Monday, October 14, 2013

#11 out of 13... Atlantic City Half Marathon

runner swag
I entered this weekend a little nervous, I must say! Tropical Storm Karen was not supposed to hit us, but we were due for some backlash, and rain and high winds were predicted for the weekend!
My friend Eileen came over on Saturday morning and we headed into Atlantic City for the expo. I was signed up to work at the booth for the Trenton Half Marathon, and we wanted to get there as soon as possible!
We parked at Revel (we were staying there, the host hotel was Caesars but we prefer Revel!) We walked the 2 miles to the Convention Center before realizing that when they said Convention Hall, they meant Caesar's Hall. Duh! Back a half mile to the proper location, and we finally made it!

We introduced ourselves to Kevin from the Trenton Half, and his girlfriend. She handed us a note left for me by the Nerd Herd. I was so bummed that I had missed them! They did take a pic and post it on Facebook for me to see:

Once Kevin realized I had a friend with me, he and his girlfriend left for lunch. For almost 3 hours. We met a lot of interesting people, handed out a lot of coupon codes for the race, in those hours. We also got very very hungry, since we hadn't had lunch yet! He arrived back at the booth at almost 3:00, and said we could take a lunch. 

working the booth!
Caesars was very smoky and hard to maneuver, so we decided to hit the boardwalk for a light lunch. We decided on hot pretzels to hold us over until it was time for Carmine's for dinner. We walked about a mile, and it started to pour, and the wind started to blow. UGH. Now we are wet, a mile away from the hotel, and need to dry off! We go back to the hotel, check in, and change, and now it almost 5:00. At this point we realize we will not be heading back to the expo, there isn't enough time before it closes, so we head out for our second mission. To secure breakfast cupcakes! We had them in April before the April Fool's half, and wanted to repeat the fun. Our regular bakery wasn't open before we had to leave, so we thought we would find them in AC.
Not so much.
No one had cupcakes. After touring the entire hotel, we decide to head out to Trop for dinner at Carmine's. The wind and rain was out of contra by now, so we had to drive. Bummer! The walk is so much better, you can walk off a little of the dinner and people watch at the same time!
We got there without any huge disasters, other than some crazy Hyundai with tinted windows that seemed to cut us off at every turn in the garage, while we tried to find a space. We survived, though, and left our name at the front desk. I asked them to confirm my last name when they called us. Last time, some one stole our table! When my name was called, they claimed the table and we waited over 40 minutes before finally checking in, and discovering the error.
The hostess sent us to the bar to wait and after about 15 minutes, the bar tender kicked us out! Huh! we were told to sit there! UGH. Just as we made our way to the hostess desk, my name was called. Perfect.
Instead of confirming my last name, though, he showed it to Eileen and asked her how to pronounce it. Ummmm, nice. Anyone could have faked it, and taken our table. Fail!
Our meal was fabulous however, and our waiter was perfection. No long waits, no snafus. Just perfectly delicious food!

 By now, we were tired and we were ready to go chill in our room. We hit the stairs that would take us to the parking garage. Halfway up, this ... woman ... was standing in our way. Just standing. Glaring at us. Refusing to move. She was on our side of the stairs, but we decided to just go around, be the better people. We even said excuse me. Never a word, just a glare. SO RUDE!
We laughed about her behavior all the way to the car, and headed for the booth to pay for parking.  There was a Cadillac ahead of us, and it wasn't moving. After a few minutes, the attendant waved us back. Huh? Was the dude refusing to pay? As soon as we backed up, Caddy man started to cut his wheel to back up and crashed into a yellow post on his right. Yikes. Time to move over to another booth. As we do, he starts to come right towards us. I seriously thought he would hit us. I practically threw money at the new attendant, trying to get out of there! Crazy! The Trop just scares me!
Whew! back at Revel, ready for bed, so we can race in the morning!
We both woke up early, nervous about the crazy wind that was whistling all around the building. It was dry, at least, and we had a fabulous early morning view of the city!

We got dressed and had our breakfast, which was basically granola bars and cereal that we got at the gift shop in the hotel lobby. Epic cupcake fail! Oh, and I forgot my Honey Stingers. For real. No waffles for me. I bought Swedish Fish and packed them into my Running Buddy instead.
We reluctantly left the room, and headed for the elevators, Obviously, there were some parties going in last night, and we had a little giggle over the mess in the elevator lobby area.
someone's pizza mess

this thing changed colors, no idea what it is.
The wind in the lobby was still whistling like a tea kettle, but once we got down to the boardwalk level, it was a little better. It was mostly gusts, at this point, although they were 30 mph gusts! The temp was perfect for a Half Marathon, which made us happy!
We got to the start with about 30 minutes to spare, checked our bags, and waited for the start. There are no corrals, so we lined up with the 10 minute milers, and got ready.
It started right on time, but the course was all wrong! I assumed it would be similar to the April race, but it started in the other direction. Oh no! We ran off the boardwalk right away and into the streets of AC. I lost Eileen right away. She is speedier than I am. I had no tunes, because I knew the wind would blow my earbud cord around and annoy me. After a couple miles I saw it. The first hill. UGH! I was not prepared for hills. This one was a ramp onto the highway. As you reached the top, you could see the next ramp you would be running on. After the first hill, though, was a tunnel. It was wind free, fun to run through, and wrecked my gps for the rest of the race. It was only about 1/10th of a mile, maybe a bit more, just enough to annoy me. I kept up a pretty steady 11:30 pace in the beginning, but the wind really started to get the best of me. Every time it blew, I would end up 3 steps to the side, and I actually kicked myself about 5 times.
The wind could also be your friend at times, like as we turned to go up onto the boardwalk, and it blew at our backs. This did not happen often, however! Once on the boardwalk, the wind was not bad for awhile. I approached the finish at mile 9, and got to see Eileen's friend finish in under 2 hours! WOW!
This is where things got messy. There were runners coming and going, with no defined lanes, for the last 4 miles. Awkward! Around mile 10, the first *marathoner* passed me in the other direction. You read that correctly, the man who won passed me at around the 2 hour mark. Insane! Twice the distance in less time. Crazy!
I saw Eileen at around mile 11 I think, and we cheered for each other. Then the wind started agin, only now it brought sand with it. It was in my ears, eyes, and mouth. Yuck. At about mile 11.5 was the turnaround. SO happy!
The last 2 miles were the happiest, knowing that I was almost done. They were also the slowest. No real pain, finally, but my legs were so *tired* from fighting the wind.
SO many people were cheering for us, it made me fight a little harder. Every time the wind blew, they would cheer louder.
During the last mile, the second marathoner finished, and about 15 minutes after I finished, the first female marathoner came through. Amazing!
the medal has a bottle opener and the lighthouse light blinks red

It was exhausting! I am so glad that it is over! I have Runners World this weekend, and I hope it didn't wear me out too badly! Eileen was amazing, and finished 20 minutes ahead of me! She's a beast!
We went back to our room and changed for the short ride back home. I stopped to get a bottle of chocolate milk. I am lactose intolerant, but I can drink one after a race like this without the pain, so I always try to take advantage!

it's the little things in life, for real!

#11 done, 2 more to go!

What did you do this weekend to keep your body moving?


  1. ran a half marathon like you. got beat by a marathoner too

    1. I was just reading about yours! My shoulders hurt by the end, I think it was from bracing against the wind. No pain today, just general aches! Great job!

  2. Many congrats on a tough race! The wind moved me quite a few times during the 10k - especially when the buildings weren't there to shield me. Will you be at next year's April Fools?

    1. Thanks Meredith! Yes, I am already registered for April Fool's and will be running the marathon next October ;)

  3. Congrats on the half! I ran my 11th of 13 on Sunday, too.

    1. Thanks! Congrats to you as well! Runners World will be #12 and Trenton will be #13, I am so excited!

  4. Sounds like fun! I love AC! The wind is never a good time, but you did it!

    I ran Color Me Rad this weekend, and had a blast.

    1. Thanks :)
      I have done Color Runs, they are so much fun! Just an all around good time!

  5. Aw, man, I wanted to run this one! Yikes re: the wind...and the hills (you KNOW I hate those)...but you pushed through it, and that's what counts! Also? I'm obsessed with chocolate milk. I'm glad you can enjoy it after a race -- it's my FAVE post-race/refuel treat! :-D

    1. Thanks Jen :)
      Run it next year, I am already signed up for the Full! OMG!
      I worship chocolate milk, but since I am lactose intolerant I can only have it after races! I get to drink it twice this weekend, after the 5K and 10K on Saturday, and again after the Half! Woohoo! Hope to see you this weekend!