Motivation Monday (and Every Day)

Monday’s aren’t always my favorite but this Monday? This Monday is always a favorite of mine!

Why?

Because it’s Marathon Monday a.k.a. Boston Marathon watching day!

I’ve informed my family that if they need me, this is where they can find me the majority of the day.

I know that I’ll never actually run the Boston Marathon but I love spectating (from my computer) each year. I dream of the day that I can spectate in person. All of the emotions are felt and it motivates me with my own running goals and dreams.

I have a few of my favorite races coming up in the next few weeks (Rowan 5k, AC April Fools half, Run the Vineyards 5 Miler) and then a volunteer opportunity and Ragnar.

The summer months are usually less densely populated with races and more about training runs. My goal for this summer is to remain consistent with those training runs because I already have a few fall races lined up!

My buddy Rachel first brought Vacation Races Shenandoah half marathon to my attention. She had a free race entry for herself and a friend and she invited me to join her at the inaugural Virginia race.

After a few snafus with registrations we were both able to get set up so we’ll be traveling there the first weekend of September! The course looks INTENSE, with lots of elevation changes but it also looks beautiful. I know we’ll have a good time together.

Just a few weeks later I’m excited to return to a familiar stomping ground: Philadelphia’s Rock ‘n Roll half marathon on September 17th through BibRave! I participated back in 2012 but timing and other commitments have kept me away the last 4 years.

I’m really looking forward to returning to this series. The race weekend includes a 5k and the brand new, just announced, 10k distance!

The 10k is my favorite distance and I know it’s crazy but I’m considering maybe signing up for that as well. I’ll keep you posted if I decide to take the plunge!

If you’re considering signing up for the half, I have a discount code to share! Woohoo! BIBRAVE15 will get you $15 off the half and is valid until 8/27. Is anyone out there running this one (or another Rock ‘n Roll race)? I’m so excited to return!

Okay, the elite women just started the Boston Marathon so I’m jumping back to that window now! If you need me, I’ll just be over here, being inspired!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Philadelphia Rock ‘n Roll race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

2016 AC Marathon Race Series 10k Recap

Other working title: Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours!

If you’ve hung around these parts for awhile, you have probably noticed that there are a few races series that I return to, time and time again. The Atlantic City Marathon Races Series is one of THOSE races. I usually sign up as soon as registration is open and wait with bated breath for race day to arrive.

So why? Why do I love the AC Marathon Race Series like I do?

Mermaids ready to run!

Mermaids ready to run!

My running partner, Chrissy and I have been training there weekly. We know the ins and outs of the boardwalk. We say hello to the same AC ambassadors each week. We know where the boardwalk has the very slightest bit of incline (going into Ventor City, if you’re wondering) and we know landmarks.

When you run a race course over and over again during training runs, it’s comfortable during race day. (Even if it’s raining and windy!)

2016ac10k1

For a $15 fee, the race series has morning of packet pick-up, which we both opted for. The drive to Atlantic City is less than an hour for both of us and staying at home is a comfort we both appreciate. I am so grateful that the race director added this option – it cuts down on travel time and expenses.

2016ac10k2

The packet pickup was open from 7am-8am and the race called for a 9am start time. As we are overachievers, we arrived at 6:53am, had our packets in hand by 7am and had about 2 hours to mill around. We used the time to make ourselves comfy and snapped usies, while chatting with staff and fellow runners.

2016ac10k3

Another thing that’s great about running in AC is that while the conditions might not have been what most would consider ideal, you can wait in the hotel lobbies/casinos until right before the event. After spending over an hour in my Broad Street corral in the pouring rain, this was a significant upgrade. (Have I done something to piss off Mother Nature? Our track record lately isn’t too fantastic!)

Chrissy and I decided we would run our own races for this event. My goal was to hit 1 hour and 10 minutes; I was fairly confident at this point in my training that I could do it.

My previous PR was 1 hour and 11 minutes, which was back in 2013 during the Run the Bridge 10k. It’s been haunting me ever since because I haven’t been able to break it for a few years.

2016ac10k4

About 10 minutes before the start of the race, we reluctantly went outside. We wanted to get our bodies used to the colder temperature before we started running. We bounced on our toes while singing along with The Go-Gos song that the DJ was playing and tried to think happy warm thoughts.

The rain pelted us in the face as we sang the Star Spangled Banner and we all exchanged bemused looks with each other as the song came to an end. Were we all really this crazy to go running in the cold rain? Apparently yes, yes we were.

I don’t have any pictures from the course because my phone was safely tucked away in my belt. I held a Gu in my hand to keep it warm and also so I didn’t have to fiddle with my belt mid-race.

I ran the first mile straight and then fell into my 2:1 intervals. My watch was about .08th of a mile off so when I hit their mile marker, I was only at .92 on my watch. Not quite sure how that happened but it worked for my mental game.

I was alone with my thoughts for a majority of the race so I thought about past races and experiences in Atlantic City, which made me smile. Occasionally I chatted with people I was running near and for awhile I hung out with a group of ladies that were listening to Justin Timberlake. Score!

2016ac10kpants

Our pants were a big hit! $10 on Amazon, holla! When I got to mile 5 I saw that I was under an hour by a couple of minutes and I was feeling great so I decided it was time to push the pace.

And just like that, I had an angel on a bicycle appear to help me with the push. My own personal escort – who knew middle/back of the pack runners got those? He asked me my name, told me he liked my pants (that’s what they all say!), and rode next to me telling me that I was awesome and that I was nearly at the finish. Thanks for the confidence boost, Terrance!

Terrance then pedaled ahead so that he could cheer for me right near the finish line, too. What a guy! This is yet another reason why I love Atlantic City! Everyone, from volunteers, to other race participants, to dudes on bikes, is so encouraging. It’s a small race and everyone feels like a friend.

During mile 6 I jumped back into running straight, sans intervals. My legs felt strong and my mind knew I was capable. That was my fastest mile at 11:15!

Crossing the finish line felt like coming home. I saw the clock and I knew that I was going to hit my 1:10!

2016ac10kmedalmer

Party like a rock star!

Chrissy rolled in minutes later and I was able to catch her crossing the finish line of her first 10k race! Score!

2016ac10kchrissy

We grabbed our bags from gear check and went to check out the beer garden. You read that right: the BEER GARDEN. In the past there’s always been a cup of beer at the finish of the Atlantic City races. This time? We each got a flight!

2016ac10kbeer

We were able to enjoy the band and hear the race winners announced before we decided that it was just too cold to hang outside any longer. We grabbed lunch at Harry’s Oyster Bar and had the best burgers ever! Chrissy and I spend a lot of our training runs talking about food (and burgers in particular) and we both agreed these hit the spot!

The 5k/10k shirt was white but they were out of my size so I got the blue one instead (which is cool by me, I love it!)

The 5k/10k shirt was white but they were out of my size so I got the blue one instead (which is cool by me, I love it!)

So let’s recap, shall we? PR CITY, BABY! Flat course, great fellow runners, fantastic volunteers, random bike escort (can’t promise that to everyone but hey, you never know) and a beer flight. Here I am, baby, signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours!

Next up for me is another 10k – Run the Bridge. Think I can hit another PR? It’s a more difficult course, elevation wise, but I’ll be able to take advantage of the downhills on the bridge. And then the Philly half – another tried and true for me but with a different course this year! Will it live up to my expectations?

 

When the Weather Doesn’t Cooperate: 2016 Atlantic City April Fools Half

There’s a new hashtag circulating for Atlantic City: #thisisAC

After this weekend’s race I would like to add an asterisk that reads #thisisAC *but please don’t base your opinion on the weather this weekend.

This weekend marked my 5th April Fools Half Marathon. Forget about 13, apparently 5 is the unlucky number when it comes to the Atlantic City Race Series.

The normal pleasant conditions that I associate with this race were MIA. With steady rain for the 7k/11k and the gale-like winds for the half marathon on Sunday, racers were not dealing with what we would call “ideal weather”.

And to think when we got our hats, we were worried that we might be too hot in them. Not so much.

And to think when we got our hats, we were worried that we might be too hot in them. Not so much.

Chrissy and I had our normal text conversations going the whole week prior, discussing weather, outfits, changes to outfits because of the weather, plans on what to do if one of us blew away, etc. We had a couple of windy training runs in Atlantic City but nothing that quite prepared us for Sunday’s half.

What did help us prepare for the half was doing those weekly training runs in AC. Honestly, I’m so very glad that we were able to do that because it did help us know our way around the casinos, boardwalk, and gave us an overall idea of what to expect.

However… we were not planning on the heavy winds and really, there’s no way TO plan for something like that.

So you can do one of two things:

1. bail
2. run, smile, and keep a positive attitude (as you’re getting sand in your mouth and pushed all over the course like a rag doll)

We went with option number 2, of course.

#finsup

#finsup

It was a little disorganized prior to the start. I’ve grown accustomed to this; the host hotel has changed more than once over the years and packet pickup is always at a different location from year to year. However, it’s still challenging to figure out exactly where to go. Runners rely on runners and we were all following each other around the Resorts Casino, looking for packet pickup.

Close to 8am, we made our way outside to get ourselves acclimated to the colder air. While heading out I overheard a coordinator saying that they were pushing back the start time 10 minutes.

The blow up start line was not out, due to the high winds. The race director also cautioned us to watch for blown over cones on the course.

The blow up start line was not out, due to the high winds. The race director also cautioned us to watch for blown over cones on the course.

I’m not exactly sure why that happened but the extra minutes went by fast. There was a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and then we were off!

I don’t have many pictures from the course because it was pure survival mode out there. Plus, I was afraid my phone might blow away. But a big highlight was seeing Hollie (FueledbyLOLZ) being escorted with a cyclist as first female. What does it even feel like to run that fast? I’ll never know.

I was on the lookout for music on the course so I could break out a little dance solo, as Jenn has done previously. Click the picture to see her little jig.

With the wind, it made things difficult for musicians to be out there. So I was very excited when, at mile 6 or so, I heard the sweet wail of the bagpipes played by Piper Rick. Chrissy grabbed my phone and I geared up to do my very best bagpiping dance moves. Click the pic to see!

Sadly, you will never get to see my bagpiping dance moves. I’m truly sorry for that.

The winds were not hitting us directly from the front, or pushing us along from the back, but rather coming sideways. Which meant that we were getting literally swept off our feet both out and back along the course.

It was… not fun. There was never a point in the race that I thought, “Hey, this isn’t so bad.” It was mostly just gritting our teeth (and the sand in our teeth).

I kept thinking it might get better. Alas, it did not get better. The only better was when we were finally done and we were able to not be in the wind anymore.

But through it all, Chrissy and I stuck together and looked out for each other. The conditions were miserable; we were not happy. But we did it and I’m so glad that we did it together. Once I got home I was ready bed I was looking on Facebook and found that I had shared this image a year ago, to the day.

Thanks Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Via Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

We adjusted our sails yesterday. And while admittedly, it was not perfect, we did it anyway.

Plus, we got some pretty awesome bling.

medals2016

It spins!

And also awesome drinks.

drinks

So while yes, #thisisAC, I hope first timers to the race don’t get scared away by the ridiculousness that Mother Nature threw at us this weekend.

Because this is also AC!

Running by the ocean. So perfect. #atlanticcity #doac #livelifemakewaves #sweatpink #fitblog #cityfitgirls

A post shared by scootadoot (@scootadoot) on

This was my first race of 2016 and my thought is when you start with the toughest conditions, it can only get better. Right? Right! A few days later, my body is still hurting although slowly but surely, I’m feeling back to the status quo.

Did you #doAC this weekend? Run another race? I heard Syracuse was brutal (Bonnie had frost on her brows!), and the Philly Hot Chocolate 15k ran out of medals. What races do you have coming up? Next up for me is the Vineyard 5 miler and Broad Street 10 miler!

How Do You Know I Did A Training Run?

Don’t worry, I’ll tell you!

Seriously though, I know that there are two camps of people.

  1. Those who want to hear all about my training, running, food, water intake, breathing.
  2. The rest of the world… who are probably not reading this blog post.

So, for those who fall into the first camp, it’s no secret that I’m training for the Atlantic City April Fools Half. I talk about it a lot because it consumes a lot of my free time. AND, for the first time in a long time, my body is actually behaving, feeling pretty darn good, and seems to be on board with this plan.

As such, it’s training time and I’m armed and ready. I’ve got my 12 week half marathon plan. Bonus? I actually started training 12 weeks ahead of time. That rarely has never happened before.

Thanks to City Fit Girls and Coach Marcy for this plan!

Thanks to City Fit Girls and Coach Marcy for this plan!

I’ve got my sneakers (and new GoPro camera – heyyyy!).

Wave Inspire 12s love the boardwalk.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12s love the boardwalk.

And I’ve got my training partner in crime.

Chrissy and me, after our first training run.

Chrissy and me, after our first training run for the April race.

Usually I don’t have the opportunity to train with my race day buddies; the majority of them are scattered across the country. You might remember Chrissy from last year’s Broad Street 10 Miler and Philly half – she’s local-ish (and we’ve been friends for the better part of 30 years).

Just before the open strains of Auld Lang Syne, Chrissy and I were texting about our training plans for the April Fools half and we came up with our long run game plan.

While we both live in New Jersey, we’re about an hour and a half apart. However, Atlantic City is equidistant from both of us so we figured, wouldn’t it make sense to train on the course? Yes! Yes, it would.

We both got really excited by this plan. We texted more. We messaged on Facebook and Instagram (to cover all our bases). We talked about the distance we wanted to go our first run. And then?

Then we looked at the weather.

So you're saying New Jersey is cold in January?

So you’re saying New Jersey is cold in January?

We persevered! The excitement overrode the nervousness of the cold weather and we dressed appropriately.

And when I tell you it wasn’t that bad, it really wasn’t that bad! Once you start moving and enjoying the scenery, 5 miles goes fast!

5milestraining

5milestraining2

The following week, we had 6 miles on tap. Again we checked the weather and while it was supposed to be cold, it was also supposed to be windy. Really windy. Extreme winds.

We made the executive decision to take it to the treadmill and text throughout to hold each other accountable. No wimping out!

treadmill6

My basement =/= the beach

I watched Pretty Little Liars (I’m liking it again, for the record – the 5 year jump did it for me).

Did 2:1 intervals and we got it done.

Well, that was not so much fun.

Well, that was not so much fun.

Then I laid down on the belt for awhile and took a rest.

treadmillsixselfie

I started a little bit earlier than Chrissy so I was about 2 miles into the run when she started. While supine, I texted encouraging messages to her until she wrapped up and sent me her finished selfie!

chrissytreadmill

Look at that smile!

We were back out on the boards this week for our 7 mile run, with weather much like the first week of training. Hooray!

7milerun

We felt pretty ready to be done at 5 miles but we kept going, circling back around because we ran out of boardwalk.

boards7

We’re still figuring all of this out as we go but there are a few hard and fast rules of our training runs.

  1. We do what we want. For awhile we were doing 2:1 intervals but Chrissy has been doing 1:1 for about a year now. This past week, mid-run we decided to change back to 1:1. Why? Because it felt better. If we want to stop mid-run and take a picture in front of a sign, or the ocean, or the cool wall we found, we stop. Long slow distance, we take it to heart.
  2. If you hear music, you must dance. There are a few places on the (very empty) boardwalk that have speakers with music playing. There is ALWAYS dancing. And sometimes singing. I haven’t gotten a video of it yet but trust me, I’m sure one will show up on the Instagram.
  3. Stairs or escalator? No. There’s no or. See, that was a trick question. It’s always stairs. And if we’re feeling especially motivated we might run stairs after our run just for fun. (Okay, that only happened once so far.)
  4. Food. Eating is a key part of the training run regiment. We found a little place that makes breakfast sandwiches and man, is it amazing. Seriously.
  5. Ducks Fly Together! And when the roosters are crowing and the cows are spinning circles in the pasture? DUCKS FLY TOGETHER.

That last one is the most important. We stick together. And as long as we do that, by race day, we win no matter what.

Next week we have an 8 miler on tap and we’re really hoping that the impending blizzard doesn’t force us back to the treadmills. But if it does, I know I can do it because I’ve got my training partner in crime and together we can handle anything!

Are you training for a spring race? What’s the longest distance you’ve done on a treadmill? Do you try to run a local course before race day?

 

Getting pumped for the AC Marathon’s April Fools Half!

ac5year1

If you’re anything like me you start your race planning way, way in advance. It stands to reason that when you L-O-V-E a race, you register ASAP for the next year.

As it goes with the AC Marathon’s April Fools Half. Registration for their races opens as soon as the current race is over. 2016 will be my 5th consecutive year running the race and I’ve been running since the inaugural year in 2012. Can’t stop, won’t stop!

One of the things that I love most about this race is that I’m never alone! It’s a small race of usually around 2,000 runners and I’m always surrounded by friends and making them along the way.

2012 - Cam's first ever half marathon (I was a seasoned pro as it was my second) and Bec ran the 7k.

2012 – Cam’s first ever half marathon (I was a seasoned pro as it was my second) and Bec ran the 7k.

In 2013 college buddies joined me on the 13.1 trek up and down the boards!

I rocked that Jersey Strong shirt at quite a few races that year!

I rocked that Jersey Strong shirt at quite a few races that year!

In 2014 nearly all of the then current Scoot a Doot chicks were present (we carried a picture of west coast Jess so she was represented) and awesome friends too!

Stunners!

Stunners!

This year brought the Rockford Peaches to the AC boardwalk! We not only rocked the 13.1 miles but the costume contest as well. It was Jenn’s first half and we had an awesome time crossing the finish line together.

Dirt in the skirt!

2015 – Dirt in the skirt!

The past four years have been absolutely incredible! #blessed

acmedals

And TODAY, the AC Marathon Race Series shared the medal for the 2016 race. If you’ve been considering this race, this might just be what you need as incentive. You know, besides me being there! 😉

source - Atlantic City Marathon

source – Atlantic City Marathon

source - Atlantic City Marathon

The 7k/11k medal! source – Atlantic City Marathon

Are you a legacy runner of any races? What keeps you coming back for more? Personally, this series is tried and true. It’s my birthday race (yes, I’m an April Fools baby) and it’s one that I really look forward to each year.

2014 AC Marathon Race Series 10k Recap

One of my tried and true, go-to race series that I return to repeatedly is the Atlantic City Marathon Series. Why? Well, it really boils down to these key points:

1. It’s in my state! New Jersey races for the win!

2. The value is phenomenal. If you sign up early with a finisher’s code, a 10k or half marathon can cost less than other single pricey 5k events.

3. Overall, it’s a really great smaller race series and I love supporting it.

Last year’s 10k was a bit on the soggy side, so I was very happy to see the weather forecast for this year’s race was sunny and clear skies. Especially considering that I’d been sick with a pretty horrible cold throughout the week.

Since I was still recovering, I decided that rather than doing Neptune’s Challenge (which was the 10k and half that I originally signed up for) I was only going to do the 10k. Spoiler alert: I made the right call!

Yes, please!

Yes, please!

In October, you never know what you’re going to get in terms of the weather, but we lucked out! And it’s a good thing because I had my cheer crew with me.

Little and Mom are in the house!

Little and Mom!

Usually I’m flying solo or with friends for races, but this time there was the added bonus of my mom and my youngest son who not only joined me for the expo but also the morning of the race.

Since I live within driving distance, we drove the hour back and forth on both Friday night (for the expo) and Saturday morning. Sadly, there was no day of race pick up – that would have shaved some travel time for us, as well as parking costs (although we got $5 vouchers at the expo). We made the best of our visits by getting treats at the candy shop on the boardwalk and wandering around.

2014ac10k4

Little was very excited that he was somewhere that his big brother had never been before. TWICE. It’s all about the competition when you’re five.

2014ac10k1

Really excited about this sign. The other side said, “I love you mom, because I love you.”

However, when you’re 37, it’s all about finishing the race and not hacking your lungs out on the boardwalk. Or, well, at least it was for me during this race. Because, let me tell you, this was not a fun race for me.

2014ac10k6

The race environment was awesome, as always. Running the boards always feels good because it has that extra give; I enjoyed the running aspect.

This particular race is an out and back – the first mile is on the populated “store area” of the boardwalk, then you run along a residential area. There is a 5k turn around and further down the 10k turn around.

The problem was that my lungs felt like they could never get quite enough air and when they finally did, I was coughing. I ran 2:1 intervals throughout and while I wasn’t feeling wonderful, I did appreciate the view.

2014ac10k7

I mean, how can you not?

By the last mile I was so ready to be done, which is a shame, because that’s usually my favorite part of this race. This time? Not so much. The last mile definitely felt like it had doubled in length but finally, I saw the finish line!

2014ac10k8

My mom snapped this.

I crossed the finish with a smile on my face, because, YAY! I WAS DONE! They said everyone’s name as we crossed the line, which I thought was a really nice touch and with a field of 950 participants, very doable.

I was immediately handed a medal and a bottle of water. I made my way over to the barrier where my mom and Little were cheering and Little immediately homed in on the water. “Oh, Momma, I’m SO thirsty.” Yes, he took my bottle of water.

Thankfully, in the finisher’s village I was able to snag a plethora of treats including Gatorade, Rita’s Water Ice, a banana, pretzels, bagel, and PowerBar. This was a welcome change from the end of the April Fool’s Half where the back of the pack missed out on most of the snacks. It’s always great when you know that race directors hear you!

After handing off my beer ticket, I met up with my family once more.

2014ac10k9

Little promptly took my bagel.

Was it my best race ever? No, it was not. But not for lack of effort on the AC Marathon Series’ part. Some races will just be better than others, due to circumstances beyond control. And hey, that’s okay. My greatest takeaway from this one is that I have the best cheering squad ever! Even if one of them takes all of my things. At least he let me wear the medal.

2014ac10k10

What fall race do you have coming up next? I’ll be at the Biggest Loser Run Walk at Six Flags Great Adventure for their 10k and kids race. Ever run a race while under the weather?

2014 Atlantic City April Fools half

We came, we ran and we were crowned, sashes and all. It was a true Scoot a Doot invasion of Atlantic City!

I had an incredible time Sunday at the Atlantic City April Fools Half Marathon and even came away with an unexpected prize – a new PR.

I’d been flirting with the idea of running this race for ages, as Meri has run it for three straight years and repeatedly raved about her experiences. So when she suggested a Scoot girls’ weekend centered around the half, I quickly agreed, registered and ultimately booked a flight.

Race morning, we arrived at the host casino Revel, which is at the far north end of the Atlantic City boardwalk. We were able to zip through the casino bathrooms and drop our bags at gear check without even waiting in any lines.

AC2The chicks and friends in a pre-race #SuperSelfie (Clockwise from midnight:Bec, Cam, Heather, Meri, me, Anne and Brooke)

As you may recall from last week’s Chick Chat, I had absolutely no race plan. But since the course was flat as a pancake, I decided to chase down that PR.

I went for it. And because I was a woman on a mission – I did it.

I lined up with Brooke as we decided to start off together. Once the race began, we both sprinted off, starting a wee bit too fast. We were excited, and a bit chilly, and we bolted. B and I had agreed to run our own races and to push it, so off I went.

That first mile was around an 8:30 min pace, which I knew I couldn’t sustain. So I pulled back to around 8:40-8:45, where I stayed for most of the race.

Much of those first three miles for me were focused on my surroundings and running along the boardwalk. I spotted the hotel where I’d stayed for a beach weekend back in the 90s and the spot where I went for a good friend’s bachelorette party a few years back.

And of course I spent many miles of the race thinking about the board game Monopoly. Park Place, Connecticut and Baltic avenues. Each road sign brought waves of childhood board game memories.

But I was overwhelmed with the need for a bathroom early in the race. So as I increased my speed, I also scanned the horizon for a well-placed bush or portajohn.

And there it was, just before the third mile marker. I ran down a ramp and off the boardwalk and hopped into a portajohn attached to a construction site. A quick in and out and I returned to the boards, sprinting to try to reclaim my lost place in the race.

I spotted Brooke as I ran and caught her. We chatted a bit and she told me that I looked strong and to keep going. Thanks for the vote of encouragement, B. It’s exactly what I needed to hear.

The first 4.5 miles of the out-and-back course were on the boardwalk. What a view! And yes, there was an occasional breeze.

We veered left and off the boards at Washington Avenue and spent the next few miles on Atlantic Avenue. Because of the nature of the course, runners heading south could watch the race leaders zip by as they headed back toward the finish.

I was closing in on mile six as my Oiselle teammate Hollie zipped by, dueling for the top women’s spot with another woman. I screamed out her name and yelled “Fly Birdie!” as we exchanged a mid-race high-five.

AC3Hollie and me after the race. She placed second overall with a PR of 1:23:23

I passed the iconic historical landmark Lucy the Elephant  as I ran south and soon reached the halfway mark and turnaround while still on that 8:45 pace. Once I started running north I spotted a slew of friendly faces, many of whom shouted out to me as I pushed through a nasty side-stitch that developed on the return leg.

I slowed a bit to 9-minute-miles for miles 9 through 12. I focused on my breathing and pacing with an awesome lady who told me she was running her first half and trying to keep pace with me. How fortunate!

I took off on mile 12, just near Caesar’s Palace. A drunk passerby said something about Botox or blow jobs, I really couldn’t tell which but it made me laugh and motivated me to move faster. I picked it up knowing that I was about to beat my best time, set last year in Rochester.

I nearly hurled after I crossed the finish line, a sign that I truly left it all on the course. (I didn’t, for the record.) My official time was 1:57:25, an 8:57 pace. I’m thrilled!

AC1My shiny new medal on the Atlantic City boardwalk

I had a fabulous time at this race, which is a super-fast course. We really couldn’t have had better race weather. And I had a wonderful time with the Scoot chicks and friends for a long overdue massive girls’ weekend. I cannot wait until the next one.

AC4Three bestie birds, all decked out in our matching feather trials hoodies.

Have you ever run a race on a boardwalk or along the beach? Where do you go on your girls’ weekends? What’s your beach of choice?