September: Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

The Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon starts near the boardwalk and finishes on the boardwalk. This year, the weather was great. It was a bit cool in the morning and was only going to be in the low 80’s at most by the end of the run. IMG_0212You start out running near the beachfront area by the hotels and shops. Then you cut and run out towards the aquarium and through neighborhoods. While the course can get a little monotonous, it’s not a hilly course; it only have two really good hills as you run over the water. To help with the monotony though, the race organizers did a great job of putting cheer squads out and long the course in addition to bands playing. Plus, as you run through the neighborhoods, the folks who live there are out to cheer and watch.

The course takes you through Camp Pendleton where it looks like time stopped. While there are still a few operations going on at the location, it’s mostly a historic base. While running along it’s roads, stop and think about all the men (and woman) who ran those roads before you to protect our country. Think how they were running and staying in those barracks before blogs, before the internet, before World War II was over. It’s enough to give you chills and to feel the privilege of spending time running in their footsteps.

Once you’re through the camp, you’re starting to head back towards the start line. You’ll run that last big hill and then curve back to the boardwalk. The run finishes on the boardwalk where you can feel the ocean breezes as you give it that last push to the line.

Steve and I racked up the medals after the half marathon. We received the Remix medal for running the 5K, and we received our 8-track medal for finishing eight Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathons this year. But, my favorite was the limited edition Beach-to-Beach medal that we earned for running San Diego and Virginia Beach!

img_0221.jpgAfter the run, we ate the goodies we’d purchased the day before at Starbucks. (There’s always a goodie waiting, right?!) Steve took a nap; I watched TV. Then we went for a late brunch at Commune. We had a fantastic meal there where they focus on local foods and even local wines and coffee. The service was friendly and attentive and the food was delicious. I highly recommend Commune. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the beach and spending time with the pups.

I must say Virginia Beach was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed that our dogs were able to walk on the boardwalk before 10 a.m. and that the hotel was prepared for them. I also enjoyed the friendliness of the people we encountered. I’d say the Swaynes will be back there again.

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