Wilmington, Delaware

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“Adventure is worthwhile in itself”.

(Global Castaway)

Dictionary.com defines adventure as an unusual and exciting, experience or activity.

Well, my Walk into the Future provides plenty of opportunities for me to live out adventures.

I wrote about my journey to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the 2022 Atlantic City Rock N Roll Half Marathon and time spent with my friend Lauren Apgar.

I also wrote in an earlier post about my refrigerator magnet collection and how I make sure to get one from new locations.  My time in the Air Force gave me the travel bug and I have visited 37 states so far.  I review my list yearly to identify how/when I can visit a state I have never been to so I can cross it off my list.

Where I’m I headed with this?  Great question!

Delaware is about 85 miles from Atlantic City, and you are correct, I had never been to Delaware.  I did not know if I would ever be back in this area so decided to venture over to Delaware to explore a bit and then get my refrigerator magnet.  My original reason for being in this area was to run another half marathon but decided to take advantage of the proximity to Delaware and get a visit in so I could cross the state off my list.

Made my way back to the hotel after all the half marathon activities and breakfast with Lauren and Reese.  Needed to get some rest and get off my feet for a little bit and recharge myself for the next adventure.

I double checked the distance to Wilmington, Delaware one more time to determine if this was an adventure I really wanted to take on.  I needed to visit Delaware to add to my states visited list so did some leg stretches, grabbed some water, and got in my rental car to head west towards Delaware—my magnet and adventure awaited. 😊

The route from Atlantic City to Wilmington was a straight shot but needed to drive through Philadelphia to get to Wilmington.  Took the Atlantic City Expressway West from Egg Harbour, New Jersey.  This route took me directly through Philadelphia and I got a chance to see downtown Philly from a fantastic vantage point. 

The Walt Whitman Bridge is a suspension bridge across the Delaware River and leads directly across the state line.  The views of downtown Philly while driving on the bridge were great.  Wished I had the ability to get a few pictures from this vantage point, but I was driving.  You will have to take my word for how spectacular the views are OR visit Philly yourself and drive across the Walt Whitman Bridge. 😊

Traffic was not too bad as I made my way through Philly and then ventured a bit south towards Delaware.  I leveraged Google Maps to get me to my destination and had no trouble getting into Wilmington.

I did not have a set adventure in mind but wanted to explore a bit since I made the drive over.  Followed Google map directions towards downtown Wilmington to get a better view of the city.  The only thing I knew about Wilmington is Joe Biden has a residence there but had no interest in finding this.  Drove around downtown a bit and discovered some pretty rough neighborhoods in the city.  Never thought of Wilmington having an inner city look/feel but it does—lesson learned.

Decided to find a spot where I could collect my refrigerator magnet and then head back to meet Lauren and Reese for dinner.  Found a shopping plaza with multiple stores and ventured into a Hallmark store to search for Delaware souvenirs.  Told the salesperson what I was looking for and she directed me to the rack with Delaware swag.  She asked if I was interested in the Biden residence and seemed shocked when I said no.   Guess visiting the residence is a big thing when people visit Wilmington—magnets are a bigger deal for me! 😊

Got my magnets and headed back towards Atlantic City.  Made good time and was able to meet Lauren and Reese for dinner on our last night in the area. 

Happy I could get over to Delaware to add to my list of states visited and collect my magnet.  I have already signed up for the 2023 Atlantic City Rock N Roll Half Marathon so I will be back in the area next year.  I have no need to visit Wilmington again. 😊

What adventures do you have lined up for the rest of 2022?

Irie!

“Do more than just exist”.

(Pinterest)

FYI—the 2023 Atlantic City Rock N Roll Half Marathon has been cancelled.  The Rock N Roll folks decided not to continue to host the race.  Luckily, I made it to Atlantic City in 2022.

2022 Vero Beach Half Marathon

Vero Beach

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough”.

(Og Mandino)

I ran the 2022 Vero Beach Half Marathon for the first time and happy to report this was my best tactical race ever.

I completed the race in 2:11:05 (two hours, eleven minutes, and 5 seconds) which is 7 minutes faster than my 2021 OUC Half Marathon time in December.  It is not my fastest time, but I am extremely happy with my ability to run faster and maintain a consistent pace during this race.

My prerace goal was to run faster than I did in Orlando and I felt good throughout the race.  I consider this my best tactical race because I hit every marker I set out for during each phase of the race.

I am not familiar with Vero Beach so had no idea what type of course I would experience.  I looked at the course map online, but this provided no intel on elevation or type of environment I would have to run through.

The one aspect I came into the race dreading was the fact all runners would have to tackle an over and back bridge crossing within the first 5 miles of the race.  My experience with bridges during a race have never been that great so I viewed the second crossing of the bridge as something that would be unpleasant.  This was my mental picture even before I toed the line to start the race, luckily, I did not let my preconceived ideas get in the way of an opportunity to run this race and overcome my fear of bridge running.

The day started with temperatures in the low 50s which is deathly cold for most Floridians.  😊

I left the house dressed in layers to keep me warm prior to race time.  This was not a repeat of my time in Savannah since there was no sign of rain or bad weather, just cold temperatures which I viewed as a positive since I did not have to fight the Florida humidity.  Excited with the possibility of being able to breath throughout the race.

I arrived at River Side Park in Vero Beach at 6 am for the 6:45 am start time.  Again, I was not familiar with this area so made sure I got there early enough to warm up, stretch and get acclimated to the weather.  Most of the runners were dressed in hoodies and long pants but I decided to run in my normal gear:  running tank top, shorts, and compression sleeves.  Figured I would warm up once I got into full race pace and I did.

I was assigned to Corral C for the race start and I made my way into the correct spot to mentally prepare for the 13.1 miles that were in my immediate future.

The race started without much of a hassle as there were 400+ runners which is pretty small compared to the Rock N Roll races I normally run.  Decided to not go out too fast and ease my way into a comfortable pace.  There were a few fast runners who decided to set a faster pace and it was great watching them head out towards the first bridge crossing.

I settled into a pace that would keep me competitive but not too fast.  The first bridge crossing started at the .50 (half mile) point and the course was up a steep bridge for the next half mile.  I was surprised to see so many folks pushing the pace at this point considering we still needed to make it to the top.  I was comfortable with my pace and did not worry about the other runners.  I picked up my pace once I made it to the top of the bridge and started to lock into my race.

My Mile 1 was run at a 9:20 pace and this was with the bridge incline.  I maintained a 9:20 pace throughout the first 4 miles of the race and slowed to a 10:18 pace for Mile 5 which included my second crossing of the same bridge.  I am proud of myself for this portion of the race because I contemplated walking the second bridge ascent.  Decided to take a measured pace to get back over the bridge and then run faster on the descent.

Miles 6 – 10 were run at a 9:35 pace and I was able to manage my lactic acid threshold by shortening my strides to eliminate overextending myself.  This was a new approach for me since I normally try to power through but discovered a new way to manage my race form and control the pain in my legs.

Miles 11 – 13.1 were run at a 9:52 pace which is good for me closing out a race.  My 9:47 pace for Mile 13 was my celebration as I decided to make a huge kick to finish the race strong.  I wanted to come across the finish line fast and with a smile on my face.  Mission accomplished.

The secret weapon during this race was the song Motivation by T.I.  I put this song on repeat at the 11-mile marker and it got me across the finish line with a big smile on my face.  This song normally provides a boost for me while training, so I leveraged this same boost during the half marathon.

There were only 4 water stops on this course so had to ensure I got Gatorade and water at each one of them.  I doubled up a few times to help keep me fueled and moving forward.

The only aspect of this race I did not enjoy was traffic was not eliminated from the course.  We had volunteers and police available on the course, but cars were allowed to turn in front of runners which normally does not happen with larger races.  I will have to assess this fact when it comes time to register for the 2023 Vero Beach Half Marathon.

Made my way over to Mulligan’s on the beach for a very large breakfast and then a Bud Light to celebrate my race.  Yes, I had a Bud Light at 9:30 am—it was fantastic!  😊

Great way to start a day and continue to run into the future!

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”.

(Kahlil Gibran)

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