After checking out of my hotel in Baltimore, I got on I-95 and headed for Atlantic City. I ate Lara and Power Bars in the car to refuel. It took about 3 hours to get to AC. I checked into the host hotel, Bally's, and walked to the expo at Caesar's. This is the second marathon I've done where the host hotel is a casino (Baton Rouge being the other one). It is a little weird walking through a smoke filled casino floor to pick up a marathon bib, but that's what I did. Once I picked up my packet, I went back to my room and ordered room service, as I wasn't feeling up to venturing out to find dinner.
The race started at 8 AM, on the boardwalk right in front of Bally's. The half and full marathons started together, but it didn't feel too congested. The sky was overcast and it was very windy, but cool and dry. After a brief jaunt on the boardwalk, the course turned into downtown Atlantic City. There were a few hills early in the race, which taxed my already aching quads. I settled into a comfortable pace after a while. The course soon returned to the boardwalk and the half marathoners finished where we had started. Runners doing the full continued along the Jersey shore and ran in some of the residential areas of the city, before once again returning to the boardwalk. The last several miles were into a very stiff wind, which made the finish tough, physically and mentally. One half mile before the finish, Rosalita by Bruce Springsteen started playing on my iPod, a happy coincidence and fitting end to my New Jersey marathon.
At the finish line I chatted with a couple runners who had also run Baltimore the day before. We talked about the races, training strategies, and other marathons we had run. We said good bye and I went back to the hotel to pick up my luggage, which I had to leave with the Bell man before the race, because the hotel did not offer a late check out. I improvised as best as I could to get cleaned up and refreshed in the hotel lobby bathroom, before getting in my car and driving to Philadelphia, where I would return the rental car and board a flight back to Omaha. I was satisfied with my time and proud to have completed my third "double-marathon" weekend.