This isn’t really a race cap because… I didn’t really race. I just ran. Sure, I thought I would feel better/stronger/more trained, and there was the idea that – if my legs were up for it – I would try and PR on this notoriously flat and fast course… but sometimes your body has other plans. On Saturday, the latter is what my body chose for me. But don’t mistake my tone for disappointment because nothing could be further from the truth. I had a great weekend, and you get to hear alllllll about it. Lucky.
On Friday, I left work exactly on time, as planned, but I still encountered traffic from Baltimore to Annapolis, Annapolis to the Bay Bridge, and the Bay Bridge through the Queenstown Outlets. After that, though… it was smooth sailing. Despite the rain. Since I was running behind, and unsure that I would make the 8 p.m. packet pick up, running buddy JK did the honors for me. She did a good job guessing both my size and color preferences:
I keep joking lately that I have all this great gear for night-running now… trouble is, I haven’t managed to do a good job actually getting out to run at night.
We were supposed to stay at our Fenwick Island beach house, but Sandy made that impossible as we had to close it up early… so instead, we stayed at the Holiday Inn in Rehoboth. This turned out to be great for two major reasons. 1) It was super-cheap, super-clean, and super-close to the start and 2) I didn’t have to clean-up when I left! This means we left for the 7 a.m. start time at 6:30 a.m., had no trouble parking very close by, and had plenty of time to hear the National Anthem, porta-potty, and get ready.
For me, “getting ready” means taking off the password protect on my iPhone so I can scroll easily through songs and/or easily pull up a podcast if I need to zone out, readying my playlist, adjusting the height of my ponytail, applying chapstick, and checking-in on foursquare. You know, all of the important things.
Moments before the race start, JK and I took a (blurry) picture together and promised that we’d treat this race like a long run and just take it easy. She was nursing a knee injury, and what was my excuse? Total and utter lack of training. I just didn’t want to embarrass myself. In fact, we both considered bailing on the race, but ended up talking each other into it.
We also promised that if either one of us felt really great, they could break away at anytime with no hard feelings. Turns out, I wouldn’t have to worry about that. Sigh.
I love the picture above because I look like a *real* runner.
So, almost immediately, I knew this wouldn’t be a PR. In fact, my legs felt tight and heavy from my very first step. I kept hoping that it would change after a couple of miles, so I busied myself with talking to JK and taking in the views. Through the first out-and-back – which was about 4 miles – this kind of worked. There were houses to look at, ocean to enjoy, state parks to admire, and the super-fast runners who were on their way back before I even got out. I saw my running coach who was looking speedy and confident… I thought I spotted one of my favorite fitness bloggers, Theodora, and I saw some other running-group buddies. Fun!
(I don’t know that dude, but I appreciated his sign which I saw twice!)
As we headed west, and then north onto the trail… I knew that my legs weren’t ever going to warm-up and shake-out. They were lead pipes and I was dragging. I wanted my vanilla-bean Gu at mile 6, but I made myself wait until mile 7.5 in order to distract myself. In hindsight, this was a bad move. You’re supposed to take your Gu 15 minutes before you need it, and I needed it at mile 6. Now I know.
See! All these games and mind-tricks to distract myself. Long-distance running is so mental. Or maybe I’m just mental.
I knew from looking at the course map that the turn around wasn’t until mile 9. At mile 8, I was wondering if I should just turn around early. No one would know. No one, except me and JK. Which is why I hung in there.
At this point, JK started to break away and I told her to go on without me. I was tired, I was hungry (a first for me), I was dragging, I was thirsty and my feet were KILLING ME. There were stones in my shoes from all the trail running, but more importantly, my shoes were too old, I knew it before the race, and I failed to do anything about it… so I just dealt with the ache. And I so badly wanted beer around mile 10, which is normal for me.
I hung in there and finished the race with not a whole lot of excitement… but a huge amount of relief. I completed my long run, I didn’t back down, I didn’t wuss out, and now I could drink all the beer. Alllllllllllllllllll the beer.
So, after JK and I went to the car to grab some warm clothes, we went back to the tent and enjoyed what is certainly the best post-race party ever.
Together we ate various combinations of: BBQ beans, pulled pork, hamburgers, veggie burgers, PANCAKES (favorite #1), cesar salad, coffee, MACARONI AND CHEESE (favorite #2), and BEER. Delicious 16 Mile beer. They were offering three types of beer: an IPA (I think Inlet India Pale Ale), Amber Sun Ale and Blues’ Golden Ale. I went with the Amber Ale and it was delicious refreshing, and everything I had dreamed of drinking around Mile 10.
I finally checked my phone, and realized Theodora (whom I thought I saw running earlier, but wasn’t sure since I don’t actually know her IRL) had tweeted to me:
I was happy to get the chance to meet this person who I didn’t know but read her blog daily!
She was, naturally, super nice, and we talked running for a good long while. Nice to meet you, Theodora! If you ever decide to run the Baltimore Running Festival, you’ve got a place to stay and a tour guide!
I needed more beer, and I need a massage, so JK and I did just that. We beered (again) and went to wait in line for the massages. This is one of the best things about this race (and probably other small races): Everything was easily to get to. No lines for food! No bottle-necking at the finish! No wait for beer (unheard of)! And only a twenty-minute wait for a 10-minute massage. How blissful!
The masseuse asked me if I had any areas of concern. I love when they ask because boy did my left calf need some attention. It immediately felt better, and she gave me some stretches to do on my own.
One other thing i’d like to mention is that the band was awesome, too. The party atmosphere was great and it absolutely lived up to the hype. I will definitely, definitely, definitely do this race again… and I’ll try and make it a regular thing. I love it!
Why drink one beer when you can drink five…
… is what I always say.
Thanks Rehoboth Beach Running Company – it was a great event, a great weekend and I can’t wait to be back.