After my run at the Salisbury Half Marathon, I was a little nervous about pacing the 2:45 group at the Coastal Delaware Half Marathon. I knew I could do it, and I’d paced a 2:45 half without issue in December, but my time of 2:42:24 at Salisbury left me worried that I’d run too close to my pacing time — a pace that is supposed to be comfortable.
Leading up to Salisbury, I hadn’t done any long runs for over a month, I was trying a new race strategy of using run-walk intervals, and my race time included a bathroom break, so I did have a couple reasons for why my time wasn’t as fast as I’d hoped. On the two weekends I had in between Salisbury and Coastal Delaware, I ran about 11.5 miles one day and eight miles, practicing my pacing pace, the following weekend.
Hitting my paces during that practice run helped me build confidence, and including the Salisbury Half Marathon, I’d gotten in three longer runs before the Coastal Delaware Running Festival Half Marathon on April 24.
I did a conversation-paced (though I was alone) six miles at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge before picking up my race packet the Friday before the race, and then I got up early to drive back to Rehoboth Beach on Sunday morning.
In the morning, I met up with my fellow pacers from Beast Pacing and got my 2:45 sign, which I’d be running with throughout the race. There are always people surprised that we run the whole race while holding a sign, but that’s what we do! This was the 12th time I have paced a half marathon.
The course starts and ends on the boardwalk and goes on some residential streets before heading north to Cape Henlopen State Park and the Gordons Pond Trail. I love this trail, which is crushed stone — not full of roots — and it’s a beautiful course.
My plan for pacing, as it always is, was to run a consistent pace and save a little bit of time to walk the water stops. I hoped to get to each mile marker on the course just a little bit early to ensure that I was on track. If you’ve run races before, you’ve probably noticed that you rarely get the exact mileage on your watch — for example, when pacing half marathons, I usually end up with 13.2 miles on my watch instead of 13.1. When pacing, this is something pacers need to think about the entire time in order to come in on time. We can come in up to a minute under, but not over the time we’re pacing.
The time for a 2:45 half marathon is about a 12:35/mile pace, but I knew I’d need to be a little bit faster per mile for this reason. I based my pace on the mile markers and my cumulative time.
I had some people with me at the beginning and one runner in particular who was with me for about half the race and close behind for a little bit after that. Unfortunately, it started to get warm, and I ended up passing more people as I continued. As far as I know, I didn’t end the race with anyone I started with.
Because I figured it would be warmer than what I feel is ideal (my favorite temps are 50s and overcast, and in April, I’m not acclimated to the heat at all), I took water and Gatorade at every aid station, aside from the tables that were super close to another stop. I also had some chews that I brought. I think hydrating early and often helped me stay feeling well.
As I continued along, it was hot, but I felt good. I didn’t want to be overconfident, but I was taking the race mile by mile and continued to feel strong.
There was no mile marker for Mile 9 because it was on a bridge. That I expected, but then the Mile 10 marker was late, according to my watch. This got me a little bit worried, because I’d been right on or slightly ahead of pace at the mile markers to that point, but I didn’t want to get behind. I tried speeding up a little bit, and then I also didn’t see the Mile 11 marker. There was someone in a golf cart collecting mile markers, and I think she may have taken the Mile 11 one.
Thankfully, I was right on track when I got to the Mile 12 marker. We continued onto the boardwalk and I could see the finish arch, so I slowed down a little, as I didn’t want to finish too early. However, although I could see the arch, it was actually a little further than it seemed. I had to speed up again, and when I stopped my watch, which was a little bit after I crossed the finish line, I saw a time of 2:45:04.
Oh, no! I was stressed. The whole race had gone so well, and I missed my finish time by a few seconds? I had to see what my official time was, but I was out of data on my phone. After asking someone working at the post-race party if the results were posted, I then went back to the finish and saw the obvious QR codes to scan for results that I’d somehow missed. My finish time was 2:44:59. Perfect!
Happy about my finish, I headed back to the post-race party at Grotto Pizza and had a little bit of food — there’s a full buffet — before meeting up with my grandparents and boyfriend at a restaurant.
I saw the runner I’d been with for several miles at the after-party, and it was great to talk to her, and I’d also gotten an iced latte and been thanked by a couple people who saw me in the coffee shop.
This race also has great swag. After finishing, in addition to my finisher medal, I received a BOCO Gear hat. I also got a nice shirt and pint glass. Plus, race photos are free.
I was recently invited back to pace the Rehoboth Seashore Half Marathon, which I have paced four times. The race is Dec. 3, and I will be pacing the 2:45 group there, as well. It’s also a BibRave partner race this year, so you can save 15 percent with code “BIBRAVERB22.”
Mile 1: 12:09
Mile 2: 12:27
Mile 3: 12:28
Mile 4: 12:33
Mile 5: 12:09
Mile 6: 12:14
Mile 7: 12:48
Mile 8: 12:18
Mile 9: 13:14
Mile 10: 12:15
Mile 11: 12:10
Mile 12: 12:44
Mile 13: 12:43
Last bit (watch had .25): 2:46 (11:19 pace)
Final time on results: 2:44:59 (12:36 pace on results / 12:28 pace on watch for 13.25)