April Fools Half Marathon (1:30.30)

April Fools Half Marathon (1:30.30)

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.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

Thank you Lisa for the photos

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.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

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.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

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).

Thoughts:

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.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you: 

Have you ever been to Atlantic City?

How do you shake out a bad race? 

Training: Recovery and Half Marathons

Training: Recovery and Half Marathons

Last week was a recovery week before the Atlantic City Half Marathon. I’ve needed a lot more rest and recovery this Spring. It’s caused my fitness journey to be much slower, but (knock on wood) I’ve stayed healthy. A few weeks ago, I came to terms that my fitness is not coming back (this Spring) anywhere close to what it was other years.  It’s hard, of course, not to compare yourself to previous fitness levels but you can’t always be there.

On a personal note, I also got a shot into my inner thigh on Tuesday afternoon. Nothing running related but it hurt a lot and on Wednesday I knew there was no way I was running, let alone doing a workout.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 8 miles with Alexis
Wednesday: Easy 20-minute walk
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: April Fools Half Marathon (1:30.30)

Thoughts:

Not a heck of a lot to say this week. It was low key and boring and truthfully that’s fine. I’ve been dealing with a lot of outside and life issues that have kept me busy. My easy runs were easy.

Taking a walk on Wednesday loosened up muscles from my shot but it was nothing strenuous.

Atlantic City Half (1:30.30):

This was my slower year by 4 minutes. I’m not blaming the weather because even though it was humid, we’ve had years it’s been Gail force winds, torrential downpour, and everything in between.  It just wasn’t my day. I was pretty bummed to run a 1:30.30, because I ran Shamrock last month in 1:29 (the day after racing the Adrenaline Run).  It is what it is. I remind myself that running doesn’t define me.

Posts from the Week:

The Difference Between Runners and Non-Runners

Four Years of Marriage

Four Years of Marriage

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

Did you race this weekend? (Or Boston?)

What is your favorite type of weather to race in? Your least favorite?

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:27.53)

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:27.53)

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.

atlantic city half marathon me running

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.

atlantic city half marathon me running

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.

atlantic city half marathon me running

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.

atlantic city half marathon me running

IDK what I’m doing with my hands. I don’t remember doing that.

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? 

Bungalow Beach 5 Miler (32:12)

Bungalow Beach 5 Miler (32:12)

Last weekend I ran the Bungalow Beach 5 Miler in Atlantic City.  As I continue to build miles, I’m trying to make it a point to race more whether I feel great or not.  If there is anything I learned from the weekend, it’s how to spell Bungalow (at least I think so).

I didn’t feel great on Saturday.  While I only took a week off, I feel like I’ve distanced myself from the sport since about May.  I’ve been running but training for PRs, no.  I rode out the fitness from the training cycle through both Broad Street and the Newport 10 miler.

I woke up around 5, ate, and arrived to Atlantic City around 7 am.  The race starts in a different area than the April Fools Half. As I walking to pick up my bib, a very intoxicated man asked if I was just getting off from the strip club next door.  What a way to start.

The line to pick up bibs was long, and I had time to warm up about 2 miles.  As I was sprinting towards the start, I realized they were doing the national anthem. I paid my respect and made it to the start with about 30 seconds to spare.

The race went off right at 8 am.  During the first mile, I found myself running with a few men.  I passed one other female around mile 1.  My legs felt stiff and tired, and with 100% humidity, the weather was not ideal. I didn’t feel great or especially terrible and ran a 6:23.

I ran the second mile alone.  There was a cross breeze but nothing crazy. It actually felt good.  We left the boardwalk, and I ran a 6:28.

We turned around mile 2.3 and headed back towards the finish.  I like beach and shore races because usually, you get to see friends and other racers going in the opposite direction.  I saw a lot of local people and high fived a lot of people.

bungalow beach 5 miler atlantic city

Thanks, Meridith for the photo!

Around mile 4, I knew the second place woman was quickly catching me.  I was giving it my all.  We entered the beach, and I was worried I would fall, so I took running on the sand extremely safe.  Even though I was barely above a walk, I would instead not hurt myself versus attempt to sprint to the finish only to roll an ankle.  I could see the finish, but I thought it would never come closer!  I crossed in 32:12 and was able to win.

I am happy to be out there again, and it feels good to be racing. In February I ran a 5 Miler in 30:25 and while I’m not in that shape now I’m enjoying running and able to run.  Usually in June that hasn’t been the case.  I’ll continue looking for races and chipping away.  Right now I didn’t have anything “big” planned out, and I’m just enjoying racing each weekend.

Questions for you;

Have you ever run on sand?

Do you have beach plans this summer?

JJ’s Diner (Pleasantville

JJ’s Diner (Pleasantville

A few weeks ago, after the April Fools half marathon, I stopped at JJ’s diner on the way home.  When I arrived around lunchtime on a Sunday, it was crowded.  In fact, it’s one of the few diners I’ve had to wait for a table.  No big deal!

Atmosphere: B
JJ’s Diner is small but cute. The outside looks like a small trailer.  I like the old yellow sign that says JJ’s too.  It is one room, with several tables, booths, and a full-length bar.  It’s very compact.

JJ's Diner pleasentville nj 

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot, but I could have used more.  It was the local Lacas brand.  I’ve actually been to several diners that have Lacas brew lately.  It was hot and after a cold, wet, rainy race, exactly what I needed.  I just wish I had more.

JJ's Diner pleasentville nj

Food: A
JJ’s Diner has many different options.  The diner itself is only open until 3 pm, so they don’t have big entrees, but they have all sorts of breakfast and lunch specials. I decided to order the chicken and waffles.JJ's Diner pleasentville nj

As I’ve mentioned a few times, since living in Alabama last year, I’ve wanted to find good chicken and waffles.  At JJ’s, the chicken and waffles were one of the best portions I’ve had.  The waffle itself was crisp, but the chicken portion was massive.  It was also topped with a homemade sauce which made for a delicious topping.  In fact, it didn’t need any additional syrup.  So far, it’s the best chicken and waffles I’ve found in the North. 

Service: A
The waitress was friendly and kind. Even being busy, she came to check on us several times.  The food also came out quickly. I think we waited long for a table than the food!

Cost: $
For the chicken and waffle, plus coffee the cost as $11.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back?
I enjoyed JJ’s Diner, and it’s definitely a diner I would stop at again if I went down the shore.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: A
Cost:$8-12
Overall: A 

This is Diner Review 183. You can see more diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Have you had chicken and waffles?
What is your favorite post workout meal?

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