Delaware

When Brian told me he was going to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to run a marathon in early December? I don’t have to tell you crazy was the first thought that went through my head. However, my new fellow 50 states running bud was persistent and pushed me more than once to go run… on the coastline… in December… in Delaware. I am not sure how he sold me but somewhere along the line I looked it up and he was right – the average temperature really was in the 40’s. It may not be all that bad afterall. Then Oklahoma came, I freezed my tuckus off and I just wanted the h-e-double hockey stick out of this run! But I had spent $120 for the thon and another $300 for the plane ticket so away we went.

I flew into Washington DC and after a quick trip around the National Mall I met up with a couple of people that I know will be a big part of my running future – Brian and Adam. I had previously met Brian at Omaha where he introduced me to 50 sub 4 and got me to join the Marathon Maniacs but I really probably could not have picked him out of a crowd. We sat down with Aaron and waited to meet Adam. Adam showed and we made the rather long drive to the coast. It was nice to go with runners who weren’t super healthy – Adam even had a Honeybun! – and enjoy the ride rather than worry about nonsense. They seemed a little mystified I refused to eat at McDonald’s even.

We stopped to eat, then we made our way to the coastal town. It was so beautiful! They really decked the town out in Christmas lights and it was a lot bigger than any of us expected but when you got close to the boardwalk? It was like another town altogether – quaint, small and looked to be more fun than any small Oregon seaside town I had been to. I think we all wished it was Summer and we had a couple more days off to visit. It was also the first time I had seen the Atlantic Ocean – it was a trip of a few firsts you could say.

Well, the day of the race came and Brian was right and wrong. The weather was fine and there was no need for even leggings. However he was going to run the race in a singlet but he knew better after three minutes outside. The race started up and we were off. The run did not have any pacers so I had to rely on myself to know where I was and I don’t wear a watch! I settled into a pace and watched myself pass several runners before settling about where I belonged around Mile 5. I did get passed by five more people a couple miles later but never varied much after that only being passed by 4 runners after the halfway point – fantastic for me!

The halfway point came up and there it was – 1:31! One of my better times for the first half. I didn’t push it and tried to keep it to under 3:10 but knew around Mile 20 I was starting to sag and it was going to be hard. I pushed myself and got a PR of 3:14:42! Pretty damn good with some pretty good cross winds.

The after party was sweet. The people of Delaware really do put on a good festival. There was free beer flowing and three varieties including an IPA that was gone by the time I was done. By the way race organizers – ever notice us marathoners do twice the distance but half the time are left out in the cold for the good stuff? I remember when I used to run Eugene the Subway sandwiches were out in under 4 hours – the median point for a lot of races! So no IPA but good eats including burgers, pork, veggie burgers and pancakes. The runners were festive and I picked up a couple conversations no problem at all.

I even met another runner (the guy who finished right in front of me even) who wants to run with me in Louisiana! I won’t tell you when it will happen but it will be soon…

Afterwards everyone got done, showered and we met back at the tent again for more of the free beer. Everyone had a good run and more importantly, a good time. Adam told me how he used to worry about time but now he wanted to focus on enjoying himself and the sights along the way. I have to say I understand – sometimes I wish I could just take a moment to really see some of the cool places I visit. This was State 20 for Adam. That deserves a congratulations of course. Brian completed 17 and I got in my 12th. My new friend I will meet in Louisiana? It was his 43rd! Aaron still has yet to get his first.

At times like that – running 50 states seems almost trivial but you have to remember that less than 1% of all people will ever run a marathon. And even with all the people here for this event? Remember there were not even 650 people that completed the full marathon. That’s not that many at all.

Qualms? I have a couple. Great marathon Rebohoth Beach but $120 is a lot to spend for a small little run. There was no GU energy packs or extra amenities (don’t even remember seeing that many Port-a-Pots along the way) along the course to justify such a heavy price. Furthermore, they ran out of T-shirts before the race and that always seems inexcusable. Runners want to leave with their swag not hope to receive it three weeks later. Then again, who doesn’t?

But overall if you are in the quest to run 50 states and you want a nice little December run that won’t be too cold, will have lots of fun people and a great place to bond with some new running buds? You can certainly do worse than Rebohoth Beach.

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