In summary, the Atlantic City half marathon was a good race. I had hoped to be faster but the wind was unforgiving and I raced for the conditions. It stinks to not have a faster half before the NYCM, but that’s how it goes. I’m proud of my efforts, and I was able to negative split the race.
My alarm at 5 am came early. As I mentioned, the days leading up where chaotic and I found myself on the go and on my feet for almost 48 hours before (except for sleep). I could have used a few more hours of sleep beforehand, but that is okay.
I got to Atlantic City around 7 am. I met some of my local friends and running groups. When I went to drop off my bag at bag drop, I dropped my entire bottle of Gatorade and spilled it all over myself. I was cold and wet at the start of the race…a great combination.
I got to the corral with about 3 minutes to spare and talked to a few friends. By the time I knew it, it was time to go. During the first mile, we hit some severe headwind. I thought to myself…it is going to be a long way to go. I also quickly realized my legs didn’t feel great but I was going to make the best of the situation no matter what. I hit the first mile in 6:48 and thought, if I could hold this at least I would be faster than other races.
Before the race I thought it was entirely on the boardwalk. I didn’t realize how much was through the neighborhoods and actual Atlantic City. All of a sudden we ran over an overpass and down through a tunnel. I thought for sure my watch would lose GPS signal, but it surprisingly didn’t. The tunnel was peaceful and still because there was no wind. It was nice. Directly after, we climbed another overpass, and I hit mile 2 around 6:45.
The next mile went on without much note. I hit the 5k around 21 minutes and felt pleased. Away from the boardwalk, the wind wasn’t as bad. You could still feel the gusts, but it wasn’t the 50 mph gusts that you felt on the boardwalk.
During mile 4, a man passed me listening to music without headphones. It was blaring. I wasn’t in the mood to listen to his music, and honestly, it’s just poor form. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t use headphones, and it made me so irrationally angry to listen to it. I don’t like to listen to music while racing which is why I don’t. I don’t want or need to listen to someone else’s. Unfortunately, we ended up running near each other for about 4 miles.
During mile 5 and 6, I focused on getting to the halfway point. We went over a few more overpasses and through a couple neighborhoods. The view was beautiful. I tried to pass the man with his music, but my legs didn’t have the speed. The volunteers thought it was “so cool” with his music, but it just made me angrier. Looking back, it was dumb to be that mad but at the time.
I hit the halfway point in 44 minutes. I reevaluated how I was feeling and thought that baring nothing major, I could probably hold that pace and run an even 1:28. I also knew the last few miles were on the boards and while it would be the windiest, I could probably get some speed there.
I trucked along, and by the time I knew it was mile 7. The next two miles went by without much note. I finally dropped the man with his loud music, and I was thankful. We entered the boardwalk between mile 8 and 9. Entering the boardwalk made me feel like the race was over, but we had 4 miles.
We passed the start/finish line somewhere between mile 9-10. It’s always mentally challenging to see where you will be done and know you have a long way to go. By this point, the race was spread out. Even though the half and full marathon were still together, I was alone on the boards. Alone on the windy boardwalk is not where you want to be. Since it was a crosswind, you were like a ping pong ball being pushed on either side of the boardwalk.
I ran a 6:40 mile 10 and just kept moving along. Finally, we rounded the turnaround, and we headed back to the finish line. I just kept telling myself, two miles to go. Mile 11 always seems to be the most challenging mile of a half marathon for me. I passed one of my good friends.
I hit mile 12 in 6:35 and then just told my body haul butt. At the turnaround, I saw I was about 20 seconds back from the next half marathon women. I didn’t have any plans to catch her, but when I saw I was, it gave me the motivation to run faster. I had déjà vu of when I ran head-on with a pedestrian in April and told myself to pay attention. Runners for both the half and full were also going the opposite direction, so I wanted to be mindful of that.
12 miles became 12.5, became 12.75 and all of a sudden I was almost caught up to the women. I passed her around 13 miles. I could see the finish line in the clock ticking around 1:27.30 and I knew if I wanted to be under 1:28, it would be close.
I crossed in 1:27.53 and as 6th women overall. I’m happy with my efforts for the conditions. Like I mentioned in my training log, I was hoping to be faster, but you can’t control the weather. It wasn’t hot, but the wind is a different battle and just as challenging battle (in my opinion anyway). I feel like I fraud every half saying I know if the conditions were better I could be faster, but I’ve raced each time for the day, and that is all you can do.
After the race, I spent just under an hour playing the slots at the casino. I have a limit of $20, and I spent $20 and won $20, so I broke even for the day. So success all around.
Questions for you:
What is the windiest you’ve run in?
Am I overdramatic that someone listening to music without headphones during a race is rude?