The Rehoboth Half Marathon was the last race on my calendar for 2017 and I had planned to race it. Really, what else can you do with all that left over endurance from marathon training anyway? The weekend started around 2:30 Friday afternoon when I arrived in Rehoboth and met up with Gwen, Carissa and Eric at packet pick up. After a quick stop at the house we made our way to Dog Fish Head to catch up and enjoy some beer. Slowly others trickled into town and we gathered at the house while Chris made lasagna for the pre-race meal. Soon it was time to get some sleep.
The alarm went off at 5:00 AM. I dressed and went down to the kitchen where the others were already gorging on bagels on coffee. There’s nothing like the smell of body glide, coffee and nervous perspiration to help get you pumped for a race. We talked about the perfect racing weather and pace goals. Soon it was time to make our way to the start. Caitlin found a super nice house, and we could walk to the start in just a few minutes. It was a chilly 40 degrees but we were so close that I didn’t even need a throwaway. Here we are at the start.
After some announcements and the National Anthem the race started. My goal was to beat 1:50 (8:25 pace) so I started with the 1:50 pace group. Sounded convenient. The plan was to run with the 1:50 group and hopefully have enough energy to pick it up for the last mile to finish under 1:50. The Marathon course splits off around 3 miles. The pace was feeling easy when my watch beeped 4 miles. Actually, it felt like the pacer had slowed. He had already announced that he wasn’t looking for a negative split and wasn’t going to come in early at all. Excuse me? That’s really all you need to hear when you’re feeling good - so I dropped him and settled into around an 8:10 pace.
The trail section was in great shape this year and was completely dry. The pace felt steady and when I reached asphalt again I knew I was going to beat my goal by a minute or two. Some other runners around me started picking up their pace just before mile 12. I let them go, content to run my own race and beat the goal, happy and healthy. Around mile 12 Chris caught me and said “Come on – let’s go!”
I picked it up with her and asked “We’re going to do this now?”
“Yeah, let’s go!”
So we hit it as hard as we could from mile 12, taking turns yelling at each other to keep pushing. That was the longest 1.1 miles I can remember, but soon enough we were rounding the last corner and we could see the finish line. My watch read 1:47:11 after crossing the finish line, a PR by over 4 minutes! The tracking company email says I ran 1:47:08.
After a quick change of clothes several of us went back to cheer for the others who were still on the course. Then it was time to get the party started. The after party is mostly in a large tent at the finish line, but the beer tickets also work at the bar across the street. There isn’t gluten free beer in the tent, but we found GF beer across the street. Soon I was ordering bottles of GF beer across the street and sneaking them out in my pants and back to the tent where we spent most of our time goofing around and dancing. On the third trip I bumped into the RD and had to converse with her for a few minutes with beer in my pants. Fortunately, she didn't notice that I had beer in my pants.
The next morning we said our good byes and started traveling home, looking forward to the next time when we can do this all over again. Thanks everyone! This was the best weekend since my last Rehoboth and I have a shiny new PR to chase next year.