As soon as you equate something with “easy”, go ahead and bet that something will go wrong. That was the case with Rehoboth Beach. The inaugural race was being held on a Saturday and it began snowing around lunch on Friday. By the time I went to bed, the roads were covered and I was sure I didn’t have enough layers for the 15 degree start the following morning!
My hotel was only 3 blocks from the starting line and, in true Suzy fashion, I got there in just enough time to line up and start. With only 500 runners, I didn’t expect or need bells and whistles, but it was sort of weird that there was no National anthem or starting gun. The first quarter mile was on the very slippery, snowy boardwalk and runners were at opposite ends of the spectrum: some were laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of it and others were terrified, cursing with every step. I was the latter.
Even though some runners stubbornly wore shorts and tanks (brave or dumb? You decide!), I decided on CWX tights, 2 long sleeved dri-fit tops with my Maniacs jersey over them. Let’s be honest, I looked like a marshmallow but I was not only warm, 3 other Maniacs recognized me. One MM was running his 498th marathon and Cowboy Jeff, who I met earlier this fall in Akron, ended up winning his age group. Once again, the camaraderie of the Maniacs was one of the best things about the race.
I usually skip the first water stop, making my first stop at Rehoboth somewhere around mile 5. Imagine my surprise when (1) My watch reads 47 minutes (this is much slower than normal) and (2) the Dixie cup has a thin layer of ICE on top! The icy Gatorade and water was a constant through about mile 12, exemplifying just how cold it was outside. The wind, coming strong off of the Atlantic Ocean, did not help matters. Parts of the course were single track trail, so as the ice melted it was a slippery mess. Amanda (who guided me through my first marathon) often reminds to “choose your attitude”, which is especially applicable in running. Oh, I chose alright- chose to sulk in it. As a result, I had a horrible first half and clocked 1:57.
Finally it hit me that I was not going to have my best time so I decided to just have fun. I stopped looking at my watch, began high fiving all of the kids, and thanked every course volunteer and spectator for being out there (jeez, they weren’t even getting a medal at the end of this miserable morning!). When I finally settled into a steady pace, banished negative thoughts, and noticed the sun beginning to poke through the clouds, I look down at my Garmin and was shocked- mile 19. 19?!?! It has never taken me 19 miles to start enjoying the race.
By the last stretch of boardwalk, the snow had melted and I switched over to one of those who just laughed at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. I finished in 3:49, solidifying a (very!) negative split. I was the 15th female overall out of 186 women and grateful to have finished under 4 hours. The best part? I can now mark Delaware off as the 18th state!