Name of the race: Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon
Where: Rehoboth Beach, DE
Date: Dec 3, 2016
Time: 7:00 am
Distance: 13.1 miles
Terrain: flat roads with about 5 miles of trail (non-technical packed gravel)
Entry fee: $120
Swag: FREE RACE PHOTOS, Long-sleeve tech shirt, finisher’s medal, and 10% off food at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats
Post-race Food: Waffles with syrup and blueberry compote, biscuits and sausage gravy, link sausages, hamburgers, hot dogs, coleslaw, macaroni salad, coffee, and UNLIMITED DOGFISH BEER
Performance: Overall 237/1547; Gender: 77/1041; Age (35-39): 20/172
Weather: 41 degrees, 65% humidity, winds 6 mph (this is what Garmin says, but it was a lot windier than this, 10+ mph)
Woweee! This race is definitely one of my favorite half marathons! HANDS DOWN THE BEST POST-RACE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Backing up a bit, literally right after I ran Steamtown, I was upset. I spent weeks training and ended up disappointed with a time that I felt did not reflect my actual abilities. I don’t mind not getting a PR, but I hate it when I have a race that doesn’t indicate what I’m capable of. So I was upset and sitting in my car thinking of everything I could do for a “redemption.” I brought up the possibility of doing Rehoboth in a phone conversation with Shan, a PPTC teammate and a fellow Steamtown runner. He ran a killer marathon (2:44) and said that he was going to pace Rehoboth. That made doing the race more likely. I did a bit more research about the race and found that Abby, whose blog I follow, did the race several times. I asked her a few questions and her answers sealed my decision. I was doing Rehoboth! I recruited Jay to join us (I talked him out of doing a Santa Half in Maine), so now we had a nice cadre of PPTC members doing Rehoboth. Ben joined us too, but it was literally only for the beer.
Work has been pretty stressful, so I took an extra “day off” so we could do a long weekend in Delaware. I put it in quotes because I still worked that day, but it wasn’t at the office on Thursday. We stayed a beautiful little AirBnB apartment a few miles away from the start line. Bandit was delighted with the place and made herself home.
Friday Ben and I had lunch at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, which is the restaurant/bar for Dogfish Head. Ben is a HUGE Dogfish fan, so he was especially excited to do this trip where he got to visit Mecca. We enjoyed our pub burger with the red onion marmalade and Ben drank beer. Then we went next door for the bib pick-up.
The expo took place in a large outdoor tent. It was pretty darn small. Aside from picking up bibs and shirts, there were a few vendors selling socks, Spibelts, and some clothing, and someone from the Baltimore Marathon & Half Marathon advertising their race. A weird thing that happened to me at the expo, a random woman talked up to me asking if I wanted to trade my small shirt for her XL shirt. She explained that she accidentally got a medium, which was too large, so she traded it someone for an XL, but she wanted to trade that XL for my small. I stared at her in disbelief. I mean, how big does she think *I am* that I would want an XL. And to make this crystal clear of how inappropriate that size is, the small fits me perfectly. The negative concerning the shirt situation is that Rehoboth charges women an extra $10 if you want the woman specific shirt. I think that’s terrible and I have all kinds of thoughts on this issue, so expect a future post about this.
Jay came over for dinner, so the three of us carbo-loaded on homemade spaghetti, salad, garlic toast (yeah, toast, not bread), and fudge that Jay brought. Bandit was suspicious of Jay, but was won over by his willingness to play tug-o-war with her.
In the morning, as I nibbled on fudge and drank coffee, I pondered what I should wear. The temperature of 40 degrees was great (I love running in 40 degrees – it’s my perfect temp), BUT the winds of 16 mph made me seriously think about how I should dress. Normally in 40 degrees for a race, I wear a shirt, shorts, and gloves. Once I get going, I’m just fine. I’m FREEZING at the start line, but with the exception of my hands, I get toasty warm while running. The high winds made me think I needed more. So I decided to wear a light long-sleeved shirt, capris, and gloves. The outfit worked out well (I probably could have gotten away with shorts) when the winds were blowing crazily around me. When I had brief periods of no wind, I was too warm. Anyway, the outfit was fine for the most part.
Shan was pacing the 3:40 marathon group for Beast Pacing, while Jay and I were running the half. Shan, being the crazy guy that he is, paced this group WHILE WEARING CROCS (see photo as evidence). I’m sure we helped to inspire great confidence in the runners for Shan when Ben clapped Shan on the shoulder and loudly proclaimed, “So, you’re going for a PR!”
We sorted ourselves to where we wanted to start. The half marathoners and marathoners all start together. I decided to start with Shan because I knew he was going to run a slow first mile and I wanted to not start out too fast. Jay went up ahead because he wanted to go for a sub-1:45 half.
The first mile of this race is NYRR-style congested. This all helped with preventing me from treating the half marathon like I’m doing a 400 m sprint, which I am wont to do. I ran with Shan and his merry band of aspiring 3:40 marathoners for the first three-quarters of a mile. Once I felt warmed up and ready, I said good-bye to Shan and starting picking up the pace. Shan wished me luck and I was on my own.
The course overlaps for the half and full for the first 2.5 miles. Then the marathoners split off, while the half marathoners run to the later parts of the full marathon course. I forget where exactly we join up in the full marathon course. The course is flat, with minor, and I do mean minor, inclines and declines. The part that can throw people off is the section of trail running that we have to do. It’s about 2.5 miles in and 2.5 miles out for a total of 5 miles of trail running on packed gravel. Packed gravel is my favorite type of surface to run on, so I had no complaints, but some runners think it slows them down. It was cool running in on the trail because we ran by a meadow and then in the woods. In the woods, they set up a guy with a tent and a mic to cheer for the runners. He gave shout-outs and I had to have him give a little Brooklyn love. So as I approached him, I yelled, “Brooklyn! Brooklyn! Brooklyn!” until he took notice and promptly announced, “Brooklyn’s in da house!” I pumped my fist in response. When I ran past the announcer again, he acknowledged me with “Brooklyn’s back!”
For a few miles I spotted Jay’s red PPTC shirt in front of me. The white logo on the back stood out like a target. I thought I could catch him because I was slowly gaining ground. At the turnaround I realized that he wasn’t too far ahead of me. Sadly that was the closest I got to him on the entire course. He gradually pulled away from me.
For the last two miles of the race, I focused on not falling apart. I was tired, but I knew I still could keep going. Ben was waiting for me a quarter mile from the finish line. I just had to sprint it in. Literally gloves came off and were thrown down (thankfully Ben picked them up) and I ran my down to the finish line.
I was super happy with my performance at this race. It wasn’t a PR, but I ran this race to my full ability. I ran a solid race and executed my race plan (minus one mile late in the race that was a tad slower than I would have liked). That was the whole point about my being upset at Steamtown. It wasn’t the not meeting the goal or not setting a PR, but the sub-par performance. On a different weekend, I know I could have done better. Jay didn’t get a sub-1:45, but he PR’ed by a full minute.
Now for the best part of the race – THE AFTER PARTY! Ben, Jay, and I met up and we walked over to the post-race party at the outdoor tent. This was THE HAPPENING PLACE TO BE! There were tons of food, but that wasn’t the best part. The DJ played the best set of tunes and everybody in the tent was rocking out to the music. We sang along and danced. It was AMAZING!!!!! So much fun! I’m sure the copious quantities of Dogfish beer also helped.
There really was unlimited beer for the runners and guests, if you purchased a pass for them at $30. The unlimited beer is wasted on me because I don’t drink beer, but everyone else greatly appreciated it, especially Ben. (I’m sure Ben’s going to complain that I make him sound like an alcoholic when he reads this.)
The post-race party was incredible. We stayed there for hours and it didn’t feel like it at all. We ate our fill of food, sang and danced, and talked to other runners about their race. It was just so much fun. There was a wonderful feeling of comradery and happiness. I really loved it so much. We went to the other post-race party that was next door at Cultured Pearl Restaurant (same food and beer, but minus the music). The space was really cool (lots of wood with Polynesian’ish look to it and has a beautiful outdoor patio). This was a good place to be if you wanted a quieter, warmer place. Rehoboth had the only post-race party where literally everyone just stayed for HOURS. Where else would you want to be?
I absolutely definitely recommend this race, especially if you’re a fan of Dogfish beer. Great race, well-organized, and has the best, most kick-@ss after party that we’ve been to.