Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Caesar Rodney Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, March 27
Wilmington, DE
Half Marathon #27
State #24/50
Weather - Sunny, COLD (low 30s)

The Caesar Rodney half marathon was actually a last minute add. It is pretty expensive to travel to the east coast, and I figured whenever possible, it's best to just have a double weekend to get some of these smaller states out of the way. This one seemed promising... I mean any race that is on its 48th year has to be doing SOMETHING right.

Anyway... we were taking the train from Union Station to Wilmington, DE. I had found a Doubletree hotel for a pretty decent rate that was really close to both the train station AND the start/finish area for the race. This all seemed like a no-brainer.

We got off the train and headed to the hotel. We noticed right away that Wilmington ALSO seems hilly. Greeeat. My calf was still feeling tight and it was cold and windy on our walk. We noticed there didn't seem to be many food choices on the way and hoped we would find something. Checked in to the hotel and then headed back out in the opposite direction to find somewhere to eat.

Pretty cool architecture
Unlike D.C., Wilmington (at least the area we were in) is SUPER clean. It is also SUPER "old fashioned" - everything was closed by the time we headed out. Apparently 6:00ish on a Saturday night is simply a CRAZY time to try and get something to eat. After about 30 minutes we were cold and hungry and tired of walking around and decided to shell out the extra money to just eat at the hotel. After checking the menu, the only pasta option was "lobster ravioli" - unimpressed. Neither of us particularly LIKES fish. So... our next option was to call for delivery. It was really our last hope. We found a place called "Seasons Pizza" that had some pasta on their menu, and they were able to get it to us in 40 minutes. Not too bad.

Ziti, chicken, salad (fries, even though I asked for veggies)
Dinner was fabulous, and for the first time in a while, I was actually kind of struggling to eat the entire thing, but I knew I would need all the carbs/help I could get. We finally finished with dinner and then tried to stay up.

Problem #1 with adding this race. I only "skimmed" when I read the race info. I thought it started at 8:30 and therefore a 12:54 train and a 3:20 flight out of Baltimore would be no problem. Well. The 5K started at 8:30, but the half didn't start until 9:30. Especially with how yesterday's race went, and that my calf was feeling funky, I was NOT optimistic about a 2 hour finish. Of course we would still have to walk back to the hotel, shower, walk to the train station.

This was ALL going to be cut VERY close. We also had not picked up our packets yet, and the only detail on the website was that pick-up STARTED at 7:30. We decided to get up at 8:00 in the morning, walk over in our pj's and get our packets, then come back and get ready.

There were quite a few people in line getting their packets. It took about 10 minutes to get our bag, then I grabbed a cup of coffee and we headed back to the hotel to get ready. After the last couple of races, I was really torn on if I should do something off the wall like run with my jacket. Just so tired of freezing throughout (and before and after) the race. Decided that I would not wear my jacket, it's really not so much my arms that get cold, but my hands. I did, however, decide that I would wear my gloves for the race. L and I had also brought travel blankets with us (to keep warm at the start). I was glad to have it, it was pretty chilly.

Sure DID feel like 25
L by the Caesar Rodney statue
In addition to the gloves, I decided I would also wear my running tights. We found the start line and set our blankets on top of a trash can and lined up to start. I was relieved that we were going to start running DOWN. The gun went off just a few minutes after 9:30 and we were off. I almost immediately lost L, but I knew that today of all days would NOT be one I'd even have a hope of keeping up with her. I was trying to take it a bit easy.

The first two miles were ROUGH. I cannot even begin to describe how tight my right calf was. I know that it doesn't actually need to bend or anything while running, but it was so tight I felt like I was gimp/running. I noticed my foot didn't hurt, so I was undecided if this was better or worse. At mile 1, I noticed I was under a 9 minute pace and decided I needed to slow down a bit. The first part of the course was weird. Ran around and through a strip mall. Clearly just to get the correct amount of mileage. Came up on the first aid station and I was really relieved to be able to walk.

Stadium by mile 2
I walked a bit longer than usual and already the wheels were turning in my head. How slow could I actually finish this race and give us enough time to get to the train on time? I even thought that if I started walking at mile 2 I would give us about 20 minutes to get there as long as I jogged a few minutes here and there. What a terrible way to think so early in a race!

Luckily that walking at mile 2 seemed to have loosened up my calf a bit and it didn't hurt as bad when I started up again. However... I started to feel that ache in my foot. Damn. New plan. Attack the race like I do a marathon, run easy, don't race. I started to get passed a lot. Oh well... I just had to finish (ideally as fast as possible so we would have time to shower :D )

In the parking lot
After we ran through the strip mall, the course made a turn and we ran by the nature conservatory (where I had a GUY tell me I had some really awesome socks). Then we turned and started down a path by the Riverfront:

I didn't really feel "tired" but I was... fatigued, and I was worried that my foot wasn't going to hold up for the rest of the race. I was still taking it easy, and was relieved when I made it to yet another aid station without having to walk. Maybe this wouldn't be too bad after all!

Mile 4 aid station
We ran back through a business district in the city, and then headed up a pretty big hill (by our hotel and sorta near where we started) before we turned off and headed into a more "park-like" area. I wasn't moving very fast on the hill, but I was able to keep going. I almost missed the mile marker at 6, but I knew there was a timing mat at the halfway point.

Cool bridge, approaching 1/2 way
The next aid station was under a bridge right before the timing mat. Once again, I enjoyed my brief break. Happy that I'm halfway, this just might work! Of course THIS was the toughest point of the entire course. There was a small section of course that we would do twice, and right when I passed halfway, the winner was headed toward me. This section of the course, while scenic, was ALL UPHILL.

Between Miles 7 & 8
I actually was able to jog a little longer than I thought I would be able to, but then I eventually decided that walking for a few minutes might loosen up my quads and give me a quick break. The next aid station was somewhere around mile 8 (and the only one with Gatorade), and then we headed to another park area:
Between Miles 8 and 9
I was super happy that I hadn't needed to use the bathroom on the course. L had heard that there was only one on the course, somewhere before mile 9. I never saw it though. (That's really one of the only complaints I would have on this race... there should ALWAYS be at least a couple places to stop and use the bathroom). Right around mile 9 I noticed it was already 11:00. Damn. I needed to keep at it the same pace I was going or we were going to have problems. Took a third GU right before mile 10... Vanilla Bean. Haven't had that flavor in ages. It was really tasty and I think it actually gave me a little bit of energy!

After we exited the park we ran through some neighborhoods, then the next aid station at mile 10. I liked that the kid that handed me my water very enthusiastically said "You can do this!" LOL. There was a nice "out and back" along a residential area and I think the aid station was supposed to have been in the middle of the street we were running on. I had been expecting another aid station at mile 11. We turned a corner and were finally running the downhill of that huge hill. I was finally feeling pretty good! I hadn't expected that so late in the course.

Approaching mile 12 and I see the last person heading up the course at mile 7. An old man, walking. He looked SO happy! (By the way, he finished in 3:53). I kinda wish I could enjoy more races like that. I knew we'd get that aid station again under the bridge, the last one of the race. I walked through it, and realized I only had about 3/4 of a mile to go. I can do that!

The course ran along a park on one side, and the city on the other, we turned into the city, heading toward Rodney Square, and the last quarter of a mile? ALL UPHILL. A ridiculous uphill. A hill I was cursing. UGH!!! I was struggling and wanted to walk but of course this is where all the spectators were so I couldn't. Again, I had nothing left in me to "sprint" to the finish, but at least I didn't walk across the finish line. I crossed the line, was handed a small cup of Gatorade, and found L. We got someone to take our picture in front of the Caesar Rodney statue:

Me and L
Official Time - 2:12:10
Official Pace - 10:06
Halfway Split - 1:04:37
Halfway Pace - 9:52
Overall Place - 1046/1316
Division Place - 60/85
Gender Place - 377/534
Garmin Time - 2:12:11
Garmin Distance - 13.19 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:01
Mile 1 - 8:42
Mile 2 - 9:25
Mile 3 - 9:56
Mile 4 - 9:53
Mile 5 - 10:12
Mile 6 - 10:16
Mile 7 - 10:24
Mile 8 - 11:31
Mile 9 - 10:24
Mile 10 - 9:58
Mile 11 - 10:06
Mile 12 - 9:36
Mile 13 - 9:47
Mile 13.1 - 10:26

FYI... Caesar Rodney is on the back of the Delaware quarter. L had grabbed me a bottle of Gatorade, and then we each grabbed a slice of pizza (from Seasons Pizza, the same folks that delivered our food the night before), and we headed back to the hotel. We walked by the start area and saw our blankets still on top of the trash can... This was a trash can that had a lid and our stuff was just sitting on top... so we grabbed them. I was still FREEZING. Anyway, we got to the hotel just before noon, and we both took super fast showers, and were out of there by 12:15. That gave us almost 45 minutes to walk to the train station. PLENTY of time...

Got to the train station, bought a drink and a souvenir and then tried to figure out where we needed to be. That's when we noticed that our 12:54 train NOW said - "Now 2:21." WTH??? We get in line and found out the train was delayed almost 1.5 hours! What that meant is that we were going to miss our 3:20 flight out of Baltimore. 2 out of 3 trains were a bust. NOT impressed with Amtrak. After about ten minutes the incredibly rude woman finally refunded our money (we had kept our tickets from BWI and got that refunded to). Our only solution was to take a cab to BWI. That is NOT cheap if you were wondering. Our $38/each train tickets became a $225 cab ride. Ugh.

It was about a 70 mile drive to the airport, and we got there right around 2:00. We still had to actually print our boarding passes and then go through security. After printing our boarding pass, we discover our flight is delayed. An hour. You are kidding me... Sigh.

It takes a while to get through security, there is only one person checking tickets, and the X-Ray lines are LONG... At least since our flight was delayed we would actually have time to sit down and have a nice lunch without rushing. We went to a diner and got our typical lunch of salad and a burger:

Best lunch ever! Then we headed to the gate area. Our flight ended up not being quite as delayed as they had thought, and we were actually boarded about 15 minutes earlier. Once on the plane they thought we would land only about 20 minutes later than originally scheduled. I was psyched!! We haven't had a flight that got us home during daylight hours in ages! The best part of the flight?? New snacks!!!

Once again, we lucked out and all our travel issues were fixed and most of them were at the END of the trip.

Another double header complete... and another on the books for this weekend. Bring it.


  1. vanilla bean is one of my top fave flavors in gu.
    i don't know how you deal all that stress from traveling- argh last minute expense of $225- crazy!!

  2. I was super absorbed in this race recap. It is just strange to read that YOU are worrying about time and hating hills. But things always work out for you ... and even if you thought you were slow, I'm looking at your mile splits and impressed! Even with your sore legs and back to back races, you still finished with a time faster than I am hoping to get at my 6th half of this year. You're so awesome! Congrats!!

  3. another great recap! love reading all of them! can’t wait to see where y’all are headed this weekend!

  4. I love that you take pics during the race - I've thought about doing that, but never have. Good run!

  5. You-and L-continue to inspire me!! Love the recaps, every single detail makes me feel like I'm there with you (not in a weird stalker way or anything). :)

  6. Great job holding on and finishing that race! Be careful with that calf!

    And again: L and you must have been the best looking runners on the course! :)

  7. Great finish time for walking a lot. Maybe there is something to that Galloway Method?!?

    Awesome report, as usual. So impressed with two double weekends in a row. Doubles are super tough!

  8. I always enjoy reading your race recaps. Does L have a blog, too? I don't think I've ever heard you mention that she does...


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