Virginia is for Lovers 14K Race Recap

February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

Happy Monday and President’s Day! This past weekend my old friends Em, Tasha and I headed to Virginia Beach, VA for the Virginia is for Lovers 14K.  We grew up in the same neighborhood and were on swim team together (Go Marlins)! I do not recall why exactly we chose this race (we decided sometime last fall), but it was a good excuse for a girls getaway.

The race was suppose to fall on Saturday February 15th, which meant we would have to leave right after work on Friday.  Due to ALL the recent snow, Virginia Beach Public Schools elected to hold one of their make up days on February 15th, which meant race organizers had to change the date (course runs along bus routes, participants would be in school). Luckily they were able to secure February 16th.

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Image: Virginia is for Lovers 14K

My friends and I changed our hotel reservation and headed to Virginia Beach on Saturday instead.  For those not familiar to the area, Virginia Beach is approximately 3.5 hours from Washington, DC and is a popular summer vacation spot for families in the area.

Packet Pickup/Expo

Race organizers shifted the packet pickup/expo to February 15th and 16th respectively (the day before and morning of).  It was held at Virginia Beach Field House, also the start of the race.  It was a huge complex with an auditorium and several turf fields.

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You were e-mailed your bib number ahead of time and needed your ID.  They also had laptops for bib lookup in case you forgot.

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J&A Racing does an excellent job incorporating the race theme into all aspects of the event (remember my Crawlin’ Crab recap).  You could elect to pin the below signs to your back (I opted out).

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The race premium for the 14K runners were these clear jackets with the logo embroidered on them. 

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To be honest… I thought the jackets were hideous and unpractical (and based on a few people I chatted with, they concurred).  I’ll end up making use of it, but I do not see it providing warmth or protection from rain. If you signed up early enough your name would appear on the bib.  This seems to be a “perk” in other races I have entered this year.

Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)

Because this was my first 14K (get the Valentine’s Day theme?) it would be an automatic PR (PR = personal record).  This race was 2 weeks after my Miami Half Marathon.  After taking a few rest/recovery days, I jumped back into running.  I had two great 6 mile runs with my old roommate Rachel, including the day before the race.  Feeling great, I made the following race goals:

  • A – Break 1:35:00 (sub 11 min/miles)
  • B – Break 1:40:00 (~11.5 min/miles)
  • C – Break 1:50:00 (~12.5 min/miles)

Was it poor decision making that I ran the day before…….?

Virginia is for Lovers 14K

Em and I woke up around 6am to head to the start.  Even though the 14K started at 9AM, there were road closures so we had to be at the Field House no later than 7:30AM.  Look at the beautiful sunrise!

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Water anyone?

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Pre-race photo opt.  I did have more pink on, but they were underneath my layers (tank top, tee, long sleeve and vest).  If you elect to run this next year, there are 2 bathrooms upstairs that not many people knew about (whoops secret’s out).

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We headed to the starting line around 8:45AM.

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We were broken up into 4 corrals (perhaps starting 1-2 minutes apart).  Look at the sea of red and pink.

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At 9AM we were off. The 14K is not the most scenic, but I did like that it was flat and pretty spacious.  It went through surrounding roadways and Farm Bureau Live (think concerts). 

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Image: Virginia is for Lovers 14K Course Map

Miles 1-3

Took us out of the sports complex. There was a small patch with gravel, but nothing too bad (I made sure to take it very slowly as clumsy is my middle name).  At this time I was running ~11:15-11:30 minute miles.  I was feeling great (except for 2 times in which I was almost run over by a baby stroller and almost knocked in the face when someone was taking off their jacket).

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Signs throughout the course (cheesy jokes, song quotes, movie quotes, and love quotes). They were fun to read.

Miles 4-6

Took us through the Hampton Roads Soccerplex.  Sorry for the lack of pictures, don’t worry you aren’t missing much!  I was hovering between 11:40-11:55 during these miles.

Miles 7-8.67 

This section was such a tease.  You re-enter the Virginia Beach Field House complex and follow a snake like path towards the finish line.  So close.. yet so far!  I negative split this last portion of the race with a 11:15 at mile 7!  After I passed the mile 8 sign, I knew my B goal was possible!

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Perks of having FAST friends, they can take photos of your finish! Thanks Em!

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I was pretty stoked! I met my “B” goal by 9 seconds (1:39:51).

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Delicious tomato and cheese soup by Baker’s Crust.

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Another race done with Em! 

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Final Thoughts

  • Another well-run event managed by J&A Racing!
  • Race organizers did an excellent job of communicating the race date change and allowing runners to defer their race entry to next year if they were unable to make it.
  • The weather gods were nice to us – breezy and windy at first, it ended up being sunny and 10 degrees warmer than DC.
  • I liked that we were able to stay in the Virginia Beach Field House before the race (plus the music/band pre/post race)
  • Flat and fast course (a couple small inclines).
  • Very family friendly (14K, 6K and kids 1K).  We were also able to watch the 6K winners cross the finish line.
  • I liked the small race feel of ~2,000 in the 14K, little congestion and weaving in and out.
  • The indoor finish was pretty cool/unique
  • I believe there were water stations (no sports drinks) around miles 1, 3, 6, and 7.  I do like it when volunteers are on both sides of the street to alleviate congestion.
  • Kudos again to the volunteers for informing runners of slick spots and laying out hay in muddy areas.

I would definitely recommend running any J&A managed event after running two of them.  The Shamrock Marathon must be amazing!

Also, a shout out to Nevie, who also ran this race!

And keeping with tradition, a photo of my post run lunch:

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How did you spend your (Valentine’s/President’s Day) weekend?

Have you gone on a girls getaway with your friends or family?

Did you have a race or long run this weekend?

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