I wasn't really sure how I would handle the distance as it had been a while since I was out for a long run. Immediately, I knew it would be a good run. It felt mostly effortless and the initial miles ticked away quickly. I stuck to my 4:1 run:walk ratio for the entire run and it worked out beautifully. After the first few miles at the north end of the beach (residential area), I turned up 64th street to head up toward First Landing State Park to hit a trail. I'd heard great things about the Cape Henry trail from some other running buddies and it didn't disappoint. I was overwhelmed by the amount of other runners out - that was awesome!
I got out of the park and headed back to my car to refill my water bottles and ditch my visor (it was giving me a headache). I was about 11 miles in at this point and still felt energetic! I made the turn south and headed down to the more touristy end of the beach, where I planned to finish out my miles.
I'd run on the boardwalk in preparation for other races and have run down it toward a finish line in 3 different events. This time felt a little different; the weather was perfect, I was feeling great and the tourists had mostly gone home. The weekend after labor day is Neptune Festival Weekend so there was lots going on. It's also the weekend that the locals refer to as "take back the beach" and was always my Dad's favorite when we lived in Virginia Beach. I had a few chuckles to myself as I remembered our beach adventures when I was a teenager.
|The turnaround point at First Street - view out to the ocean from Rudee Inlet|
|Another view of Rudee Inlet|
|The view of the boardwalk from First street...time to head home baby!|
After I made the turn at first street, I finally started feeling the long awaited fatigue. I grabbed my final Gu and told myself to get home. Even with the fatigue, I was still feeling very strong....I know that sounds like an oxymoron and maybe it was more mental strength than physical. I found myself running at a better pace than my first ten miles which was a great feeling. I turned onto 50th street to head to the car and stopped my Garmin as it ticked to 19 miles. Hooray!
This was one of those runs that made me remember why I run in the first place. It's cathartic and fun. It's a time to enjoy the great outdoors. I honestly can't ever remember having a long run as fun or fulfilling as this one was. It was the confidence boost I needed as I start getting into very heavy mileage in preparation for Marine Corps Marathon. It was truth that the elusive runner's high exists.
Here's the breakdown of the location of the miles...the diversity was enormously helpful!
0-4: Virginia Beach North End (residential)
4-10: First Landing State Park, Cape Henry Trail
10-12: Virginia Beach North End
12-18: Virginia Beach Boardwalk
18-19: Virginia Beach North End