Monday, September 16, 2013

"Run like a Diva" race training and expo race weekend-Part 2

PART 2-see previous post for Part 1

We woke up around 5:30 to leave the hotel by 6:30. We were only 20 minutes away from the Race location so we planned on getting there at 7am-30 mins before the race and before the race officials closed the roads at 715. Ali had sent me an email to meet her at 7am at the starting line, so I figured we would have plenty of time. 

I was so wrong!! We sat in traffic for TWO HOURS!! I was so worried when I missed meeting Ali was 7. Then I was worried they had closed the parking lot and roads when it was after 715. Then I was worried they would start the race without me. Then I was only worried about finding a bathroom before I peed myself. I had prepared for the race by drinking a big blender cup of water, ice and pre workout ARO concentrate, which generally means I have to use the bathroom 45 mins later. Sigh. It is so painful to have to go to the bathroom while sitting in standstill traffic for 2 hours. 

We eventually made it to the parking lots and they started the race at 9am (it was originally supposed to start at 730) I have no idea how they are going to fix the traffic issues for next year. I feel badly for the few women that did get there by race time and had to wait around for 90 mins. I read some facebook comments about some ladies being really upset about it and i totally understand and I would have been too! BUT I'm glad they waited because there were ALOT of us still waiting in traffic and it was NOT poor planning or my running late which caused delays. It was very poor race planning and small country roads with thousands of people all trying to get to the same place at the same time. 

Anyway-after parking I went over to find Ali at the starting line. I took a couple more pictures and we chatted for a few minutes. Then the race started!! I ran with Ali and two other girls for about 5 minutes or so, but then lost Ali so I quickly ran to the right side so I wouldn’t get trampled by all the hard core runners. I had to make my own running walking pace since I forgot my garmin watch at home. Which was fine because I had my ipod with my free Runkeeper app to help track my pace and mileage.

The course was nothing like they had described on the website:
Half Marathon Course Overview
The Divas Half Marathon® & 5K in DC’s Wine Country is set in Virginia’s picturesque countryside, just a few miles away from historic Leesburg and just 40 miles northwest of metropolitan DC.  The race will begin right outside Tarara Winery and will meander thru quiet country roads where you will be able to enjoy sights such as vineyards, horse ranches, old country churches, farmhouses full of character, babbling brooks and vast fields of green.  The route starts and finishes downhill and is softly rolling in between with only 2 areas of uphill running where you will gain less than 90 feet over 2 miles in each of these two sections.  As a true Diva run you will enjoy our “Diva stations” along the way, with entertainment spots and our famous Boa and Tiara station.  And the finish will be like no other in the Diva Half Marathon Series where you will finish inside Tarara Winery, a 435 acre farm stretching along the Potomac River, with the vineyards on one side and Shadow Lake on the other, creating the most romantic Diva finish line experience.
Sounds beautiful doesn’t it? When I previewed the elevation map I felt confident that I would be fine with the courses “softly rolling hills” since I’ve been training on pavement, trails, gravel and hills. The reason why traffic was so bad with parking and arriving was because this location was out in this small town with single country roads-which also made it pretty impossible for spectators to cheer or even watch the racers since the roads were narrow and only big enough for the racers. I didn’t see any vineyards, farmhouses with character or babbling brooks while running. (where did this person run-because it wasn’t where I was??!!). Half the course was in and out of “ritzy” developed neighborhoods and the other half of the course was up and down gravely roads. I would never have described this course as “rolling hills”. 

After reading comments on facebook ALOT of runners were really angry because they were not prepared for the course elevation and gravel roads and several people got hurt. Personally since this was my first half marathon I wasn’t going for a PR and these were the type of roads I have trained on here in Roanoke-I wasn’t bothered by them and didn’t get injured at all. (GO me!!) If I had only trained on flat paved roads and was expecting the Diva race to be like that-I would have been pissed off too. I was also surprised and disappointed they only had three bathroom stops during the race and 2 “entertainment stops” which was a person playing music over a loudspeaker. There were some people cheering us runners on throughout some of the neighborhoods so that was nice of them but I really wished there had of been more spot for spectators and family. I felt like I was doing race training by myself. This race was definitely not the hype they made it out to be!!

But personally-aside from the SERIOUS lack of bathrooms and spectators and getting started late-it was a good first (and last!) half marathon race for me!!

The first 5 or 6 miles started pretty easy for me. My race was around 14 something which was great for me! However, my ab area hurt almost the entire race though-like stomach cramps-which has never happened during any of my race training. I can only guess it was because I didn’t have any food on my stomach-being super nervous-and only having water with supplements in them for over 6 hours. After mile 8 I was so ready to be done with running. My lower back was hurting, I had a horrible sinus headache, I started to feel blisters, and my stomach hurt constantly-worse when I started to cough because of my cold. I kept drinking my water, blowing my nose, using my inhaler and my hylands legs cramps. I concentrated on my ipod music just to get me through. 

I was so proud of myself because I kept up with my pace and momentum up and down the gravel or paved “hills” –even running up some of them. I didn’t have to stop at all for any leg pain-honestly I was SHOCKED I didn’t have any shin splints or knee pain AT ALL this entire race-a first for me!! The course was pretty though-I loved seeing our VA Mountains and fields, and the neighborhood houses were very nice. The weather was PREFECT!! I had been so stressed about that for the past 2 months. Not a drop of rain, in the 60s, and slight wind almost the entire day which cooled my body down and I didn’t sweat as much. I couldn’t have ordered more perfect running weather so that was such a blessing!! 

My parents and 11 year old son met me on the course around marker 8.5 and 11.5 which was fun! They helped give me fresh water, Kleenex, stomach medicine, etc. When I saw them the second time, I was ready to just fall over and stop but they told me to keep going and that my husband and toddler were only half a mile up the road waiting for me. I kept telling my body to keep going because I was awesome, I had been training hard for this, and that I would never have to do this again!! J whatever works, right? 

It was such a relief to see my husband because I knew I was towards the end. I got closer and closer to the finish line. Can I just tell you I felt like killing the next person that said “keep going ALMOST there!” “Almost there” does not mean ½ mile or 1 mile further. “Almost there” means like a couple more steps in my opinion. Hehe. 

I went through the crown and feather boa station and thru the picture section and FINALLY to the finish line. It was SO COOL to hear them announce my name and city as I was about to cross! :-) then I got my awesomely huge heavy diva medal, a rose, and a little glass of sparking apple cider. The food section was super disappointing since they only had bottled water, green bananas, cookies and half bagels-but at that point I didn't really care about food. 

I was so done with moving after I crossed the finish line. My stomach pain was so severe at that point I just wanted to lay down and never move again! I was so exhausted I didn’t care about stretching out or staying hydrated. I finally got up enough energy to use the bathrooms one last time before slowly making my way back to the parking lot which felt like a million miles away. So depressed I didn’t have my fitbit because I know I walked over 15 miles with going back and forth to the car before and after the actual race. Plus my runkeeper said I actually went further than 13.1 miles for the race.  

I met up with my parents and other son-changed my clothes in their van in preparation for the 4 hours back home-got my son and his belongings in our rental car and headed back up the road. (my parents had picked my oldest son up from school on Friday and brought him to the race since we left earlier on Friday for the expo) This time it took over one hour just to get out of the race event area. At least we had food, drinks and activities for the kids in the car so it wasn’t a big deal to us to be sitting in traffic again.

We stopped off in Harrisonburg VA which is 1.5 hours from Roanoke to have a special treat at Panera bread after we all rested (except for the driver-LOL) in the car for awhile. My coworked had given me the sweetest Good luck card and some money before the race, so going to Panera Bread was my special treat for surviving my race. I got a broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl which was AWESOME!! It was perfect for my upset tummy and I felt 100% better after eating it! We also got a huge cookie and bagels with cream cheese which we planned on eating throughout the weekend. I got the special pumpkin bagel and oh my it was good!! We eventually got home and relaxed and unpacked from our trip.

I am pretty sore as I’m writing this blog post because I haven’t taken any ibprofin (we ran out at my house) and I didn’t stretch properly after the race but frankly I’m glad I didn’t have an asthma or panic attack or kill my knees. I met my goal of finishing the race before getting swept off the course, not hurting myself or having to go to the medic tent-so good for me! I was hoping to get under 3:30 but I was pretty darn close! Placed 2428/2533 overall with time of 3:33:04. I can only rush so fast having to use a porta potty and get sweaty clothes on and off….

I am so very grateful that I had this opportunity and that I was able to be online at the right place and time to win a race entry through Ali Vincent’s facebook page. It was such a blessing to be able to participate in this race without spending a lot of money. I was blessed to have a strong healthy body during race training and during my race. I was blessed with perfect running weather. I was blessed with a supportive family and an EXTRA SUPPORTIVE AND UNDERSTANDING husband who has gotten me through these past 2 months and during my race weekend. I can now say I successfully did my race training and completed a half marathon and frankly I never feel the need to ever, ever, ever do it again!! J I think I will stick to my family walks and an occasional 5k or 10k race! 

Waking up early at the hotel. I'm still half asleep! 

Brushed my hair, made my drink-ready to go!! 

At the starting line!! 

Theres Ali in front of me.

Me and Ali Vincent!! 

Hubby and son off to the side of the starting line taking pictures. 

It was a little chilly for him. Waiting for his mommy to race. 

And we're off!! 

Mile marker 4

My son and mom cheering me on! Dad was taking pictures and videos of me. 

Mile marker 10

Hooray!! Here comes my hubby and baby! I was so happy to see them! 

Lower back killing me!! I needed to stretch! 

Off running again!! 

Crown and boa station right before the finish line. 


Guys handing out medals.  

Girls handing out roses. 

Handing out apple cider. 


He got a crown and boa too... LOL 

My very awesome supportive hubby! 
He hang around with our toddler and took pics for almost 4 hours for me. 
and then went the last mile of the race along side me. 

I EARNED THIS!!! It is so heavy! 

My polar ft7 watch results.

In the long line trying to get back onto the main road to go home. 

Random turkeys along side the road. He was showing off. 

We are so thrilled to be sitting in traffic... again... 

Poor baby was exausted!! 

PANERA BREAD STOP!! we love bagels!


Our rental car! 

MY RUNKEEPER STATS from the race!

My diva shirt, bag and bib from race. 

Already put my items in a shadow box for display! 

My running medals and bib displays.  

Supplements I personally found helpful during race training and race day:  
-ARO pre workout concentrate
-Oral IV-mix with bottled water
-Nuun with bottled water, I prefer the berry flavor. Don’t really like the other ones.
-Luna bars
-Clif energy chews

Race gear I personally found helpful:  
-Handana, for my hand to keep the sweat off my eyes and face
-Victoria secret sport running pack, I have to carry so much stuff with me while I run!
-Ipod arm band
-Calf compression sleeves
-Asics shoes and running socks
-Rock tape, for taping my legs to help and prevent injuries (it stays on so much better than KT Tape)

Running tracks I enjoy on my ipod:  
-Best of Biggest loser workout mix (“Get ready for this” is the BEST song to get ready for a race)
-Chris Freytag workout mix
-Prevention magazine run top 40 hits
-Prevention magazine walk top 40 hits
-Shape power music walk top 40 hits


  1. Where do you get the running mixes? Do they cost much for the ipod? I need to get some new tunes for my half!

  2. Thanks for the great recap! I've been thinking about doing the Dive run in Atlanta next fall and it was nice to hear someone's experience. Congrats on your first half!!

  3. Im sure that's one of the most detailed recaps I've ever read! What fun and love the outfit :)