The Rehoboth Beach races had been on my radar for awhile. I was excited to finally sign up for the half marathon and made it a girls weekend – five of us rented a house at the beach and signed up to race. I was planning on running this one for fun – and also planning on testing out fueling and hydration without a handheld. I’ve decided I’d like to be able to race without a handheld which means that I needed to find some kind of gel / fuel that I could take on the run and practice getting water at the water stops. This was my longest race without carrying a handheld and my first long race using Huma gels to fuel. My plan was to take a gel at miles 5 and 10 and to hit up water stops as needed. I have a hard time with gels – I can not stomach gu and haven’t had success with other brands. I like Shot Bloks but can’t take those for a full marathon – too much sugar. So I thought the Huma gels might be a good compromise – something I could take during a longer race that wouldn’t upset my stomach and wouldn’t require me to carry anything.
Race day morning dawned chilly, with a bit of wind but with a gorgeous sky (see below!). I was hoping to run sub-2 but definitely not planning to race it. I thought the timing was perfect as a check-in as I start training for my goal half marathon this spring. Here’s how the race went:
Miles 1-3 (9:39/9:02/8:55)
The race started a few minutes late and we were all pretty raring to go. Once the gun went off, we all headed out and I prepared to settle in to a comfortable pace. Again, while I wanted to have a good race and thought this race could be a good benchmark to start my half marathon training. As is my hope for every race, my first mile turned out to be my slowest, which is great. About one mile in, I met and settled in with a couple of Oiselle birds – Christine from NJ and Sarah from NY. We ended up running almost the whole race together and that was SUCH fun. Just running and chatting and having a great time.
Miles 4-6 (8:45/8:53/8:51)
After mile 3, the full marathoners split off so the crowd thins out significantly. We really got in a groove and the miles literally just ticked by. I was having a blast. Around mile 4.5, I started taking my Huma gel (strawberry flavored, FYI) and took it over the course of almost a mile. I had no trouble getting it down and was able to follow it with some water from a water stop. I really liked not carrying anything in my hands and will continue to train to use this strategy in races.
Miles 7-10 (9:04/9:04/8:52/9:09)
At mile 7 the course entered a park and we were running on a bit of a rocky trail. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t paved road. I didn’t mind the change of scenery but my pace did slow a bit during these miles. The sun was high in the sky by then and I wished I’d had my sunglasses. However, the bright sun gave the trail and marsh near the trail the most scenic picture – it was really quite lovely. Around mile 8 or 9, teammate and housemate for the weekend, Chrissy, hopped in to run a few miles. Chrissy had to defer the race due to injury but ran a few miles just for fun.
Miles 11-13.1 (8:56/8:42/8:35)
Coming off the trail, we dropped pace once again and I was really happy to see that my final mile was my fastest. I was comfortable running and talking during the race, which lets me know that I could’ve shut up and worked a little harder, but honestly I didn’t want to. I wasn’t trying to set another PR but rather to have fun. And I did! I also only ran about 45 seconds slower than my PR after two months of running strictly for fun, so there’s that.
Final time: 1:57:31
After the race, we got in line for the after party. Rehoboth hosts a big party afterwards in a tent (crazy lines to get in and seemed JAM PACKED) and a restaurant (where we hung out). Once we got to the food (and beer), we couldn’t find anyplace to sit so we plunked down on the stage in the restaurant. It worked. The after party had free beer, soda, coffee and a buffet of salad (skipped that), hamburgers, baked beans, mac and cheese, waffles, biscuits and BACON (yes please!).
Overall, I loved this race and hope to have the chance to run it again next year. I feel really good about starting my new training cycle off so solidly and am pleased at my effort and the outcome. I will share more about my goals for my spring half marathon in due time, but I’m pleased with where I’m starting.
Have you ever run a half marathon on relatively little training? I WAS sore the next day but loved Rehoboth Beach!