This year’s April Fools Half was a personal worst for me. It wasn’t the worst weather, but it wasn’t my day. It hasn’t my season, but that’s okay they all can’t be. I’ve come to terms with that, and I’m not magically expecting PRs. I’ve run the last five half marathons between 1:29-1:31. Far from the 1:24 I ran a couple of years ago in AC.
Going into April Fools, I had a lot going on. Earlier in the week, I had gotten shots in my upper thigh. Even though it had nothing to do with running, it made me sore. The week before, I cut out a workout, added an extra rest day, and just tried to rest. My legs did not feel good, and mentally I didn’t either.
But I love racing in Atlantic City, and I think the race is always well put together. The week leading up to the race had everything from torrential downpours, to thunderstorms, to the wind, and finally settled on no rain but 100% humidity. Joy! We haven’t had many days that have been humid. Yet, they seem to fall on race days.
While walking around, I felt like I was breathing through a straw. The race started with no issues, and we were off. Immediately I found myself as the fifth woman. The first four women were no more than 20 seconds in front of me. I bounced around a few places but ultimately settled into fourth.
The first mile I hit in 6:40. I felt pretty good. I thought, wow this might be a surprisingly good day for me. I just kind of cruising and felt like I wasn’t putting in that much effort.
The second mile I ran in 6:36 which looking back was a way to fast for the day. I didn’t feel bad, but you shouldn’t “feel bad” at mile 2 of a half marathon.
I hit the 5k in 20:38 which isn’t all that far off from some 5ks I’ve recently run. We just kept running along the boardwalk and couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front. The fog and humidity were thick, and I was sweating up a storm.
We left the boardwalk and headed towards Ventnor. I was running alone, and I couldn’t seem to get any sort of groove. I thought I might be able to hold the same pace, but the humidity began weighing on me.
The next couple of miles are on the streets of Ventnor. There isn’t a huge crowd, but it’s still fun. I hit the halfway point at 44:00 and I knew I would not be able to keep that pace. I had taken the race out too fast for the weather…
As we headed back towards Atlantic City, we began to see people coming in the opposite direction. It’s always my favorite part to see friends, and it makes the miles go by quickly.
My miles began to creep up, and I was averaging about 7 min miles. I’ve been hard on my running lately, and that didn’t help. I kept plugging along. I waved to friends and just put one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving forward.
Around mile 9, we went back on the boardwalk, and I told myself, just a half hour to go. I was using a lot of (out loud) self talk to get me towards the finish line. I counted down every mile which is not the attitude to have.
I determined at mile 10 I would need to run exactly 7-minute miles to break 1:30. People cheered for one woman and me kept saying: you are so close to 3rd place, she is only 2 minutes (LOL) ahead. Go. Go. Go. Finally, I said that wasn’t close at all, and she looked at me like I was crazy.
Mile 11 and 12 continued, and I ran a 6:58 and 6:56. The final mile felt like it took forever. I crossed the finish in 1:30.30. My GPS said it was 13.2, but I won’t say I ran any tangents well (or even good).
Two years ago, I had a similar experience at the April Fools Half. The race was well put together, but it wasn’t my day. Although, not my day in 2017 was still a 1:26. I’ve been hard on myself recently, and it feels as though running just isn’t coming together as I would like. 1:30.30 is a great time for so many, but for the amount of work I’ve put in, it’s not for me. I still had a great time at the April Fools Half, and it’s one of my favorite races of the season. You can argue the weather was bad, but in ideal weather, it wouldn’t have been my day, my legs weren’t there.
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Questions for you:
Have you ever been to Atlantic City?
How do you shake out a bad race?