On Saturday, December 3rd, 2016, seven Roadkill Racing competitors toed the line at the Rehoboth Beach Marathon in Delaware. Braving frigid temperatures and a bitter ocean wind, we came, we saw, and both conquered and were conquered. Results as follows:
Brett Long – 2:40:30 (3rd overall, 1st AG -PR)
Matthew Roberts – 2:44:19 (4th overall, 2nd AG)
Kraig Connor – 3:19:36 (54th overall, 4th AG – PR)
Lindsay Rynders – 3:56:48 (288th overall, 5th AG)
Stacy Maier – 3:58:35 (301st overall, 12th AG)
Ashlie Roberts – 4:08:07 (370th overall, 16th AG)
Martha Doody – 5:14:26 (752nd overall, 59th AG – PR)
Below is Brett’s race report.
Rehoboth Beach Marathon, December 3rd, 2016
I had everything figured out in my head. Training went well, test races were on target, had a race plan, and I made it to the start without injury or illness. Plus, my brother lives near Rehoboth, and it was Stacy’s first race with Roadkill, which was cool. All a good plan, but it didn’t go “exactly” as planned.
Matt and I had similar goals: work together, run a steady first half, and gradually drop the pace if we felt good. I, admittedly, had a secret backup plan. If we were toward the front for this race, and since I am a serial offender for “no kick,” I was going to turn the screws as much as possible from Mile 23 to the finish. That was my best option for avoiding someone’s kick (Matt or otherwise!). . . . . that’s the part that didn’t go according to plan.
After a short jog to warm up, I stopped at the car to ditch some clothes. I was on the fence about a long sleeve base layer, but opted for the jersey and arm warmers. Good choice #1. I had five minutes to hit the urinals one last time, but was amazed at the long lines, so I ran to the beach and contributed to the water levels. Made it to the 7 AM start. Or 7:01. 7:02? Can we start please?! Seriously, let’s start! Finally, 7:05 we got rolling and quickly found a small group that seemed to be shooting for 2:40 as well. GREAT! The more the merrier.
Within a couple miles, we all knew each other by name, and I certainly felt like I was in the wrong company. Lowell (2:22 PR), Mike (2:29), Bobby (2:32), and Matt (2:39). I was there to run “my” race, but it certainly was nice to have a group. Good choice #2. In the first 8 miles, there was a little back and forth. Matt and I let the others go for a couple miles, since it seemed a touch too brisk for that stage of the race. Then a couple came back to us, and we had a foursome by mile 9, with Lowell a hundred yards ahead. Everything felt good, but the wind was tough! We all took turns at the front, but it didn’t help much, and it just seemed to come from all sides. At mile 10, I stepped in front to grab a water, steadily raised the cup, and got about two drops of water. The rest went in Matt’s face. . . . sorry.
I was happy to be running with these guys. They were cool. Our times were steady, and we reeled in Lowell by mile 13, going through the half just under 1:19, “everything as planned.” Good choice #3. We continued a steady pace, a good conversation, and just chugging along. Around mile 16, I checked in with everybody to see how “we” felt. Diagnosis, “all good.” We lost Mike, but there were still four of us! We got back to town, before going for another out and back on packed trails, and that’s where we encountered half marathoners. Fortunately, there was still plenty of room.
Mile 18, I told everyone that I was in uncharted territory, totally unsure of holding the pace through the end. Brief words of encouragement followed. Bobby took Mile 19; he seemed ENTIRELY too relaxed for the duration, so I figured he was just waiting to pounce on us. I was running right on his shoulder, and briefly looked back to see a small gap to Matt and Lowell. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I asked Bobby to pull back for a second, and we did, just a little. The gap stayed. I imagined the four of us fighting to death in the last mile, but it didn’t work out. I went with Bobby, led for Mile 21, he took 22, “everything as planned.” Almost. I couldn’t hang any longer. He asked me to take the next one, and I just couldn’t, so I told Bobby to go. NOT great. Fucking no man’s land, when all I wanted was somebody to take me home.
I went through 22 in 6:15, and felt like I was done, right there. It was like my batteries were just DEAD, or the fuel gauge was PAST empty (Stacy knows what that’s like!). Completely fried, 4 miles from the finish. Slowly watched Bobby pull off into the distance. “Will you just wait for me?” I didn’t understand, everything went “as planned.” STOPPED at an aid station around mile 23, got some Gatorade, someone grabbed me from falling over. I walked a touch, then jogged as best I could. 6:42, GREAT. Total explosion. “I trained for a 2:39, what is HAPPENING?!” I rehearsed my speech for Lowell and Matt when they went by. I considered stopping and finishing with Stacy. . . . . seriously. It was a dark time for me. I’ve been really tired at the ends of races before (including much longer races), but this was different. Not sure how, but I just couldn’t GO. Anyway, got moving again, and thought a sub-2:40 was still fathomable. It’s just a few more miles, right?! Mile 24, 6:24, “OK, I can do this.” Up comes Lowell, KILLING it. I couldn’t hang with him, despite encouragement. 6:31, “God dammit, GO!” Finally got back to the pavement, and thought I still had a “chance.” I did the best I could. Mile 26 in 6:20.
I could see the finish “area.” I just didn’t know how far around the turn the timing mat actually was. It didn’t matter, I knew I missed the goal. But I still ran (as best I could!) straight through. If it wasn’t going to be a sub 2:40, it’d be sub 2:whatever. I was happy to be done, congratulated Bobby and Lowell, and cheered Matt across the finish.
Had a beer, then shivered and hobbled back to the car to put on every piece of clothing I had. Packed a bag for Stacy, then got back to the finish to watch Lyndsay, Stacy, and Ashlie finish. It was nice to do a race a couple states away, and see multiple Roadkill jerseys at the finish! We all grabbed some food and beer, then Stacy and I called it a day. I was initially disappointed, but in retrospect, after looking at the timing, I’m proud of the race. Particularly coming back from my mile 23 debacle, running anything in the 6’s felt like an achievement. It was the highest mileage I’ve done consistently in training, and I even gave up biking for a couple months! I trained for a specific goal, and got pretty close. I enjoyed the course, but certainly think the wind and trails added a different type of challenge than some small hills. Not sure what goals are in the books for next year, but for now, it’s back on the bike and back in the pool for me.