Half Marathon #15 (and race #50) is in the books! I absolutely loved the Coastal Delaware Running Festival and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a race of pretty much any distance. They offer a 5k (Saturday), 9k, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, and the opportunity to run a combination of the 5k and any of the other races on Sunday. We considered running one of the challenges, but due to Gabby’s swim schedule, we wouldn’t be able to make it in time for the 5k on Saturday.
My mom and Gabby each decided to race the 9k, while I signed up for the half marathon. I didn’t feel very prepared for this race. In fact, the longest training run I had completed this season was a 10 miler and it had been several weeks before the race. I didn’t have any real time expectations going into this one. I contemplated leaving my Garmin home because sometimes it leads to me making “deals” with myself and taking more walk breaks. I also considered running with the 2:15 pace group. Another option that really interested me was run/walk intervals. After reading an article that a runner friend recently posted on facebook about interval running, I decided to give it a try. The plan I settled on was to run a mile, walk a minute, and repeat.
We headed to Dewey Beach after Gabby’s swim practice on Saturday morning. We decided to go directly to packet pickup when we arrived around 4:00. To be honest, my first impression was not a good one. The parking situation appeared to be a nightmare. As soon as someone pulled out and I started to pull into a “spot”, I got lectured by a grumpy man about how my van would be towed and he wasn’t very helpful in advising me where I could park. After our near-towing incident in Virginia Beach last year at the Shamrock race, I didn’t want to take any chances. I decided to go find my hotel first and get checked in first and we would try packet pickup later. The lady who checked me in at the hotel was wonderful and helped me in regards to parking. Basically, before Memorial Day you can pretty much park anywhere in Dewey Beach (the signs stated this but between the weather and being stressed out by the grumpy man I hadn’t really noticed). Fortunately, when we got back to the packet pickup location, the rush was gone and there was plenty of parking. From there on out, everything was a breeze. The expo was small, which was expected, due to the small size of the race but it had everything we needed. I loved the shirts, although they did seem to run a bit small (good news for Gabby who is generally given a shirt she can wear as a nightgown). We also received a Coastal Delaware Running Festival beer glass. Nice!
After packet pickup, we decided to drive to the Rehobeth Beach boardwalk to find dinner and look around. I just love this cute little town. We carb loaded and then let Gabby get a henna tattoo. Afterwards, it had started raining again so we decided to go back to the hotel, after a quick shop at the grocery store to pick up breakfast items. We laid out our running gear and then headed to bed.
I was still a little concerned about finding parking in the morning so we decided to leave around 6:00 to start the search. The start and finish were about a mile apart and you could park at either and take the buses that were running back and forth. We decided to park at the finish line (town of Dewey) and easily found parking. We sat in the van for a while because it was pretty chilly outside. Although it was chilly, we were very pleased that there was no precipitation. The forecast was looking pretty bad up until the night before. We finally decided to make our way to the bus line, but the buses seemed to be taking forever so we ended up jumping out of line and walking to the start, which was about a mile away. We had just enough time to hit the port a pots! When I came out, they announced 17 seconds to the start of the race! I was in corral 3 so luckily I had a little more time to get lined up, snap a few selfies, and get ready to race! I contemplated taking my jacket off up until the last minute. The weather was in the 50’s, overcast, and breezy and I knew I had to run near the ocean for a bit so I decided to leave it on (spoiler alert – mistake). My mom and Gabby still had a half hour before their 9k started.
Miles 1 – 4: The first few miles felt pretty easy. Although I didn’t feel like I needed to walk at the mile markers, I decided to stick with my plan and walk for one minute after each mile. I was feeling pretty good. I liked how the intervals broke up the run and always gave me a break to look forward to (3 down, 10 to go). We started at the Delaware Seashore State Park and headed north through Dewey Beach.
Miles 4 – 5: We made our way to Rehobeth Beach and ran along the boardwalk and then continued through the town of Rehobeth (we saw some beautiful houses). Around mile 4, I was starting to feel like things weren’t going to stay quite as easy as they had been. At my mile 5 walk break, I decided to eat half of my Stinger waffle.
Miles 6 – 8: We headed into Gordons Pond Wild Life Area, which was a trail. The trail had to accommodate runners going both directions, so it was a little narrow, but I didn’t really run into many problems where it was hard to pass. I was very hot by this point of the race and I could really feel it on my walk breaks. I thought about wrapping my jacket around my waist but I had my id and credit card in it and really didn’t want to take the extra time to rearrange. Plus, I hate running with a jacket hanging from my waist. I finished my Stinger waffle at some point around this time.
Miles 9 – 13.1: After a loop in the park, we headed back down to Rehobeth and crossed the boardwalk again and then headed back to the start via another loop. I could tell the farthest I had run was 10 miles (and it had been a few weeks) because mile 10 – 13 were very hard for me. Towards the end of mile 10, I decided to take an early walk break because there was a water stop and walked for .2 of a mile instead of only 1 minute. I ended up walking again during mile 12 and again in 13. I even took a quick walk break right around mile 13, even though the finish line was right around the corner. I was spent!
I finally made my way across the finish line and saw Gabby and my mom cheering me on.
I finished in 2:16:51, which was a 10:27 average pace. Definitely not a PR by a long shot, but I was happy with it, considering my lack of training. Here are my splits according to my Garmin:
Mile 1 – 9:34
Mile 2 – 9:51
Mile 3 – 9:42
Mile 4 – 9:58
Mile 5 – 9:57
Mile 6 – 10:16
Mile 7 – 10:11
Mile 8 – 10:08
Mile 9 –10:24
Mile 10 – 10:27
Mile 11 – 10:46
Mile 12 – 11:56
Mile 13 – 10:49
Mile .27 – 10:44
I got my medal, my finisher’s trucker hat, and some water and reunited with my mom and Gabby. Gabby did outstanding once again and placed in her age group. Her age group prize will be mailed at a later date. My mom also did amazing, especially considering she hasn’t been able to run as much lately and really didn’t know what to expect. Congratulation to them!
My clothes were drenched with sweat so we went upstairs to grab my bag so I could at least change into my dry sweatshirt I had brought. The finisher’s festival was really nice. There was plenty of space both inside and outside on the beach. They also provided a full buffet for the runners. It included BBQ, chicken, pasta, salad, mac & cheese, rolls, and more. The only drawback is that if you are not a runner, you have to pay to attend the buffet ($24.99 each, I believe). This was okay for us this year, but if Makayla and Steven would have gone, we probably wouldn’t have attended. We found a table and chairs inside and ate our lunch and then headed back out to the beach for a little while.
After cleaning up, we headed back to the boardwalk for a little while. It was a much nicer day than yesterday, although still a bit breezy. I got some Thrashers fries and we headed down to the beach, although it was short lived because a flock of seagulls REALLY wanted my fries and chased me off of the beach, which Gabby and my mom thought was hilarious. For some reason they don’t bother you on the boardwalk but as soon as you hit the beach, they attack! After finishing our snacks, we did head back out to the beach for a few photo ops and then after a quick stop at the candy store, we were headed home.
I would definitely run this race again! It’s definitely up there with my favorites and kind of reminded me of the Outer Banks Half Marathon. I love all of the loot we got, I love the course, I love the small size of the race, and I love the town. And I almost forgot to mention that you get free downloads of your race photos! What a great bonus (those suckers can be expensive)! If you are looking for a half marathon in the Spring on the East Coast, I would highly recommend this race.