First things first, I simply LOVED the Crawlin’ Crab Half. This event marked my 7th half marathon this year (what?!) and the 10th race of my 13 in 2013 challenge (only 3 more to go!) I drove down to Hampton, VA on Saturday afternoon and headed straight to the Expo, held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center (a gorgeous facility btw). The Expo itself was small and fairly empty. Perhaps after going to so many of these the allure of the Expo has worn off but there isn’t much to report on this one. While it may have been more abuzz in the earlier hours (got there at 3, closed at 6) at least I was able to pick up my bib and swag quickly followed by a quick run through of vendors.
I did (of course) pick up some official merchandise, because really, how could I not get this shirt?
My favorite part of this transaction was the cashier asking me if I was doing the half and how many I’ve done. I had to follow up with this year or all time? Silly rabbit. 😉 Next it was on to check in to my hotel, followed by pasta and beer (for carbs!) and chillaxing on the beach to view the sunset and relax. Bloggers side note: my only gripe stems not even from the race but the hotel. My non-smoking room smelled like smoke (ashtrays outside EVERYWHERE) and the toilet wouldn’t work. After 2 complaints and a major maintenance fail I asked for (and got) a new room AT 7:30 PM – so much for relaxation – AND that room also had a lingering smoke smell which caused me to develop a major headache. No bueno running 13.1 on a second hand smoke buzz. Smoking is gross, unhealthy and bad for you kids – end note.
On the bright side my hotel was a 5 minute walk to the start line – a good thing because I overslept and departed 15 minutes before the 8 am start time, oops. But I made it and repped Corral 2 (2 y’all!!) The energy of this race was AH-mazing. I passed the Hampton University marching band on my way to the start, the race announcer was hilarious, inspiring and very appropriately dressed and though warmer than expected, the weather was beautiful.
I started out of the gate pretty quickly just to weed out of the herd and ran strong for the first 5K, which was done sub 30 minutes (28:47 to be exact). My favorite part of the beginning of the course were the crab jokes along the side of the road: “Where does a crab keep his clothes?” “The Clawset” – sorry but you need that kind of humor in a half!
Mile 1 – 8:58 / Mile 2 – 9:22 / Mile 3 – 9:26 / Mile 4 – 9:30
Around Mile 5 I stopped for hydration and took a handful of gummy bears. We went through Downtown Hampton (note to self: MUST return) and turning the corner past Mile 6 onto Chesapeake Avenue was this view>>>
and it continued for nearly 2 miles. I was zoned in at this point and breezed through the run.
Mile 5 – 9:17 / Mile 6 – 10:19 (photos!!) / Mile 7 – 9:57 / Mile 8: 9:50
Things got interesting at Mile 9. There was a hydration station so I veered to the right to get some water. As I slowed down to sip I passed a volunteer holding a hose who proceeded to point it at me and sprayed. Seriously? My first reaction was wtf? I did not ask him to spray me and while it was unseasonably warm the humidity was reasonable so I wasn’t overly heated. I worked up a nice sweat but was pleased my running skirt wasn’t sticking to me. Until this moment. I ended up soaked from head to toe and not happy. I had to stop, wring off, and walk which was not my plan. It also ended up being my slowest mile of the race when I was doing well time wise (my 9 miler was sub 90 minutes!) Grr.
After recovering from that nonsense I just kept going determined to finish strong and under 2:10. Around Mile 11 the crab jokes started up again which I found cheesy and completely humorous (“What do you call a crab who plays baseball?” – “A pinch hitter!!”) As I hit Mile 12 spectators were out in full force offering high fives and awesome support. One guy saw me rounding the corner and seeing the earnest look on my face clapped hard and shouted “smile, you got this!” so I did :). Then a group of ladies from Black Girls Run saw me and just started hooting and hollering, “you go girl!” I couldn’t stop smiling at all the encouragement of strangers. I picked up the pace and saw the finish in front of me: Mile 9 – 11:08 (don’t get me started) / Mile 10 – 9:35 / Mile 11 – 10:11 / Mile 12 – 10:27 / Mile 13 – 9:41
Final race result was 2:09:09!!
I won’t stew on the Mile 9 debacle that cost me several precious minutes but all things considered I am pleased with the end result. Following the finish I headed to the post race festival which was pretty cool.
It was inside the Convention Center (meaning A/C, yay!) and participants were given 3 free beers (yes, I said THREE), a bread bowl of Kickin’ Corn and Crab Chowder from Baker’s Crust, and treated to live music. The band was great and played a variety of pop and rock tunes. I also met a new running friend! Though my headache lingered and resurfaced for the entire drive home I thoroughly enjoyed this race and cannot recommend it enough. The course was nice and flat, race well organized and staffed (J&A!!) and the medal was so darn cute: