||Delaware Half Marathon
The weather was threatening thunderstorms all weekend and while it rained on Saturday, race-day presented its own challenge of 100% humidity (I honestly didn’t know that was possible), but thankfully no lighting (we were very worried from the weather reports that the race may get cancelled). Less than 1.0 mile in we were sweating…a lot. The conditions were more humid than hot, but we could tell this race was going to be a challenge. After a nice run along the Delaware River we headed through some residential areas and past the Brandywine Zoo – unfortunately we were on the backside of the zoo and couldn’t see any animals. At mile 5 we ran single-file across a plank bridge which was pretty exciting and a bit nerve racking as the planks were wet and fairly slick. At mile 6 we began a mile long trek up what was supposed to be the only real hill on the course. By the time we reached the summit we were both a bit gassed and it took us a few minutes to regain our composure and press ahead. After a few more rolling hills we could tell our bodies were tired, but we knew we’d make it. Mile 12 was a 0.5 mile uphill climb that we hadn’t anticipated. Seeing a hill that steep and that long with less than a mile to go was a bit disheartening, but we gutted it out together and managed to finish strong in 1:49.
Highlights: At mile 8 we ran with Steve Boone – the man who contacted the city of Wilmington 8 years ago and said “I want to run a marathon in every state, but Delaware doesn’t have one – can you help?" A true inspiration as Steve, Treasurer of the 50 States Marathon Club, was running his 480th marathon!
Day 1 (Friday):
Despite being a bit worn out from traveling and arriving about 4.5 hours after we anticipated we pushed aside our tired thoughts and walked through downtown Philadelphia to McGilliin's Old Ale House (a favorite watering hole from our last trip to Philadelphia) for some Yuengling (oldest beer in the U.S.) and nachos. Sometimes the memory of a place is better than a repeat visit – but not in the case of McGillin’s, we had a great time again!
Day 2 (Saturday):
In keeping with our best of Philadelphia theme for breakfast we headed back to another favorite – the Reading Terminal Market for a latte from Old City Coffee and some home-made breakfast from Dutch Eating Place. Kristin went traditional with scrambled eggs, ham and cinnamon raisin toast while I ventured into the land of the Dutch with apple cinnamon French toast and a side of turkey bacon. Both means were quite good, but the hand squeezed orange juice gets a huge thumbs up – it’s awesome!
After a short drive from Philadelphia to Wilmington, Delaware we stopped for lunch at Capriotti’s and tried the “Bobbie” sandwich, piled high with hand carved and pulled turkey breast, cranberry sauce and homemade stuffing. Wilmington is actor Ryan Philippe's home town - and Capriotti's is his "must have" sandwich shop in the entire US (and for good reason)! We also tried the locally made Herr’s salt and vinegar potato chips which were quite good. Herr’s offers free plant tours, but only Monday through Thursday. Highly recommended stop for lunch to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast any day of the year!
Tip: We split a small Bobbie and chips and it was more than enough food – yes, the sandwich in the picture below is the smallest sub Capriotti’s offers!
Despite the weather not wanting to cooperate (it was raining off and on all day) we decided to take a chance and drove to Delaware City and took a Ferry to visit Fort Delaware. Luckily the threatening clouds stayed at bay during our trip and we stayed dry. Fort Delaware was originally constructed protect the Delaware River from British ships, but at the time of the Civil War the fort was repurposed as a prison for Confederate soldiers. The tour is interesting as the fort is full of actors/actresses in authentic period attire doing typical day-to-day tasks. We spent a few minutes talking with several of the actors/actresses including: the blacksmith were he demonstrated how to make a fire poker, the wash-maid who explained the fort’s unique water cistern system, and the cooks who discussed the rigors of preparing meals inside the fort.
Tip: Make sure to look at the Ferry departure schedule as Fort Delaware is located on an island only accessible by boat. Keep your eyes open near the water line for native bald eagles.
Capers and Lemons is a mid to upscale Italian restaurant outside the heart of downtown Wilmington. While it looked a bit remote from the road the restaurant was packed when we arrived and still packed when we left. We were lucky enough to avoid the 1 hour wait and found a seat at the bar (full food service at the bar). Unlike our typical spaghetti and meatballs we ventured into uncharted territory and tried the mushroom risotto (excellent variety of exotic mushrooms) and the Pork Milanese (tender pork, broccoli rabe and spinach in a light tomato sauce – very tasty and not overly filling). We paired our meals with some local brews and really enjoyed the Dogfishhead Indian Brown Ale.
Day 3 (Sunday - Race Day):
Iron Hill Brewery served as our post-race nourishment – what better way to refill our bodies than with burgers and beer? The burgers were massive, and despite just running a half marathon neither of us were able to finish the massive meat patty (a bit over-cooked and they forgot the onion but still a pretty good lunch option). The beer is all brewed on site (make sure to get draft beer and not bottled for the freshest offerings) and good but not out of this world spectacular. All in all post-race eating options in Wilmington are limited and this is a good choice.
The Nemour’s Mansion and gardens (created by the founder of DuPont) looked really cool – but apparently the tour is 3 hours and advance reservations are required. The staff at the Nemour’s Mansion directed us to the Hagley Museum (~5 minutes down the road), which was really cool. In addition to a recently renovated museum which provided a good history of the DuPont company we headed outside to explore the buildings where gunpowder, DuPont’s original product, was produced in the late 1800’s. While gunpowder is no longer produced in the area, it was impressive to see the use of natural resources (everything was hydro-powered) and the amount of innovation/ safety precautions infused into the gunpowder production process.
Delaware Half Marathon Medals
May 15, 2011: Delaware Half Marathon