It is done and I am working through the aftermath of aches and pains, albeit only slight aches.
So, I should return to the start and regale you with the full marathon story…
Friday I took the day off from work and started with a leisurely diner breakfast with the family, came home and packed all I would need for the trip. At one p, I hit the road to DE which was about a two and a half hour ride. Basically, a straight-line road trip that was dull and uneventful.
Upon arrival, the first thing to do was to get the race packet. This event was well organized and quite busy. Parking is plentiful and free at this time of year in Rehoboth Beach, so getting a space near the packet pickup was easy.
The packet contained very little of interest: a few race flyers, some freeze rub and, of course, the race t-shirt.
Next stop the hotel and the staff allowed me to have an extended checkout for race day. Result! Nothing worse than hanging around in sweaty clothing with no shower available. The room had a side view across the beach in Dewey, DE. Quite pretty.
Then I unpacked all my race garb to make sure that I hadn’t left anything behind and laid it all out ready for the morning. Everything was present and correct.
After nipping out for a quick pizza I decided to hit the hay early at 7:30 after putting my devices on charge. Sometimes I’ve had issues with not being able to sleep the night before a big event so I wanted to maximize my chance to get some shut eye… However, it wasn’t a problem this time. I slept right through until 5:30 when my alarm went off.
Parking for the race was very simple. Again, there are lots of free parking spaces there right near the start line. This meant I only had to brave the cold sea breeze for about 15 minutes before the race started. After a slow rendition of the national anthem, it was go-time.
Sunrise at the beach.
Everyone is ready to go.
I started a little way back in the pack as I generally do. It allows me to feel like I’m fast as I overtake people in the first few miles and gets my legs turning over quickly.
I had some issues getting mapmyrun to start via my watch. My fingers were too cold for it too sense them, I suspect. I managed to get it started a couple of hundred yards after the start. The first few miles twist around the town and steer you out towards the Henlopen State park. Interestingly, they have the marathon and half marathon split around the four mile mark, sending us marathoners out into the wilds. The turn around point was at mile ten and was quite breezy.
The park was very pretty and nearly entirely flat.when we passed the thirteen mile mark I realized that my gps was entirely out of sync with the distance. It was well over half a mile off by this time. This was a concern.
The little voice from my phone had been telling me my pace was 7:30… Then it had dropped down to 7:25… 7:22… And eventually reached 7:15! I thought this was buying me extra time for later, but I guess it was because the distance measurement was so far off. This meant that I didn’t really know how I was doing.
Some slow mental arithmetic over the next few miles allowed me to work out what my time should be at the various mile markers, however, I didn’t know the exact time that I crossed the start line so it was going to guesswork to some extent.
At mile 18 I started to feel tired and eased up a little, figuring I had a little bandwidth. At mile 19.5 I was overtaken for the first time in the race and didn’t manage to retake them. A clear sign I was slowing a little.
At mile 23 I stayed to feel the beginnings of cramps in my thighs, so I waked for a 30 seconds. I had to do this three times. With two miles to go I figured I had sixteen minutes spare… Perfect for an eight minute mile pace.
I tried to pick it up a little but I couldn’t make much more headway… Finally I crossed the line with my gps saying 26.87 miles, despite starting it late.
After grabbing water, medal and a warm wrap I headed over to the official timing tent.
3:25:08. My BQ would have been 3:25:00… Well, except that you have to really beat it by a couple of minutes these days to actually still qualify.
I missed by eight seconds… But this is still 13+ minutes faster than my previous personal best. Sweet.
I’m not sure why the camera inverted the picture for the selfie… Something funky going on there. You see all that salt… I certainly worked hard during the run.
Now I’m recovering at home after a long and enjoyable post-race party hanging out with a crazy bunch of marathon maniacs, some who did more than 30 marathons this year. Crazy.