Loved Newark, Delaware. All four of us loved the town and we were surprised by that as we didn't really think Delaware (the state) would be that interesting. I love it when we're wrong! The University of Delaware campus reminded us of an upscale Athens. Meg and I stopped in at the Flip Flop Shop and each bought a great little pair of flip flops - Reef for her and Sanuk for me (footbed made with yoga mats!). I'll break our little weekend and our 22nd state (my 12th half marathon!) down into three parts: the drive (it was 7 hrs each way), the town, and the race.
The Drive. I let google route us - very interesting route! Highlights included the scenic drive along the Susquetana River, hearing Modern English's Melt with You so many times it became our trip's theme song, and Bridget's "I have to potty!" urgent announcements (oh the joy of a recently potty-trained 3 year old).
The Town. Newark was fantastic. We dined Friday at the Iron Hill Brewery and we all four enjoyed our meals (even Bridget). Their Ironbound Pale Ale was a treat as well! We even checked out the Brewhaha for a good cup of Joe. I love hitting up independent coffee stores whenever I can. While I was running Saturday morning, Meg, Greg and Bridget knocked around the town and checked out a cool record store. They shared the story with me afterwards that Bridget went straight back to the store clerk and asked "Where's the girls section?" Too damn funny. Just think about it, in Bridget's teen years, she will not know about cassette tapes (ah, is there any better gift than a mix tape? Seriously!), LPs, 45s, or even CDs. Post-race we hit up Pita Pit for lunch where our devoured my pita like a ravenous pit bull and then off to the Flip Flop Shop for our unusual treat.
The Race. Mixed feelings here. I guess I'm spoiled by the trail racing events here in Northeastern Ohio. The trail markings are spot on, but were lacking at the Delaware race. A group of us came to this intersection lesstha. 3 miles into the race which had no pie plates or chalk/flour and we had to make a decision. Luckily, a fisherman pointed us in the right direction toward "the other runners who scared my fish away!" I also noticed the 10k lacked some key markings when a marathoner and I were confused about which direction to take. I also would have liked chips or D-tags because after I finished the half marathon, any transition time I took actually counted toward my total race time. Rats. The course itself was beautiful and very challenging. It was everything the website said and more - roots, rocks, trees, branches, flora, downed trees, huge creek crossing ranging from ankle to knee deep icy water, hills, rollers - everything you could imagine. I was exhausted (plum tuckered out, to be honest) after the half marathon distance, but decided to complete the 10k in spite of screaming calf muscles (and they were screaming profanity to me I'm sure). I did learn an important lesson about nutrition. Don't deviate from what works! Which I did and paid dearly for it with cramps and stomach discomfort. I won't make that mistake again. Overall, I enjoyed the 19.3 miles completed and had an absolutely wonderful time with my family - potty breaks and all!