Anyways, yes I just ran my second half marathon in Atlantic City today. I'm going to apologize right off the bat, since I know this is going to be novel-length.
I decided to do this race as a training run. I'm going on a long vacation starting next week, so running opportunities may be limited. I wanted to get a 13.1 quality miles before I leave since I'm planning on running the Philadelphia Half Marathon a week after I come back in November.
I had a lot of doubts coming into this race. First of all, I had a hard time finding my motivation after PDR a month ago. For the past couple of weeks, I only managed 2 10-milers as my longest runs. Then Friday morning, I woke up feeling crappy, like I was coming down with something. I hoped that it was only due to the change of the weather, but I didn't take any chances and loaded up on Airborne. LOL.
I felt better today, thankfully. It was still dark when we drove 45 minutes to Atlantic City. I think I got a good 10 minutes nap in the car. We got there an hour and a half before the start of the race. No lines at all when I picked up my race packet, shirt, & chip.
Nothing much happening after that as we waited for the start. I hung out inside the Showboat Casino, stretched, people watched, munched on jelly beans, etc. Even got in 2 bathroom breaks. I headed out about 15 minutes before the start. The weather at that time was sunny and cool. I was actually shivering at the start line.
The course started out on the Boardwalk, which was really flat. The view of the ocean was beautiful! The first half of the race felt like I was facing headwind, which felt really great since I was already getting hot around the first mile.
Around mile 4, we veered right onto a bridge and into the roads. I took my first gel at around mile 5, then continued running until we hit mile 6.5 and headed back. I was counting on the tailwind after the halfway point since we were heading back the same way. But nothing! I was getting really hot at this point. When we ran back to the boardwalk, the sun was shining directly at us...no shade whatsoever! After a while I wanted any kind of wind just to cool me off!
At around mile 8, I started running behind this woman. I would run right behind her then she would speed up. We did this for some time. Then she would break up in song, like really loud! And even flail her arm around! I don't even know if she's part of the race because when I got next to her, she didn't have a bib #. I'm guessing she's local and just went out for a nice run on the boardwalk.
I was doing really well until mile 12. That's when my right knee started getting sore. I decided to walk for a bit, then a woman tapped me in the back and said "Come on, let's go!" I thanked her and took off.
Around mile 12.5, I got a really sharp pain on the side of right knee, in which case I definitely had to walk. People started passing me, but I didn't care since it was hurting pretty bad. I made the Trump Taj Mahal overpass as my marker to start running, which I did even though my knee was protesting. I kept telling myself "Just get it done!". I saw the finish line ahead and it felt so far away! Saw my mom cheering me on as I (sort of) sprinted to the finish.
My clock finish time was 2:11:36(?) - a personal best!!!! I beat my previous half marathon time by 3 minutes!
Throughout the race, I kept looking at my Garmin because it kept telling me I was averaging around ~9 min/mile. I've never done that! It felt like I was running at a relaxed pace. Must be the ocean air.
It also turned out that I set a 10-mile PR as well of ~1:37, which was way better than my ~1:41 from the Broad Street Run.
I'm very happy with my time. But, a part of me is disappointed that I didn't get below 2:10, which was within my grasp if it wasn't for this darn knee!
Speaking of knee, it's really hurts! Not swollen though, thank God! I think it's my IT band since it's on outside of my knee. I'm iceing, taking pain killers, and keeping my fingers crossed. I have PT tomorrow, which will hopefully help.
I hung out a bit to watch the winners from the full marathon cross the finish line. The winner for men crossed at around 2:54. Really fast, but not Kenyan standard. This was a really low key race so no elites.
Overall, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this race! It's very low key compared to the Philly races, but very well organized with tons of course support along the way. It was wierd running through the Boardwalk among the regular people, but I think it's part of the charm of this race. There are also lots of CLEAN bathrooms along the course - just walk into one of the casinos! And based on my time, I think there's a better chance of setting PRs on this race compared to Philly. Plus, you get a free voucher for a buffet meal in the Showboat Casino. Of course, I still won't give up Philly.
That's it! Thanks for reading!
Here are some pics!
Before the race, hanging out inside the Showboat Casino:
Still before the race, but outside the casino:Trying to sprint to the finish line:
After the race, with my medal. Notice I switched my knee brace. That's because I was in pain!