Okay guys, it's finally Race Report time. With tons of BobCam shots to follow, as always....
On Sunday May 12 2013, I ran the Delaware Marathon in Wilmington DE. Delaware became the 26th state in which I have run a marathon, which puts me over the halfway point.
I had only signed up for this race a few weeks earlier, although I had been basing my training around the likelihood that I would run it. The biggest sticking point was that the race was on Mother's Day. In the end, Maggie and I decided that we would take a family weekend down to Delaware together. There was no way that I would be off on my own for Mother's Day weekend, but having the three of us together worked out just fine.
This also happened to be a reunion marathon for the 50 States club. I'd never attended one of those before, so I really wanted to be there. Actually, I had been at the same marathon as a 50 Stater reunion before (Deadwood SD in 2009) but I kept myself too busy to actually meet up with anyone. This time I made it a point to meet other people.
Delaware is only a couple hours drive for us, so it made for an easy (and relatively inexpensive) trip. We drove down from New Jersey on Saturday morning, and timed it so that we could stop in Philadelphia for lucn at a cheesesteak at my favorite cheesesteak joint in South Philly. Perhaps not ideal day-before-marathon food, but I don't really worry about those things any more. We headed from there to Wilmington. It was too early to check in to our hotel, so we headed straight for the Delaware Childrens' Museum, where Jillian had a very good time.
Then it was time to hit the expo. I picked up my race packet and went to a meeting of the 50 Staters. I didn't count, but there were quite a few folks there. At least 50 people, I'd guess. And these are only the ones who made it to the meeting. There were only about 700 people running the Full Marathon, so the 50 Staters made up at least 10% of the field, I'd say. That's quite a contrast from my last marathon in Gainesville FL, where I might have been the only 50 Stater.
Each 50 Stater got to stand up and state their name, where they're from, and how many marathons they've done. I was definitely towards the younger end of the group, and my 26 martahons were definitely towards the low end. Many folks had over 100 marathons and had completed the 50 states numerous times. There were quite a lot of impressive runners present.
Most marathoners that I know personally are interested in running their fastest times possible each time they run a marathon. I might almost call it "obsessive" with some people. Typical wisdom says that you don't run more than two marathons per year if you want to be in top form. So thus the fact that I typically run 4 or 5 per year means that I can't always be at my best. I've joked that I'm going for "quantity over quality" in that regard. But many of these 50 Staters take that to a much greater extreme than I do. I may do 4 or 5 marathons per year, but some folks do that in a month! A future reunion is planned for Hartford CT in October, and I was hearing numerous people talking about coupling that with a marathon in Newport RI the following day. I may have given up the thought of chasing PRs every time, or ever qualifying for Boston. But I'm also nowhere near the point at which I'd consider running two marathons in two days! Walking the marathons (or most of them) doesn't matter to these folks, and they don't care if it takes them 6 hours to finish each one, as long as they finish a lot. I guess I'll be happy here by myself in the middle...
So anyway... Later in day, we met up with GoV, a Wilmington resident, for dinner. Unfortunately his lovely wife Theia was out of town for the weekend. Nonetheless, we had a nice meal and had a good time. I always like when I can spend some time with a fellow Kickrunner for a little bit on one of my trips.
Then it was off to the hotel, and off to bed early. Upon waking up early Sunday morning, the weather seemed perfect for a marathon: cool and cloudy. I caught a shuttle from my hotel to the start line and was all set to go with plenty of time to spare. As has been typical for me lately, I didn't have much of a time goal here. I would love to break four hours again, since I hadn't done it in a while. But I didn't expect to do that. I was guessing on something between 4:05 and 4:10, which would have been just fine with me. "Quantity over quality" and all that. As the race began, I felt quite good. In fact, I started off way too fast. I would have been happy to start at a 9:00 pace and just stick with that for as long as I could. But I went through the first mile in 8:36. I told myself to slow down, but then I did Mile 2 in 8:34. I guess I started too close to the front, and allowed faster runners to sweep me along with them.
This course was a two-loop course. The full martahoners did two laps of the half marathon course. And the course also included a short out-and-back to begin with, so we actually ran back past the start/finish area just after Mile 2. It sounds like it would be rather confusing, but everything went off without a hitch, as fas as I could tell.
As with most urban marathons, this one included some not-so-nice industrial areas. Actually it wasn't much, but it was very soon after we left the start/finish area in the other direction. I basically groaned when we reached this area so early. Thankfully it didn't last long. However, my pace still stayed much quicker than it should have been. I was under 9:00 for each of the first 5 miles. Mile 6 was 9:12, and then we hit a fairly large hill. Who knew that Delaware had hills?!? I slowed down considerably on the hill, and even after the hill I never had a problem with being "too fast" again in this race.
While the day had started out nice and cool and cloudy, the sun had come out and the temps were warming up. It never got "hot", for sure. But I always seem to struggle when it's sunny and even somewhat warm. I was definitely feeling it, and I knew a fast time was not in the cards for me.
The rest of the loop went thru a park and a nice residential section before getting back to downtown and the start/finish area. I passed the halfway point at just a few seconds over two hours. So while this was right at the overall time I was hoping for, my pace was wildly inconsistent getting here. And based on the trend -- and the sun -- I could tell that a two-hour second half was highly unlikely. So still, after 26 marathons, my only negative split was because of the crazy elevation profile in Wyoming.
I still figured a 4:10 finish time was doable. But then my right knee started to ache after Mile 15. It wasn't terrible, and I knew I could keep moving. But I decided to rein it back even more. Mile 16 (9:31) was my last mile under 10 minutes. Mile 20 was run up the same hill that Mile 7 was. Between the sun, the knee, and the hill, I decided to walk a decent chunk of this mile, and I turned in one of the slowest miles I've ever done in a race (13:05). I had basically decided that I was going to mail in the remainder of this martahon, with the sole purpose of survinving to run again another day. Heck, I have another marathon in a month and a half, so I want to make sure I make it through this one in one piece.
My only goal at this point was to finish in less than 4:27, thus avoiding a PW. And frankly, after that 13:05, I wasn't sure I'd make it. I started doing the math in my head, and it seemed like I had enough time to spare, but if my knee started hurting more, or if I completely ran out of gas and had to walk the majority of it, I might be cutting it close.
Over the last six miles, I walked a couple more times, and each time I did I wondered if I could start running again. It wasn't until I was past Mile 24 that I realized I'd avoid the PW. I could have walked the entirety of the last two miles and beat 4:27. But I managed to run those miles (very slowly), and I crossed the finish in 4:18. That's not what I was hoping for, but it got the job done.
Thankfully, the Sheraton in Downtown Wilmington offered us a late check-out, so I had plenty of time to get back to the hotel and shower up -- and even take a short nap -- before hitting the road and driving home. Maggie and Jillian both had a nice time too. I definitely felt more sore after this race than I usually do after a marathon. And the knee bothered me for a couple of days afterwards. But I think it's just soreness, and there shouldn't any long-term affects.
So it's in the books. It wasn't pretty, but it could have been worse. And really, I guess the time wasn't all that different from what I've been generally doing since I turned 40. So be it. For the most part, I found the course to be quite pleasant. The one small industrial section was rather ugly, but that was a small part of it. The race was very well orgnaized, and the crowd support was pretty good. And it really was a beautiful May day. I am happy to have taken part in the 2013 Delaware Marathon.
50 States reunion:
Here's me and the kiddo with Steve Boone, founder of the 50 States club. This was his 545th marathon:
The start line:
Did this guy juggle for the whole marathon? I don't know, I never saw him again after this pic in the start chute:
Ready to start:
Running along the Delaware River:
I just got passed by a guy in a tutu:
This sign says "Cold beer 22 Miles"
This bridge was really bouncy. It was very odd to run over, especially on the second loop when the legs were already feeling like jelly:
Nice path through the park:
Still nice and scenic:
There were lots of times where you'd see other runners moving in the opposite direction:
And yes, there are hills in Delaware:
Some nice residential areas too:
More people running in every which direction:
Cold beer, 14 Miles:
My time at the halfway point:
Second loop, along the river again:
Cold beer, 9 Miles:
Okay, now I'm getting sweaty and tired:
The old guy in the tutu is so far ahead of me that he's already on his way back down this hill:
Nice neighborhood for a run:
Pre lives... in Delaware:
Finally made it back to downtown:
The finish line is just ahead! And the Cold Beer sign is here too:
I'm happy to have this one done:
Your boB cam shots are the best. I laughed about the guy with the tutu! Good stuff. Great job finishing with a better time than you thought you would once you started having the knee issues! Cool that you got to meet with your 50 states group!
Great job as always boB, both in the racing, the photo-taking and the story-telling And bonus that you got spend some time with GoV as well
How to run a marathon: Step 1: You start running. There is no Step 2
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Thanks everyone! I'm always happy to get another state knocked off the list...
Sorry I missed you and your girls, Bob. Would have been fun to hang out and cheer for you!
I can't tell you how many times I've SPRINTED across that swinging* bridge. If even one other person is on it, I get an overwhelming feeling of motion sickness and have to get off it (like it's a carnival ride) asap. Way too bouncy! But if I go over it alone, it's awesome. So serene and picturesque.
* It doesn't really swing. That's just what I've always called it.