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!)


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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!


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?


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


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!



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


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.

Returning from an Injury: Atlantic City 10k

Let me start by saying, at the beginning of last week I wasn’t sure I was going to run this race.


Exactly a month ago, I injured my right quadricep muscle, right near the knee. Since then I’ve done everything to move the healing process along. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. I’ve worked with my trainer (mostly upper body). I’ve visited a doctor and gone to Physical Therapy for two weeks. I skipped last week’s scheduled 5k because I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. But given that my leg has been feeling really good and I need to get back into running for next month’s runDisney Wine and Dine, I decided that I was going to give the 10k at one of my favorite race series a go.

To say that I was extremely nervous about it would be a vast understatement. Originally I’d planned to drive down to AC solo. However as race day drew closer, I started dropping subtle hints that I thought I might want my husband to come along for the trip. And by subtle hints, I mean bribery.

“You could GAMBLE while I run! Won’t that be fun, Jay? And I get a beer at the end of the race and I’ll give that to you. I mean, granted, it will be 10 in the morning but I’m a very good sharer. Hey, you can even drive!” I know, those are very convincing arguments and ones that could not be denied. Once I solidified my mom’s babysitting services, he joined me for both the expo on Friday night and race Saturday morning.


Just prior to the rain, we were having some entertainment.

The weather had been looking ominous the days leading up to the weekend. We were feeling the after effects of Tropical Storm Karen; the rain and wind had been bad in AC both Thursday and Friday and it wasn’t looking promising for Saturday’s race. And sure enough, soon after we arrived, the rain started. But as a wise woman always said to me, “You’re not made of sugar, you won’t melt.” Thanks for that, Gram.

Especially since the rain wouldn’t stop for the majority of the time we were running.

ac10k2I ran on these boards during the April Fools half in both 2012 and 2013 so it was comforting that I knew the route. Prior to running I’d decided to follow the Galloway method with 3:1 intervals – three minutes of running, one minute of walking. Considering I hadn’t actually run for a month, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

If I was hurting, I knew I could walk or just turn around. I planned to listen to any cues that my body was sending. Sometimes I push through pain if it’s just a cranky hip or a tweaked knee, but if my quad even gave a little shout, I planned to call it quits.

ac10k4After the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and a quick countdown, we were off! Jay waved his “I’m so excited, I made a sign” sign and bid me farewell.

The rain was both a blessing and a curse. It forced me to put my phone in my SPIbelt and not be tempted to take pictures during the run, which I believe was a good thing. Jay was tracking my phone so he knew where I was at any given point in time, which was comforting. The curse, of course, was slick boards, wet glasses, wet clothes, and feeling like I was going to be blown away at certain parts of the race.

The out-and-back course is entirely along the boardwalk with the start at Bally’s casino. The rain really started pelting us about a half mile in. While the conditions weren’t ideal, I was just happy to be moving! I felt good and while I might have gone out a wee bit too fast (caught up in the excitement of the start and being able to actually run without pain), I soon fell into a comfortable pace with the intervals.

I “hung out” with my friends, Blue Pants Minnie Shoes, Pink Jacket, and Orange Hat the majority of the race; they were both doing intervals as well and we would catch up to each other throughout. I chatted a bit with them, mostly about the weather and Disney. Soon enough we were at the 5k turn around and a good amount of the runners peeled off, heading back to Bally’s.

I was totally jealous of those 5k runners, for the record.

Although, I suppose I shouldn’t have been TOO jealous. The wind was at our backs on the way out… the 10k turn around brought more wind and rain to the face.

Not so much fun.

I tried to curl a bit so that the top of my head was getting the majority of the wind, but it was difficult to run that way. The volunteers were out at the water stops with smiles and encouraging words. It helped to continue on and not just say “Screw this, Jay come get me.” That thought might have passed through my mind more than once. Also, I was singing “The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain” repeatedly to the tune of whatever song was on my iPod.

The mile 5 marker had a clock indicating I was slightly under an hour, which was promising. Promising in that I had arrived at mile 5, there was only 1.2 left, and that I was going to finish in just about the same amount of time of my last 10k.

Right around that time, I spotted Orange Hat a bit ahead. Orange Hat reminded me of my friend, Moe, who I’d run the April Fools half with in the spring. I was missing Moe hard at that moment (I always miss Moe, but more so in that miserable rainy moment) so I caught up with Orange Hat and said, “Let’s get this done” and we fell into pace together.

I fell back at one point, then she did. But we kept meeting in the middle, pushing each other to the finish. And finally, I saw the glass walkway that indicated we nearly were at the end! She said, “I can hear the announcer!” We picked it up a bit and brought it home.


You can see that I’ve spotted Jay and it’s the finish line and HOORAY, I can almost go inside and out of the rain. Because while I’m not made of sugar, my clothes were sticking to me and I couldn’t see very well (rain and glasses = muy mal), and oooh, I get a medal!


I wore my SKORA Cores for this race – was afraid they might slip on on boards but they were awesome!

After getting our medals, I walked over to Orange Hat to thank her for motivating me throughout the race. I then found out that her name is Emily and she and her family are attempting to do a 10k in every state! Go Emily! (And seriously, if you’re reading this, thank you again! You really helped me, especially in that last mile.)


Wore my Chicago Marathon hat as a shout out to Moe (who ran this weekend) and all the other marathoners!

I was able to maintain my 3:1 intervals the entire race and finished in 1:13. Given the disgusting weather and coming off an injury, I’m very content with that! If I can maintain that pace for the Wine and Dine half, I’ll be golden. I think doing the Galloway method helped me stay consistent throughout and that’s my goal for Wine and Dine too!

Tell me, have you come back from a “time out” from running? How did you get back into running? Do you do run/walk? Who will I see at Wine and Dine next month?

DO AC: 2013 April Fool’s half marathon


Last year I ran the inaugural Atlantic City April Fool’s half marathon to ring in my 35th year. This year’s race wasn’t on my birthday (since April 1st was on a Monday) but when my friends started floating the idea of running, I jumped on board. After all, I almost view this race as “mine” since it’s an homage to my birthday and one that I’ll return to year after year.

Packet pick-up was quick and easy and laid-back.  In fact, this entire race is very laid-back with the added bonus of being extremely well-organized, two things that you don’t often see paired together when it comes to racing. There is no expo; the packet pick-up took place in the host resort, which was Revel this year.


Dorothy and Jody warming up by the fire pit at Revel.

Revel is AC’s brand new resort and casino and is absolutely gorgeous, albeit a bit confusing to navigate. Thankfully they have staff everywhere to point you in the right direction so you don’t wander aimlessly for too long.

However, AC is still AC and most people there are in “party” mode, not “sleeping and running a race” mode. Which means the clientele of the resort included a drunk dude wandering the halls at 4am, knocking on doors and shouting for “Blair” on Friday night (hope you found her eventually, man) and the party people who decided to stay in and celebrate someone’s 30th birthday with shots and singing at the top at their lungs rather than paying $12 for drinks… until 3:30 in the morning.

Next year? I’m sleeping at home and driving the hour. Hold me to this, please. Early wake up is better than no waking up because I never actually slept.

Going into a half marathon on a small amount of sleep isn’t the best way to do things but alas, that’s how it played out. My suggestion to an AC hotel hosting runners for an event would be to put them all in the same area.


We fueled with wheat bagel flats and almond butter/peanut butter, dressed, and joined the other runners (and partiers who apparently never went to sleep the night before) in the front vestibule.

Approximately 2,000 runners participated in the half marathon, with the 7k/11k races being held on Saturday morning. This was a change from the 2012 races, as all races were all held on the same day. Not going to lie, we were a bit bummed about the change but the race directors were very good at compensating the runners who were affected by the change. Jody ran the 7k on Saturday morning, while Moe, Dorothy and myself were ready to take on 13.1 miles.

We headed outside into the chilly morning air around 7:45, with the race beginning at 8am. At the start we were able to find our friends Rob, Brandi, and Sean – all of whom were running as well!


Starting promptly, we were off, down the boards. After a quarter mile, I realized that in the pre-race excitement I’d forgotten to start my Garmin so I’d be flying solo on that level – I was upset for about a hot second but realized that I’d just have to let it go. Sidenote: I got a Garmin and Road ID tan on my arms during this race.  Time to break out the sunscreen!

It began to warm as we made our way down the boards and the smell of the ocean air was invigorating.  Moe and I fell into a nice comfortable pace, hanging out side by side and occasionally knocking into each other while dancing to our own iPods.


Who has two thumbs and a flying ponytail? Moe!

Around mile 4 my feet started giving me issues with my toes curling a bit, which didn’t feel so fantastic so I walked a couple of seconds.  That didn’t help so I started running again.  This is also about the time that we saw the winner of the race headed back to the finish. Always impressive!


And then, there are people like this.  These dudes ran like this for the entire race and ran the race in two hours.  More power to you, horse and horse rider! (Horse dude kept his head on the entire time.  Crazy!)


See that little turn there – right before mile 5?  That’s when we took the streets.  And that’s when I knew I’d be hurting a bit.  WHERE IS MY BOARDWALK?  Couldn’t we have made it longer? However, I knew Lucy was ahead and I was very much looking forward to seeing the elephant.

“The elephant???” You might ask.  Oh yes, the elephant.


What, this isn’t normally what you see when you race? (Check out other random things seen on runs at OliveToRun’s How Bizarre Photos!)

Eventually we hit the 7 mile mark which meant it was time to turn around and hit the reverse button! I swung around the flag (not literally) and off we went, back where we came from. The street seemed to expand and getting back to the boards took way longer than I anticipated. Finally Moe pulled to the side where she could look ahead and see the cones turn – we were nearly back on the boardwalk. Huzzah!


Since I didn’t have my Garmin, I lost mile 9.  For all of mile 9, I thought I was in mile 10… Until I saw the flag marker that said 10 and nearly cried because I so desperately wanted it to say 11.  Alas, it did not.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

And right around then was when I felt the blister forming and I was just ready to be done.  3.1 miles to go – a 5k! Then I looked up and saw this…


And remembered how blessed I was to be in that moment.

The water stations were phenomenal and it definitely makes up for the lack of crowd support because they are like a cheer station unto themselves. The volunteers are incredible with this race, always with a smile and making you laughing by fighting over whose water or Gatorade you’d take.


There are also a couple of bands and DJs along the route as well,  so when I saw those I’d take my yurbuds out to jam with them for a couple of seconds.

The last two miles I was speed walking more than running and a one point Moe turned around to see where I was.  I waved her on and told her, “keep moving THAT way” and off she went. I could see her pink hat bopping along ahead and that gave me the motivation I needed to stay strong and keep moving toward the finish line.

I passed where the finish line was the previous year and was sad that it wasn’t actually there again this year because that would mean I’d be done.  At that point, there was a little over a mile left. The boardwalk started having more people milling around, which is difficult because at that point instead of bobbing and weaving around other runners, you’re moving around people who don’t have a clue that a race is going on. I just kept moving forward, alternating between a run/walk and pushing as much as possible.

And just like that, I saw the finish line in the distance. I heard cheers of people as I drew closer and I pushed myself to sprint those last few minutes, thanks to some very sweet ladies from Black Girls Run giving me some special cheers.


I asked someone if I could borrow her sign so Dorothy and I could get a picture with it. Don’t believe it though – we’re definitely more like 3/4th crazy.

I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face, having attained a personal record! I’m not a fast runner and I may never BE a fast runner, but I bested myself on Sunday… and that felt damn good (even if my feet didn’t and don’t)!

I’m already looking to sign up for next year’s April Fool’s half.

Is there a race that you return to time and time again? What is it that keeps you coming back?