The first C&D Canal Half Marathon in New Castle, DE took place on November 7, 2015. I knew the weather would potentially be very rainy, so I thought leaving our house in Dover at 7 a.m. with toddler in tow for an 8 a.m. race start would be OK. I’m usually overly anxious about leaving for races wicked early, but I was feeling guilty for dragging my family out early on a Saturday morning, so I thought 7 a.m. would be fine.
My fabulous husband drove us, and we accidentally just put in “C&D Canal” in our GPS. Whoops, that was wrong! We ended up on a dirt access road parallel to the race around 7:50 a.m. We finally put the right address in the GPS and arrived at 8:10. As we were parking (in one long line), I contemplated just turning around and going home. I was having pre-race jitters, and the sky looked gray and angry. I nervously asked the parking attendant if the race was chip timed, and he said yes, so we forged on.
We had to walk about 300 yards to the start, where everyone had already gotten their bibs. I frantically ran to the race table, got my bib, and struggled to pin my bib on to my Swirl Gear shirt while the National Anthem was sung. I somehow managed to pin the damn thing to my nipples, basically. I was rushing, even though the race hadn’t begun yet.
Here’s why: There were apparently only two bathrooms at the start, so even though we were late, the race started around 8:15 or so, because they were trying to wait for folks to use the bathrooms before starting.
The 5K and half participants started at the same time, so it was crowded at the beginning. There was one water stop around Mile 2 or so. The first six miles or so were flat with a great view of the canal. Then before Mile 7 there was a sharp turn with a large hill. There was a bit of a downhill after that leading to the marina. I thought the turnaround might be there, but it wasn’t. We ran a bit more uphill to turn around (since it was an out and back). There was a water stop near the marina and some port-a-potties, which I used since I couldn’t at the start of the race. I originally wanted to keep an 11-minute or 11:30 pace, but I was closer to a 10:45 pace each time I looked at my Nike+ app.
I stopped to fill up my Fuel Belt containers at the Mile 7ish stop, where they had only water bottles and some cups of water. Going back there was one major hill, but that was about it. I ran behind a man carrying the American flag for a long time, which was neat. Throughout I listened to the Another Mother Runner podcast and the Running Lifestyle Show podcast. No one really talked to each other, which was different from my half experiences in the past.
Overall, the scenery was gorgeous, and with better race support, this race will be awesome next year! I ran virtually the same time (2:22:45) as I ran the Rehoboth half last year (2:22:07), but this time I stopped for the bathroom and water, so I’m happy with my performance overall.
Despite a few setbacks, I’ll definitely do this race again!