Getting to know the “Beast”
This is my second time in His/Her company. The Beast – A mix of gender traits with a lot of the good and all of the bad of each. This go around I rehearsed with the benefit of my first encounter. Lessons from the past helped. Tweaking with longer runs and less mileage seemed to help and will serve as my template for our next meeting.
I choose the venue based on the course and season. Both turned out to be pleasantly predictable. Predictability – a premium commodity when confronting the Beast. Small field of <600. Flat course. Perfect APRIL weather.
A friend and fellow blogger recently wrote about -“Semiotics” …the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. -It is the study of how meaning is created, not what it is. “Looking out; Looking Back” — a very insightful read.
Each of my encounters with the BEAST has created opportunities /signs /codes for me to reflect on. I find myself drawn to the idea of ALICE… passing through an experience that leaves me on the other-side wondering “what just happened”? It takes time to reflect and understand but it is definitely well worth the journey.
I am looking forward to my next meeting with this Marathon Beast and all its tellings awaiting me through the looking glass….
I ran the Coastal Delaware Marathon Sunday. Wonderful event! Beautiful course! Well organized – They even provided perfect weather.
My marathon weekend started early. Sue and I stayed in Cape May New Jersey from Tuesday thru Thursday and then on Friday we took the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and stayed in Lewes, DE (Pronounced “Louis”) for the weekend – The race started in Dewey Beach, DE, about a 20 minute drive south.
We love Cape May, especially in the spring and fall when the weather can be so nice and the town is thin of tourists. The pics below are from a couple of the short runs I did during the week. The one image is of a “Concrete” Ship that must have been a good idea at the time…but….
We stayed at my sister’s summer cottage. It’s within walking distance of downtown. We park the car and rarely use it during our stay. My wife’s favorite meal is breakfast so it’s understandable that her favorite restaurant is “Uncle Bills” – Same thing every time….
Cape May is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year. There are plenty of B&Bs and restaurants, beautiful beaches and a laid back, easy culture.
Friday morning we boarded the ferry to Lewes. It’s only 17 miles, but about 1 1/2 hour ride. Fun! with much to see including dolphins, barges, tankers, sails and interesting travelers..The pic of Sue and I is what a selfie looks like taken by an old guy…
Sue and I discovered Lewes last year after the Atlantic City Half Marathon. We booked our stay at the same inn as last time –
The Inn at the Canal Square. – Highly recommend!
The annual Tulip cerebration was the week before so there were loads and loads of tulip beds. The Inn has fresh flowers everyday that greet you upon arrival.
Lewes is like a little Cape May! A great destination!
THE RACE- Packet Pick up
Dewey Beach is about a 20 minute drive from Lewes – Dewey Beach being the race start location. Packet pickup was on a rainy Saturday and the line outside the pickup location was a bit challenging -but all turned out well. (may have turned the lady in front of me into a Vampire I think)…We used the trip to scout out race morning parking because Dewey Beach is about 2.5 blocks wide with limited parking. We ID’d Bellevue Ave as our target spot not knowing that it would be a side street used to enter that last 1/4 mile of the marathon.
4AM alarm Race day. My things were laid out the night before… Shirt/Pants/Gels decided
on. Throwaway sweatshirt to ward off the pre-start chill.
All plans have their minor bumps. When I wanted to begin loading the car with our luggage, I left the room telling Sue that if I get locked out I will call her so she could come down and let me back in…Perfect plan had I remembered to bring my phone. Locked out of the Inn and no phone left for some bizarre thoughts….Our room was on the second floor and I could see our windows. I started to throw my car keys at the window hoping to get Sue’s attention. No answer. I shouted only as loud as I thought would not wake up the rest of the Inn guests… No answer. I threw my keys again and they landed on the window sill, momentarily hanging there. It could have been less then a second but my RACE flashed before my eyes – Am locked out of the INN and now my car keys are up on the Inn’s second floor ledge. they fell.. then Sue was at the door.. The whole event acted like a pre-race warm up- would have been interesting to have had my Garmin on at the time and recorded my pulse….
As I mentioned, the course was beautiful. It ran through Henlopen State Park. After the 1st 5 miles, which ran through a couple of beautiful coastal and lake communities, the course turned to trails through the park with crushed shells that made for an easy, comfortable surface to run.
The second half was much the same with ample shade from the rising sun. Only one hill – A bridge around mile 15. No worries.
The Towers – Built between 1940 and 1941 to defend against a possible German attack, Fort Miles was one intensely fortified outpost. I think there are 7 towers altogether.
The Race started without much fanfare. The usual Anthem prior was pleasantly observed by all around me with caps removed. Something I don’t see at all venues.
My plan was to go out with the 4:30 pace group and see how I felt at about the midway point. So happens the pacer was averaging 9:50 mpm which was comfortable for me but faster than I wanted to run for the whole 26.2 miles. I fell back (on purpose) after the 14 mile mark. Later I spoke with one the the runners who was running with the pacer. He finished with her @ 4:24…
I felt as good as it gets through the 21st mile – even then I knew I was in good shape to finish the race with a smile on my face. The Looking Glass begins for me @ 22 miles…
Before the race I activated “live watch” on my phone and Garmin app. My daughter, her husband Chris and my two granddaughters were driving down from New Jersey that morning to see me finish. With two small girls it’s not surprising they were running behind. They were in contact with Sue as they followed my progress. They were cutting it close as they rolled into Dewey Beach on 1A only to pass me on the highway @ mile 24 which ran along 1A for about 1/4 mile. What a sight to see Jess halfway out the passenger’s side window shouting encouragement.
As I said earlier, Bellevue Ave is where we parked and where Sue guided Jess and Family. I had NO idea the course turned up this little side street and as I made the turn I could hear my granddaughter Mia shouting “GRAN” GRAN” GRAN” – Holy cow was I moved. A 1/4 mile to the finish and my family there to cheer me on. I ran with Mia for about 100 yards before she decided to wait with Mom and join me at the finish.
I finished strong at a time that I am proud of 4:45 (30+ minutes faster then Steamtown last October) – I feel confident that I will improve on this as well…
My greatest joy is still and will always be the company of my wife, my children and grandchildren. I am a very, very lucky man to be blessed with Sue who is so supportive! Grandchildren definitely complete life’s circle of love!!