My husband works the night shift and didn’t get home until 8am Friday morning, so we opted to leave around 3pm Friday afternoon. We hit TONS of traffic, to say the least. It took us almost 2 hours just to get out of NYC. It was a rough start. We arrived in Rehoboth Beach around 8pm, Em and I got dropped off at the Dogfish Brewpub, so we could hurry up and eat some dinner before it got too late.

We both ordered pizzas and split some fries. I ALMOST ordered a beer, but I refrained! The boys (my husband and Em’s boyfriend) joined us about 20 minutes later after they checked into our B&B for us. We left around 9:45 and went to bed closer to 11.

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Surprisingly I fell asleep pretty quickly, but around 3:15, I woke up sweating to death and could not get back to sleep. I just wanted it to be time to get up! I hopped in the shower around 4:50 and everyone was around and ready to go by 6:10. We met up with Adriana near the start, which was only a 5 minute walk from our B&B! We took some pictures, went to the bathroom, and I even got to see Jess! We hugged real quick and wished each other luck before we were off to the start.

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The weather was weird. It was cool, maybe mid fifties, but the humidity was out of control at 95%! I wore my long rogas, my Oiselle singlet, arm warmers, and my NYC marathon bib on my back!

It was an incredibly laid back race. Nobody was even standing in line at the start until like 6:55, granted the race did start about 10 minutes late, but it was definitely a chill atmosphere and I liked it! I lined up with Adriana, while Em went toward the back a bit. Adriana and I talked to a few people next to us, we chatted about NYC and marathons in general. Then, finally, we were off!

Miles 1 – 6

1. 9:21

2. 9:11

3. 9:12

I immediately started off too fast, but reeled myself back in very quickly. I was focusing on starting my first few miles slower than MGP. It felt so good to run!!! Obviously, I felt the best in the very beginning. The first 3 miles were run through neighborhoods, and we ran by the ocean real quick around mile 4 and it was around here that I ran into Laura, and Theodora. I talked to them for a bit, before I decided to continue on, on my own. I LOVE running with people, but for races, I think I have to run by myself. It’s too much pressure to run a goal race with others. It was so nice to run into them though and to see so many familiar faces in general. There was a loop during these miles, so I even got to see Adriana, who was in in front of me run by, and Em, who was running the half. I waved, and we all looked happy!

4. 9:14

5. 9:08 (Took Gu)

6. 9:13

I was already warm at the end of mile 3, so I rolled down my arm warmers and was hoping to give them to my husband because he said he would be around mile 4. And, low and behold, I saw him shortly after leaving Laura and Theodora. I gave him my arm warmers and instantly felt relieved.

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I believe it was right after mile 5, where we hit a trail that lasted for a few miles. It was a gravel trail with super fine rocks, but some areas had giant puddles surrounded with mud, and other parts were pretty rocky. I generally don’t like running on trails like this, it was similar to the bridle path in Central Park, but definitely rockier in places. It takes more energy to run the same pace, but it was at this point where I decided to start dropping my pace a little more.

Miles 7 – 12

7. 9:01

8. 9:12

9. 9:01

The trail ended around mile 8.5. Then we ran on a sidewalk through a housing development and it was here that the half marathoners turned around and headed back. There was a little more trail up ahead, before we were out on the road again. This is where the miles start to blur together. I remember realizing I was at mile 10 and thinking about how I was feeling. I felt okay in general, my body felt pretty good, but my breathing felt a little off. I wasn’t feeling the greatest, but I was doing alright. It was at mile 10 that I broke the rest of the race up into three – 5 mile chunks. Then I would be just about done.

10. 9:07

11. 9:05

12. 9:00

I took 3 margarita flavored Clif Shot Bloks at Mile 11. I had also been alternating water and gatorade at all of the aid stations. I’m pretty sure I had grabbed something at every one up to this point. We were running along a straight highway-ish type road here and right after mile 13, we entered Cape Henlopen State Park, where the only “hills” were. They were tiny hills that lasted like 10 seconds total. This course is actually a course that can be described as FLAT.

Miles 13 – 20

13. 9:06

14. 9:23

15. 8:56

16. 9:14

I got incredibly nauseous after mile 13. Like, I was probably going to puke. It hit me so suddenly and I wasn’t worried at first because I figured it would pass, I just had to focus on running through it. I looked at my watch at the halfway mark and it was right at 2 hours! I was right on track and was hoping to negative split the second half. One of the guys that I was talking to at the start came up behind me and said hello and let me know that I was right on track for my 4 hour time goal! This made me happy šŸ™‚

I decided to not take my Gu at mile 15 because I was still feeling sick and the thought of eating it was making me feel even worse. I pushed it back a mile and planned on eating it at mile 16 instead. The miles in the park were probably my worst. My stomach felt terrible. I kept debating on whether or not I should just pull over and let it all out. This has never happened to me before. It was weird. It wasn’t GI issues, I just felt nauseous and it was not getting better.

I saw Adriana just after mile 14, she wasn’t too far ahead of me, which made me feel good because she is fast! And mile 15 was the only real downhill we got and even though it didn’t last long either, it felt really good to fly for a bit. I saw a guy start walking at the end of the hill and I felt bad for him. It was only mile 15 and he looked like he was already struggling.

I drank some water and burped a bit and that relieved some of my nausea, so I pulled out my Gu at mile 16 like planned, but I still couldn’t stomach it. I kept it in my hand, thinking I could take little squeezes of it here and there.

17. 9:24

18. 9:36

19. 9:48

20.10:12

We left the park after mile 17 and we had now begun the journey back! It was a relief at this point to be on our way back towards the finish! I was sticking to water here in hopes that it would help me burp (sorry that’s gross), but it was the only thing that I thought would potentially help my stomach. I hadn’t eaten any of my Gu, I was still holding in my hand, I passed a girl on the side of the road, who was puking and I also kept seeing gross things on the ground and they were not helping my situation. Blech.

I was really hoping to see Derek, Nick, and Em sometime soon, but I knew it wasn’t going to be until somewhere in the 20’s. When mile 20 hit, I was 5 minutes passed my goal time and I hit my first 10:xx minute mile. I got a little sad, but I wasn’t giving up! I knew my sub 4 was out the window, but I was still determined to finish this thing as fast as I possibly could.

Miles 21 – 26.2

21. 9:56

22. 10:26

23. 10:27

Ugh, the stupid f*@#ing trail again! I just kept thinking, “okay, get through this trail and you will be done! Just do it, just go!” I remembered that there was a break in the trail with water, and gatorade, but more importantly a road that intersected and I was hoping that all my friends were there waiting because I really needed them at that point, I was really starting to struggle physically. I was counting down the miles and I kept telling myself to hold my pace, which was around 10:30 and I was okay with that. I was still carrying that Gu and I still could not eat it.

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So, 23 miles into the race and I had only eaten 200 calories worth of fuel. Not good. I mean I also drank a bunch of gatorade, but even with that, I still did not have enough in me. I saw the break in the trail up ahead and I saw Bongo cheering in the air!!! I smiled and tried to look strong as I passed Derek, Nick, and Em! I heard Derek yell “only 3 and change left, you’ve got this!” He was right! I only had like 3 miles left, I could fight through this, I will finish this thing.

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24. 10:30

25. 10:19

26. 10:34

.36: 3:21 (9:19 pace)

Still running on the trail and getting angry that it existed. So many rocks, puddles, and extra energy to exert. I realized here that I had been running the whole entire race, I didn’t stop to walk at all and I didn’t even think about walking! That made me really happy. I couldn’t believe that I had been running the whole way and the thought of walking never even popped into my head. I knew I was going to finish the whole race without walking a single step. That lifted my spirits a lot!

I don’t feel like I ever hit the wall. Yes, my pace slowed dramatically, but I was still running and I feel pretty positive that my energy dropped because I did not eat enough. I never felt truly awful, my stomach did, but my legs and my mind felt pretty damn strong towards the end. I also found myself passing several people in the last few miles. Even though I was struggling, I was still running and it felt pretty great to pass others even if I was running slowly.

Mile 25 hit and hallelujah, we were back on the pavement! 1.2 miles to go!!! It’s time to give it every single thing I have left. I threw my Gu away (finally), it was still full, but at this point I knew I wasn’t going to be eating it. I pushed and pushed and eventually I saw the mile 26 sign and apparently it was time to get angry and finish this freaking race.

These are the most attractive pictures of me, ever.


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I looked at my watch and was bummed that I wasn’t even going to come in under 4:10, so I gave it one last kick to make sure I didn’t go over 4:11. I booked it across the finish line and there were 3 timing mats so I just ran across all 3 and there was a lady standing at the 3rd one handing out medals, so I literally blew past her and grabbed my medal along the way. I hobbled over to the side and sat my ass down immediately.

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I was so overwhelmed! I heard someone say my name and I looked up to see Jess! She asked how I did and I said, “well, I didn’t meet my goal, but I have a huge PR and I’m happy”, or something along those lines. I asked her how she did and she said it didn’t go so well. She was experiences side stitches the whole race and just couldn’t shake them. Turns out she was friends with a guy I had been running the last mile with, who sat down right next to me after we finished.

Jess and I chatted for a bit and then Derek found me and gave me a huge hug and congratulated me! Then Adriana, Nick, and Em wandered over as well, we all hugged and talked about our races. Em PR’ed the half by 1 1/2 minutes, after running only her first half marathon 3 weeks ago! Adriana also PR’ed and ran a 3:52!

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We took a bunch of pictures and then I wandered into the food tent to find some beer. I only drank 3/4 of it before I handed it off for Derek to finish because I was starting to feel slighly drunk, I definitely needed to eat some food!

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This is long, so I will definitely make a separate post about all the delicious food and beer we drank at the Dogfish Brewpub. But, overall I am so happy! Yes, I was and am a little disappointed that I didn’t come closer to my goal, but that’s the funny thing about marathons; shit happens. I experienced weird nausea that has never happened before and I still have no idea where it came from, but I dealt with it to the best of my ability and I am proud of how well I did. I am psyched that I didn’t walk once and my overall pace makes me really excited! Instead of thinking of my time as 4:11, it sounds better when I say I averaged a 9:35 pace for over 26 miles. I think that’s pretty badass.

I’ve come so far this year and I’m so happy with my progress! My body feels surprisingly good today and I am already looking forward to running again. I seriously cannot wait for the Vermont Marathon in May.

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Official time: 4:11:09

Average Pace: 9:35

1st Half: 1:59:30

2nd Half: 2:11:40

23 MINUTE PR!!!

And just some fun facts for the record; this course is literally flat, you can believe this one when they say it’s flat and fast. There also aren’t very many spectators and you will find yourself running alone sometimes. I didn’t mind this, I can run really well by myself so it didn’t really bother me. Even when there were spectators, they weren’t really cheering, so it was kind of weird. It didn’t matter though, this usually isn’t a huge factor for me.

Also, if you find yourself traveling from NYC to Rehoboth Beach, DE, keep in mind that it will cost a total of $58 in tolls! Seriously, it was $29 each way in toll fares, just a little ridiculous.

One more thing. THANK YOU!!!! I got an unbelievable amount of support via facebook, twitter, email, and in real life and thank you guys so much, I thought about you all along the way.

I also have the best husband in the world, he is my biggest fan and number one supporter. He dealt with my crazies and happily drove me all over the place so I could get my marathon in this weekend! And, thanks to Nick for being an amazing photographer all weekend, I told him he has to come to all of my races from now on!

Also, a HUGE AND SPECIAL THANKS to my wonderful coach, Michele! She is a the number one reason I have gotten faster and stronger and I definitely could not have done this without her. I hope she is up for coaching me through another round of training in the Spring šŸ™‚

22 Comments

  1. Awesome job!!! I don’t know if I would like or dislike running a little on a trail… Probably dislike, though I’ve run some races where the streets are covered in potholes so it might as well have been a trail! And your Oiselle singlet matches your sneakers perfectly, haha.

  2. You probably don’t remember me, but I was that rambling girl at the start, talking about the course. I’m glad at least half of my information (on the hills) was good, even if the other part (about the trail) wasn’t right for you.

    Congratulations on your PR!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS, STEPH!!!! So proud of you, especially for pushing through when you felt like crap! Amazing job!!! Hope you’re still celebrating…and we’ll continue to celebrate on Wednesday! šŸ™‚

  4. Congrats on a great race! So glad you got to run your 26.2!

  5. oh steph – you are so beautiful!! i love that i got to see you (even if for just a quick bit) both before and after the race. you should be so proud of your amazing HUGE pr!! the marathon is just so incredible, isn’t it? anything can (and does!) happen and we have to deal with it as best we can in that moment. you handled it so well and persevered and i am just so inspired by you!! it was a tough race for me, but i loved it anyway. so funny how that is! my only regret about the experience is that we didn’t think to take a picture together when we saw one another!! haha – we will have to make sure to do that next time! i hope you’re recovering well and that you are having a happy monday! sending you big hugs and hope we will be at a race together again SOON!!!! xoxoxoxo

  6. loved this post, steph! read every word. congrats on your HUGE PR and shaking off the nausea the whole way – shit does happen but it’s all about how you respond. no doubt you’ll get sub4 in vermont! hope you are enjoying lots of relaxation and beer this week. xoxo

  7. Awesome job Steph! Wow! You fought a tough fight and finished strong. No race is perfect and you came out with a big fat pr! Great work!

  8. I’m sorry but I’m laughing so hard at that collage of you heading toward the finish. I think those are some of my favorite race photos ever!! hahaha If anyone ever doubts that you gave absolutely everything in that race, you can just show them those finishing shots šŸ™‚

    Congrats again on your HUGE PR! 23 minutes is amazing!! And that means that you are just ONE step closer to a sub-4. Can’t wait to see you crush VCM in May!

  9. Congratulations on a huge PR! Exciting! šŸ™‚ I look forward to seeing how to do in Vermont in May!

  10. Congrats on your huge PR!! I love your finish line collage of pictures! Good job staying mentally tough even though you had such a hard time with your stomach.

  11. Congrats, Steph! Awesome race and way to push through! Let’s celebrate & run together soon!

  12. Congrats on an amazing PR, Steph! I can’t imagine running tough trails like that during a marathon. Can’t wait to celebrate with you later this week!

  13. You should be SO proud of yourself. I had NO idea that this marathon would be on trails for a bit – although it’s flat, it definitely is totally different from running on pavement!
    Reading this post makes me SO excited for your next marathon – you were totally on pace for sub 4 through mile 18 or so!! VCM is going to be the race =)
    And PS, I am NOT the reason you got faster and PR’d by so much – I merely pointed you in the right direction…this was all you – you put in all the hard work over the last 6 months. You were 100% dedicated and focused the whole entire time – I loved working with you and would be honored to coach you again! xoxo

  14. Congrats Steph!!!!

    I had the opposite feeling running on the trails – I loved it! Although it is tougher to maintain pace. It was such a pretty course. Did you see those houses when we came off the trail?!?! omg – gorgeous!!!!

  15. Of course I had to check your blog to see if you posted a race report after you commented on mine! Congrats on the huge PR! You’ll get sub-4 next time for sure. Nice job fighting through that nausea. A marathon is such a long way to run, you never know what’s going to hit you. You handled that very well. Good luck with whatever’s next!

    P.S. I can’t believe you managed to eat dinner at Dogfish Head the night BEFORE the race and not drink a beer!

  16. What a bummer to hear about your tummy troubles, but YAY for your PR!!! You did an awesome job and I’m so excited for you.

    And, did I miss that you’re doing Vermont (or forget, because I am old like that)??? That was my first marathon and I go back every year to pace/speak. We will definitely have to do pizza/beer there!

  17. CONGRATS STEPH!!! You did so so so SO awesome, way to seriously kill it. And I”m glad you had a great weekend away to boot!

  18. Awe, Steph I absolutely love this post. I am so happy for you to get a huge PR and to finally get YOUR TURN to race. I smiled so big at this: “I’ll think of it as running 9:35 min/mile for 26 miles and that is pretty badass”. YES! I completely agree. You did awesome.

    It is so weird when strange things hit us in the middle of a race, isn’t . Like why THAT DAY in THAT RUN?! I never understood that. But Vermont City will be another big day for you. Can’t wait to see you go after your goals šŸ™‚

    Also, there are some really great pics of you running, but those finish line ones are hilarious! They don’t even LOOK like you!!

  19. 23 minutes is HUGE!! congrats!! and, this makes me want to do this for my DE race! iā€™m sure your post on the food and booze will solidify that šŸ™‚

  20. YES! Way to go, Stephanie!!! So so proud of you and 4:11 is KILLER, especially with a 23 minute PR! The pictures that your husband took of you all look so good-you look like you are really enjoying yourself. Congrats on a fabulous race!

  21. Congratulations Steph!!! So so so proud of you! Great Recap – and I love the photos when you are smiling big! šŸ™‚

    23 MINUTES IS HUGE. You should be so proud of yourself.

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