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.
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.
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!
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.
Three 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?