Friday, March 20, 2009

VA Beach Day 1

Loni and I are treated to a smooth Trip down to VA Beach. The first time I had driven this way in 5 years. I’m excited to return to a place where I hold such fond memories. Ramon checks in on us from time to time during his night shift and informs us as we cross the Washington Bridge we are WAY ahead of schedule. Hey I’m ok with this. The less time I spend driving and the more time I can spend on the beach or on the boardwalk the better.
We stop to snap photos of the bay on the north side of the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel/Bridge (CBTB). I forgot how much of an engineering spectacle this was, especially now that I work for an engineering firm and have a mild grasp on how these things are built. It’s rather amazing to me that one direction was completed way back in 1964 and it only took them 3.5 years to build.
Ramon this photo is for you…close your eyes sucker!
Loni and I drive around what I refer to the old stomping grounds. So many miles rollerbladed here, so many drunken nights where straws were drawn to see who could get us home the safest? I even pointed out the imfamous site with the puke tree, the rain trenches and the odd pipe burst. We get lost a few times, but being ahead of schedule, we’ve got time to burn so no biggie. Once we figure out where we are and where a few local landmarks are we head over to the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
Here we are treated to our first look at how large this race is. The packet pick up is as efficient as it could be with what looked like hundreds of volunteers, but still no one seems to have their shit together. There are tables everywhere, but no guides to where lines are. As much as I hate those cattle troughs banks use. Obviously in a mob of people, those things are a key ingredient to the mix. After we made our way through the mobs of people we pick up an extra pint and a pair of race specific shot glasses for our bar collection.
Because everything had worked out so well thus far I decide that we should treat ourselves to a lunch at RJ and I’s favorite Irish bar on the strip. Murphy’s, oddly enough, named the same as my favorite bar in Manchester back home. We discuss our apprehensive-ness about the weekend, especially me as I’m looking down at my first marathon attempt and comparing it to my last two week training log. Some might call it a “taper” for me it was a, “eh, f it. I’m good!” And totally check out.

We check into our amazing hotel and immediately fall in love with the Hot tub and patio.
After we settle our luggage in and lay out our race materials for tomorrow I proclaim I’m going to go on a 3 mile sandy beach run. I was feeling like a sloth after not training and being surrounded by pros. Looking down from our balcony every few seconds you’d see an elite runner knocking out there last 2-3 taper miles before Sunday.
It was amazing how fast you feel once you get back onto a solid surface after the 3 miles just above where the waves lapped the sand. Running in sand is well, like running in sand, enough said.
My 3 mile jog ended at the 35’ tall bronze Neptune statue, the finish line of all 4 races this weekend. My legs feel a bit shaky from the extra stress from running in the soft sand, but I’m feeling pretty positive about this again. I figure I better, because there isn’t a whole lot of beans I can do now. Besides I’ve only had 4 hours of sleep since Thursday morning, it’s about 10:30pm Friday night now as I’m writing this blog (i.e. how much worse could I plan this). At 8am tomorrow Loni starts her quest on the dolphin challenge and I do the same with the whale challenge. Stay tuned for results, photos, reports, and pain, lots and lost of grueling pavement provided pain!