If you are very, very lucky, you have at least one person in your life who, when you say “I had a crazy idea,” will immediately respond with, “what time should I be there?”
Given how many people like this I know, my luck is deep and vast.
About month ago, shortly after I revealed that the universe decided I should run the Rehoboth half marathon as the next race in my 50 state quest, my Seneca 7 teammate Marianne texted to tell me she’d jumped onto the waiting list. She was number 100-and-something with just a couple of weeks to move her way to the front of the line.
We hatched a loose plan. If — and it was a big if — her number came up, I’d drive from Oneonta to her place in New Jersey, then we’d continue on to Rehoboth on Friday. After the race Saturday morning, we’d head back to her place. I’d spend the night and drive home Sunday morning.
As plans go, it was a good one. But I didn’t think it was going to be deployed. I thought that right up until the weekend after Thanksgiving, when Marianne got the official email. She was one of the last ones off of the list and into the race. The fates had smiled again.
The whole “smiling fates” feel describes my entire Rehoboth experience. The weather was perfection. The course was gorgeous. It meanders along the shore for a bit, then back through town and onto a series of trails through a marsh. Additionally, the organizer takes care of her runners without ever smothering them with rules. I recommend Rehoboth highly.
One of the bummers of pursuing 50 states is that I don’t have enough time, money, and stamina to revisit the races I’ve loved. It’s a good regret to have.
Apart from the location, the race director, and the weather, one of the reasons why this race was such a hoot was that I went in with only two goals. Goal #1: Don’t die, which is my standard goal. Goal #2: Keep in under three hours, unless that will interfere with the first goal. With those parameters, how can you fail?
Which isn’t to say that I didn’t have a moment or two fervently hoping that I could skip ahead to the finish line. Nor does it mean that I didn’t wake up preemptively exhausted by the concept of running for more than a few minutes. Nor does it mean that my build-up to the race was ideal. The last few weeks have been kicking my heinie both at work and at home. Nothing truly awful has happened, mind you. Just a lot of random stuff has crept into my relatively organized life.
In short: My Strava data from the last four weeks shouldn’t be used as a model for anyone prepping for a half.
My reduced expectations are what made Rehoboth such a lark — and are what set me on this 50 state nonsense to begin with. Continuously trying to beat my PR sparks zero joy. I’d like to say that I’d run 13.1 miles simply for fun but my pants would burst into flames if I tried. For me, anything over ten is just too much bother. I need a reason to tack on that extra 5K. The 50 state club gives me one. Plus, I like coloring in a map.
Even with all of this in its favor, this race wouldn’t have been a balm for my stressed soul if Marianne hadn’t come with. Sometimes, what you need is time in a car with someone you don’t see enough. Or sharing a motel room, watching Say Yes to the Dress, and snacking on a seasonal KitKat. Or a reminder at mile nine that your funk could likely be broken with some calories.
It’s cheesy AF to say that “the friends I’ve made along the way” make running rewarding. Still. Here we are. While I like running well enough, what I really love are the adventures with friends the running brings.
What comes with that, too, are the rare weekends when the fates break out into a big grin, if only to remind you to appreciate your luck. These moments are like jigsaw puzzle pieces that snap satisfyingly into place. You might have a pile of pieces left to figure out, but one small section of the picture makes more sense.
Smiling fate/puzzle piece moment lately, getting an email from The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp about being on their team for Boston. I applied and promptly forgot, until I was contacted for an interview, and 2 weeks later got a bib!
OMG, I got goosebumps reading this blog post! What a wonderful experience! I’m so happy for both of you!!! And I’m super jealous of Lisa Dennis who got a spot to run with the hole in the wall gang camp at Boston! My kid has gone to one of their camps; it’s life changing!
Right? I’m so excited for Lisa!
Yo Adrienne, beautifully written. Reading this brings joy to my heart but dang if I’m not also envious! Hey fates, I’m right here
Just start committing to stuff randomly. That’s what I do.
The great weekend was just meant to be and it sounds like your soul was rejuvenated, if only for a moment! So glad you enjoyed the race – it gets rave reviews from the local runners here in MD!
For good reason. It’s a great event.
I wish I had known! I was there, too! I have been going every year for awhile now, and it’s one of my favorite weekends of the year. Nothing like fate and a little seashore air to make us all smile. I posted my race report in the race FB page, if you want to hear how the fates smiled on me, because I went in after injury and zero training, expecting a 3:30-4:00 walk run finish, and kicked out a 2:51 and change. I seriously am still SMH. It’s the seashore air, I think. Congrats to both of you and I admire anyone who is attempting the 50 states challenge. Did you see the woman whose 50th WAS Rehoboth on Saturday?! I cheered for her, too.
Durn it. I wish I’d seen you. There was also at least one more BAMR. Marianne and I saw her twice but she was so speedy we couldn’t catch up. What a great race.
I just love your stories! They are my favorite thing about AMR.
Thanks! I really love writing them.
After running this race every year since 2013, this year I didn’t have enough training to tackle it. I deferred to next year and would like to think my deferral got one of you in! Instead of running, I volunteered all day. First helping with day of number pickup / wristband distribution in the pavilion and then handing out awards. It really is a fantastic race (complete with a stunning sunrise start) and I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!!
See your lovely faces in April! Hoping the fates will smile upon the weather then too!