A Very Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon

In 2017, Rachel and I started the tradition of a yearly race road trip, which we affectionately titled our “Meatball Road Trip” (thanks to watching Big Brother and one of the house guests referring to everyone as meatballs). Last year’s trip was to Vacation Races Shenandoah Half.

This year we checked a bucket list race off at the Bird-in-Hand Half and added a new meatball, Katie, to the mix!

If you’re a long time reader of ScootaDoot, you might remember when Vic and Kyle ran in 2013 and again in 2014.

Having read Vic’s blog posts, I was expecting it to be hot and humid. That seems to be standard fare for this race.

We visited the expo Friday afternoon and the weather was decent. The weekend is a community event in Bird-in-Hand with a hot air balloon festival, picnic, and the race happening. Friday night there’s a 5k and kids race with the half marathon happening on Saturday morning at 7:30 in the am.

Communication from the race organizers was primarily via witty email. The race does have social media accounts but there’s not much interaction on those.

We got to see a few hot air ballons getting filled as we got our bibs, shirts, and bags with goodies which included whoopie pies, animal crackers, and pretzels.

After dinner at Dienner’s (which you know we had a fun time saying repeatedly) we took a trip to Target (what’s a road trip without forgetting random things) and then headed back to our hotel.

Perusing the weather app the night before we were pleased to see that it it looked like it was going to be cooler and maybe the tiniest bit misty. Like, barely even noticeable.

Therefore we were somewhat surprised when we opened the door of our hotel room on Saturday morning to find a pretty steady stream of rain come down.

No more hot air balloons for us. Whomp whomp.

Why yes, this picture was taken through a plastic bag.

Rachel had a meniscus tear earlier this summer so we knew going into this race that we were going to just have as much fun as possible. Pictures, selfies, mullet crew style – party in the back! With a 4 hour course limit, we knew that we’d be able to finish within the time frame and have fun while doing it so that was our plan from the get-go.

Look, the race even gave us a list of things to look for/take pictures (okay, we added that last part in ourselves).

We were able to find all of these… except the CAMELS. And trust me when I say we were anticipated seeing the camels over all the other things on the list.

The course was absolutely beautiful. Hilly, as we expected, but gorgeous. The water stops were manned by Amish children and they were plentiful. Originally Rachel and I were planning on wearing hydration vests but with the cooler temps we decided to forgo them. It worked out really well.

We decided on 1:1 intervals. At mile 3 this gentleman was out there, in the rain, ringing a cowbell and cheering for us. He saw my BibRave shirt and asked, “Will I be in your review?”

Yeah man, of course you will!

Rachel and I weren’t able to keep up with Katie’s running interval so about halfway into the 3rd mile she went ahead and we continued bopping along, doing our thing.

We passed by crops and gardens and one room schoolhouses and animals.

My favorite part of the course was mile 6, which was an out and back section. We got to see other runners, including lots of friendly faces of Team Shenanigans!

A few of the members had run the 5k the night before and were at an intersection giving out Twizzlers and cookies. Yes please!

Thank you so much, Barb and Meaghan!

Mile 6, we loved ya!

There were some more hills and we continued along, occasionally throwing in some running intervals when we felt like it.

Oh, did you see up there on the list where it says “road apples”? For those not in the know, road apples are piles of horse poop and they’re common in Amish country.

At one point I was chatting with Rachel and very nearly stepped in horse poop. Thankfully she was paying attention where I wasn’t. I ended up doing a quick do-si-do around that!

There was one area where the traffic was particularly hairy and it didn’t seem like the vehicles were slowing down considering there was a race going on. It made us understandably nervous, especially when there were cars on both side of the road.

I know that not all areas can be a closed course but a suggestion is to have a bit more of a police presence to encourage drivers to slow down.

In between miles 9 and 10 we were treated to a scoop of mango Rita’s Water Ice, which was incredible, even on a not hot day. Soon after that we turned off the main road for a little off-roading experience.

We chatted with people along the way, our fellow mullet crew friends. Some were not having as much of a party as we were (hey, we’ve all been there), so we tried to quietly encourage.

In the last mile there was an area which was matted down grass and mud. It was really uncomfortable because you couldn’t firmly plant your feet. If you did, you might get stuck in the mud; it was better to just tread lightly on the grassy area.

It was flat but to be honest, I would take the paved hills over that area any day.

But look! A turkey and chicks!

Finally we saw the large white tent and turned onto the road that we knew would be the final stretch of our journey. And it’s a good thing too.

Our hair. Our faces. We were ready to be done.

The medals are made from re-purposed horseshoes and they are incredible! I remember being in awe of them when Vic and Kyle did the race and I’m extremely glad that I finally got one of my own. I felt like this race was untouchable for me for awhile – one that I wouldn’t/couldn’t do because of my lack of speed, not to mention my lack of hill training. I’m glad that I went outside of my comfort zone and had Rachel by my side to have fun with all the way!

Sadly, even though we finished within the allotted time, the race photographer was not there to catch our spectacular finish. While I most likely wouldn’t have purchased pictures, I still found it to be a bummer. Thankfully Katie was at the finish and she nabbed a few pictures of us!

There was a recovery area and Rachel headed there for a massage while the rest of us went to the tent for the community picnic. The food 100% hit the spot!

At $103 for registration (with fees), this race is definitely more pricey than others I’ve done. The race is very well organized and you get a lot of bang for your buck but the price point it’s worth noting since it’s something I know many take into account when looking at races. Even still, I’m so glad that I’m able to check this one off my bucket list!

Next on tap, the Scooby-Doo virtual race (I’ll be sharing more about that in tomorrow’s post!), which works out really well with my Healthy Kids Running Series starting up this weekend. Hoping that the weather cooperates and we are able to get out there and running with the kids!

Oh, one more thing! We’re having a TRISHMOVES giveaway now through Friday (9/14/18) on Instagram! I got to try these delicious bars at the City Fit Girls retreat and they are really yummy. Plus, I’m always one that likes to support Philly based companies, which TRISHMOVES is! Be sure to swing by and enter yourself (and a friend) to win a box! CLICK HERE to enter.

Race Recap: Atlantic City Bungalow Beach 5 Miler

I think I might have lost my mind.

As a rule, I don’t register for summer races. I just don’t. Occasionally I’ll do a July 4th run, if the urge hits but normally I am not a fan of summer racing.

AND YET… Just over a week ago I was in Atlantic City, running the Inaugural Bungalow Beach 5 Miler.

The Atlantic City Marathon Series hosts spring and fall events and I love participating in them. From my very second half marathon, the Inaugural April Fools Half in 2012 to their fall 10k I’ve done my fair share of Atlantic City races.

The Inaugural Bungalow Beach 5 Miler was the first summer event hosted by the race series and as soon as I heard about it, I knew that I’d be signing up. After all, the first 100 to sign up got this beach towel along with their early registration of $35 and you know I can’t pass up a deal like that!

As soon as the news of this race hit Facebook, I saw that many of my local friends were registered as well (the lure of a beach towel is great with NJ folks).

Along with the beach towel, other race swag included:

  • Custom Finisher Medals
  • Gender Specific Custom Tank for Female Participants and Custom T-Shirt for Male Participants
  • One FREE Beer at Bungalow Beach’s Post Race Party
  • Course Entertainment

There was a packet pickup the day before but also the morning of the race. I opted to do packet pickup race morning, saving myself toll and parking money. I parked in the Tropicana garage (cost $10).

I’m not sure if the tank option was listed when I registered because I ended up with a medium, which is what I usually get for the Atlantic City races but not if it’s a women’s cut. The tank is adorable, however it’s entirely see through and too small which is disappointing. I lost the race shirt lottery this go around.

However, they had shirts and towels for sale after the race. My friend purchased a men’s shirt and since they were priced at one for $15 or two for $20, she got one for me too (thanks Chrissy!).

Despite the recent sunny weather, the forecast for that morning was looking a bit on the dreary side with the potential for thunderstorms. I don’t mind running in the rain, but I didn’t know what they’d do if there was lightning. Thankfully Mother Nature was on our side this time and while it was overcast, that also meant that it wasn’t oppressively hot.

Run856 group picture – I ALWAYS miss these before races so I was excited to actually be in one!

Lifelong friend, Chrissy and I have done our fair share of Atlantic City running together. We do a lot of the races together and meet up to train there as well because it’s about an hour from each of us. We’d both not trained as much as we had planned for this race so we decided to stick together and just have fun.

I met Katie through Instagram originally and then she told me about the Sub-30 Club, we became friend friends (are you following this?) and finally met in person at this race! She said she’d like to stick with us through this race, which was awesome! We set the interval timer at 1:1 and lined up at the start.

Katie, Chrissy, and me – ready to run (we think!)

The course was what I’ve deemed: April Fools Half, lite. It’s actually very similar to what Chrissy and I do when we are running our training runs there, which made it comfortable for us.

I really loved the fundraising mission of this race:

In partnership with FACES 4 Autism, the Milton & Betty Katz JCC in Margate, NJ now offers Adaptive Swim Lessons, a specialized swim program designed to enhance the lives of children on the autism spectrum and to teach children with autism how to survive in the water.

The Adaptive Swim Lesson program includes individualized lessons based on each child’s level of ability with specially trained swim instructors. Additional pool support staff are often needed to help facilitate the lesson. 

Your support of the Bungalow Beach Run 5 will help provide funding for the additional resources needed to enable children on the autism spectrum participation in life – saving swim lessons.

Hollie (FueledbyLOLZ) heading back while we were still in mile 1!

After the singing of the National Anthem, we were off for our 5 mile jaunt. We fell into our 1:1 intervals and took it easy as we headed along the boardwalk. After the hotels and casinos it becomes more residential, with homes on one side and the beach/ocean on the other.

There was one portion of the race that kicked over onto the street (rather than staying on the boardwalk). I’m assuming this was for variety, it happens during the half course too. Thankfully we weren’t on the street too long because I’d rather run on the boards!

There was a radio station at the turns off and on the boardwalk but otherwise it was pretty quiet. The volunteers at each water station were very enthusiastic, as always, and since it’s an out and back they are plentiful.

The finish line was on the beach, making it a true BEACH RUN.

It was not easy. Beach running near the water with packed down sand is not easy. Beach running on wavy sand? Brutal!

When Chrissy, Katie, and I came around the corner a few choice words were said. I couldn’t help but laugh the entire time! Thankfully it was only about 100 yards until we crossed the finish line.

After we crossed the finish and got our medals there were tables set up with water, Gatorade, bananas, water ice, and other goodies. We grabbed a few and headed down near the water to take a few pictures and celebrate our 5 miles.

I absolutely LOVE the medal’s beach-y feel. Isn’t it awesome?

To wrap the race up right, there was a party at Bungalow Beach AC, which is where runners could get their free beer. This area was really cute and we got to cheer for all of race winners as they were announced.

All told, it was a great morning. Registering early helped keep the price low. I’ve used my new towel multiple times in the past week by my pool and I love all the perks that come along with running in Atlantic City. It’s always a race series that does it up right and I’m looking forward to returning for the 10k in October!

No races in July (look at me sticking to the no racing in summer rule…). In August I’ve got Vacation Races Elk Double, City Fit Girls Retreat, and the Philly 10k (just kidding about me sticking to the no racing in summer rule…).