Coastal Delaware Half Marathon Recap

Here it is! Sunday’s race recap! This race was awesome for only its 3rd year! I’ll definitely be back 🙂

My husband and I left for Delaware after my shakeout run on Friday morning. It’s only a 2 hr 20 ish min drive from the Philly area. We stayed at the Atlantic View Hotel at Dewey Beach and it was the best! We had an ocean front room with an awesome little deck to sit out on. The thing was that it was SO windy and cold. I was hoping to enjoy reading out on the deck, but the wind made it pretty difficult! The great thing was that my parents stayed at the same hotel and their room was right next to ours!

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I decided to pick up my bib that Friday night, so I would have the whole day Saturday to do whatever and not have to worry about picking up the bib. The Coastal Delaware Running Festival has multiple races that weekend. A 5k on Saturday and a 9K, half, and full on Sunday. I guess I went to the packet pick-up at a bad time because it was PACKED. The expo was small, nothing to crazy, but the lines for the t-shirts were super long and the DJ was blasting music, which made it a little annoying. I just wanted to get out of there haha.

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The sunset was gorgeous!!

Afterward, I hung out the rest of the night with my family and got some free cookies from the hotel! 🙂

The next morning, I slept in, had my morning coffee (always necessary), and went out to explore Cape Henlopen State Park.

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This park has biking trails, running trails and beautiful beach views with a lighthouse!! Fort Miles is also there (some WWII history!). I got to check it out before I ran through it the next day.

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It was freezing and drizzling, but we still had a great time! I just didn’t stay as long as I would’ve liked to. Maybe next year, I’ll get to explore it a little bit more.

Afterwards, we headed to Rehoboth to check out some shops and get some coffee. We found the cutest coffee shop in an alley way!

We sat under the canopy for awhile, sipping our lattes, enjoying the view, and waited until it stopped raining haha.

They rest of the day, we lounged around the hotel. I never can eat out the night before the race. I have my usual quinoa and squash salad so my stomach doesn’t get upset. I’ve learned that the hard way. While I ate my salad, I watched my parents and husband eat pizza..Rude.

I went to bed at a decent time (still didn’t sleep well) and got up at my 4:45 AM alarm. I had my usual fuel in the morning, pre long run overnight oats with a banana, a full bottle of water, and of course coffee.

My husband and I left around 5:45 to get a parking spot close to the finish line and the shuttle buses that take you the starting line. Apparently we were the only ones really worried about parking and we got a great spot! Not to mention this awesome sunrise..

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Around 6:15-6:30, I headed to the shuttle buses. I guess they didn’t have enough buses because there was this huge line. As we waited, it got closer to the full marathon start (7AM) and runners were getting nervous. The buses eventually came, but the marathoners got first dibs. I had to continue to wait for another shuttle bus. If you know me, I’m a super punctual, ‘rather be early than late’ person. I was getting pretty nervous myself with the time crunch.

The ride is only about a mile and luckily I got there close to 7AM. That left me 30 min to use the port-a-potty, check my bag, and warm up. It was at that time when I fueled with my Oats n Honey Nature Valley bar. After finally warming up I was in my corral at 7:23! Took my Gu at 7:25, and I took off at 7:30!

I knew something was off in the first couple of miles. My breathing was heavy and I didn’t feel right. My legs felt great though! I was still hitting my paces, but my breathing was really throwing me into the loop. I tried to distract myself with my music so I wouldn’t become fixated on it.

The course was beautiful! Running through the beach towns was super fun! Part of the race went through Cape Henlopen. It was during that time when I was following a man who was hitting the paces that I was. I decided to stick with him for motivation. His name was Jeremy and it was his FIRST half marathon. We talked for a little and he said he was running this to test it out and get a feel for racing. He finished in 1:49!!

When we got closer to 8-9 I started to really feel off and tired, and that’s when I let Jeremy get ahead. When he saw I wasn’t near him, he turned around, saw me, and gave me a thumbs up. Sad thing is, I never got to see him after the race, but running with him was great moral support in the middle of race, and I’m so thankful for that!

Mile 9-10. Disaster strikes. I hit this huge wall. I was hitting negative splits the whole race, but during this time I knew I had to slow down. I was feeling nauseous and lightheaded. I didn’t take my Gu at mile 8 because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep it down. I started taking small bites of the Gu at that point, because I definitely didn’t want to pass out.

Through mile 11-13 I knew I had to make a choice. It was still possible that I could get my time in the 1:40’s but I knew it would be close. The last mile I pushed back to my previous pace and I saw the finish line.

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When I crossed I thought, maybe, just maybe I made it. I saw my husband and parents to the side and I immediately asked what my time was. I looked at my husband’s phone.. 1:50:09. 10 seconds, only 10 seconds off from my goal. I started crying instantly. I thought about all that I’ve been through. Starting 2017 with an injury, working my butt off to get my times down. I was upset, angry, you name it.

I didn’t stay too long at the after party. I grabbed a beer, sat on the beach for a little while, and then headed back to the hotel to shower.

We ended up going to Dewey Beer Company afterwards and their plantain nachos were amazing!

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We headed home shortly after that.

I was pretty bummed the rest of the day and my emotions got the best of me. I told myself I was done running (I know, so dramatic).

It wasn’t until the next day when I started to think about how I acted. I realized how quick I was to be angry and not thankful for everything going on around me. I was just so focused on me, my time, my feelings, that I forgot the bigger picture. I STILL had a PR (53 seconds), my family came out to support me the whole weekend, I met someone great on the course who helped me pace my miles, I made a big comeback from my injury, and I did not give up.

I realized that there are some things more important than times. That’s why it’s called a journey. There are things to be learned and time to grow as a person. This spring just was not my time to reach that certain goal and I’m now ok with that. The amount of learning that happened this spring was crazy, and I feel so much of a stronger and better person for it.

It’s ok to be sad for a little while, but now it’s time to get back up and keep fighting.

“A strong person is not the one who doesn’t cry, a strong person is the one who cries and sheds tears for a moment, then gets back up and fight again.”

I have more crazy plans coming this summer and fall and I can’t wait to fight for it. Enjoy the process, enjoy the journey.

Happy Training,

Run Jill Run

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