This past weekend I was in Atlantic City for the Neptune’s Challenge. Originally I had signed up to do the Amerihealth New Jersey Atlantic City Half marathon as part of my 16 miler for Goofy training. Then a couple of months ago, they announced they would be doing a challenge with the Shore Medical Center 5K or 10K the day before. It allowed for any combination either the 5K or 10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon or Full Marathon on Sunday. 2 days, 3 medals AND get in my back to back training runs? SIGN ME UP! I convinced my dad to do a race with me on Saturday. He opted for the 5K so that’s what we were doing.
On Friday I hopped onto a bus from Port Authority (that place is EVIL) and was on my way to AC. My parents had already driven down. I met my dad at the expo which was small but I honestly enjoyed it. They had some race merchandise there but I ended up not purchasing any. The swag bag was pretty decent. The clear plastic bag they gave was actually a legit clear plastic back pack that could be reused. The shirts though were identical designs with the only difference being that the 5K and 10K had short sleeves and the 1/2 and full marathon shirts were long sleeves. Otherwise, there was no difference in the design and no way to distinguish which race you actually did (the medals were the same, but we’ll get to that later).
At the expo, the have a few sponsored booths…one of which was Corona giving out free samples, yay! Also they had a “booth” with 50% of sneakers! Of all brands! I was in need of some new ones, so I picked up 2 pairs of Brooks for the price of 1! Whoohoo! They also had a bin for 3 pairs of Swiftwick socks for $10 (1 pair is normally more that than) but unfortunately the only sizes they had were XS and XL.
I gotta say, I really love the convenience of being walking distance to the start line. The start (and finish) was in front of Bally’s and we were staying at the Taj (because you don’t say no to a free room from your mom). It’s about .5-.75 miles away. So my dad and I started heading to the start. I was worried about how my running would go given my recent DNF and leg issues. My dad wanted to run/jog to the start to warm up. While on the way he mentioned he wanted me to put “Let it Go” on his Disney playlist (my parents JUST watched Frozen…seriously). Anyway, so it was then decided that we would run down the boardwalk blasting “Let it Go” because there really is no other way to warm up.
There were no corrals for this race. No pacers. The number of participants seemed “small.” but I liked that. The 5K and 10K runners started at the same time in the same place and just had a different turn around point. The race started promptly at 9am and we were off!
I was trying to pace my dad, make sure he started off slow enough so that he could pick it up as we went. I know he was getting anxious watching people pass us but as long as we kept to the plan, we would be passing people. My dad was doing great and I was feeling great! My leg wasn’t hurting, and I was feeling strong so I kept pushing the pace. At about the half way point I saw that we were going pretty fast for my dad. I asked him if he was ok, he said yes, so we kept going and I kept pushing.
By mile 2 I had gotten him to a 10:56 pace (which I’m pretty sure might be the fastest my dad has run in his recent running career). I was still feeling good an I continually kept checking on him to make sure he was ok. He kept saying he was until he wasn’t. He started to get a cramp in his side. But my dad refuses to ever walk during a race, so I told him we would slow down. Honestly, we probably could’ve/should’ve slowed down more but my legs weren’t letting me. (Sorry dad!)
The finish line was in site and so I told my dad that once we hit the over pass we would pick up the pace and “sprint” to the finish. My dad who insists he only has one speed and that he can’t go faster at the end of a race. Well, I was about to prove him wrong. We hit the over pass and picked it up for the end! My dad had even said “no letting anyone pass us at this point!” I didn’t have the heart to explain to him why I couldn’t guarantee that, but I liked his spirit! Before we knew it, we were crossing the finish line!
My dad (and technically me since I’ve only done timed 5Ks with my dad) ended up with a 2:30 minute PR! My dad, because he’s crazy, wasn’t happy with that because his last race was run in the heat and he had to take a walking break so of course this one was going to be faster. But not 2:30 minutes faster! Come on dad! Over that short distance, that kind of a PR? That’s almost a minute a mile faster than your last race? Although I’m not one to talk, I clearly get that from him. It probably didn’t help that the female 10K winner was crossing seconds after us.
ANYWAY! I like this race. Running on the boardwalk was great, the race started promptly. The boardwalk wasn’t closed off but dodging people (who weren’t participating) wasn’t really an issue. The turn around for the 5K was clearly marked and the volunteers were great and supportive! While I probably would not come down to AC to do just the 5K or the 10K I would definitely do either again if I’m down here for the half.
5K complete, next stop, the Atlantic City Half Marathon!