This past weekend, I took on the Atlantic City April Fools Challenge. This consisted of a 7k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. The weekend was also a planned girls weekend with Kristy, Steff & Mar. We all registered for these races back in September! We actually snuck into the races for $96 as there seemed to be a slight registration glitch, but we weren’t complaining about that. Since everyone was focused on the half marathon, we all decided to go for the 7k, rather than the 11k they also offered.
Kristy and I headed down Friday, while Steff and Mar headed out there separately. The car ride with Kristy was quite an adventure! I don’t think there was a dull moment going there and even on the way back. We all headed to the hotel first and when we arrived and were the only cars in the lot, we should have trusted our gut and just left. At first all seemed okay, but by the time we headed home on Sunday, clearly that was not the case.
Packet pick up for this race was at the Nike Outlet in town. It was honestly not the best place, but it got me to buy something from Nike, so that ploy worked at least. There were just a few tables set up and only one person checking people into each race. It was a very manual process and volunteers were flipping back and forth between a stack of paper to try and find each runner. Needless to say, it took longer than it should have and certainly could be improved.
Once we had our bibs and shirts in hand, we actually walked around the other outlets a bit. I think I was the only one who picked up a few things, but it was nice to just relax and chat with the girls. We noticed weather was already starting to turn colder and the wind was picking up. It was actually good for us to be out there as it made us all question what we had planned to wear for our Saturday 7k race. After hanging out at the hotel a bit, we headed to dinner and then called it a night. We had Mother Nature to battle in the morning.
The weather for Saturday AM was suppose to be mid 50’s but with rain the entire time. I had planned to wear shorts and a short sleeve, but I changed that to capris, a lighter long sleeve and a short sleeve over that. I don’t think any of us were happy to run in these conditions. Our only saving grace was that it was in the mid 50’s and not any colder.
That morning I actually woke up with a slight headache. Not really normal for me, but I took it as maybe lack of caffeine. I took some Advil and a few swigs of Kristy’s Coke and left it at that. By the time the race was over, I was feeling okay so I didn’t think anything more of it. At 8am we were out the door and headed into AC for the race. We ended up snagging parking on the street only a block and a half away from the start line. We had time to relax in the car before hand and as we sat there, the rain seemed to only be getting worse and worse.
Finally around 8:45am, we headed to the start line which was right outside of the Resorts Casino on the boardwalk. When we got on the boardwalk, the first thing we noticed were the nice looking fireman standing around. The second thing we noticed was that everyone was standing under awnings trying to stay dry. We all just laughed and just stood in the middle of the boardwalk. We were going to get wet sooner or later, so just let it happen. They were playing some good music, so we just decided to dance a little in a rain. A little pre-race warm up perhaps!
The goal of this race was to run together and just take it slow. Since I was the slowest of the group, that meant going at my pace. I still wasn’t sure how my lungs would feel, but I figured if I couldn’t keep up, I’d just walk and let them go. Everyone really just wanted to treat the 7k as a little shake out run and since none of us had ever run a 7k before, we all had automatic PRs!
Once the race started, all we heard as we were racing was SQUISH, SQUISH, SQUISH! Running on that boardwalk in the rain was just a mess. I absolutely hated it. I was definitely afraid I was going to take a tumble and honestly, I am surprised I didn’t nor see see anyone else go down.
The race itself was a simple out and back on the boardwalk. It was fun in that I had not been on that boardwalk since I was maybe 16 years old and so it was cool seeing it all again. It definitely showed the decline of Atlantic City over the past years though. There were very few people out there cheering us on, which in that rain I didn’t blame them.
We seemed to have a nice pace going on, but somewhere in mile 3, my lungs definitely were burning a little. I was definitely starting to be concerned about how I was going to run a half the next day in the conditions they were calling for. Then around 3.75, my left shoe decided to come untied. I always loop my laces under, but I guess with the rain, they just weren’t having it. I stopped for the first time ever in a race to tie my shoes. Since we still had a bit to go, I didn’t want to trip over them.
Well apparently my shoe laces were just not having any of it, because as we came into the finish line area, they came untied AGAIN! By this point though, I just let them go. We could see the finish line and there wasn’t any point to stop and tie them at that point. So there we were, coming into the finish line and my left shoes just flailing everywhere. Luckily I didn’t trip over them.
So, remember when I mentioned the first thing we saw when we got to the start line was that group of nice looking firemen? Well, there they were at the finish line handing out medals. Our course the single ladies, Mar and Myself, insisted on getting a picture with them. It might have been raining, but for those brief moments, I had forgotten all about that.
We did the obligatory post race pictures and then just headed right back to the car. At this point I don’t think any of us had a dry spot on us so we just wanted to get back to the hotel and into a warm shower. That race was certainly just a preview of what Mother Nature had in store for us for the entire weekend.
Once we got back to the hotel and put back together, Kristy, Mar and I headed to get some lunch and then I talked them into going to see Lucy the Elephant. The last time I had visited Lucy was years ago. I think I was around 8 years old, but I don’t actually recall. I just remember being young and was in awe of this giant elephant on the beach.
We happened to walk in right as they were starting a tour, so of course I had to take advantage and head into Lucy. I was pretty glad that Mar and Kristy were willing participants and seemed to even enjoy it. Since it was pretty crappy weather (STILL RAINING), we could not go on top of Lucy. Even then, you still got enjoy most of Lucy.
The 3 of us ended up relaxing a bit back at the hotel before dinner at Bonefish Grill that night. Again, we headed back to the hotel pretty early and called it a night. I thought I would get a pretty good nights sleep, but that was not the case. Mother Nature was coming in angry and certainly letting us know tomorrow was not going to be fun. We were halfway through the challenge and we all just needed to get through 13.1 miles to complete the challenge and to cross New Jersey off our 50 State Quest.
Official Finish Time:
32/97, F 30-39