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Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:36.27)

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:36.27)

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:36.27)

This was by far my slowest half marathon in the last 4 years. Even slower than the half I ran this summer at 7000 feet altitude. My goal was to log 20 (healthy) miles for the day before the New York City Marathon. That much I did. A separate post for another day is how I do not love marathon training and how much it’s affected my speed. Anyway, I’m happy to finish a healthy race.

The Atlantic City Marathon is one of the oldest continuing marathons in the country. Plus it’s flat and fast and a USATF certified Boston Qualifier. I have many friends that use Atlantic City as their Boston Qualifier. The Atlantic City race series has a 10k and 5k on Saturday, plus a half marathon and full marathon on Sunday. All four of the races start and finish on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The Atlantic City Marathon runs through Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate, with the finish line back through Atlantic City. No matter what race you’re running race weekend in Atlantic City, the finisher medals and post-race party are both awesome. Usually it’s  good time of year in October to run fast too. As you can see I enjoy the Atlantic City race series and they aren’t paying me to say that.

The day before the Atlantic City Half Marathon, I had one of the best runs I’ve had in a long time. I felt good, felt like I could go forever, and truthfully it made me excited to run the Atlantic City Half Marathon the next day. I thought it might be the breakthrough performance I wanted, but it wasn’t. My “A” goal was to finish healthy. My hamstring didn’t bother me (at all) and I felt completely injury-free. That was motivating.

Anyway, I got to the race around 7 and the race started promptly at 8 am. I appreciate how much parking is in Atlantic City, plus all of the bathrooms. Atlantic City is always a fun mix of people who have been in the casino overnight, runners, and random tourists oblivious to what is about to happen. I genuinely think it’s the best New Jersey full and half marathon (Yes, I paid for my bib).

During the first mile of the Atlantic City Half Marathon, there was wind, but it was more of a crosswind. I wasn’t sure what to expect with my legs. I turned my watch on but wasn’t worried about it. Both the Atlantic City Marathon and the Atlantic City Half Marathon start together so you have plenty of people to run with. I somehow always get stuck near the same guy who doesn’t use headphones and blasts his music. I hit the first mile of the Atlantic City Half Marathon in 7 minutes exactly.

The next mile of the Atlantic City Half Marathon went over an overpass and through a tunnel. While the Atlantic City Half Marathon is generally flat, there are a few small inclines overpasses. There was a slight crosswind and I ran a 6:55. I was excited, would I run well?

The next few miles of the Atlantic City Half Marathon went by without much note. My stomach was churning and while it didn’t feel awful, it just felt off. I rarely have stomach issues and it wasn’t anything to slow me down, but it didn’t feel good.

Mile 4 of the Atlantic City Half Marathon went around the water and we got a nice crosswind. I remember the Atlantic City Half Marathon last year being very lonely around this spot, but luckily this year I had people to run with. I hit mile 4 of the Atlantic City Half Marathon in 7:09 and with a tailwind mile 5 in 6:57.

When thinking about the race logistics, I realized the last 2 miles of the Atlantic City Half Marathon were going to be in a headwind. Gee great. I knew mile 9 and 10 would have a fairly nice tailwind, but once we got to the turnaround, we were going into the headwind. I tried to ignore it.

I hit the halfway of the Atlantic City Half Marathon in about 42:30 and thought it was doable to run a 1:35.

We entered the Atlantic City boardwalk just before mile 8. One thing that always gets to me mentally is you run directly by the finish of the Atlantic City Half Marathon (and AC Marathon) around mile 9.5. It’s tough to know you still have quite a bit further to go.

The next two miles of the Atlantic City Half Marathon went with the wind. I was happy to get a nice tailwind, but my body was overheated. I didn’t think it would be that hot, but because the skies were getting ready to burst with rain at any time, it was slightly humid too. Since there was no headwind, my body was cooking.

Atlantic City half marathon me running

Somewhere around mile 9 of the Atlantic City Half Marathon, the 7:15 pace group of the Atlantic City Half Marathon and Marathon passed me. I do believe they were close to a minute ahead of pace, but I didn’t bother asking or questioning.

I ran a 7:23 for both miles 10 and 11 of the Atlantic City Half Marathon. I crossed the 10-mile point in exactly 1:13, which is 2 minutes faster than I ran the Cow Run 10 miler 2 weeks ago. I saw my good friend Montana at the turnaround. It was nice to see a familiar face at the Atlantic City Half Marathon.

We turned around and the headwind blasted us in the face. I knew it was going to be a very very long few miles. I was relatively disconnected from time and pace at this point. My goal was to run 20 miles of pain-free. If I could do that, I knew I could healthily run the New York City Marathon.

I just put my head down and went. Even though I was running about 7:40 pace into the headwind, I passed a couple of people. There wasn’t much of note. I saw a few friends running in the opposite direction, which motivated me.

Finally, I crossed the Atlantic City Half Marathon finish at 1:36.27. Was I thrilled with the time? No, but am I thrilled to be injury-free? Yes.

I “cooled down” afterward to bring my mileage up to 20. I wanted no part of running more miles, but I wanted to get at least a 20 miler in before New York. It was more mental than anything else, not because I think I can’t finish the marathon, but because I wanted to see how my hamstring would respond. It was fine and a few days later, I’m fine. It’s motivating to be healthy.

I always appreciate the Atlantic City Half Marathon races and I always have fun there. It’s hard for me to remember what running a 1:30 half marathon feels like, let alone my PR of 1:22 but I’m looking forward to getting back to shorter stuff next year.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run the Atlantic City Half Marathon?

What’s the windiest race you’ve run? 

 

 

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Pleasantville Diner

Pleasantville Diner

Pleasantville Diner (Pleasantville, NJ)

While driving home from the Bungalow Beach 5 Miler,  I wanted to stop at a diner. It was a perfect day to go down the shore, and if you know anything about shore traffic, then you know the Garden State Parkway is the busiest road in the country during peak time. Why does this matter? It means many people going down the shore are looking for a spot to stop, and breakfast places are crowded. While driving down a backroad, we passed the Pleasantville Diner, a diner I had never heard of. It didn’t look crowded, so we made the spontaneous decision to stop there instead.

Pleasantville Diner NJ

Pleasantville Diner Atmosphere: A

The Pleasantville Diner has a large diner sign outdoors with a red roof and smooth exterior. It’s how it caught out attention. The inside is shiny and metallic, filled with plenty of booths, tables, and a bar. There is a small dessert case with specialty desserts.

Pleasantville Diner NJ

Pleasantville Diner Coffee: C

The coffee at the Pleasantville Diner was ok but not the best. It was lukewarm so I was disappointed with that. It wasn’t the worst coffee I’ve drank, but I’ve had better.

Pleasantville Diner NJ

Pleasantville Diner Food: A

The Pleasantville Diner menu has all of the regular diner options and more. There is a bit of a Mexican Food flair, and they have a lot of Mexican specialties like chiles, tacos, and enchiladas. I decided to order a Mexican omelet because I’ve never had one. It came stuffed with meat, cheddar cheese, and onions. It was one of the thickest omelets I’ve had, and I have no complaints. The potatoes had a sauce on them which were delicious. I would order it again.

Pleasantville Diner NJ omelet

Pleasantville Diner Service: A

There was a single waitress in the entire restaurant, who was also the hostess. Since it wasn’t crowded, this wasn’t a big deal, and she took care of everywhere. She was one of the best waitresses we’ve had because she took care of everyone, and if she were stressed, you would never know.

Pleasantville Diner Cost: $

For my omelet and coffee, the cost was $10.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back to the Pleasantville Diner? 

I enjoyed the Pleasantville Diner, and it was an excellent find. I probably would have known about the diner had we not been driving on the road. I would go back.

Atmosphere: A

Coffee: C

Food: A

Service: A

Cost: $8-12

Pleasantville Diner Overall: B

You Can See All 249 Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever drove by a restaurant and thought it looked good?

What is your favorite Mexican dish?

 

Bungalow Beach 5 Miler (34:14)

Bungalow Beach 5 Miler (34:14)

I always enjoy races in Atlantic City. There is plenty of parking and usually flat and fast. Last year I ran the Bungalow Beach 5 miler, and I knew I wanted to come back this year too.

I arrived around 7:10, and after getting lost in the Tropicana, I made it to the start line. The packet pickup line was long, and it delayed the start of the race.

Instead of starting around 8, the race delayed until 8:15. After the race went off, I found myself in the 5th woman.

Last year I won, so it was hard to absorb, but I’ve gotten better at racing where my fitness currently is.

I hit the first mile in 6:43. Around 1.5 miles, we went off the boardwalk and looped around the street. I made my move to pass a woman. I passed her, attempted to look strong, and moved forward. We got back up on the boardwalk around mile 2.

The next 3 miles were a straight line towards the end. One of my favorite parts of AC is I always seem to know a lot of people racing. During the next couple of miles, I got to see friends going the opposite way and cheer for them.

I ran between 6:50-6:55 miles. I felt like I could keep going but struggled to pick up my legs and move any faster. It’s a problem I’ve had lately. I can’t seem to break out of running 6:50 pace. I just trucked along.

Around mile 4, someone yelled, “don’t let her beat you.” I assumed it was too another female. Since I was in third, I didn’t lose my podium spot. I mentally tried to run faster, although I don’t think I did.

The finish goes over a pedestrian bridge into the sand, and me trying to hustle on soft sand is comical. I crossed in 34:14 and as 3rd female. It turns out the person behind me was another male.

I cooled down for a couple of miles and enjoyed my time on the shore. When I picked up my race award, I found out I won an ice scraper from the sponsor: Lexus. Useful and also random.

me bungalow beach 5 miler

Questions for you:

What’s the most random race award you’ve won?

Have you ever run on sand? 

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.

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Nice to get the legs moving this morning.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

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?

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