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?

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?


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.


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.


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.