Sometimes the best races are the ones registered for last minute!!
At the beginning of this week, my friend Christine mentioned that she might be running a local race. Since she lives in the VA Beach area, I had to ask what race she was thinking about…and when she said it was the Virginia is for Lovers 14K, I was pretty sure I wanted in! Since Christine is running Princess Half in two weeks, she was thinking a good race could bump up her corral and me…well, I thought perhaps I could help, and well, I just love J&A Races!! We talked about it for a day or two and after realizing that the last day for online registration was midweek..so we registered and made plans for the race!! Second pacer race and first ever at this distance? I couldn’t wait!!
Excitingly, corral assignments came up this week – and Christine discovered she would be in A for the very first time…which took of some pressure for her, though she STILL rocked it out and PR’d her 10K time during the race…but more on that later I see many more Corral A’s in her future!!
So here it is…the race!
This was my first J&A event that was away from the busy oceanfront area of VA Beach, (like Shamrock Marathon and Wicked 10K) in the more residential area nearby the VA Beach Fieldhouse. With a 9 AM start and same-day packet pick-up (there was also an expo the day before) it was nice to have a bit of a leisurely morning!
After we picked up our bibs and checked our bags, we hung out in the FieldHouse as long as possible since it was a bit chilly outside! We scoped out the area and saw the cool (INDOOR!) finish line as well as the post-food areas and stage for the band. J&A really knows how to put on a party!!
Finally, the race emcee announced that we should be headed outside…so we scooted outdoors to the corrals (just across the street) and lined up!
After the anthem, we were ready to GO! Wheeee! The start was quick and after glancing down at my Garmin, I saw it was faster than we wanted to go so once we cleared the congestion, we settled into a nice 9:20-ish pace and chatted for the first few miles.
At the 5K point, we were about 29 minutes in and Christine was doing SO awesome! I loved running through the Farm Bureau Live Virginia Beach Amphitheater - complete with rockin’ music! Very cool!! Next up, we made our way toward the Hampton Roads Soccer Complex - this zone was so awesome, lots of Cheesy Pick Up Lines on signs for us to read!
Looping out of there, we had a small out & back through a residential area and then down a straightaway with plenty of cold-braving spectators, including volunteers and cheerleaders! That was definitely a boost!
Since this is a 14K,(apx 8.69 miles) it felt really great to pass by the 10K mark and still feel happy and energetic! That’s when I realized that we had just bested Christine’s previous 10K time by FOUR minutes! BAM! I was so excited to tell her that!!
Soon after that point, we could see the Fieldhouse in the distance and passed through the next themed area: Lovers Lane! There were people handing out candy, along with little photo back drop areas. We went by them, but it was cute to see people stopping and just enjoying themselves
Right about then, Christine told me to GO! She was handling the race beautifully and I knew she could finish super strong, so I made the executive decision to run the last .75 of the race at my 5K pace…now THAT is a total energy boost! I passed tons of people there at the end with that final kick and absolutely LOVED the finish line area, passing inside to the Fieldhouse and under the archway, where we received our medals and (females) carnations!
Exiting the chute, I rushed out as fast as possible so I could see Christine finish – I knew she would be coming soon – and I was right! Yayyy! I heard her name announced and tried to grab a photo or two (haha, not very well, may I add) and linked up with her ASAP so we could get our bags and our finisher’s food! MMM!
We enjoyed the post-race party and even saw awesome Mollie before heading out, runner’s highs intact! We really had a great time at this event and I know I would recommend it to anyone considering it in the future.
Once I got home, I had to make space for that fabulous new medal…and now, it’s time to enjoy a fantastic race reward: a cupcake from my fave Extraordinary Cupcakes (in Williamsburg) since it was on the way home Perfect weekend if you ask me!!
What are you up to this weekend?