Race day! After 12 weeks of training, a Friday night pasta dinner, and a solid 5 1/2 hours of sleep, Nick and I were up and out of bed at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday. We fueled our bodies with bagels and peanut butter, bananas, a few bites of a Clif Bar, and lots of water.
Nick proudly pinned to his shirt the gift I’d given him the night before: “Running beside my Bride.” And, of course, mine said, “Running beside my Groom.”Note they said, “beside” and not “behind!”
We posed for a quick photo before heading out. (Don’t worry, we didn’t wear matching shirts. I ditched my long sleeve before the race began.)
The sky was overcast and the air was thick, but us runners were ready! This was my very first race — of any distance — and I was thriving on the energy around me. We walked to the start line a few minutes before 7 a.m., just as small raindrops began to fall. The official said, “If the weather gets bad, seek shelter!” Nick and I looked at each other and wondered what shelter he was referring to — the cow pens or the horse stalls? This was Dover, after all.
And then we were off! We started in the back 1/3 of the pack and found a comfortable pace. We’d run the first four miles on previous practices, so we knew what was head. But before we reached the first dreaded hill — and the steepest one of the course — the sky opened up and the rain began to fall! It came down hard and fast, and we were soaked in a matter of minutes. But we charged up and ahead.
Miles 4-6 are a wet, vague memory in my mind. But I do remember the downhill. We were laughing at the hilarity of the situation — running in torrential downpour, shoes heavy and sopping wet, eyelashes dripping. Turned out the rain was a decent distraction; before we knew it we were at the halfway point, and our time was 1:04:00 — not bad!
Next came the looong flaaat stretch along the creek. And this is where my partner started to fade. We chewed some Clif Bloks and sipped some Gatorade, but his legs were really cramping. Around mile 9, I kicked the motivation talk into high gear. But it was too much. And Nick told me so. So I quieted the competitive part of me that wanted to speed up the final two miles and stuck beside my groom-to-be.
As we approached the final stretch, a light rain was falling, and we could see my family in the distance. We grabbed hands — just like we promised to do — and crossed the finish line in 2:22:44. Mission accomplished!
(The first picture below is priceless. It really sums up the final few miles! Nick is gasping for air, and I’m all smiles. I’m so proud of you, fiancé!)