Location: Wilmington Delaware
Half: Wilmington Women’s Half Marathon
Date: September 14th, 2019
Finish Time: 1:33:03
Pre-run meal? SALAD for dinner.. and a HUGE pasta lunch.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MONEYYY
CASH PRIZE? WHAAAAAT? I have never (like, ever) seen cash prizes listed in the award section for any of my half marathons, until Delaware. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to run this race wayyyy before (okay, like a few seconds before) I found these contents under the award tab; but this definitely sealed the deal for my upcoming road trip to state #26.
Wilmington, Delaware; just a quick 7-hour drive from Columbus, Ohio; and an even quicker 4-hour drive away from my favorite cheerleader (Darla, obviously). With the race taking place on Saturday morning, I knew I needed time to both get there and get settled, so I left work early and took to the road around noon. I arrived in Wilmington around 8:30 (despite my desperate attempts to run all of the I-Pass’s and hold off on peeing to save time). Luckily for me, it doesn’t matter when I arrive, because Darla is always ready. She greeted me at the elevator, showed me the room, and off we went to find some food before crashing. After getting some food (and wine for Darla), we went back to the hotel and rested up for our adventure the next day.
Half marathon mornings are always pretty quick and chaotic, with a touch of anxiety. When I wake up, it usually takes about 3 minute for it to sink in that I will be running 13.1 miles very shortly. My mom is always up and ready to go, motivated by her need for caffeine. After pulling myself out of bed, the excitement and anticipation kick in and I find myself running around the hotel room looking for my clothes, shoes, bobby pins, deodorant, and anything else I might need. I got ready fairly quickly so that Darla could get her coffee-fix before we picked up my race bib. As we walked up to the park, the nervousness started to sink in. All around me were women of all types – all ready to run this race together.
This was my first all-women race, but I hadn’t expected it to be any different from the other races; just no boys. But I was totally wrong. This race was so incredibly unique. So empowering. So full of joy, and support, and warmth. Each woman eagerly took their spot in the race corrals – my spot was within the 7:00-7:30 bracket. As the corrals filled up and the minutes ticked away, I became increasingly nervous and anxious to begin. I have never started on the actual start line, until this race (girls must be much more humble and honest about their predicted finish times). I lined up with the elite-looking runners; the tall, long-legged, professional looking ones. And then there was me, waving at my mom like a 5-year-old, ready to do this damn thing.
All at once the announcer shot the gun and the women took off running; and finally, my mind was at peace. Once the race began, all of my fears and anxieties and expectations melted away; it was just me and a beautiful 13 mile run. It was humid out, 88 percent to be exact, and sweat accumulated across the surface of my entire body immediately. We ran down the river along a bike path; a 6.5 mile down and back. The first 6 miles went fast, too fast almost; and I thought (and worried) that maybe the second half would be hard compared to how easily it had gone by. I was in third place, pacing myself right behind (literally) the woman in second place. Together, we turned around at the 6.5 mile marker and begun the second half of our race. Around the 7-mile-marker I started to see some of the women who were about to reach the turn-around. I was excited to see all of the ladies who were working so hard, who were so determined, strong, proud. And honestly I can’t even explain what happened next.
Hundreds and hundreds of women running, jogging, and walking past me as I made my way to mile 7, then 8, then 9, and so on. And EVERY. SINGLE. WOMAN. showed their positivity, support, and love. Handfuls of women shouting “good job,” “you rock,” “you’re representing us women!” It was unbelievable. The smiles. The high fives. The happiness. The entire second half of the race flew by in an instant; before I knew it I was at mile 12. Unfortunately, my name is Amy Haas, and sometimes, I can be a bit of an airhead. Mile 12.5. ALMOST DONE. SO FREAKING CLOSE….and.. GUESS WHAT? I WAS IN SECOND PLACE. I had passed the woman in front of me around mile 10 and was about 100 feet in front of her as we approached the final half mile. But, of course, just like in Kentucky; I took the wrong turn. I started running down the path that we had taken at the beginning of the race, the place where we had turned from the city roads to the bike path initially. For a few seconds I was relieved to be so freaking close, until the woman behind me informed me that I was, “GOING THE WRONG WAY” …. unfortunately she waited until I had gone approximately 100 feet in the wrong direction. She ended up passing me up during my little mishap. But. You know what? WHO CARES. I FINISHED THE RACE IN THIRD PLACE AND BEAT MY PERSONAL BEST TIME-WISE. I was elated as I waved to my mom and ran through the finish line.
My mom and I didn’t waste any time finding some post-race mimosas while we waited for the award ceremony. After two mimosas and another 3rd place metal, I FOUND OUT THAT I WAS ALSO THE PROUD WINNER OF 500 DOLLARS. WHAT?! I KNOW. They had increased the previous year’s prize purse from 1,000 to 3,500 split among the first 4 finishers. With this in mind, it was definitely time to celebrate.
We quickly showered and got ready for our day of adventure. First, we got some food and obviously another drink or two. Moscow mules and pancakes – a great way to start the rest of our day. Then we took a walk along the river-walk downtown. First, we stopped at this unique looking place called the Constitution Yards – it is basically a huge open beer garden with dozens of railway cars full of bars, games, and even ax throwing. It was such a fun and unique little place to stop for some beer, beanbag toss, giant jenga, and tons of laughter. Next, we made our way down the river a little further to a little brewery called Iron Hill Brewery – we shared a flight of beers, some apps, and, of course, the race story wouldn’t be complete without dessert. After this, we were admittedly both exhausted. Although there was more to explore, our bodies were needing a break. We decided a movie was the perfect way to end our trip. We saw IT two; honestly, what in the actual fuck is that movie? I don’t know if it’s supposed to be horror, or suspense, or just freaking sci-fi; it was good… but it was also really terrible.
Each race is so incredibly different. Some places call for adventure; like Utah, Idaho, New York City; while some places revolve around the race itself. This race was so unique; all the female energy pumping me up throughout the entire run. It was also unique in the fact that I finished third. I started on the start line and stayed with some of the most elite runners there were. I was an elite runner. I finished freaking third. Out of nearly 700 females. THIRD. I don’t always like to make my races about the race itself, or about the time, or about how I finished – but sometimes it’s amazing to stop and think about the progress I’ve made, how far I’ve come, what my body and my mind can accomplish. This race was all about the run itself. Thank you Delaware for being state #26!