The Delaware Running Festival Half Marathon

Yesterday I had the time of my life running my third race with baby, the Delaware Half Marathon!

Before I knew I was pregnant, Kevin and I had signed up the run the full marathon. I officially dropped down to the half a few weeks ago, and as of this past Friday, Kevin decided not to run at all. He was recovering really well from the Pittsburgh Marathon last weekend. He felt great and was excited to become a Marathon Maniac after this race. However, two miles into our run on Thursday morning Kevin felt severe pain in his foot. The pain came out of nowhere and didn’t go away, even after rest and ice. Luckily, he works in a podiatrist’s office so he had one of the doctors check it out. He was informed that his pain could be either a stress fracture or peroneal tendonitis, was given a boot to wear and was strongly encouraged not to run on Sunday. He was SO disappointed, but we both knew it was best for him to let his foot heal so that he will be able to run our race in Seattle in late June.

We had planned to be back in my hometown this weekend for my little sister’s college graduation, and the race worked perfectly with our visit. It took place in Wilmington, which is only a 30 minute drive from where my dad lives in Pennsylvania. After the graduation festivities we went down there to pick up our race materials and check out the area so we would be prepared to park and figure out where to go the next morning.

    

We went to the cutest little expo to pick up our bibs and swag that included a shirt, hat, and a beer glass. This was a small race with only about 1,000 half marathon runners and 750 full marathoners. I’ve written before about how I feel about large vs. small races. I really enjoy the small, hometown feel of these type of local races that are put on by real people rather than huge corporations. They really pay attention to organization and details, and this one was no exception!

The next morning I got ready for the race by myself feeling a little sad that Kevin wouldn’t be running. But I was super excited to have both him and my dad come to the race to spectate and support me. My dad has only ever come to one of my races, my first marathon ever in Philadelphia. It meant a lot to me when he came that day and it meant a lot that he wanted to come to Delaware too. I think he was also swayed by the fact that it was going to be a beautiful day and the race was right on the water 🙂

I got dressed in my Running for Two shirt, took a few pictures of the 20.5 week baby bump, and then we were all off to Wilmington!

    

It took no time to get to the race start and find close parking (I love small races!) I hit up the porta-potty, relaxed for a bit in the runner’s village full of tents, tables, vendors, and other fun stuff, and took a few more photos with my race crew before it was time for the half runners to line up at 7:15 a.m. (The marathon started at 7:00).

    

My dad is really into photography and has a super nice camera, so he was all over the place trying to get good shots for me. He’s the best! He ever stood in the corral with the runners for a little while, LOL.

Eventually Kevin and my dad left the corral and found a spot up ahead to watch the race start. Literally right on time at 7:20 the gun went off and we were running! It was already getting pretty warm so I was thankful for the punctual start!

     

I started the race feeling great and running fast. Do you see those things coming out of my ears? What are those? They’re HEADPHONES! I know, I never run with music! But Kevin bought me a little iPod Nano that clips onto my shorts and I am in love. I am enjoying running with music again while pregnant because it helps take my mind off my slower pace.

  • Mile 1 – 8:56
  • Mile 2 – 8:57

I started way too fast and I knew I couldn’t maintain that pace over 13.1 miles. Plus, I was already sweating a lot only two miles in and half my water was gone already. I ran into Kevin and my dad again a little over two miles into the race and was so happy to see them again!

    

While I continued on, they hung out by the riverfront and enjoyed the race festivities.

I started slowing down after the second mile and as you can see from my splits, each mile was pretty much slower than the last. But I didn’t care at all. I was really enjoying myself and the scenery. Once we got out of the downtown part of Wilmington we ran into a shaded park and by the zoo. It was really pretty and scenic. I was loving it!

  • Mile 3 – 9:04
  • Mile 4 – 9:17
  • Mile 5 – 9:29
  • Mile 6 – 9:40

I passed the halfway point at 1:01 and I knew my second half would be slower. I figured I would probably finish around 2:10. At this point all the water in my bottle was gone so I was taking a lot of water at each water station. I also took Gatorade every once in a while even though it was orange flavored (ew!). The course took us through a residential area next. There were a lot of out & backs and little loops in this course, and more hills than I expected there to be. I don’t mind hills though because I think running on a pancake flat road is really boring. I really liked the course for a half marathon distance, but I was a little thankful I wasn’t running the full, since they do two loops of the half course. Not sure if would have liked that!

  • Mile 7 – 9:58
  • Mile 8 – 9:49
  • Mile 9 – 9:38
  • Mile 10 – 10: 56 (took my only walking break!)

Right before Mile 10 I got a little cramp after drinking some Gatorade. Any little bit of discomfort or pain makes me stop and walk these days just to be on the safe side, so I walked for the first and last time at this point. It was getting really warm, and although the shaded parts of the course helped with the heat, I slowed down a little bit more just to protect myself from overheating.

  • Mile 11 – 9:49
  • Mile 12 – 9:51
  • Mile 13 – 9:20

Right towards the end of the race we were back in the city. The course was not entirely closed and there were police at the intersections holding traffic as runners passed. I noticed that drivers were getting really impatient and honking because they had to wait. Also, the police were letting cars go through during the gaps in runners, but they weren’t stopping them in time which made me actually have to stop running to wait for cars to pass. This was REALLY annoying, especially right at the end of a race. But I let it go and picked up the pace to finish the race strong!

I rounded a corner and saw the finish line- with Kevin standing right there inside the running chute taking pictures! I was so surprised to see him there and not standing off to the side!

As I approached the finish there were no other runners around me and they announced my name and where I was from over the microphone. It made me feel like an elite runner or something! Have I mentioned I love smaller races? 🙂 My dad was on the other side of the finish and was able to get a few more pictures of me crossing.

I finished in 2:06:15, an average pace of 9:38/mile! Way better than I expected for being 20 weeks pregnant, but I truly felt great during the whole race!

Eventually I figured out why Kevin was standing in the finish area. He had been asked to help hold the finish line banner for the marathon winner who was expected to arrive in a few minutes. The winner was Michael Wardian, who is actually from Virginia! He finished 26.2 miles in 2:30:26 (average pace of 5:45/mile – that’s ridiculous), and he actually won the Rock & Roll USA Marathon when we were there back in March.

After Kevin was finished with his important duties, we went into the food tent so I could refuel. They had tons of great food – bananas, sandwiches, pizza, chips, and my absolute favorite- Philly soft pretzels!! Most races in or near Philadelphia have these after races, and they are the best. I love me some salty carbs! 🙂

After eating we hung out in the start/finish village for a little while. It felt great outside now that I was finished running. The weather was beautiful!

 The Delaware Half Marathon was an awesome and well-organized race. I enjoyed the whole experience, but the best part was having my dad and Kevin there, and knowing that I was running with my baby on Mother’s Day 🙂

Next up: The Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon on June 2nd!

9 responses to “The Delaware Running Festival Half Marathon

  1. I like how you were just not sweatin’ it, smilin’ through the whole thing. I would be the mad guy sneaking to go buy some mcdonalds.

  2. You looked awesome! So in your element. Way to kill it while pregnant.

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  4. Just read this now (better late than never!) and that’s awesome! That sucks that Kevin couldn’t race, but I think it was a good decision.

    Congrats girl, you rock!!!

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