Sept. 4, 2011 Here we are again! Rock 'n' Roll race No. 9 for 2011 (and race No. 13 for 2011)! In case you don't know, I am attempting to run all 18 Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathons in 2011 as part of the FIT Project, which is raising awareness on a variety of causes, like getting kids clean water in Africa with World Vision and helping to bring running programs to schools for Orange Laces. Come be involved! 

So, here it is. Another week, another plane (or two), another race expo, another race morning.

It was a fairly uneventful trip to Virginia Beach. Well, let's not forget about the million or so kids on the flight to Orlando where I had a flight connection. Thank God for music and earbuds.

Sophie and Nick picked me up from the airport (thanks guys!) Friday evening. Poor Nick just had a massive leg surgery. We went out to eat that evening and one of Nick's friends joined us too. We had a fantastic evening!

The next day we went to a CrossFit fundraiser for the Navy SEALs (and other military members) that were killed in the crash on Aug. 6, 2011. Sobering.

Picked up my race packet, saw the Atlantic Ocean, and took a much needed nap!

Sunday morning was race morning! And it was a gorgeous morning! Matt and Bryan picked me up at 5:30 a.m. and we headed to the start. Riding in an open top Jeep was lots of fun in the cool morning :).

My returning flight was at 10:50 a.m. so I had absolutely no time to spare from the time I would finish the race and getting to the airport. However, I am a VERY light packer. Remember the three week trip a few weeks ago? I had a backpack and a carry-on. I just used washing machines along the way! So this trip I only had a backpack. I am a future contestant on Amazing Race! Ha!

We got to the start, did usual pre-race rituals (bathroom lines, taking photos, gear check, people watching, etc). Oh and my new found love, Gen UCAN. The stuff is amazing and I have seen first hand the benefits of it!

I met Matt and Bryan at the CrossFit event the previous day. Matt had just come back from a tour (thank you for your service Matt!) It was also Matt's and Bryan's first eve half marathon. Matt was going to run at a faster clip than what Bryan and I had planned too, so I offered to "pace" Bryan. One thing I absolutely love, is being with new runners/racers. And if I could help them cross a finish line, even better! Thankfully Bryan was cool with the plan :). And off we went!

Since we had never run together I wasn't sure if he was a talker or not. I generally like to chat when I run :). I know, shocker! I told him I would be quiet and if he wanted to chat to let me know. He also had headphones and I am sure music was more his speed :).

The course took us down the boardwalk where diners were making breakfast. The smell of bacon, pancakes, waffles and syrup was hard to miss! We kept running and I was trying to keep us on even splits. Even through the water stops (not stopping, but running and grabbing a cup of water and drinking it without inhaling it. Always fun).

It was great to see so many spectators on the course! I love giving high-fives to the kids.

I was really, REALLY thankful that the sun decided to stay inside for the majority of the run. It was humid and having the sun not beat down on us was very welcome.

We talked here and there during the race, but for the most it was me asking him if he was good, needed water, etc. I was trying to keep us on an even pace. I told him at the start of the race I would get him across the finish line and sub-two hour time. Because time is WHAT it is all about. KIDDING. Running is what it is ALL about!

The sun started to appear around mile 10. And we both were feeling tired. Sure, I might be helping Bryan, but he was helping me too. I encouraged him and tried to give high-fives when we got to each mile marker.

I pushed a little harder and soon we could see the finish line. BUT the finish line is like FOREVER down the boardwalk! It seems to go on F.O.R.E.V.E.R. The sun was really out now too. I had put my head down and we ran toward the sweet finish line. 1:56:25.

We did it! This was Bryan's first time to ever run non-stop AND past 10 miles! I was so proud of him!

We quickly made our way over to gear check, grabbed our bags. Met up with Matt. He didn't have a good race (stomach issues). BUT he finished! I had some Gen UCAN Chocolate recovery drink. And wished for a ice bath.

I really wanted to stick my feet in the ocean, but I had a flight to catch. Bryan offered to take me to the airport and I was VERY, VERY grateful. We dropped Matt off and then sped to the airport. The airport is not exactly close. But thankfully it was a lazy Sunday morning and not a big city, so the roads were clear. We got to the airport around 10am. Congratulated him again and I raced to the security line. Sweaty clothes and all.

There were four people in line. YES! Cleared security. Walked briskly to the gate and put my name on the list. It was 10:20 a.m. I ran a half marathon and was at the airport before most people are even up! I dashed over to the restroom and changed. Had a Action Wipe shower, put on some compression socks. And prepared to be in the air for the rest of the day.

Man, is it great to run :).

Next race: Philly!