The Allen Stone Run Swim Run is one of my favorite races. I didn’t travel back to Virginia just to do the race but the timing worked that I was around anyway. The Allen Stone Run Swim Run is a 1k run on the beach followed by a 1k swim back in the ocean and then a 5k run on the boardwalk. The Virginia Beach boardwalk is cement so it is fast although you also dodge tourists on the boardwalk.
Many people know, but I grew up a swimmer. I have since stopped *really competing* in swimming events. I’ll occasionally do an open water swim but really the only time in recent years is at the Allen Stone Run Swim Run.
Anyway, I got to the Allen Stone Run Swim Run around 7 am. The 5k starts at 7:45 and the RSR starts at 8:15.
I ran a 2-mile warmup and headed down to the start line. For me these days, I consider the 1k on the beach a wash. No matter your speed, you don’t have a huge advantage. The 1k swim in the ocean is my weakest link, as I have not competitively swum in years. The 5k run on the boardwalk is where I make up the most time.
Allen Stone Run Swim Run 1k Beach Run:
The first 1k of the Allen Stone Run Swim Run is on the beach. It’s my least favorite part of the race, because it’s such a cluster. You are running a 1k on soft sand with about 200-300 other people. If you don’t fall, you’re probably doing a good job. My goal remains to not fall and I was able to stay upright. I ran the 1k in about 8 minute pace. I was 15th woman going into the water.
Allen Stone Run Swim Run 1k Swim:
It’s hard to know how you are “really doing” in the open water swim. Usually, they chose the race to go with the current. This means that usually the swim is fast. When they were doing the safety brief, they said it was a “runners race” because there was no current. I thought, perfect for me. When swimming, I felt extremely slow. It felt as though I wasn’t making any progress despite working hard. I hadn’t been in the pool in about 10 days (I planned to go once in VA but the gym said “no guests”).
Had the desert made me that out of shape? I ended up swimming the 1k in about 25 minutes. To give you reference, I’ve done the 1k in less than 15 minutes every other year I’ve done it. It would be like adding 10 minutes to a 5k running time and wondered what happened.
After the race, we found out the current had changed directions and we were actually swimming against the current. It made me feel a lot better since I was moving so slowly. I came out of the water as 7th woman overall. Someone shouted “you’re 7th woman” and I was like…oh really? I couldn’t have doing too bad.
As I was finishing my transition, I saw my dad shortly behind me who had a great swim.
Allen Stone Run Swim Run Boardwalk Run:
As we headed into the boardwalk run, I knew I would have to run well to move up. I knew several women ahead were very good swimmers, but if I ran around a 20 minute 5k I could catch them. The problem was, I didn’t feel good at all. It was one of the more hot and humid days VA has had, plus my body just wasn’t feeling good. After being away from races, it’s hard to come back to one and “not feel good”. I just pushed what I could do.
My first mile was 6:48 and I laughed. Well, that’s what I’m doing I guess-a 21 minute 5k. I passed two women and felt good about that. At the turn around, I saw another woman and I passed her. I thought I was in third until someone yelled “you’re first woman overall”. I didn’t quite believe it, but just kept plugging along. I hit the second mile in 6:44. It was windy, hot, and my body was tired. I told myself: one more mile to go.
Around mile 3, a woman sailed by me like I was standing still. I hit mile 3 in 6:38 and finished the 5k portion in 20:48. I was second woman overall.
Allen Stone Run Swim Run Thoughts:
I am happy with my race and glad I was in town to race again. The Allen Stone Run Swim Run is a lot of fun and if you are someone who hates biking like me, you will enjoy it. I was definitely sore for a few days afterward due to going against the current.
Questions for you:
Have you ever done a run-swim-run?
What race have you done the longest?