Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:23.23)

This was exactly an 86 second half marathon PR for me and the first PR I’ve gotten since July (technically I got 3 I guess).  After having a frustrating Shamrock race last month, I was looking for redemeption.  I was really hoping that Atlantic City would be that half.  Anyways-

Tim promised that we could stay overnight in Atlantic City.  I didn’t want to drive 2 hours before an “A” race.  I wanted to relax and walk to the starting line (or even driving 15 minutes would be fine too..I didn’t want to drive from my house race day though).  So we splurged and stayed down in Atlantic City.

The race started at 8 am, which happens to be one of my favorite race starting times.  We headed to the race and after finding baggage we headed towards the starting line.  (The mile walk to the start was a good enough “warm up” for me).

At the starting line they were playing one of my favorite songs.  The first row of males were clearly elite.  They were serious…they were in the zone.  The second row of mostly elite runners were also in the zone…except for me I was dancing because it was my jam.  I did manage to “look serious” for the race start so I wouldn’t photobomb the actual first row.

I chatted with Lauren for a bit (who ended up winning female overall!). During the first mile I was just trying to gauge how I was feeling.  I felt really good (apparently) because my first mile was a 6:11.  That was faster than last weeks 5 mile race.

The course was out and back.  With the exception of some wind, it is a fast course.  With many spring coast half marathons, the hardest factor could be the wind (like Shamrock 2013).  While it was windy from mile 5-9, I didn’t find the wind as challenging as other half marathons though (The race was on the boardwalk for the majority of the time).

The second and third mile went by rather quickly.  I found myself in a lady pack with two other women (Lauren, myself and another woman).  There were also two cyclists beside us.  I have to admit the Atlantic City half really knows how to make you feel like a Rockstar.  We ran the majority of the race together.

I hit the 5k in 19:27.  That is the fastest 5k I have run since possibly last summer.  Somewhere after the 5k, a male joined our 3 woman lady pack.  He expressed he was quite upset that people where cheering “great job woman, ladies, ect”.  He wanted some great jobs too!  After hanging around for a couple of miles he left and surged forward. I was sad because he was a little more chatty.

Around mile 5 we left the boardwalk and went onto the Atlantic City streets.  It reminds me a lot of VA Beach.

While in the streets, we could see the overall males coming back towards us.  They were seriously cruising and I knew by the look on their faces that it was probably rather windy coming back.

I hit the 10k mark at 39:04 (which is a 10k PR for me too).  Between the 10k and half way mark, I grabbed some water that I spilled half of it on me and probably everyone around me.

I hit the halfway point in exactly 41:45.  Right before the halfway I  saw the male that had previously run with us.  I chanted “Great job man” as loud as I possibly could…he seemed happy.

As we turned around I noticed how windy it was.  It was a cross wind so it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t enjoyable either.  At this point I realized how toast my legs were.  Luckily we started to see other people going the opposite direction so it was motivating.  The lady pack ended up dropping to just Lauren and myself.  Without her I don’t think I would have held on for as long as I did.

Around mile 9 we headed back onto the boardwalk.  Mile 9 was my slowest mile at 6:29.  At mile 9 I began to wonder if I could maintain this pace.  Would the wheels fall off…I felt awful and 4 miles seemed like a really long time.  I just kept going though and I was still hanging on with Lauren.  I also saw Victoria and gave her a side five!  I had been looking for her for about a mile and was hoping I didn’t miss her.  I needed something (besides my legs) to focus on.

(at the end)
(at the end)

At mile 10 I delayered my dollar tree gloves.  Mile 10 is normally a good mile for me because I remind myself that (hopefully) I have about 20 minutes left.  I can do it.  Today, I was getting tired and worn out. I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:03.10.

Mile 11 was when Lauren began her kick.  I knew at that point she would win the race.  I did not have anything in me to keep up.  I wish I could tell you I did but I gave everything to that race.  I was struggling to stay where I was at let alone hammer down.  I ran 11 at 6:17 and began the long mile home solo.

When I saw mile 12, I knew the end was near.  Though I was running by myself at this point I just focused on finishing.  It could have been the longest 7 minutes of my life.  (Think 7 microwave minutes).

When I crossed the finish line I nearly ran into the people passing out medals.  I am glad I didn’t finish with anyone else around because I probably would have toppled over.

After grabbing a medal, I sat down and just relaxed in the moment.  It was nice to watch several finishers come in and be announced.  I was hoping for a PR and I’m glad I was able to finally achieve that.  Sunday was a perfect day for a race.  I had been on the fence to run either the CGI Love Run (Philly) last weekend or the Atlantic City half marathon but I am so glad (weather wise) that I went for this one.  You could not have asked for a better day.  I had a great time and am glad to finally log a new PR.  (something I haven’t done since my 5k PR in July).

Cliff notes: In summary this race was exactly what I wanted.  A new PR, a great time and an even better end to that week.  I can back with a 10k PR (39:04), a 10 mile PR (1:03.10) and of course a half marathon PR.  (1:23.23).  I should probably do other distance races to work on my other PRs. 

Questions for you:

What is your optimal race temperature?

Have you ever run in a pack with people the entire race?

I thought it was fun.  I just wish I had more people to chat with; it made the miles go by so slow.