy and once because there was a hill that I couldn’t conquer with wind blowing in my face.
Even though the last few miles were a struggle, I was really excited because I knew I was going to finish the race faster than I had anticipated. My husband was waiting to cheer me on not long after the 8 mile mark, and that gave me a little kick to push the last bit of the race. The bibs for this race had the runners’ first names printed on them so it was cool that race volunteers and spectators would cheer me on by name throughout the race. The last bit actually had us running through the ampitheater and then back out to the finish line. It was a beautiful sight. They called out each runner’s name on the loudspeaker as they crossed the finish line, and that was pretty cool. My time was 1:49:55.
This is my first race with a finisher’s medal, and I’m so proud of it! Since it was Valentine’s Day weekend, the medal is heart-shaped, and they gave each woman finisher a carnation. There was a line to have a picture taken in front of a backdrop, but I was tired and freezing so I just wanted to grab my bagel and water bottle and get in the warm car. I think my husband and I are going to do it as a couples team next time so we’ll probably wait then to get our picture together.
I knew several people who were running this race, but in the crowd of 3000 participants, it was impossible to find anyone so we just headed home when I finished. I enjoyed some hot chocolate while icing my knees and IT band.
Here’s a picture of me with my medal and carnation: