Tips from the Rock n Roll Half in VA Beach

15 Sep

So dear reader, what is your take from reading our blog?  Sure, the satisfaction of living vicariously through our unique adventure is obvious.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to do that???  But Emily and I feel it is our duty to give back to the community, improve the world, and all that jazz.  So our gift to you is an insider’s look into all the gems and mishaps from each race.  You can expect to find food reviews (because we both LOVE food), travel tips, event info, and miscellaneous pearls of wisdom.  So, without further ado, let’s get on with it!

2010 Rock n Roll Half Marathon – Virginia Beach, VA

(Yes…this review is cheating.  We know we live here so we have a different take on things at this race.  You’re just going to have to get over it.)

FOOD

1. Pasta Party – There is NO pasta party at the VA Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon.  Awwww…  But not to worry dear carb nut!  If there was a pre-race Pasta Party you’d certainly miss out on one of VA Beach’s hidden restaurant treasures.  When looking for the BEST pre-race pasta meal, there is only one place to go – Reginella’s Italian Ristorante on Virginia Beach Blvd.  Best italian around by far.  Our personal favorites are the Spaghetti Carbonara (so creamy) and the Gnocchi (light as pillows).  And you have to try the pizza and canzones.  Yum!

2.  Energy Stuff – Thanks goodness for kind people to stand alongside the road and pass out water, sports drinks, and power gels.  You are a blessing!  The VA Beach RnR Half does an outstanding job of fueling you up during the run.  There are plenty of hydration stops throughout the course that provide both water and Cytomax sports drink.  WARNING: If you have never had Cytomax, it’s really sugary!  Mile 6 gave us our one and only Gu gel stop.  Although promised a wide variety of flavors, the RnR was lacking there.  What we got was Blackberry, Blueberry, and Vanilla; none of which was on the website list of flavors.  The good news is, at mile 6, we were so famished that honestly flavors hardly mattered at all.  Emily had vanilla and seemed to like it alright.  I enjoyed a pack of Blueberry which was surprisingly more tolerable than I expected.  Tasted like pie filling except not as sweet.  Pre and post race food was the usual.  Bananas, crackers, water, bagels, etc.  Bonus perk for finishing all 13.1 miles…  Bomber popsicles and MGD beer!  What a reward!

TRAVEL

1. Okay, not much to say here since we have an apartment 12 miles from the oceanfront.  My advice, if you’re traveling into the area, stay in one of the hotels on Atlantic Ave.  First, you get to stay on the beach.  Obvious choice.  Secondly, there are a ton of shuttle stops on Atlantic Ave to take you to the start line on race day.  Avoid traffic and parking issues.  Just be prepared to deal with a lot of people near your hotel on race day since the RnR Half ends on Atlantic.

 RACE PERKS

1. There’s a reason it’s called the “Rock n Roll” Half Marathon.  There’s tons of music!!!  Who needs an ipod when you get to listen to a new band at every mile marker.  We got to hear tons of talented local bands.  We were even surprised at how young a couple of the groups were and how good they were.  Emily really liked the group that played Poker Face.  Although good, my preference was the Thriller Dance Group.  True, they weren’t a band (the music was recorded), but they danced to all Michael Jackson songs which was awesome.  At mile 10 I got to hear and dance along to Thriller.  Too much fun!

2. Free concert.  Yes…FREE.  Well, sort of.  Your race bib is your ticket and as long as you registered for the race (and paid the entry fee), you are in.  This year’s concert was Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon.  Not gonna lie…we didn’t go.  WE WERE TOO TIRED!!!  (Yeah, lame excuse.  Still the truth.)  But we saw the concert set up.  It’s on the beach and they have booze!  How can you beat that!?!

 PEARLS OF WISDOM

1. Parking – Do NOT park at the Virginia Beach Amphitheatre as suggested by the race people.  There is plenty of free parking two or three blocks from the waterfront near 30th Ave.  Save yourself the time and hassle of being 30 minutes from the start/finish lines and park on the street.  You can get a shuttle from Atlantic Ave. right by the block where you parked.  5 minutes and you’re at the start line and back at your car afterwards.  WAY better than leaving your car out in BFE at the Amphitheatre.

2. Props to Hampton Roads Transit.  Never thought I’d say this but they rocked on raced day.  A) They use hybrid buses.  Too cool.  B) They had tons of assets supporting the race.  We never had to wait for a bus and there were even employees by the bus stops directing shuttle riders and drivers.  Super organized and super efficient.  Way to go!

3. Put sandals in your car for after the race.  Your feet will thank me later.

4. Which takes me to shoes.  Get your shoes fitted to your foot at a professional running store!  You’ll avoid injury and again, your feet will thank me later.  And oh by the way…DOUBLE KNOT YOUR LACES!!!

5. You do not need to wear a belt with 20 bottles of water on race day. That’s what water stations are for.  Unless you have a compromised immune system, you’ll be fine!  And who knows, you might even drop some time off your race by leaving the added weight at home.

6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  48 hours in advance minimum!  If you’re pee isn’t almost clear the morning of the race, you’ve failed.  You do not want to visit the medical station.  If you don’t finish you won’t get your cool medal at the end.

7. Dri-fit is a gift from God.

In summary…DO THIS RACE!!!  This a great half marathon.  The course is awesome (minus miles 6-9 in Camp Pendleton); the event is well planned, organized, and executed; the route is almost completely flat so your time will be fast; it’s a blast to run/walk with 20,000 other people; and best of all – you’re at the beach!!!  Can’t beat that!!! 

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