I’m overjoyed to report that I completed the 2017 Rehoboth Beach Marathon on Saturday, December 2.
My amazing husband, Tom, drove an hour to pick up my race packet and goodie bag for me this year on Friday, since I had to work a full day. I didn’t want to grab my race packet the day of the race, since I’m always frazzled to begin with before race day.
I wrote a permission letter for Tom to pick up my bib in which I praised the race volunteers, and Linda Chi loved it so much that she read it out loud to the other volunteers, since I gave them HUGE kudos for all that they do. Linda even recognized my name from the Facebook group! If you’re thinking about running this race, don’t waste a second more—go join the Facebook group! It’s hilarious, informative, and includes some all-around, kick-ass folks.
The Angry Toddler had a sleepover with Tom’s aunt on Friday night so that we could relax and get to bed at a decent hour. This year, instead of Five Guys fries and Grotto Pizza, we elected for Mikimotos sushi. Mmmm. I got the California Dream, crab Rangoon, and an Oreo cheesecake dessert role.
I got to bed around 10:30 p.m. and actually had a decent night’s sleep! I wasn’t anxious before falling asleep, and I don’t recall waking up a lot during the night. Win-win!
We got up on Saturday morning at 5 a.m. with a plan to leave the house at 5:15 a.m. I quickly ran downstairs, smothered myself in Body Glide, got dressed, and shoved everything into the car. Normally I don’t eat before a race or long run, but I actually felt a little nauseous, so I grabbed a piece of bread and peanut butter, along with some coffee (thanks, hubs!).
Tom drove us the hour into Rehoboth, and even then, I really didn’t feel any pre-race nerves to speak of, which is very unusual for me. I should have felt ALL.THE.NERVES that morning, because my preparation/training cycle for this race was dismal. I ran two 10-milers, a half, and one 15-miler beforehand. That’s nowhere near how much I prepared for my 2015 full.
We found parking very easily fairly close to the start, and I even had time to use the actual restroom beforehand. The line was maybe ten women deep, but it went very quickly. While in line, I listened in to a 33-week-pregnant mom talk about how she was going to run the full. If I ever mention a feat such as this, slap the crazy out of me, please.
Here I am below in front of the starting line. It was chilly out but not horrendous (maybe close to 40 degrees?)
I had planned to meet up with folks from the Smyrna Clayton Running Club (SCRC) around 6:30 a.m. and the awesome Ms. Brady from PlowOn Gum around 6:45 a.m. I saw Greg from the SCRC, and Brady managed to find me in the crowd as well. I think I need to work on my selfie skills here.
Around 6:50 a.m. or so, I decided to try and find the 11-minute-per-mile sign and stake my claim. Lo and behold, I found another SCRC member (Candi) right next to me!
She was running the half, so we chatted until they announced the start of the race, and off we went!
The course was the same as in 2015 from what I could tell, and I started off at a comfortable pace. This time, I didn’t run using my Nike+ Run Club app at all. I just wanted to run with a smile on my face, enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and try to stay consistent throughout. We started off in a residential area, as I weaved in and out of slower runners. It wasn’t all that congested, and I loved hearing the dull roar of runners at the start of a race. Folks were chatting with each other, getting situated with podcasts or music, and finding their flow. I, on the other hand, was fumbling with my bluetooth wireless headphones and wondering why I couldn’t hear my Another Mother Runner podcast episode loudly enough. Duh, Becky, it would be nice if you connected the darn device first. I had unknowingly been blasting the podcast for a minute or two, but thankfully the volume wasn’t up loud enough to distract other runners.
Tom texted me at the 5K and 10K marks to tell me that I was running at about a 10:30 pace, which was much faster than I had anticipated. His exact words were, “Slow down, killer.” In fact, from the 5K mark to the 10K mark, I actually increased my pace from 10:31 to 10:29 per mile. (Whaaaaaaaaaa?!) At the 10-mile mark, I was running at a pace of 10:38, versus back in 2015, when I was at an 11:14-minute pace. I’m not sure what I should contribute to my faster pace, except that for my first marathon, I think I was just trying to be more conservative, since I’d never run the distance before.
At the half, I was at a 10:41-minute pace. Still not too shabby! At Mile 22, I was averaging a pace of 11:19, which is still really strong for me that far into a race—considering I slowed down to about that pace already at the 10-mile point in my 2015 full. Here I am toward the very beginning of the race:
The course delivered all that I had remembered—Gordons Pond Trail and Cape Henlopen State Park were nothing but majestic (except for the occasional runner in the woods peeing), and the surface of the bridge along Gordons Pond somehow felt easier to run on than in 2015. (I’m sure this was just my imagination.)
I remember telling runners on the Facebook page that you don’t run in sand at all during the full, but we in fact sort of did run in sand near the Lewes Beach parking lot! I think I muttered a curse word under my breath as I tried not to get sand in my shoes. I did, however, chuckle at the tiny cups of ice cream that the local Dairy Queen was giving out after you run around the parking lot!
I remembered in 2015 that I stopped at Mile 7 to use the porta-potty, so my goal this time was to get at least to the half-way point before I used one. I knew I wanted to get well out of Cape Henlopen State Park before I stopped for a break. I made it until after the 13.1-mile mark to make a quick pit stop at a porta-potty.
I think mentally, the worst part is the Junction and Breakwater Trail area for me personally. It’s this out-and-back section that seems to last FOREVER, even though it’s only Miles 21–24ish on the course.
Just before Mile 24, the 5-hour pacer approached me from behind and said some words of encouragement. At that point, I was walking, so I really appreciated her comment/kick-in-the-butt to get moving again. I told her that I was trying to get under 4 hours, 58 minutes, and I asked her how close to the 5-hour mark we were at that point. She said that if I picked up my pace and stayed ahead of her, I’d get in under 5 hours for sure.
After Mile 24, after trying to chew some Jelly Belly Sports Beans as quickly as humanly possible (and it’s not really possible), I decided to go for it all and kick my performance into high gear. I switched from a The Running Lifestyle Show podcast episode to my marathon playlist. This year, I only had a few songs in my arsenal, but all of them reminded me of my husband and the Angry Toddler.
- Beggin’ by Madcon
- Try Everything by Shakira
- Fight Song by Rachel Platten
And that’s it. Yep, three songs. But boy did I mouth the words feverishly to each song. Here I am singing in my head and gettin’ it done.
Lo and behold, I finished in 5 hours and 12 seconds. Either the 5-hour pacer was off, or I was, but guess what? I gave it my all. I ran with intention (for Shelby, Lucy, John’ya, and Seb). I ran with joy in my heart. And I did it—I completed my second full marathon! That’s a win in my book.