Allen Stone Run-Swim-Run Race Recap

The Allen Stone Run Swim Run has the most importance to me.  It was the first race I ever took first overall and it will always be hard to not compare myself to that. Allen Stone was a fallen Navy Seal, and this race is always well put together and a tribute to the fallen Seals and Seals in our area.   I’ve had so many different experiences from it.  Winning the race completely, DNFing because I developed a stress fracture…having a good strong finish…then this year…not having a great finish but not being injured either.

The night before I didn’t sleep that well.  I was nearly shook awake by my alarm when I normally wake up at the same time (5:30).  Dad and I drove to the race and were a little late…they were reading off names of fallen Seals and so we had to wait longer to get our bibs (respectable).  We got our bibs around 7:40 and for the 8:15 start, I did a 2 mile warmup and headed down to the beach.

The 1k run on the beach

Once the race was off, into the 1k run on the beach we went.  People were elbowing each other and pushing and shoving.  It was like post collegiate cross country.  I tripped and fell flat on my face.  Not a fall but fell and nearly got trampled.  The rest of the 1k was uneventful and I just did what I knew I was strong at and ran…I ended up tying with the first female into the water.

The 1k swim in open water

Which shocked my entire body.  The water, a cool 62 degrees due to upwellings sent my body into literal shock.  I was very close to saying no way.  I’ve had hypothermia before and even during my favorite race, it would not be worth it to me.  I allowed my body extra time to adjust to the water and then started swimming.  After that, I felt okay but the currents…being kicked in the face several times and my general unenjoyment of swimming kept it from being that fun.  The swim seemed to take forever and seeing the orange buoy was a glorious moment in my life and I headed into the transition area to change and start the 5k.  (Incase you wondered I was 16th female getting out of the water.  Yes 15 more females passed me).

If I looked any cuter a shark would have come up and gave me his number
If I looked any cuter a shark would have come up and gave me his number


I tend to be rather calm in transitions.  I don’t rush because then I’ll get flustered and be slower.  Off I went.  I think it took me roughly 1-2 minutes to take off my goggles and cap, put on a shirt and socks and shoes and get out of there.  Seemed good to me.

The 5k on the boardwalk:

The run started off really slow.  My legs felt like literal jello and they were freezing.  I was defeated when my watch was reading a 6:30 pace on flat ground.  I shouldn’t have been since it was windy and I had just ran and swam…but it is what it is.

As the 5k progressed, my legs started to feel better and better.  My miles progressively got faster (6:39, 6:37, 6:10).  I ended up passing 10 of the females and getting 6th overall.  My final time for the 5k was 20:10 and an above 20 minute 5k will never really be something I’ll be overly thrilled with anymore.  Not every day can be your day and not every race can be your race.


To give you an idea of how physically cold to the bone I was, I finished the 5k run in 85+ degree heat and was shivering from the swim. 

I think part of the reason I was upset about this race was because this race does have a lot of emotion for me.  I’ve won, I’ve lost, I’m injured…I had high expectations for this race and although it wasn’t a goal race it’s still no fun to not have a good race there.  I’ll move on though and have a good race another day.  I’m still due for a 5k PR eventually.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race of all time?

Racing in cold or hot? 


  1. Sorry it didn’t go as well as you hoped! It’s ok to feel disappointed! There’s always another day and another race, and I’m sure you learned a few things from this experience 🙂 Being cold is the WORST in my opinion.

    1. Thanks but either way this was still my most meaningful race so it was still upsetting. There are other races but not really a lot of run-swim-runs or races that have this much meaning to me.

  2. I’m a fan of racing/running in the cold….my ideal temperature is 30 degrees Fahrenheit. My favorite race this season has been the Rock n’ Roll Half Chicago which was this past Sunday.

  3. I’m sorry you didn’t have the race you wanted. That water sounds like it would make a lot of people cramp right up after running in that heat. Glad you are OK.

  4. The RnR Mardi Gras marathon is a favorite of mine: first distance race (a few weeks before I, casual occasional jogger, decided to run a half-marathon) first marathon, nice hometown race.

  5. Holy cow that sounds freezing!! I can’t imagine swimming in that and then getting out and having to transition to running. I am proud of you for sticking it out even if it didn’t meet your expectations. My favorite race is probably the pittsburgh 1/2!

  6. ugh, that cold water sounds awful!! I’m not sure what my favorite race has been yet, maybe the quartet marathon because it was the farthest run that I completed successfully!

  7. Sorry you didn’t have the race you hoped for, but finishing 6th overall isn’t too shabby. I’ve become super attached to my wetsuit, so I can’t imagine doing an open-water swim (in 62*F water!) without it. Also, great job bouncing back from the fall; that would’ve taken a lot of people out of their zone and ruined their entire race.

  8. It’s quite refreshing – and I mean this is no way offensively at all – to hear you struggle with a race. And I don’t want that to sound like I’m basking in your unhappiness of this race or the outcome, but it’s nice that you kept it real and said you felt it sucked and it was a sub-part performance. It’s so true, not every race is going to be a great race. It’s a shame that it was this particular one for you, but I guess I just happens that way. I’ve never been a fan of swimming, especially in icy cold waters – it’s seriously impressive in my eyes that you did as well as you did despite not having the best start!

  9. I could never run after a swim. I think I’m screwed for tri’s or anything which requires transitions because my body would be in physical SHOCK. You’re right, not every race can be your best and you haven’t been swimming so it is what it is. You have bigger things to look forward to anyway!

  10. Favorite race was the Hartford Half Marathon and the NYC Half. Hartford was run perfectly and everyone was helpful. NYC Half b/c you run through an EMPTY Times Square. I would rather run in the cold weather (even though there have been times that I thought my toes had fallen off in my shoes). Congrats on the race, I’ve never completed a multi-sport race but definitely want to do a duathlon (bike/run)!

  11. You still did awesome, seriously proud of you especially since you haven’t been swimming much!

    Favorite race/memorable is actually kind of similar to this. The Oak Tree Half Marathon (Labor day) is a local race near my hometown. I first did this race in 2011, it happened to fall on my birthday and no better way to kick off my birthday than with a half marathon. Well, I won. Nothing beat that feeling. It was a 5 minute PR and a win. Last year I was emotional running this race because everyone eyes were on me at the start to win again. Meanwhile what they didn’t know if that I was only a few months out from a broken foot and was still recovering. I ended up in 3rd I think, running the same time as previous year. But it was my first long race back after my broken foot and it was a sign I was headed in the right direction. Just holds a lot of sentiment to me.

  12. Ahh I remember my first triathlon I had no wetsuit in 60’s degree water and man oh man did that shock me, I honestly contemplated telling them I couldn’t do it. I ended up just sucking it up and doing it, but it was certainly very mental. I understand there was a lot of emotion for you for this race, but if it’s worth anything I think you killed it and you will do even better next year!

  13. Sorry it didn’t go as planned. Being so cold, definitely causes your blood vessels to constrict, which it turn, makes running miserable!
    On a positive note, your bathing suit is adorable!

  14. You are braver than I my friend. I have phobia of cold water from a few too many prideful plunges into lakes before season, the swim test at camp (mountain streams), and scuba certification -likely hypothermia. Plus neither you nor I have much body fat to speak of. I wore wet suits in Florida. No joke. So I give you major major props for hanging in there and battling it out. “Good” race or not, you stuck it out, got your legs back under you, and came back after a tough and emotional DNF last year.
    And you got a Wawa coffee to boot 🙂
    I’m proud of ya.

  15. I fully believe that PR is coming girl, but I wish it had been this one for you because I know it means a lot to you. You definitely don’t expect the VA Beach ocean to be that cold in July. But I have to end this with something super positive, that last picture up there? You look amazingly athletic! WOW girl!

  16. Wow- you did awesome, even without the pr. I can’t imagine how cold that must have been… I HATE cold water! I’m such a baby with northeast swimming pools and oceans where the water is freezing. You’re way tougher than me!

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