2012 Atlantic City April Fool’s 1/2 Marathon (and 7k!)

Being born on April Fool’s day has a few disadvantages.  There’s always the same tired jokes. And there was that time in high school when my friends decided to each bring me Mylar balloons so that by the end of the day, I had about 20 balloons with which I was knocking people down in the hallways.

But then I met my husband in college; one of the first conversations we ever had was about birthdays.  And that’s because we share the same one! Being born on April Fool’s day was looking up.

Another cool fact about being born on April Fool’s day is that there are actually RACES that revolve around the fact that it’s April Fool’s day.  Let’s all get crazy and run on April Fool’s day!

Last year, I ran the inaugural Atlantic City Marathon series half marathon on my 35th birthday with fellow Scoot a Doot chick, Cam. I was obviously the seasoned half marathon runner with preciously ONE half marathon under my belt. Chick Bec was signed up to do the 7k and there was an 11k on the same day as well. This recap was written after the race on my personal blog but I’ve freshened it up to share on Scoot a Doot.

We arrived in Atlantic City the afternoon prior to the race.  My house is less than a hour away from AC but we decided to relieve some stress and get a room at one of the hotels associated with the race. There was no expo for this race but the packet pick-up was quick and easy.

Cam and Bec showing off their numbers!

We raced over to the Tropicana (where we were staying) from Bally’s (host hotel) to check in and get ready for our carb loading dinner… only to find out at the front desk that the “only room they had with two beds was a smoking room.”  That wasn’t going to fly and after sorting that out, we wound up in a large two bedroom suite, which was greatly appreciated.

Shuffling the rooms took a lot longer than anticipated but once we got situated, we went to Carmine’s for our carb loading!

(This is when we were able to breathe again at a normal rate.)  (I think the bread basket in front of us helped immensely.)

We had a delicious dinner and then made our way back up to the suite where Bec took a bath in this amazingly huge tub and Cam and I decorated our One More Mile race shirts for the next day.  Already we could tell that we wouldn’t be sleeping much because our neighbors were pretty rowdy.  We had WOO GIRLS on one side and the Bruce Springsteen fan club on the other.  I wish I were joking but alas… we were serenaded at 4:40 in the morning with a very repetitive rendition of Born in the USA.  At that point there was really nothing to do but laugh.

Despite the non-sleeping, we were up at 5:20 to get ready for the race.  Cam did a kick-ass Katniss braid in my hair and they both sang Happy Birthday to me, with bits of Born in the USA thrown in for good measure.  It was very lovely.

We drove to Bally’s (since we wouldn’t have time to check out after the race) and wandered around a bit before the race.  Met an interesting, still-drunk-from-the-previous-night guy who dubbed us “running nerds” – which was pretty awesome.

Saw a great sunrise over the water and just tried to calm nerves.

Look at these nerds!

I told Cam that I would stick with her and go at her pace throughout the entire race, take pictures, and just have a good time with it.  The race coordinators said they’d gotten a lot of calls about not being able to get to the site by 8am so they were pushing back the start to 8:15.  Honestly, it might have annoyed some but it really didn’t phase us one bit.  More time to dance and be silly.

There were close to 2,000 people running the 7k, 11k, and half marathon with about half of those doing 13.1 miles.  There were no corrals or placements to start, just the start line and the open boardwalk ahead of us.

The race was on the boardwalk for about 3.5 miles, then turned onto the streets of nearby cities.  It was an out and back and honestly, running on the boards was much more forgiving than running on the asphalt.  Being that we don’t get to run on the boards regularly, it wasn’t something we went into the race knowing but something we looked forward to once we got back on the boardwalk.

Throughout the race I would run ahead of Cam and then turn back to take pictures of her coming up, like a rock star!  She had her very own paparazzi.

When we discussed the night before what Cam was hoping to achieve from this half, her goal was simple – TO FINISH.  She didn’t have a specific time goal in mind and she just wanted to run and run HAPPY.  And I could fully support this mindset!

So of course, we stopped for pictures along the way.

The first five miles were happy and feeling good.  The asphalt was sort of a bummer on the legs but not on the spirit.  There were bands and radio stations throughout the entire course and lots of great scenery to look at.

There were eight hydration stations along the route – four in total that we hit there and back.  The turn around was a bit past mile 7 and around that time I called my husband just to check in and see how his birthday was treating HIM.  Yeah, I was THAT GIRL on the cell phone while running. I think I get a pass because it was my birthday.  Right?  Maybe?

SO VERY GORGEOUS, right?

Around mile 10, Cam started telling me that she was ready to be finished.  And I told her that was fine, she’d be done in about… forty minutes or so.  She really loved me then.

And then?  Around mile 12 we found DEATH.

And that made Cam EXTREMELY happy.

At about 12.75, I bid Cam adieu and sprinted the rest of the way so that I could get a picture of her crossing the finish line and earning her first 13.1 medal!

Bec took this one of me coming through the end.

AND HERE COMES CAM!!!

My girls were both VERY HAPPY! (Cam swore she needed to get in the Atlantic Ocean.  Bec and I, both east coasters, opted out.)

Bec texted me when she finished her 7k and then I kept her posted throughout the rest of the half and let her know when we’d be coming through.  She got to rest and people watch while we finished up.

Our MEDALS!

All in all, a great race.  It felt really good the entire time and it was so much fun.  If I do another race in AC, I’ll probably opt to stay at my house and just drive there super early in the morning because I didn’t sleep a wink the night before.  But really, since I wasn’t pushing myself or going for a specific time, that didn’t hinder us a whole lot.

It was the perfect way to spend my 35th birthday!

Updated to add: I’ll be running this race again on April 7th, 2013!  There are still spots available so if you’re interested, make sure you check out AC Marathon series and sign up because the price goes up in a couple of days.  And, of course, I’m going to have to eat my words because I will be spending the night down in AC again. The host hotel this year is Revel, which was just built in 2012.  Looking forward to continuing my April Fool’s half marathon streak and sharing my experiences with you.

12 thoughts on “2012 Atlantic City April Fool’s 1/2 Marathon (and 7k!)

  1. I’m sooooo glad I found your post. The April Fools Half is my 1/2 half marathon and I’m scared to death lol. It really helped to see the pics and realize that people actually have fun 🙂 PS – Happy Belated B-Day!

    • Oh good! I’m glad that you found the recap a good resource to ease your nerves! I’ll be there this Sunday so look for me if you’re in need of some positive words. 🙂

      And thank you – I’m excited to make the AC April Fool’s half an annual event to celebrate life!

      • Hi there! So I completed it!!!! 🙂 Was passed by a horse and cowboy combo, but I did my first 1/2! It was gorgeous day and the run on the boardwalk was SO cool! Did you by any chance have a headband on with candles on it? If so, then I saw you while I was running 🙂 I’m totally out of commission though – my legs are in so much pain 🙁

        • Oh yay! I’m so glad that you came back!

          And HAHAHA – did you see my post from this year’s race?

          http://scootadoot.com/2013/04/09/do-ac-april-fools-half-marathon/

          I was passed by the horse and rider too! And I saw the girl with the candle (that wasn’t me).

          So glad that you enjoyed the run – it’s pretty phenomenal, right? I can’t wait until next year; I’ve already registered. 🙂

          Have you attempted a recovery run yet? I did a couple of miles on the elliptical this morning before I trained and it was a wee bit painful but I’m feeling better now. It definitely helps.

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  3. I know this post is “old” but I found it researching April Fools Day races. I’m an April Fools baby too. I’ve had this one on my list (I live in Chicago) but want to go on a year when it’s actually ON April 1st since it will require travel. LOL!

    Great run. I’ll look for your 2013 recap now. 🙂

    • Yay for being an April Fools baby!!! The first year was awesome because it was actually on our birthday – this year it was the following weekend. I’m sure it will circle back around sooner or later. 🙂

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  5. I ran this race too and loved it! (in 2012) I live just a few miles from AC. Anyway, my friend ran it in 2013 and said it was disappointing (I was injured and am again this year!). She said they took away the Johnson’s popcorn and Rita’s water ice and all the other special South Jersey foods at the finish line (besides the route being different). I saw you ran this year too. How did it compare?
    ~Ang

    • Hi Ang! I was definitely disappointed with the finish line “village” this year, as compared to 2012 and 2013. When I finished this year, I was handed a water bottle and a medal. I had to request a Gatorade and it all seemed very chaotic with people milling around directly after the finish line. They had bananas and oranges off to one side, as well as Power Bars and beer (skipped both).

      My speedier friends said that they had bags of caramel popcorn when they came through but people were being grabby (even people who didn’t actually RUN!), so the rest of us were really bummed when we didn’t get any. To be honest, I had set my expectations high and I know that things change from year to year but I was a bit bummed with that aspect.

      The rest of the race was pretty awesome though! Loved the frequent water stations and enthusiastic volunteers. The course changed from 2012 because it starts at Revel now, rather than Bally’s so it adds an additional couple of miles on the boardwalk (which I would never complain about!).

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