My 11th marathon. Surprisingly scenic and varied course for the third running of the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathonin Delaware, and good running weather this year (35-45*F, no wind). Early start by the beachfront pavilion in the center of Rehoboth, Delaware began our day. Training buddy Dave rode along and brought his bike to act as on-course support for my first marathon in four years.
Pre-race meals (that worked well!): Dinner - Chinese dumplings, crab rangoon, egg foo yung, with lots of sodium. Breakfast - Greek yogurt, honey, cooked brown rice.
Race day weather: Great for running, 35*F at 7AM start by the beach, up to 48*F, almost zero wind. Very cold for Dave on the bike, though!
The course went through a small beachfront park and burned off about 5 miles through town, then headed out to a long lollipop out-and back. About 3 miles on a cinder trail that was superb, then through Lewes and past the Cape May Ferry to the halfway point. Then a 5-mile loop in Cape Henlopen Park, out at mile 18, then back towards the start.
On course: Kept fluid/gel intake very low, just a half Dixie cup of water or Gatorade at each stop and half a gel now and then. Only got stomach cramps when I chugged some Gatorade late in the course after I felt quite thirsty. Dave got me a cup of coffee with milk and sugar that was PERFECTAMUNDO. I think I was a bit dehydated at the end, that may not work so well in hotter temperatures but was fine in cold weather.
Tried to pace myself by keeping the heart rate under about 165 for the first half (~2:57) but then it was pushing up toward 170 before I slowed it down in Cape Henlopen Park. Three portapotty breaks are shown by the big dips in the graph, as well as 2 or 3 smaller dips for sock adjustment/shoe retying. I'm still doing some weird torquing thing with my right leg when I'm tired which twists my sock and makes my vastus lateralis vastly sore. I had a couple brief calf cramps toward the end when I took an odd step, for which I took one Endurolyte, but that was all (which may have helped my stomach too).
Overall heart rate ended up at 164 average, which I think shows a pretty strong race effort in high Zone 4 for me (about 88% of MaxHR). I just wish I could get a faster pace out of that effort level, but it is what it is.
The last 10k was TOUGH. Dave was good about not heckling me too much when I told him this was all I could do. I don't know if I would have gotten through it without his help!
I had signs of osteoarthritis in my knees in 2002 when I had a bone scan and I think 8 more years of aging have not done them any good. I was wearing knee straps but I was still getting daggers in my knees at every shuffling 15 min/mile step. I jogged as much as I could but broke down into walking numerous times, but convinced myself that it didn't hurt any less and resumed shuffling again. I'm going to purchase some OTC neoprene knee wraps and test them out in training in advance of Goofy in 4 weeks.
One other small change, I wore an iPod shuffle to a race for the first time and listened to music for about 1/4 of the course, otherwise left it off. That helped my motivation at times (especially toward the end when the course was becoming empty) and didn't seem to affect my tempo other than helping to maintain it a little more consistently - I just have to get a more inspirational/upbeat music lineup for races.
Times are not posted yet but I crossed the finish line in 6:29:26 watch time, slightly slower than my average of my first 10 marathons (6:22:11). Chalk it up to a long training day!
Even though the aid stations were becoming abandoned in the last 8 miles (well ahead of the 7-hour cutoff pace), they were still well-stocked. The course was excellent, scenic, flat (a few very small rollers at Cape Henlopen Park), about 1/2 off-street with 5-6 miles on a well-groomed cinder trail. I'd definitely do the half marathon here another time (that included most of the nice cinder trail stretch).
Recovery: My knees hurt a LOT all day after the race and had some soft tissue swelling the next day, very painful bending my right knee. Definitely not optimal.
Summary: A finish is always better than a DNF. Lessons have been learned, body has been tested, 26.2 training miles are in the Bank of Marathon. Goofy Challenge is 4 weeks away.
606/619 overall NANCY TOBY F50-54 6:28:59 AG: 20/20 WOMEN: 198/207
PS: Great to have Dave on the course - thanks again! - and to see Michele briefly before and after. Always more fun with friends around!