I wasn’t going to run Crawlin’ Crab last year. I signed up the week before the race after I was unhappy with my first half marathon performance at Rock n’ Roll Philly. Then my husband was able to come in town (he was living in California temporarily) that weekend so we signed him up last minute too! I had a blast that weekend, marking Crawlin Crab as one of my favorite race weekends.
I was a little anxious going into this weekend. I originally wanted Crawlin Crab to be my Disney qualifying race. Then September happened, I knew with my lack of training it would not be a PR weekend. Even Sunday morning at the starting line I still had a little bit of hope for a good race, but the weather changed my mind QUICKLY!
Backing up to the expo! It was my first expo as an ambassador and my volunteer shift completely flew by! I had a lot of fun talking to other runners about J&A! I ended up leaving with an absurd amount of new J&A apparel! (Disclaimer, two shirts, and one hat were purchased a few weeks ago. The shorts were part of the ambassador swag. Two of the shirts are race shirts that came with race registration. #justification )
The worst thing about this race weekend is going from Virginia Beach to Hampton every day. If you are considering this race I strongly recommend getting a hotel room if you live on the other side of the water and are doing the challenge. Adding a few hours of driving back and forth to an already busy weekend isn’t fun.
Saturday morning I returned to Hampton for the 5K. I got there just in time for the Training Team picture and then went and found my friend Loni and her girls. I knew she was going to be doing the challenge and taking it easy on Saturday. We stayed together for the whole race and had a great time! It was a new course this year. Not as flat as last year, but I really enjoyed it! There was even a sorta-petting zoo during the final mile! Great selfie opportunity!
The post-race party for the 5K is always better than after the half marathon. People have more energy to enjoy it! By “people”, you should know I am really just speaking for myself. After the longer distances, I just don’t have much desire for anything besides a cheeseburger and water. I stayed and enjoyed a few different post-race beverages. Crawlin’ Crab has a craft brew fest with a huge selection! (Another reason why this race is close to the top of my list.)
I volunteered to sell beer tickets in between the 5K finishing and the beer mile beginning. We weren’t super busy with sales since J&A is generous with the beer tickets they provide runners and because of the time of my shift in between races. Once the beer mile started I lost most of the people hanging out around the tent, but the tent still provided a great view of the runners. That is an entertaining race! Not sure if a beer mile will ever be in my racing future though.
That night my husband and I went to see The Book of Mormon at Chrysler Hall. We bought season tickets to all of the Broadway shows that will come this season- naturally every show falls on a race weekend. Can’t have it all I guess!
Waking up the morning of the half was a challenge after the show the night before and the idea of driving to Hampton didn’t make getting moving any easier. My main motivation was trying to get a parking spot close enough so I didn’t have to walk far after the race! (It is the little things.)
My race day started off getting caught up with all my teammates at the start line for our group picture. I just love race mornings, a big blur of all types of energy! I started the race with Tasha. It wasn’t very far in the race when I made the decision to pull back and let her go ahead. My September training wasn’t what I hoped it would be, and I didn’t want to push myself to an injury just to keep up with my friend.
It was a solo race for me. I caught up with a few team members along the way. I struggled a lot, but I also had moments when I could fly. It is amazing what you go through when you have two and a half hours to just travel forward. Some races are about pushing yourself physically. This race was all about getting inside of my own head and working things out. It was a miserably hot morning, cold towels on the course and at the finish line were sent from heaven!
I finished the race weekend at the after-party celebration with the team. It is incredible how thousands of runners can run the same route at the same time and have thousands of different experiences. Some people surprised themselves and achieved goals that they didn’t even know were in reach. Some people had to alter the goals that they hoped to accomplish. I worked through my head, some people had more of a physical obstacle to overcome. At the end of the day, everyone had something to celebrate and we celebrated together. The community behind the race will always be one of the biggest reasons why races have such a special place in my heart.
Bonus story: Sunday was actually my seven year anniversary! When I came home I had beautiful flowers waiting for me from my husband. They make a pretty good backdrop for my bling!