A unique experience: Tweeting the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon

I wasn’t expecting to run a fast time at the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon today, Dec. 5, but I also wasn’t expecting to have a sprained ankle. So, I turned out being much slower than I would have thought.

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The day before the race, I visited Santa’s House. (Veronica James photo)

I’m now resting, but I am glad I decided to do the run. It was a strange experience: I was going at a much slower pace than I normally would, but it seemed to go by so quickly. I think it was because I really wasn’t feeling tired at all.

I walked about .2 miles or so after I reached each mile, and did a slow run generally until reaching the next mile marker. I took a leisurely pace — I tweeted at each mile, I stopped to take pictures, I stopped at the water stops and I made a portable toilet stop.

Tweeting during the race was really fun for me — as I am an avid Twitter user — and during the race, I looked for interesting things to tweet about and thought about what I’d do for my next tweet. I used the hashtag #VJrunsRehoboth.

Unfortunately, I can’t embed the Storify I made of all my tweets on this blog, but check it out here: https://storify.com/Vanessajunkin2/vjrunsrehoboth

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I heart eating. Getting that dinner in before the race is important! (Veronica James photo)

So, from the beginning…

I decided to do a shakeout run with a couple friends Friday morning. Aside from last week’s 10-miler, I’d only run one other time since then. So, I wanted to get a run in, the 6:30 a.m. start would force me to get up early and it would be nice to see my friends.

We went on the trails at the Salisbury City Park, and I ended up stepping wrong on my ankle. I’m not a doctor, but from what I have read, it seems to be sprained. I heard an unsettling crack when it happened, but after a little walking, I resumed the rest of the 3.1-mile run.

On the way to Rehoboth, I bought a brace, and I wore that when walking around and for today’s race. I’m planning to continue wearing it while the injury heals.

Thankfully, my friend Veronica, whom I came to the race with, is a great planner. She got us dinner reservations at Lupo Italian Kitchen, which was having a half-off pasta deal, and we saw plenty of other people waiting in line.

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Here I am after deciding to start the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

On race morning, I was deciding whether or not to run up until the last moment. I had iced my ankle the day before and this morning, and the swelling had gone down from Friday, but during a few practice runs outside, I wasn’t sure if my form was correct. I’m worried about doing longer-term damage.

So, I waited till after the race began at 7 a.m. (it’s chip-timed, so it didn’t make a difference exactly what time I started) to officially make my decision. I figured I’d give it a shot and run slow.

The first mile seemed to go by fast, and so did the miles after that. My ankle didn’t even really hurt that much, although the bottom of my foot did start hurting. But that really wasn’t too bad until the last mile, and afterward that was causing me a decent amount of pain.

I think I saw at least four different people dressed up as Santa Claus during the run.

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This nice ocean view is pretty early on in the course. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Since I was stopping to take pictures on the course when I wanted to — hey, there was no pressure — I got a photo of one of the Santas I saw, and then a photo of the ocean, early on.

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Running a marathon is hard enough — it must be extremely hard in full fire gear! (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I also got to see the man who was running the marathon in full firefighter gear, and after I briefly turned around to grab a photo of him, we talked briefly before he turned off for the marathon course.

Each mile seemed to go by quickly. Since I was walking some after each mile (and I’d tweet while I walked), I’d look down at my watch to see where I was, and I’d see that I was already halfway through that mile.

I stopped at each water stop except for the very end, and I walked through those, taking the time to put my cup in the trash, as I wasn’t in a hurry.

I also ate a packet of Clif Shot Bloks in three increments, which probably only helped my energy level. I was still full of energy at the end; it just hurt to stand or walk on my foot with the injured ankle.

I actually came across another runner with a sprained ankle soon after the Mile 4 mile-marker. I was near his group for much of the race. We would keep passing each other, and they were very friendly.

Rather than feeling as if the miles were dragging on, or thinking about how in pain I was, I felt like I was really able to enjoy the run and the experience.

And the weather was just amazing! I ran in a long-sleeve shirt and shorts, and it felt so nice.

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I stopped for this photo while on the Junction and Breakwater trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

The first marathoner I saw coming up the course toward the turnaround went up while I was at about Mile 10. I ended up seeing plenty of marathoners going that way — including my friend Melissa — and I was passed by two marathoners at the finish.

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Here I am after finishing the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon. (Veronica James photo)

However, I did look at the results, and only one beat my half marathon time with his chip time.

But those are crazy marathon times: Both were under a 6:15 pace. I can’t even get close to that when I don’t have a sprained ankle.

On the way back, I also saw five people who were running the marathon attached by some type of rope or string they had tied around their waists.

That was interesting. That would be so hard to run at the same pace as four other people for 26.2 miles — and they seemed to be going fast, too.

Veronica, who had finished long before me, was there at the finish line. My time was 2:39:23, a 12:11 pace.

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Here’s my medal and race bib. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I felt like I actually smiled in some of the race photos, since I felt good. I’m glad I earned the cool medal, and now I’ll also feel good about wearing the shirt — I wouldn’t have wanted to wear it if I hadn’t been able to run.

Then, Veronica and I decided to go to the after-party at the Cultured Pearl — there’s one outside in the tent and one inside in the Cultured Pearl. We ended up waiting in a relatively long line, which was hard on my foot, but it was great to be able to sit down and have a burger, mac and cheese, cole slaw, pulled pork and a craft beer.

Then, I hobbled and she walked back to the hotel where we’re staying, where I am now writing this post.

I do really enjoy this race, and I’ll likely sign up for the half marathon again next year.

I also made it past the 1,100-mile milestone for 2015 with this run. We’ll see if I can still make it to 1,200, as I’m certainly going to take a few rest days now.

One of the signs that I saw someone with today read, “You’re not slow, you’re just enjoying the course.” That was exactly how I felt about this run.

The first sentence of this post was updated on Dec. 6 to read Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon rather than Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon.

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