This past spring I signed up for the Crawlin’ Crab 5K & Half Marathon as their Shell Yeah Challenge. The 5K race was Saturday, October 4th with the half marathon on Sunday (there will be a post about that race).
I had found this race to knock Virginia off the half marathon list, but when they presented their Shell Yeah Challenge it just made sense to go and do that. Essentially, if you ran both races you got more bling. I won’t say no to more bling! I would have done a short shake out run on Saturday anyway, so why not get a medal for it?
I actually got to the Norflk area late Thursday night and had spent Friday enjoying Norfolk before heading up to Hampton for the race. Their expo was open on Friday evening, so I had just planned to get all my bibs, swag and race stuff then so I didn’t have to worry about it after the 5K.
The expo was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but I guess when you compare the size to the number of runners, it made sense. I had to get in 2 different lines to pick up both bibs. They really should have the Shell Yeah Challengers in one line to just pick pup both bibs. What took the longest to pick up the bibs is that EVERY ID was checked. The woman apparently didn’t get my PA license and just kept looking at me funny. It was a little annoying.
After getting the bibs, I went to get a wrist band so that I could drink after each race. Then I headed to get my shirts. I got a shirt for each race and for once a women’s medium actually felt like a women’s medium and both shirts fit! More importantly, they were a longer cut (YAY!) and both different. One was a v-neck and one was a regular crew neck and different colors. Once I got my race bags, I went to check out the vendors. I did my best not to buy anything, but I ended up getting The Stick in travel size. I’ve been wanting one for awhile and it was on sale, so why not?
Morning of the race, I did not want to get up! Go figure, right? I finally rolled out of bed at 7am and since my hotel was only about a half mile away from the start line, I decided to walk over so get my legs moving and get any nerves out.
I got dressed, ate breakfast and was out the door within 30 minutes. It was nice weather, but starting to get a humid out. The race started at 8am and I made it over to the start line area by 7:45am. I hung out a little outside the corral and with about 8 minutes left, I got into Corral 2 to line up.
The start corral system was very well laid out and had no issues getting into the corral. There were lots of volunteers to point out where to go, which is always nice as well.
What I really liked most about the start was their corral start and how they not only gave about 90 seconds to 2 minutes between each corral, but volunteers walked each corral up to the start line for their start. At 8am, Corral 1 took off and about 90 seconds later, it was corral 2’s turn!
I was thinking I’d run about a 33-minute 5K as I didn’t feel I had any speed, plus running the half the next day, I didn’t want to ruin the legs either. Plus, let’s be honest, I am still pretty darn slow right now.
There was a lot of space on the course and I never once felt crowded in, even in the beginning. The course was an out and back and it was nice that it was completely different area than what I’d be running the half marathon. The only course that was the same was the .25 mile going to/from the start and finish line area.
When I got to mile 1, i checked my watch and was in disbelief that I clocked in mile 1 at 9:42. Um, where did that come from? I tried to slow down, but surprisingly I still felt good. The one water stop was at mile 1.5, so I skipped that and kept on going. There were a fair amount of turns on the course, but everyone was pretty good at actually keeping pace and not slowly down and crowding the turn.
Mile 2 came and went and I slowed down a little but was still sub 9:50. Now I was all confused. Did I just slow down drastically and finish slow? Or just shoot and try to go sub 30 minutes? I said screw it and went for the second one.
We turned into the finish area and had about .25 miles left and I was right being around 30 minutes. I kicked into into a higher gear and said let’s do it. I crossed the finish line and my watch said 30:10. I ended up being just over the 30 minute goal, but considering I thought I was going to finish in 33 minutes, I was still quite shocked.
After getting my medal, some snacks, water and Gatorade I figured I’d just head back to the hotel. Instead, last minute I detoured into the finish line party.
They had turned one side of the expo space into a fun beer, food and dance area. The post race food they offered was two different types of soup in a bread bowl. Not necessarily what I’d normally eat post race, especially at 8:45am, but it was rather tasty.
They also had several beer stations set up and with the 5K race you got 2 free beers. I am not much of a beer drinker, especially after I run, but I figured I’d try one of them. I honestly don’t remember which one I tried, but it was some wheat beer. It was OK. Got about 1/2 the beer down before I just gave up.
Since I was also there by myself, I saw a stand up table and joined another runner to eat our soup and enjoy our beers. We got to talked and within time 2 others joined us. The one lady who joined us, Coretta form Richmond, was super sweet! We were talking with the other 2 individuals about taking the splurge and singing up for your first half marathon. Coretta mentioned she was running the Army 10 miler coming up. She wasn’t sticking around for the half marathon though. I ended up running into her when I returned to the hotel and she mentioned to me that she was coming to Pittsburgh for a convention next summer. I told her to look me up and we’d go for a run. Even though I was at the race by myself, it’s wonderful runners like Coretta that remind you that you’re never alone at a race!
Overall, this was a fun race! It really got me excited to run the half the next day! I was very happy with my first experience of J&A Racing. They really have their game together and know how to put on an excellent race.
After the race, I grabbed some lunch and then headed off to Williamsburg for the rest of the day. I hadn’t been there before and it wa sa gorgeous day out, so why not take advantage of being close by! It was a great way to spend an afternoon. I tried to take their shuttle as much as I could so limit time on my feet and when I started feeling my legs get tired, I knew it was time to head back to the hotel to grab dinner and relax for the next day’s race.
Next up: Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon. First half marathon since April.. bring it on!