To start off I just want to say how much I really enjoyed this race! The Coastal Delaware Running Festival, now in its 3rd year is truly a must-do Spring Race for many reasons! Before I go into detail about my personal race experience (which was not that fabulous) I want to focus on all the reasons you MUST run this race next year!
- Distance and Challenge Options- Like most running festivals, the Coastal Delaware Running Festival offered 3 different race options on Sunday- 9k, Half and Full with a 5k option on Saturday. If you wanted a challenge you could complete the 5k Saturday and any of the distances on Sunday for a special additional medal! I love that the festival has a distance for anyone no matter what level runner you are!
- The Course (Half Marathon)- As you can see from my Garmin Connect App screen shot a lot of the course takes place near the Atlantic Ocean! Running close to the beach is always a favorite of mine and this course kept things interesting and full of the beautiful Delaware landscapes! The Sunday races all started at Tower Roads, which is just south of Dewey Beach and headed North towards Rehoboth- while I cannot speak of the 5k, 9k or Full course I can say I really, really liked the half marathon course. After we left tower road and headed north we ran by Silver Lake and then onto the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk. After the boardwalk we ran up to Gordon’s Pond Trail (my absolute favorite Delaware Trail!) for about a mile and a half before turning around for our journey back to the finish. After the trail we ran the boardwalk again and ventured through some of Rehoboth’s neighborhoods and eventually under route 1 and back through Dewey to the finish line. While some may complain the trail was narrow at some points I did not find this to be a problem.
- The SWAG– This is one race that you absolutely get what you paid for! At packet pickup you receive your shirt, bib and glass (which also had some coupons and a magnet in it) and after crossing the finish line you add an awesome and huge medal and finisher trucker hat to your swag collection! If you ran a challenge race you received an additional medal as well! I really like all the thought and detail put into the swag and I really like it when races offer a finishers “item” along with the traditional shirt and medal!
- Easy and Convenient Packet Pick Up- Packet pick up was easy and offered on two separate occasions (Friday and Saturday). They had two fun backdrops for pictures (Dick’s Sporting Goods pictured above) and a Coastal Delaware Running Festival one (pictured below) to snag some fun pictures with, as well a few local running store vendors and booths to stock on last minute running items. They also had a booth to buy any other Coastal Delaware gear, as well as large maps and other information about the race. While this was MUCH smaller than most race expos it had everything you would need to be prepared for your race, which is really all that matters!
- Post Race Food and Drink and Hang out areas- I have found that sometimes after races you get pushed through the finish chute so quickly you can miss out on food and drinks which can really be annoying. After finishing the race yesterday you had the option to grab some water then turn in your beer tags and hang out on the bay or inside. If you wanted food they had multiple buffet lines inside filled with delicious post run food options- not the usual banana, muffins, bagel collection- instead it was pasta, mac and cheese, BBQ, coleslaw, salad and a few other items I think I missed. The food was great and the best part was that you did not have super long lines to grab your food! If you did not want to stay inside there was outside seating available as well PLUS bathrooms inside if you needed to use them! Seriously an all around win!
- On Course Hydration and Nutrition Options– The race course had a water/Gatorade stop around every 2 miles. It really seemed that each water stop was perfectly placed. Along with the water stops there were porta potties along the course even though we opted to stop at the Boardwalk bathroom. Another bonus was the multiple chances to grab some sort of nutrition on the course. To be honest I did not count but I know of at least two-three times I was offered a Gu Type packet on the course. Along with that at one stop they also were handing out Honey Stinger Waffles which are my favorite! I was very excited to see this as an option as well instead of the traditional Gu option only!
- Parking/ Start- Finish Line Logistics– While the Sunday races were not necessarily considered “point-to-point” they did have different start and finish line locations. Being familiar with the Dewey Beach area I did not have any problems and liked that they offered parking either at the start line or the finish line with busing to both locations both before and after the races. I went with the option to park near the finish line and simply walk to the starting line which worked out fine and I will do in the future!
Overall the race was very well organized and really top notch from start to finish! I am sure registration for 2018 will open soon at a super cheap rate so keep your eye out for that and take advantage of it!!
If you made it through all that information here is how the race went down for me- it was hard but that was solely due to the fact that I had only run one time in April due to having the flu and then going on our family road trip vacation. The flu was really the big factor as to why I had no run but getting better was my main priority.
On Saturday we took the 25 minute trip up to Dewey Beach to packet pickup. Reagan loved it and kept asking if she could “get something”. She was content with a pair of free sunglasses and helping me out by taking pictures of me with my bib! Packet Pickup was easy and we were in and out in within 10 minutes- even after browsing some of the shoes one of the vendors had there!
Sunday started early but that was mainly because I wanted to make sure parking would not be an issue. As I stated above I was very familiar with the parking set up in Dewey but I wanted to ensure I had time to park, get to the start and use the restroom before the 7:30 Half marathon start. As I pulled into Dewey I immediately spotted a running friend and we all walked to the start line to see the marathon runners about to take off! We wished our first time marathoner friends good luck and then hit the bathroom line. There we met up with other girls also running the half and snagged our group photo.
The temps were pretty cool for the start of the race due to a thick cloud cover but we were all relieved that it was just cloudy and chilly and not raining like the original forecast had called for. We were able to take advantage of a friends VIP parking and keep warm right up until the start of our half marathon start which was super nice! I ended up wear feetures compression socks, shorts, short sleeve t with a LS tee over that and was good for the first 2 miles and then the LS tee came off. The weather ended up being perfect the entire race- not too hot and not too cold! We even had very light winds which was nice considering you never know what you will get when running so close to the beach.
Shortly after 7:30 we took off in corral 2 and went into our 3 minute run/ 1 minute walk intervals. I knew intervals were the ONLY way I would be successfully completing this race so we stuck to that from miles 1-9 and then I had to switch the 2 minutes run/ 2 minutes walk because my legs were getting HEAVY at that point!
As we approached the last 3-4 miles I really was starting to hurt and get tired due to the lack of running the past month. Luckily I had Amy by my side keeping me going and pushing towards the finish line. We really had no time goal in mind- besides simply finishing so as we approached the last quarter mile we focused on the finished Amy came in a few minutes before me and I was happy with my 2:37 finish time at 18 1/2 weeks pregnant and coming off the flu. I guess technically it was a pregnant half marathon PR which I should be happy about!
As I finished the race I was already feeling very sore- a feeling that I have not had in a very long time. I now remember all those longer races when I first started running that I would not train for that seemed so impossible, not fun and downright hard- I do not miss that feeling at all!
After finishing the four of us pictured above met up and grabbed something eat and took some pictures. Sadly we all had things to do so we did not stick around to really enjoy the post-race party!
Even thought I personally did not have a great race, I really liked everything about the running festival itself and will absolutely be returning next year! To learn more about the running festival, visit: www.codelrun.com
Next up is the St. Michaels Half Marathon on May 20th. I am hoping to be much better trained for that half and enjoy myself a little more. If you want to join me at St. Michaels sign up and use code SMARCS to save $10.00 off your registration!!!
Did you run any race at the Coastal Delaware Running Festival? What did you love the most about it?