Running in circles, Part I

For the first time in a while I had managed to successfully and appropriately taper in preparation for a race.  DC was a giant clusterf, NYCM I got carried away with family in town, Grete's Great Gallop I didn't even prepare for, and the Pig I overate at the pasta party and had gurgling toilet issues (remember that?).  But at 5:45am on Sunday, May 16, I was driving down I-95 from Philadelphia to Wilmington thinking that everything had gone smoothly the weeks leading up to this race, that I hydrated and ate appropriately for the proceeding 48 hours, and that I had gotten a rather solid six hours of sleep.  The only thing that worried me was that I hadn't exactly gone to the bathroom as much as I normally would before a race, but I scratched that up to having a body that is used to getting prepped for races and some efficient movement the day prior (I spare no details).

Although race organizers had warned that parking would fill up fast and to use the parking lots that were up to a half-mile away, I tried my luck at the parking garage closest to the starting line.  Sure enough: plenty of parking.  A good sign already.

There were about 30 minutes to go before the start and judging by the line at the port-o-potties that's about how much time I would spend in line.  As I was waiting in line I saw a bird poop on the fleece that the guy in front of me was wearing--an omen?  Perhaps.  A sign of good luck?  We'll get to that later.

I got to the starting line with a couple minutes to spare.  There were only about 550 people running the Marathon, the smallest Marathon I've ever run.  There were about 2,000 Half-Marathoners and Relay runners, but they would each have separate starts after the Marathon--the first start was just for the Marathoners.  

The staggered start was absolutely necessary given the lay out of the course: two laps of a figure eight course with the start, finish, and all relay exchanges happening at the nexus of the eight.  If the pack wasn't thinned out at the beginning, the first pass at the staging area would be an absolute mess.  This was also an element I wasn't looking forward to.  The only other lapped race I've run was the Queens Half-Marathon.  The halfway point of that race was such a psychological trick that I have avoided lapped races ever since.  The Delaware Marathon, however, had three passes by the finish line before the actual finish.  I was going to have to rely heavily on my maturity as a runner to not let those passes trick me.

I kissed Wifey goodbye as they were singing the national anthem, which I could barely make out.  I made my way into the crowd, getting ahead of the 10:00 pace group.  I was posing for a picture for Wifey and barely paying attention when a cannon--a very nearby and loud cannon--fired to start the race.

Note: I'm heading out of town for the long weekend.  So parts(s) II (potentially III) may take a while, based on computer access in the mountains of North Carolina.


Psyche said...

Finally! Been waiting for the report. Get back to it soon:)

sRod said...

Thanks Psyche! I'm working on getting part II out soon!

Adam said...

NICE! Can't wait to hear the other parts. Parking close always means a good race is coming, right?