Monday, August 1, 2011

Caesar Rodney Half Marathon

Aaaagh! Hurry, hurry hurry! We left late on Saturday night for this Sunday race. This was my first half marathon after a long, cold winter. I don't think my family really thought I was going to go through with this 50 half marathons in 50 state thing! Surprise - and we are driving down the NJ Turnpike! Well 3 of us, my daughter bailed and decided to stay at a friend's house!

We booked a room at the Sheraton Suites in Wilmington through priceline. The best part about staying here was the late check out. I got to shower after the race, which was great considering it was 30*F - and hanging out after a race in sweaty clothes in those temperatures is not fun! Brrrr!

I don't think I slept. My coach told me to run about 7:55 pace and I was worried about the hills. I can do it, I can do it, I can do it! We got ready and went for breakfast in the hotel: Eggs, whole wheat toast and some yogurt. Of course coffee - it helps wake up the body - and, in distance runners, it helps the body burn fat, saving your glucose stores!

One thing I love about racing through the USA is starting each race with our National Anthem. (Some) men take their hats off, some people bow their heads, others stand with their hand over their heart (like me) - it puts the whole "running through each state" into perspective. One thing I always do, is pray - I pray for the men and women in our military that serve our country - and, I pray for their families - God speed to all of you and keep you safe.  . . . 'and the home of the brave'. POW. We are off....

Overall the race was very well run - it is in its 48th year - and the community came out in large numbers to support the runners! This created a lot of positive energy which really helped - especially climbing the hills between miles 7, 8 & 9! I always wonder, in these half marathons (especially this one when I was struggling to run up those hills) why can't I just be like the people standing on the sidelines. They look so happy and content cheering to the runners going by. Why do I push myself? After a few deep breathes, I focus: Embrace the challenge, girl - Welcome the hills. That is when I realized, I just simply cannot be a spectator, it is way more fun, and much more satisfying to me, knowing that I pushed myself and completed another half marathon race.

This race was not an easy half, either. You basically run downhill for the first mile, then it is pretty flat for the next 5 miles. Knowing this, I tried to keep my pace under 7:50'mile - thinking that eventually I would be giving back time in miles 6-9! Good thing I did, because my pace slowed to 8:20' through mile 8! My average pace was 7:56'mile. I was a wee bit disappointed that I did not achieve Coach's goal for me, 7:55'mile, but at least I finished in the top 10 for my age group!

Part of this race brought you through the Waterfront area, first along the Christina River and at the end, down South Park Drive, which followed along Brandy-wine Creek. The sun was shining on this crisp March day and I got lost in how very beautiful this half was turning out to be!

Bliss was soon to end, because as you rounded the corner, the race climbed one last short, steep hill. This led everyone to the finish, in the Caesar Rodney Square. The finish was great - this city is very clean and very well maintained. Wilmington, DE has done a great job at capturing history in their downtown area - especially in Caesar Rodney Square. The historic buildings were very beautiful, like this one - you can see a smidge in the background - the Wilmington Public Library, built in 1922.

Me & Mini-man!
And what would the Caesar Rodney Half be without a picture of Caesar himself. Here he is, in Bronze, being remembered for his overnight ride from Dover, DE to Philadelphia, PA to cast the deciding vote for The Declaration of Independence in the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. Thank you Caesaer Rodney!

Caesar Rodney
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