Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/content/38/11278038/html/wp-content/plugins/seedprod-coming-soon-pro/inc/class-plugin.php on line 346
Race Recap: April Fools Half Marathon

Race Recap: April Fools Half Marathon

Hey, all! Sorry I’ve been MIA. Let’s just say that a certain self-employed individual likes to wait until the last possible second to do her taxes every year, and it’s a royal PITA. I’m back now and ready to share my recent goings-on with you guys. :)

First, thanks for the congratulatory messages on my last post re: the New York City Marathon. I am STOKED and can’t wait to share my training here with you guys! :)

This weekend, Todd and I took on the first half marathon of our 2014 spring racing season: the April Fools Half Marathon in Atlantic City. And let’s just say things didn’t exactly go as I had hoped. (Then again…do they ever?)

The race is organized by the Atlantic City Marathon Race Series, and the weekend includes a 7K and a 11K on Saturday. We arrived in Atlantic City in the afternoon on Saturday. We stayed a little bit outside AC, at a Red Roof Inn in Absecon, to save some dinero (Todd doesn’t drink, so I always have a built-in DD, haha). We checked in and headed directly to Revel, the casino that was hosting the race.

I knew there wasn’t going to be a race expo — which was a bit disappointing — and while packet pick-up was organized, it was all just sort of…blah. Without an expo, my level of excitement for the race just wasn’t there — and, I have to say, the race shirts really weren’t the best quality or design so I was a tad disappointed there, too. ‘Cuz you know I loves me a good race shirt and all.

 aprilfoolsshirt

We spent the rest of the day walking around the boardwalk — because, you know, THAT is always a smart thing to do the day before a half marathon.

DSCF9294

After some good old-fashioned carbo-loading at EVO in the Trump Plaza, we caught the comedy show at the Tropicana. In case you were wondering, boozing at a comedy club and staying up late? ALSO a smart thing to do before running a half marathon.

DSCF9296

Todd and the magician/comedian, Kevin Lee

The morning of the race, getting to Revel was a breeze and there was tons of parking in the garage. It was a gorgeous day but freakin’ cold by the water, so it was nice to be able to stay warm in the casino and head out at the last possible second before the race. There were no starting corrals and they pretty much just let us all go a few minutes after 8am.

DSCF9309

So here’s where I should probably mention that I was having some oh-so-fun feminine issues of the monthly variety that morning, and had a good feeling that it was NOT going to be a pleasant race experience for me. I had also (stupidly) attended my usual Taekwondo class on Friday night, and I was ALL kinds of sore. Not to mention, I’ve only logged sporadic short runs since my last marathon, and my legs are still pretty much dead.

I wasn’t too worried, though, because I went into this race looking at is a “just for fun” type of thing…an opportunity to get away for the weekend and enjoy the (slightly) warmer weather we’ve been having here in NJ. I’m not even remotely recovered from my 2014 marathons, and I’m still dealing with a whole lot of both mental and physical issues when it comes to running, so the fact that the arrival of my favorite monthly visitor just so happened to land the day before the race meant that I was in for a world of pain. Not to share TMI, but I can never run on days 1 or 2 without succumbing to some serious crampage and discomfort and the impulse to just curl up in a ball and die somewhere…so I knew tackling 13.1 miles that morning was not going to be easy.

I’m sure I also don’t have to say that I wasn’t in the best of moods, either, and after struggling through the first 5K not being able to run anything much faster than a 10:30/mile pace, and being a total you-know-what to Todd when he tried to chat with me and keep my mind off my discomfort, my goal for that morning was to finish the race without keeling over in agony. When I stopped for a necessary potty break somewhere around mile 5, I sent Todd on his way because a.) I knew that my current 10:45 or so pace was more than likely going to be my top speed for that morning and b.) I didn’t want my crappy mood to ruin his race experience.

Okay, enough of my sob story…as far as the actual race course, you run the entire length of the Atlantic City boardwalk and through Ventnor City, Margate City, and Longport. You’re on the boardwalk for the first few miles, and then we veered off into the streets. It’s an out-and-back course — which, BTW, I loathe with a fiery passion — so when you reach mile 7 or so, you simply turn around and head back. It’s a few more miles running straight up one particular road and then you turn back onto the boardwalk to run the exact same course backwards. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach and running along the water is always thrilling for me, but today, I just wasn’t feeling it.

The fact of the matter is that this race comes with pretty much zero spectators; it’s business as usual on the AC boardwalk, and since the rest of the race takes place in the middle of a main drag, there were only a handful of spectators watching for their friends/family members to run by. I kind of felt as though I slapped down 75 bucks just to run on the boardwalk, which is something I could have done for free. The water stops were well organized and the volunteers were great, but it still just didn’t feel like much of a race to me.

Long story short? I struggled the. entire. time. By the last few miles I was lucky to be able to top out over an 11-minute/mile, and near the 10-mile mark I had slowed down to almost a 12-minute/mile pace. I didn’t even care, either. My legs felt like they weighed about 1,000 pounds each, I was fighting through cramps, and I just didn’t want to run anymore. The boardwalk was starting to get more crowded, but everyone was looking at the runners with the pieces of paper pinned to their shirts like we were crazy because there really was no indication that there was a race going on. Oh, and in case you were wondering, people seem to have NO qualms whatsoever about taking a leisurely stroll right in the middle of the race course, haha.

The last 5K took FOREVER, but finally I was approaching the end of the boardwalk and the finish line was in sight! It was my second worst non-Disney finish time to date (after the disaster that was the Chanukah Chalf in November).

I finished in 2:21, and Todd finished in 2:09 — definitely not the best for either of us, but I was ecstatic to be done!

DSCF9317

The finish line food consisted of bananas and oranges, Powerbars (blech), and bags of caramel corn. There was also water and Gatorade. I grabbed a few bags of popcorn and a banana since I was starving and that’s all that was available, and found Todd. (Side note: I later learned that they completely ran out of food for the runners who finished shortly after I did — which is absolute CRAP.)DSCF9308

Neither of us loved the medal all that much — the design is cute, but I guess I’ve been spoiled by runDisney medals because it seems a tad microscopic to me. aprilfoolsmedal

We hung around at the finish line for a bit, which was pretty festive. I was excited to spot Kim from Barking Mad About Running again — I thought I might have seen her on the course but wasn’t sure (my headphones and her sunglasses prevented a positive identification, haha), so I was looking for her at the finish line. We typically only seem to see each other at out-of-state races, so this was a first! :)

DSCF9327

I was in a much better mood for the rest of the day. Mainly because the race was over and done with.

DSCF9326

I hated that I felt so miserable all morning and couldn’t fully enjoy the race, but still proud of myself for crossing that finish line. The course couldn’t have been flatter and it was absolutely perfect running weather, but unfortunately my body just didn’t want to work with me that morning…so I had to run with my heart, instead. :)

DSCF9307

After the race, we cleaned ourselves up a bit and spent the rest of the day enjoying AC…

DSCF9341

…and not gonna lie, a few cocktails. Nothing like a celebratory mimosa with breakfast and a margarita at Margaritaville. :)

DSCF9402_2

I enjoyed my first visit “down the shore” this year, even if it’s still just a tad too frigid for the beach. I will say that even though the water was ICE COLD, it felt pretty nice on my achy, swollen runner’s feet — a big plus for running a half marathon at the beach!

DSCF9380

Moral of the story? I had a tough time this weekend, and I probably won’t run this race again, but we still had a blast. Regardless of my less-than-desirable experience, I feel like I learn something every time I run a race…and this weekend, I got a really clear sense that I can always count on my mental toughness to take over when my body is failing me.

And for that, I call this race a win. :)

DSCF9364

Have you ever run a race at the beach?

Did you race this weekend?

 

Comments

  1. “people seem to have NO qualms whatsoever about taking a leisurely stroll right in the middle of the race course, haha.” <<<< I have a feeling that the "haha" added at the end there was a bit sarcastic :)

    You are so mentally strong making it through these races, with more than respectable finishing times, despite your body not really wanting to be there! That's really awesome!

    • Jennifer says:

      Hahaha, yep, you could say that again. :)

      Thanks, Kristina! I’m definitely not complaining…all you can do is your best, right? Some races are meant for PRs, and others I’m just happy to cross that finish line. :)

  2. Love that last picture of you jumping on the beach! Too cute! Lacey and Meranda mentioned that this race was worse than last year actually. I cannot believe they ran out of food for the runners. Absolutely unacceptable. And people running in the middle of the course? WOW. Nevertheless, another half and another medal logged in the books for you and you should definitely be proud! I have trouble running when my monthly visitor comes too, so my hat’s off to you! You earned that margarita!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Lauren! Yep, I totally agree with Meranda’s thoughts, and I didn’t even run it last year! A lot of people told me how great it was in previous years, so I guess things just didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

      That’s exactly how I’m looking at it — we had fun, it’s another race experience (and BLING!), and who can complain about that? :-D

  3. LOVE that we saw each other at the finish, finally getting together in Jersey after so much time! I’m sorry you felt so yucky, but your post race pics look fabulous! I can’t wait to see my race photos, I hope they came out well! I am undecided still, about next year, some friends want to try the Jester!

    • Jennifer says:

      ME TOO! :) I’m also waiting on the race photos — it always seems to be hit or miss with those, haha. You’ll have to tell me more about the Jester!

  4. Great job on overcoming lady times and making it to the finish. I did a half marathon last year with major crampage and, well, I feel you pain—literally, especially since I don’t take pain killers before I run. At least you had fun! And I’m totally with you on the self-employed tax situation. JUST finished my taxes. Tracking expenses is a major PITA!

    • Jennifer says:

      UGH, it is the WORST. I can’t take pain killers before running, either, so I just had to suck it up. NOT pleasant. The overall weekend itself was definitely a fun time, though!

      Haha, EXACTLY. I know what you mean. Every year I promise myself I’ll do better and stay on top of it, but somehow I always end up scrambling around in April. Glad it’s over and done with now!

  5. So glad to see your review! As always the two of you are just adorable! I can not believe that the medals ya’ll got were the same ones we earned for running the 11K. I made a comment about how small they were this year but I just assumed they were saving the bigger medals for the half marathoners (and rightfully so). I can related to people on the boardwalk having know idea that a race was going on! There were a few changes from last year that we didn’t care for too much, but it is always fun to run at the beach! Oh, and don’t beat yourself up! I know people who would Love to be able to run a half in the time you did. Be proud!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Meranda! Appreciate it. I’m definitely proud to have finished given the morning I was having; I couldn’t have cared less about my time. I was definitely disappointed in the medal, not gonna lie. I love running at the beach, so even if the race experience didn’t exactly meet my expectations, we still had a good time. Sorry we missed each other this time; hope to see you at a race really soon! :-D

  6. Glad to see you made it through!

  7. Your outfit is adorable! I loved reading this because even though I ran a different course for the AC half, I still ran in AC and feel like I knew what was going on. My cousins have a house in Margate that I was able to stay at when I did the half. I’m glad you were able to enjoy some cocktails and forget about it. The picture of you on the beach is precious!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Amy! That’s awesome — yeah, I pretty much forget about any “bad” race experience the minute it’s over. That seems to be why I can’t stop myself for signing up for another one…and another one…and another one… ;)

  8. This looks like such a fun race! You can’t beat running at the beach. And those medals are so cool – they almost remind me of Mardi Gras.

    • Jennifer says:

      It was definitely a fun weekend, and I love running at the beach…I wish I could’ve enjoyed it a bit more, but, maybe next time. :)

  9. My parents were in AC this weekend and I had gotten a text from my dad “on the boardwalk now and it looks like there is another race here today.” So, I guess there definitely was not a lot of indicators there was a race going on. I was thinking of doing the AC half in October and hope its run a little difference (especially since they have a marathon that day too!).

    I’m sorry your race day was not what you were hoping for. Believe me, I just had that race. But the important thing is you kept going, pushed through and you finished! You didn’t give up! You still had a blast! Yay! Plus celebratory margaritas are always a good thing. And if it makes you feel any better, I would love to have your “not the best” finish time :)

    • Jennifer says:

      Hahaha, too funny. Yeah, it definitely just felt like business as usual on the boardwalk!

      You’re absolutely right — you can’t always plan for everything (especially if it’s, you know, a natural part of being a woman, LOL) but as long as you don’t give up, that’s all that counts. :)

  10. Kudos on slogging through all the elements. I could barely make it through gym class when I got my lady issues, let alone do a half marathon.

  11. Way to make it to the finish line, despite less than desirable conditions! Your finish time is something I dream of reaching one day, and I know that with more time, practice, and patience that I’ll get there someday.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Kathryn! Oh, you will, no doubt about it — you’re going to see improvement with every race you run! Only a matter of time. :-D

  12. Sorry you didn’t have a great race. My wife and I ran it in 2012 and 2013, we skipped this year. I agree that you pay alot to run the Boardwalk which living fairly close you can do for free. Other than seeing Lucy there isn’t much on the out and back to see but at least it is flat. The last couple of years they have had a spinning medal so they changed that this year. Hope you feel better soon. Congrats to you and Todd an notching up another finish :-)

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Ian! Very true — I will say that it WAS my first time seeing Lucy, which was interesting, haha. And you can never complain about a flat course, that’s for sure. I was kind of looking forward to that spinning medal, so that definitely added to my disappointment. But, it’s another race in the books, right? And we had fun! :)

  13. Sounds like a fun trip, even if the race was disappointing! I’m going to try to make myself start commenting here from time to time instead of always lurking. :-P It’s actually reassuring to hear that even people with as much experience as you have running struggle sometimes. It makes me feel a little less hopeless in my own running!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Jen! That’s GREAT, love hearing from you. Oh, believe me, everyone has their struggles, no matter how experienced you are!

  14. Girl, you rock. Way to push through even though your body didn’t agree with you! I’ve never run a race at the beach, but it looks like a ton of fun! :0)

Leave a Comment

*