Last Sunday I ran the 1st annual Wild Half in Wildwood, NJ. Technically, it should have been the 2nd annual but it was cancelled due to Hurricane Irene last year. We actually thought it was going to be cancelled this year due to the severe (and i mean SEVERE) thunderstorms we woke up to at midnight the night before the race. We were staying at the Lu Fran Motel directly across from the beach and the streets were flooding. We were not thrilled with the Flash Flood Warning that directed us to move to higher ground. Since I am the lightest sleeper, I could not fall back asleep with all the thunder and lightning. It sounded like the lightning was hitting right next to our motel. After a few hours of thunderstorms, I finally fell asleep.
When we woke up at 6am, it was sunny. Seriously. The race was on and I was excited because I did not drive 2.5 hours to hang out in thunderstorms all night in Wildwood, NJ. You all know I get enough of those at home. I put on my race clothes (just my shirt and shoes since I went to sleep with my shorts and sports bra on) and ate a banana with peanut butter. I wasn’t very hungry due to the pizza we ate at 9pm the night before. Big mistake. I should have forced myself to eat more.
Shelley, Alisha, Stephanie, and I headed to the start line around 7am. We were only 2 blocks from the Convention Center start line with a 730 start time. The race began on the boardwalk and we ran on there for about 1.5 miles. I would consider that 1.5 miles of hell. For more than 2,000 racers, they shut off half the boardwalk for us but left the other part open for pedestrians and boardwalk walkers. For those 1.5 miles, the boardwalk was so packed you couldnt get around anyone so Shelley and I ran a 10:00 pace and we were not happy about it. After we got off the boardwalk, I decided I wanted to make that time back by consistently running 8:45 min/mi for the next 5 miles or so. I felt great.
It was an out and back course and fairly flat with the exception of 2 bridges. The turn around was at the 10k point (approximately) and because of this I was able to see Shelley and Alisha on my way back. At Mile 7.5ish, my body started to tell me it needed a break. I was getting hungry and had to pee. Around Mile 10, I started to take walk breaks because my knee was killing me. I think I literally walked more than I ran between Miles 10 and 12.5. At Mile 12.5 I sprint/limped my way to the finish line. The last .1 mile was on the beach. Whose crazy idea was that!? I was hoping for a sub 2:00 finish and I would have if my knee didn’t start to ache. Official finish time- 2:04:21. Not bad for an injury (at least in my eyes).
Overall, I liked the course with the exception of the first 1.5 miles on the boardwalk. It was very scenic (think beach and water at every turn) and had an adequate amount of water stops. The food tent at the end wasn’t the largest I’ve seen but definitely had the best bagels. They were so fresh and soft! I miss NJ bagels! 😦
After we checked out of the motel, we headed up to Atlantic City for the day/night. Alisha’s mom had a suite at Harrahs so we delightfully accepted the invitation and crashed, literally. I don’t think Ive ever spent so much time in a hotel room while in AC. We watched 3 different movies and just laid in bed all day except for when we got up to eat, obviously. We ate lunch (I had half a pastrami and Swiss sandwich and a ceasar salad) at the Seven Stars Club and ate dinner at Steak House. It was delicious. I ate a ton of bread and ordered the rack of lamb with green beans and mashed potatoes.
I was too tired to do anything after dinner so we went back to the room and watched yet another movie. Not a very exciting trip to AC but definitely a relaxing one I was able to share with friends!
The Wild Half Race Rating: 7 out of 10