I went into this past weekend’s race with low expectations. I was coming off of 4 days without solid food thanks to a nasty stomach bug earlier in the week and didn’t get to run (or MOVE) as much as I’d wanted to, so my goal was simply to finish and enjoy the weekend in Atlantic City with my husband. Spoiler alert: mission accomplished!
We arrived late Friday afternoon and picked up my packet at the Nike Outlet – the process was seamless, even if it was a little annoying to have to leave the comfort of the boardwalk/hotel area and into the whipping frozen winds. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the AC Marathon Race Series in October where everything conveniently takes place in the host hotel. After packet pickup we headed out for dinner where I went for some delicious hot soup loaded with veggies, chicken, shrimp, and wontons.
Once our bellies were full we headed back to the room where I prepped. The forecast wasn’t good: rain was imminent, it just remained to be seen how hard it would rain. I was SO glad I threw my rain jacket in the suitcase at the last minute! My pre-race bedtime ritual involves staying off my phone as much as possible, so I settled down in my super comfy bed with my new coloring book before lights out at 10.
The race start wasn’t until 9AM (can I get an amen?!) so I blissfully got to sleep in til about 7. Once the alarm went off I ate, layered up, and we headed out into the downpour.
The boardwalk was empty because of the driving rain, but once I got into Resorts I found everyone hiding in the hotel, where I met up with my cousin and uncle, and a friend from work who was running with her friend too. Considering there were about another 100 people in that little area, it was a big ol’ love in.
I kept flip flopping between running in my jacket or just sticking with my long sleeve because it was around 47 degrees and my jacket is SUPER toasty, but once we all herded out into the pouring rain I made the wise choice to run in the jacket, heat be damned. My head was drenched in seconds and the water pouring down my nose made it hard to see, so the hood went up and we were off at the sound of the horn.
The 7K and 11K took off at the same time and I’ll admit: the sounds we were all making made me laugh pretty hard. Everyone was groaning, grunting, squealing, or making some kind of funny noise trying to see through the rain and stay upright. The boards were slippery – I saw two women go down HARD on their knees and slide like soccer goalies, only to pop back up unharmed thanks to the amount of rain on the boardwalk – but I managed to keep my footing and a nice 12:00 pace.
The course is all on the boardwalk, which is a blessing and a curse because you feel kind of like you’re going on and on forever in one direction only to flip around and go back the same way. But it was fun seeing all the faster folks pass by – especially the people who were dressed up like Ghostbusters, Wonder Woman, and the Hulk! I just wish it was clearer so I didn’t have to wear my hood the whole time, I know I missed a lot of folks because I had to keep my head down to watch where I was running!
At around Mile 3, I dropped my arms to my sides to shake them out, and water came POURING out of them; it had been collecting through the gap near my wrists, but the waterproof fabric held it in there! I don’t know if I can stress enough just how HARD it was raining, but the race pics there give you a good idea. After I realized the water was pooling in my sleeves I realized it was probably in my pockets too – which it was, along with my phone and my iPod! That’s when I stopped, time be damned, and took those things out of my pocket and slipped them into my Fuelbelt under my jacket and longsleeve – they were all wet but still functional, thank goodness!
After I turned back around at mile 3.5ish, the rain let up a tiny bit so I was able to take off my hood. I had fallen into a pretty good rhythm and my pace had jumped up to around 11:55. Energized by those numbers, I told myself to push a little harder after my gel at mile 5. For the last 2 miles I ran negative splits and felt the burn the whole last mile. I wasn’t surprised; I’d only run twice in the previous week for a total of 12 miles. But once I saw the finish line, my husband, and a warm, dry casino, I sprinted for the finish with a shout:
And earned my medal with a finish time of 1:20:38!
I met up with my uncle who was waiting for my cousin to finish, and my friends were there too so we had to take a drowned rat “after” pic before heading back inside.
Once we got in and said our goodbyes, we made the frozen, soaking wet walk back to our hotel where I snapped one final selfie with my medal, took the best hot shower of my life and ate a nice post-race meal at The Continental. Then we passed out for 5 hours, woke up for dinner, hung out with friends for a bit and then went to bed again. We were tired, yo!
The following day we packed up and headed out into the brutal winds to cheer on my friends running the half marathon that morning. Where I had to deal with pouring rain, these rockstars faced unbelievable wind gusts up to 60mph (!!) and a wind chill in the 20’s. I seriously don’t know how they did it, because the only thing keeping me going was the chance to scream my head off for Mer over at Scootadoot and Jenny, who ran her first half marathon EVER in those horrible conditions! Gurl, if you can do that you can do anything!
While I was waiting to cheer them on, I got to showcase my sweet spectating dance moves when the Beastie Boys came on at the finish line. For real though, try not to look directly into the awesomeness that is this video clip:
I told you it was pretty amazing.
All in all it was a great race and a fantastic weekend, even if the weather didn’t want to cooperate!