Bottle & Cork 10 Miler a struggle

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Spoiler alert: Despite having a tough day, I finished the Bottle & Cork 10 Miler on Sept. 9. Then, I hung out at the beach for a bit. Here’s my finisher medal with a beach backdrop. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I actually remember thinking during the Bottle & Cork 10 Miler about not finishing. I think I always knew I would finish, but I did struggle during this race.

I went into the race on Saturday, Sept. 9, feeling good that it wasn’t going to be as hot as last year. Last year, it was extremely hot on race day, and I figured I would certainly have a faster time than that race.

I was wrong — I ended up with my new slowest 10-mile race time: 1:44:47, a 10:29 pace.

I did go into this race having already done three September races — the Mike Sterling 10K, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and the Run, White & Blue 5K. I’m not sure how tiring myself out at those races may have contributed, but my guess is that they did, because my legs were feeling like Jell-O around Mile 4. That’s really not good in a 10-mile race.

However, I was able to pretty much hold it together until I got to the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk area, where it seemed extra hot — there’s no shade. Despite the cooler temperatures than last year, it still felt very hot for me, and I couldn’t force myself to keep running. A few times I told myself I might do run-walk intervals, but instead, I ended up basically walking at water stops and when I needed to.

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Here I am after finishing the Bottle & Cork 10 Miler on Sept. 9. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I came through the first half in 48-something — I remember seeing the clock — but with a final time of 1:44:47, that would make my second half about eight or so minutes longer. It was while I was on the boardwalk that I had the thought about not finishing.

However, I struggled through. My first mile was 9:01, and my slowest mile of the day would be Mile 8, at 12:03.

I did decide to stop at the unofficial Mile 8.5 beer stop, because I figured, “Why not?” — which I’m pretty sure I even said to the person handing out beer. Other than when I’ve run the unofficial Beer Mile, I’ve never actually taken beer during a race that I can recall, so it was fun that I finally did.

It was also nice that a runner called out my blog name while I was on the course. It’s fun to be recognized!

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Here’s a photo, taken after the race, of the view you see when you’re running up to the finish line. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Even though I did notice more hills than I remembered, I love this course, which starts in Dewey Beach and goes through Rehoboth Beach before returning to Dewey Beach. It’s scenic, and you see different bodies of water, including the Atlantic Ocean, Silver Lake and what looks from the map to be a canal. (Here’s a course map.) I also looked back at my elevation and it does appear to be very flat — it wasn’t like there were any enormous hills. Living in a super flat area, I notice even small hills.

After crossing the finish line, I went to my nearby car and recovered for several minutes before walking up to the Bottle & Cork for the post-race party. Unfortunately, they were out of fried chicken by the time I went into the post-race party, but I was able to get some of the other food and a beer. There was also cake for a runner’s birthday.

I had also seen that runners could wear old Bottle & Cork 10 Miler shirts for prizes, so I wore the shirt from the first time I ran this race, in 2011. I got a pint glass. Some people had shirts from the ’90s, but the announcer did notice that I wasn’t alive when this race began (this was the 41st year). There was someone else who wore the 2011 shirt, too.

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Beer and cake were among the post-race refreshments. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I’m glad I finished despite having a tough day out there. I’m also glad that I’m in tune with my body and know when I just need to slow down.

I parked at a nearby meter, and I paid once the meter went into effect at 10 a.m. (just after I finished the race). I spent some time at the beach after the post-race party and came back to find a ticket on my car for double-parking. I didn’t think that was justified, so I appealed it and got it taken down to a warning (one of my evidence photos was a selfie I took that showed my regular distance from the other car). Just watch out when you park — I certainly will next time! I now know that there are parking spot numbers on the yellow curbs.

Splits:

Mile 1: 9:01

Mile 2: 9:27

Mile 3: 9:43

Mile 4: 9:46

Mile 5: 10:14

Mile 6: 11:28

Mile 7: 11:25

Mile 8: 12:03

Mile 9: 11:16

Mile 10: 9:38

Last part (watch had 10.09): 0:43.6

Final time: 1:44:47 (official time – results); 1:44:45 (watch time)

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