10 Things I Learned from the Atlantic City Half Marathon (Well, the first 5 at least)

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Last Sunday, a few of us Chicks gathered in New Jersey to run Meridith’s birthday race, the 2015 Atlantic City April Fool’s half marathon. You may have noticed that this has become an annual Chick tradition, so please join us next year! I highly recommend the race, and you can’t go wrong with the company, if I do say so myself.

Coincidentally, it was also my first half marathon, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Training hadn’t been as successful as I would have liked, and my hip decided to be a jerkface the week before the race (I heard and felt something snap when I got out of my car one morning, totally random). So I walked into this race really not know what to expect, or what I was doing, for that matter. One thing I did know is that I would be in fantastic hands, i.e. Meridith, Victoria, and Cam’s hands, and I was determined to see how hard I could push myself while making it as fun as possible.

  1. Sewing Costumes can be time intensive (but oh so worth it!)

Ahhhhh…sewing. Let it be known here and now that I love to sew. I really do. From quilts to handbags to costumes to doggy diapers (aka, bitches britches), I’ve done it all. So when Meridith texted Cam, Vic, and I to say we needed Rockford Peach uniforms, I didn’t bat a lash. Of course we needed to needed Rockford Peach uniforms because HOW CUTE IS THAT, OH MY GOODNESS. Cam and I started researching patterns and fabrics and before long, we had a plan and sewing commenced one week before our flight to Philly.

From start to (almost) finish.

From start to (almost) finish.

Soooo, what I learned from this particular sewing project is that I need at least one week to make each costume. I started on Victoria’s costume first and then feverishly worked on mine, which gave me some trouble (stupid buttonholes). And that right there my friends is what you need to remember. In my thirty plus years of sewing experience, I’ve learned that every project will hit a snag (or five) and extra time is needed to deal with such annoying delays. I also wish I had sewn in a zippered pocket at the waist seam to hold that pesky inhaler I am forced to carry everywhere. Run and learn, I suppose! The costume itself, made from 100% cotton, was super comfy and not too hot, which was a relief. Vic supplied the PRO Compression socks to top off our outfits (and keep our legs happy), and Cam purchased the red baseball caps for the finishing touch!

May we present, the Rockford Peaches! (Photo Credit, Ken Shelton Photography)

May we present, the Rockford Peaches! (Photo Credit, Ken Shelton Photography)

Annnnd we're off!

Annnnd we’re off! (Photo Credit, Ken Shelton Photography)

Our costumes were a BIG hit! Everyone loved them and we heard “dirt in the skirt”, and “there’s no crying in baseball” more times than we can count! We always replied with “but there is crying in running”. No one argued with that!  Meridith and I passed an older gentleman who, based on the Navy veteran baseball cap he wore, may have been a WWII vet. When he saw us running toward him in our costumes, his entire face lit up and it was obvious that for a moment, we sparked a memory and made him feel young again. For me, that was definitely a highlight of the weekend!

  1. It is possible to run in full make-up and hair (even false lashes!)
When it comes to costumes, Cam doesn't mess around #allout #falselashes

When it comes to costumes, Cam doesn’t mess around #allout

I’ll be honest, running in foundation and mascara seemed like it would be an exercise in futility. I mean, it’s called sweat, and not even Coco Channel could conquer THAT amount of dewy sheen. But sometimes a girl’s gotta sacrifice for the sake of her…costume. After all, one cannot run as a Rockford Peach and NOT have red lips and victory rolls. So I was charged with hair because I’ve been known to rock some rolls from time to time, but realistically, I worried that my handiwork wouldn’t last through the first two miles of running.

Mer and Vic rockin' some rolls!

Mer and Vic rockin’ some rolls!

We snapped tons of photos before the race (Ken Shelton Photography did an absolutely fantastic job with the race photos), and were SO GRATEFUL that our costumes were judged PRIOR to the start because you and I both know we would be looking a hot mess after the race. Our faces and hair held up so well, I have to give a shout out to our hairspray, TRESemme Mega Firm Hold and lipstick, NARS “Fire Down Below”.

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Ready to play ball! (Photo by Ken Shelton Photography)


  1. Altitude really does make a HUGE impact on one’s ability and endurance.

HOLY WOW. This is how running at sea level felt for me.


Seriously you guys, if I could run at sea level all the time, I would be completely, irrevocably, in love with hitting the pavement for miiiiiiles and miiiiiiles. Now I fully understand why Kara Goucher (and numerous other pro/elite athletes) live and train in Boulder. My lungs felt so strong, and my legs didn’t begin to tire until around mile 9.5. Back home, the longest I had run was a 10k. Lesson here is low-landers beware when running at altitude. It’s no joke.

Feeling so great at the halfway point that I was dancin'!

Feeling so great at the halfway point that I was dancin’!

  1. Names on the Bibs

Attention AC Race Series, the Rockford Peaches would like to formally request that runners’ names be on their bibs. Once I ran as She-Ra, Princess of Power, and it was pretty awesome. If given the option this time, I totally would have listed Marla Hooch for my bib name, then I wouldn’t have had to wear make-up. It’s just one of those fun touches that enables us adults to be goofy and silly and, in my case, really nerdy. I will totally run as Princess Leia of Alderan at the Disney Rebel Challenge if I can.

Cool, but could maybe be a teensy bit cooler.

Cool, but could maybe be a teensy bit cooler.

  1. Runners appreciate when the race is well prepared and stocked with goodies.

After last year’s race, I heard faint grumblings about the snacks being gone before all the racers crossed the finish line. I’ll tell you that the thought of that amazing pretzel and popcorn waiting for me at the finish helped me ignore the uncomfortable fact that my thighs were seizing up on me at mile 12. If they weren’t there waiting for me I would have been soooo sad panda. Thankfully there were PLENTY of snacks when we crossed the finish, so much so that they were giving runners two or three helpings to rejuvenate. They had popcorn and amazing pretzels and bagels and water and Gatorade and stuff! WAY TO GO, AC RACES! We don’t have photos of the pretzels. We ate them.

Thanks for hooking us up, AC Races!

Thanks for hooking us up, AC Races!

Next Tuesday, I’ll be posting part duex; the top five things I learned from the AC (and my first) Half. Until then, here’s a photobomb. Sorry we’re not sorry! Thanks again to Ken Shelton Photography for the amazing race photos!!

Quite a turnout!

Quite a turnout!

We got to see Bonnie S.! What a sweet lady blessed with a beautiful family!

We got to see Bonnie S.! What a sweet lady blessed with a beautiful family!

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Cam coming around the turn and looking strong!


It takes all kinds to win the race. #NB #Mizuno #Brooks

It takes all kinds to win the race. #NB #Mizuno #Brooks

Vic looking lovely with her shiny new medal!

Vic looking lovely with her shiny new medal!

FYI, If you run this race, a photo with Lucy the Elephant is obligatory.

FYI, If you run this race, a photo with Lucy the Elephant is obligatory.



11 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned from the Atlantic City Half Marathon (Well, the first 5 at least)

  1. Jenn – You and Cam did an amazing job with these costumes! And the hair and makeup just finished off the look. You all looked great! Even after 13.1 miles. So glad to have met you and congrats on your first half!

    • Thanks Bonnie! Meeting you and your family was such a treat! I’m happy that you all got to celebrate your birthday together doing something you love – such good times. <3

  2. I had the pleasure of seeing you guys during the race (my thighs also seised up around mile 12). Loved the outfits!!! Was an honor to run with you!! 🙂

    • Ugh, that was my first experience with seizing. Not fun! Thanks for the costume love, it was fun to run in them for sure! Thanks Denise! 🙂

  3. I’m registered for 2016 and my house is always open! I adored running with you and reading this just made me miss you all over again. Can’t wait until BolderBoulder. And also to read 5-1!

    • Thanks, sweetie! I can’t wait for BolderBoulder either! Running with you was more fun than I could have imagined. <3

  4. Great job Jenn!! This looks like so much fun all around – and such yummy treats at the finish!

    And I told you you’d be on fire given your lovely Colorado living/training! It really is a world of difference – and makes me want to live at sea level to be a faster racer, but in the mean time I’ll just take the “high” it gives me when I’m out of state and my lungs can actually breath in a non altitude race! 😉

    • Thanks Amanda! It really is shocking how much of an impact the altitude makes! It gives you quite a confidence boost, doesn’t it? I think I could become addicted to traveling to sea level races. 😉

  5. Pingback: The Top 5 Things I Learned from the Atlantic City Half Marathon | Scootadoot

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