Mile Matters with J&A Racing
At J&A Racing we think our races are the best. To prove we aren’t biased, we asked one of our runners to recap her experience on race day. Meet Melody — she ran her best race at the Chartway Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon by helping a friend achieve her goals.
Getting the chance to run this race again is so exciting, as I was only able to be a spectator last year. This was my third time running this race though, since its inaugural year in 2014. The course has changed quite a bit. It is a great course though, taking you through the Chelsea Business District, ODU campus, the Elizabeth River Trail, and past the USS Wisconsin just to name a few notable spots! If you have run the Anthem Shamrock Half Marathon or Yuengling Shamrock Full Marathon in the past two years, then you know that the first half of the races are run together, then the full splits off. Well, that is how the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon and the inaugural 10K went as well. I loved it! I got to run with one friend for about 3 miles, and then said bon voyage, as two of us pulled a Jack & Rose from Titanic and off we went for the remaining 10 miles.
Next, we continued on towards ODU’s campus, which is always exciting for me as a student. I also need to mention that the crowd support is amazing for this race! November Project, North End Run Club, and Norfolk residents were on point! My friend recognized a lady who comes out of her house every year, and it just warmed my heart to see people so excited to watch us run. My favorite part of the course is running around the back side of Waterside District, because not only is it nearing the finish line, but because it is usually where I see my closest friends and family.
What would race day be without a few hiccups? So, I make sure I am always prepared. My hydration vest is a Nathan VaporHowe, it has the ability to hold two front 12 oz bottles and a 1500ml back bladder. I decided to only where the back bladder. Unfortunately, the back bladder wasn’t properly placed in and it leaked basically the whole time! Luckily, the rest of my outfit helped keep me from freezing back there. I wore my J&A tank top and half zip, running pants, Brooks Launch 6 shoes, and my white J&A hat. I used a Garmin Vivoactive 3 to track my race pace, and a pair of Goodr sunglasses. I had one other hiccup, as my boyfriend left all his gels at home, so I forfeited one of my own to him and he borrowed another from a good samaritan. Luckily, Honey Stinger gels were given out on the course, so I grabbed two just in case I needed another. One last thing I had in my vest was a small plastic baggy. Why, you ask? Well, at mile 11 are Baker’s Crust mini tarts, and they are deliciously mouth drying mid race. So, I had the bright idea to collect two of each for later. Lemme tell you, they are not to miss!
Usually before a big race, runners come up with their A, B, & C goals. “A” being the perfect race day with everything lining up. “B” being still an attainable goal even if there are a few missteps here and there. “C” being a goal you know you will achieve no matter what happens. The night before the half marathon I did some reflecting, I truly didnít have an A, B, or C goal. This race was important to me simply because I was unable to run it last year due to health problems. Other than that I didn’t have a PR or time goal. I feel like a lot of times that is our main focus and while I have had those goals for other races, that is not what I wanted for this race. So, I thought about my friends that were running and what their goals were, and I decided that I would rather try and help them achieve their goals. My A goal was to start and finish with my friend, Lexi, and that’s exactly what we did. Getting to run through the North End Run Club cheer station with her was absolutely tear invoking. Pains and aches happened, we walked, we talked, and we ran in silence, but we were there for each other the entire time. I just wanted to be as present as possible for this half marathon…and I did just that.
J&A Racing has THE BEST finish lines I have ever run through. My favorite part is getting to hear everyone’s name being called by their permanent race mascot, Bob. I will not lie behind my sunglasses, I straight up bawled as Lexi’s name and my boyfriend Adam’s names were called. Right before the finish line I sprinted ahead of them so I could turn around and get a couple of pictures. I’m sure they thought I was being ridiculous, but I loved seeing their reactions as they finished!
The finish shoot is so organized, and I didn’t feel like I was being ushered through too fast. We got our Half Marathon medal, some snacks & goodies, and a drawstring bag to hold our goodies. Lexi, Adam, and I also all received the Coastal Half Marathon series medal, which meant we completed all of J&A Racing’s half marathons for 2019. I actually walked right past it because I was so emotional and not paying attention, so thank you to the volunteer who got my attention and put the medal around my neck!
Finally, it was on to the after party! White Claw Mango was available as a new addition and alternative to beer this year, so that was exciting especially because there ‘aint no laws when drinking claws’! Just kidding, we behaved ourselves! The soup was amazing, I opted for the vegetarian tomato bisque, but I heard great things about the short rib chili as well! I love being around the PR bell so I can congratulate friends afterwards, share stories and take ALL the pictures.
If you haven’t run the Chartway Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon yet, I highly, highly recommend it. There is a reason this was my third time running it, and I won’t be stopping anytime soon. From the scenic course, to the crowd support, to the GORGEOUS medals, (seriously the Get Nauti Challenge medal is the size of my head!), to the most fabulous after party, there is something for anyone and everyone! Thank you so much J&A for always putting on the greatest races.
- J&A Racing Ambassador
- Training for the Shamrock Marathon
Ultimate Race Goal is to run the 6 World Major Marathons starting with Chicago 2020
Currently in school for Special Education
Other than running I love reading, cats, and beer!