I beat my Rehoboth Seashore Half Marathon goal by 33 seconds — and had an awesome experience

Here I am with one of the frames I made on Friday before the race. (Veronica James photo)

The Rehoboth Seashore Marathon and Half Marathon Facebook group, with its excitement, support and fun, is just one thing that keeps me coming back to this race year after year. This was my fourth year participating, and I would totally feel like I missed out if I missed this race.

On Wednesday, I saw a post in the group from race director Mary Beth Evans offering a free race entry for next year along with this year’s and next year’s sweatshirts in exchange for two selfie frames that said “Rehoboth Seashore Marathon” for people to use in pictures. I jumped at the chance. What a cool way to be part of a different aspect of this race!

I immediately had the idea to make a life preserver because that’s kind of the theme of the race (and the Rehoboth Beach Running Company logo). I bought the materials Wednesday evening and then did the project in stages that evening, the next morning, on a lunch break and after work on Thursday so that I would have time for the layers of paint to dry. They were fun to make and it was also really cool to see other people using my frames and the pictures they posted with them.

Veronica and I pose for a photo in one of the frames.

My friend Veronica and I arrived in Rehoboth Beach late Friday afternoon for the expo and handed off the frames and picked up our packets — race bib, shirt (which I love!) and wristband. I also got my free sweatshirt from Mary Beth.

Veronica had made us a dinner reservation at Lupo Italian Kitchen, which was having a 50 percent off pasta deal for runners, and we were able to carbo-load there before the race. I ended up eating my whole dinner along with half the appetizer, some bread and even a dessert — I don’t always get dessert out, but someone near us had been raving about hers, and it was delicious.

We went to bed on the earlier side and got up early the next morning, Saturday, Dec. 2, for the race. I brought a variety of options for clothing, but ended up wearing a long-sleeved shirt from the 2014 Rehoboth Seashore Marathon and shorts, along with my Spibelt, where I packed a sleeve of Clif Shot Bloks and my phone. I also wore some new Rehoboth Seashore Marathon and Half Marathon socks that I purchased at Rehoboth Beach Running Company the day before. I don’t usually wear new clothing for a race, but the socks weren’t a problem.

Here I am with race director Mary Beth Evans.

We ended up making a trip back to the hotel so I could get gloves and Veronica could get her throw-away shirt, but I ended up tucking the gloves into my shorts after about a mile. Although there was some wind, it wasn’t extreme and I thought the weather was great. The wind seemed to be at my back after Mile 9.

I decided not too long ago that I wanted my goal for this race to be 2:08, because I’d like to PR at The Louisiana Marathon, which would mean less than 4:17:45. Half of a 4:16 marathon is 2:08. I knew I had no chance of a half marathon PR based on my recent race times, but 2:08 would still be fast for me. It took me 2 hours and 19 minutes to run the Pemberton Half Marathon in early October.

While this may not be the best strategy, I decided I wanted to bank some time early on if I could. This didn’t mean running an 8-minute mile, or anything like that, but if I could stay ahead of pace, I figured that would be helpful. I often stop at all the water stops in a race, but I decided to skip the first couple on Saturday because I was keeping up a good pace.

This backdrop was new this year! (Veronica James photo)

My first three miles were 9:22, 9:20 and 9:29, respectively. I ran Mile 4 at 9:37, but Mile 5 was my slowest mile of the race, 10:18.

I stopped for water around that part because I was feeling hungry and figured it might be a good time to eat a couple of my Clif Shot Bloks. Probably because it was cold, they were chewier than usual, so I had to slow down to chew them and get them down. At that point, Veronica passed me and said something to me, and I knew I wanted to catch up with her. Veronica always seems to have a consistent pace in races, and I figured if I stayed in front of or by her, I would get the time I was going for.

Although we did not run the race together, it did seem like we were always near each other, and we went back and forth in front of each other at least a few times.

Here I am about to start carbo-loading in my carbo-loading shirt from Sarah Marie Design Studio. (Veronica James photo)

The race seemed to go by relatively quickly for me, and I think it’s because I didn’t really feel like I was dying. I was working hard, but I didn’t feel like I was pushing my body beyond its limits. I remember being at Mile 4 and thinking that it didn’t feel like I’d been running for 38 minutes or so.

As the race continued, I kept thinking that I was staying on track to meet my goal and that I could keep pushing through at this pace. I saw my watch at about 6.55 miles — halfway — and saw that I was above 1:03 but below 1:04, perfect for the pace I was going for. Once I got to the turnaround near Mile 9, I figured achieving my goal was pretty likely, but I would still have to work.

I tried to speed up as much as I could toward the end, skipping the last water stop, and ended up running my fastest mile of the race for Mile 13: 9:11. My chip time was 2:07:27, a 9:44 pace, and I am so happy I was able to set and achieve my goal. I beat the goal by 33 seconds!

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

Another great thing about this race is the course. I love running in Cape Henlopen State Park (the marathon goes on the Gordon’s Pond Trail, but the half marathon doesn’t) and on the Junction and Breakwater Trail, which a decent part of the half marathon is on.

With two out-and-backs, it was fun to see some friends on the course, too.

Veronica and I finished very close to each other, so it was easy to find each other and get to the after-party, which goes on both in a tent at the finish and The Cultured Pearl next door, which is in the same building as the Rehoboth Beach Running Company. We went to The Cultured Pearl, where we didn’t have to wait in a long line, and got seats, food and beers. I love craft beer and thought it was awesome that the beers were from Dogfish Head (the brewpub is pretty much across the street and the brewery is in a nearby town). I also particularly liked the mac and cheese and pulled pork.

I had to stop and get another frame photo after finishing the race. (Veronica James photo)

After that, we went to the party in the tent, where there was a DJ playing music, having fun and getting the crowd energized. There were also different Dogfish beers in the tent. We were able to get out to some other places in Rehoboth Beach later that day.

My race performance definitely made me more confident as I prepare to run The Louisiana Marathon on Jan. 15.

I’ll be back next year, of course, and I’m leaning toward running the full marathon.

Splits, according to my watch:

Mile 1: 9:22

Mile 2: 9:20

Mile 3: 9:29

Mile 4: 9:37

Mile 5: 10:18

Mile 6: 9:43

Mile 7: 10:07

Mile 8: 9:50

Mile 9: 10:03

Mile 10: 9:56

Mile 11: 9:42

Mile 12: 9:30

Mile 13: 9:11

(.1 – my watch had .17): 1:23

Total: 2:07:30 – Chip Time – 2:07:27

Read about my past Rehoboth Seashore Marathon and Half Marathon experiences here. I also ran the race in 2013 (my first marathon!), but that was on my old blog.



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4 thoughts on “I beat my Rehoboth Seashore Half Marathon goal by 33 seconds — and had an awesome experience

  1. Good work. My feeling is that you negative split a half and bank time in a full. If you’ve done enough work for the half, you won’t hit the wall. The full is just too long — you’re going to slow down, no matter what you do in the first 13.1.


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