RnR Virginia Beach (1:31.48)

This was the first half marathon I have raced since April 2014. It’s funny because for a long time I was well known to race as many as half marathons as possible.  Now I’m known to race too many 5ks and believe me there is a huge difference.

Unlike 5k recovery, I’m a few days out from the race but I still feel like I was hit by a semi truck.

I wanted to do Rock and Roll to see where my fitness was. I knew the race was hot and humid but it would at least give me an idea of where my distance fitness was.

My “In my dreams” goal was under 1:30 and my main goal was to run faster than Shamrock (a race I ran in March coming off of the Phoenix marathon and with an injury.  It wasn’t my smartest move but it’s one of my favorite races).

The race:

Rock and Roll always requires an early wake up call. Dad, Tim and I left my parents house at 4:50am. We got to the race around 5:45, parked and went to the start. We stood in line for the bathroom, delayered and talked to personal friend Marie. By the time I knew it, I was lined up at the start talking with Kris and Michele. (See the trend of talking?)

Within the first 100 meters I knew I felt awful. My legs felt sore and it was extremely humid. I also realized I had a lot more than 3.1 miles to go.

Rock N Roll Virginia Beach

The first mile was uneventful. I ran by myself until Tim somehow caught up to me. While it wasn’t on purpose we did end up running the entire race together. This is probably the first and only time we will be at the same fitness level for a half marathon. This is actually the first and only time we have run an entire race together. We hit the first mile at 6:40. A mile that was faster then many of my 5k miles…

The second mile was uneventful.  I still didn’t feel great. I told Tim straight up: ‘I feel like dog meat and I will probably bitch the entire time”. Some random things I said:

  • We still have 11 miles to go.
  • I should just peal off at the 5k.
  • Why did we sign up for this…
  • Shoutout from the lead cyclist (ha thanks for the shoutout Gene!)

We hit the second mile in 6:50. I thought this would be the ultimate regression race where I just kept adding 10 seconds per mile (or maybe more).

By the third mile my legs began to loosen up into a 6:50 pace. I was beginning to feel more confident in the race. I ran mile 3,4,5 between 6:50-6:53 miles. Each mile felt progressively better but I knew the heat was taking it’s toll.  I was glad my heat regression hand’t begun just yet…I grabbed gatorade at the first available stop.

During mile 6,we went through the neighborhoods. I hit the halfway point at exactly 45 minutes. I thought to myself…maybe I can do this thing of keeping an exact even split and breaking 90 minutes. Then I thought LOLZ no it’s hot and humid. Only super elites can negative split this race.

Mile 7 and 8 were the mentally toughest. They were both 6:58 miles and I felt the effects of the weather setting in. My hair was getting bigger, I sweat through my top and I needed electrolytes. I took Gatorade around mile 7.

By mile 9 I told myself I had 4 miles to go. I had several thoughts propelling me through such:

  • I had done 4 miles of speedwork a few days prior.
  • That’s less than half an hour.
  • I’m kind of going the direction of the finish line…maybe.
  • I think that is the part where I see my friends soon.

I also began focusing on a few women several yards in front of me.

During mile 10 I knew the bridge was coming up but I told myself…well it’s about 8 am and most of your 5ks start around now anyways. “Just think of yourself running a 5k.”

RnR Virginia Beach

Mile 11 was the hardest and slowest mile. I ran a 7:22 over the bridge. We were now facing the headwind and that wind was very noticeable. When I turned onto the boardwalk I felt like the wind had propelled me backwards. I focused on the last mile.

We were running next to an older gentleman who had a water bottle tucked in his pants. It caused him to occasionally give a full moon. I really wanted to pass him and ultimately we passed him at 12.85. It took a lot of energy that I really didn’t think I had.

I crossed the finish at 1:31.48.   My clock time was 1:31.51 and my chip time was 1:31.48. I was 92nd person overall and 15th woman and 4th in my age group. I have to admit though this is the second time I have gotten fourth in my age group at this race. RnR awards are always awesome!

Post Race
Post Race

At the end of the race I witnessed a young man receive CPR as well as be air lifted on the Nightingale.  It was extremely heart wrenching and my thoughts and preyers go out to him and his family. 


I’m happy with this race. Although it is about 9 minutes slower than my PR, it gives me a good base line.   The weather definitely took a hit for everyone (even the elites said it was a hard day). Hopefully this race begins some fun fall races for me.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race distance?

How was your Labor Day Weekend?


  1. If anyone negative split that race then they are my run hero. That weather and course is downright mean. So glad I got to see you and I cannot wait to see your finish line photo!

  2. Great job on running a smart race. It seemed like you were really in tune with your body and how you were feeling on that day. I don’t think you gave yourself enough credit here – you ran an awesome half on what I would call tired legs (didn’t you run 70 miles that week!) and did a speed workout just a few days before! You are amazing, lady!!!

  3. Nice race! It was definitely miserably humid. My only goal for this race was to negative split and run my goal marathon pace and was able to do both so I’ll call it a win. I like this race but the middle miles (7-10ish) always suck a lot I think…boring and not many spectators.

  4. My favorite distance is 13.1. I love reading your race recaps. I ran 17 miles over Labor Day. I am traiking for the Diva Half on the 26th. My goal and PR would bexpect a finish that is Sub 2. You motivate me to keep running and reaching for that goal. Thank you!

  5. That is an awesome race on a hot day, and thank goodness that you finished safely. It always scares me to see others falling down during races or needing medical assistance. Really puts things into perspective!

    Loved your recap- great job 🙂

  6. Great job running such a hot race! I’ve been wanting to do this and Shamrock for awhile now… maybe 2016 will be my year. The last half I ran I saw about 10 people being taken away in ambulances and collapsing. It was extremely sobering and never leaves a good feeling in your stomach. Hopefully they are okay.

  7. This is so awesome, Hollie! I cannot even imagine running, let alone racing, 13.1 in this crazy heat! I’m so glad you and Tim got to race together, too – you guys are the best!

  8. Great job! I love getting an honest, current baseline (not something I did 2 years ago). Half is my favorite distance!

  9. great job! i know how the heat and humidity and really effect the running especially when you havent been training in it (houston native here 🙂 ). i love the 10k you dont have to train extremely hard for it but its still more challenging than a 5k. i try to do half marathons though to keep challenging myself

  10. Congrats, Hollie! Definitely an awesome race given the circumstances. I’m garbage in the heat, and high humidity makes me even worse. That part about the man needing CPR is terrifying, though. That’s one of the biggest things that keeps me from pushing myself harder when I run — I’m always afraid to go too far.

  11. That fact that you kept moving forward makes you a pro in my book! I saw my parents at mile 6.5. Stopped. And debated getting in the car with them!

  12. Nicely done! I’ve had all those same thoughts during a race lol congrats on a great race. As the temps drop do will the race times 😉 my favorite distance is the marathon. Nothing beats it.

  13. Oh I hope that young man is okay. This weather is the worst. I’m so over it. Way to go on a tough day. Rnr va beach always has tough weather!

  14. Hollie, you have so many thoughts during your race! I swear I think almost nothing when I race, except for when I get near the end and I have to talk myself into picking it up 😀 Congrats on your race! I’m glad you’re healthy again and feeling relatively good 😉

  15. I am slow catching up on blog reading. We also ran RnR VA beach and found the weather to be about usual for the race. I never expect to PR and just hope to finish strong. I have a question….I saw you mentioned good awards from RnR and you placed 4th. Will be receive an award? I was 5th in my AG

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