Atlantic City Diaries, Chapter 16: The April Fool’s 7K

Posted: April 9, 2014 by rorypatrick in Atlantic City Diaries
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Finally, after years and years of winter, springtime is starting in the Northeast.  What better time to go down to Atlantic City for a quick run?  This diary features my mom’s birthday celebration, the return of OB (last seen singing “Surrender“), the return of my gambling ways, and a trip to a heart-shaped bathtub.  Onward and upward!

Friday

3:00PM – This weekend is set to be extremely packed for me: multiple dinners to attend, a 7K to run, and tons of gambling to partake in.  However, a miscommunication between my mom and I puts me in my Showboat hotel room with about five hours to kill until dinner at Scarduzio’s.  It would be way too early to start gambling, especially since I’m staying the entire weekend.  So, I kill time by doing a perusal of the boardwalk.  To spice it up, I decide to stop in a bunch of those stores selling corny t-shirts and various other crap.  From the outside, they always appear to me as adding to the whimsy of the Atlantic City Boardwalk – these tiny, cheap shops serving as the ying to the giant casinos’ yang.  However, on the inside, they reek with the same depression you find on the slot machines at 5AM in the morning (not to mention, the smell of these shops is overwhelming – it’s like when you visit someone else’s grandparents’ house, and you can tell that everyone else there has gotten used to the smell, but you haven’t, and you start to die inside).

The disappointment of these stores is augmented by the terrible weather.  It is cold, windy, and rainy, and the report does not look great for tomorrow.  I had briefly entertained switching from doing the 7K to the 11K, but that notion got killed by my walk along the boardwalk.  Feeling a bit depressed, I decided to just grab a six-pack and go back to the room and do some reading.

(Just to note: many casinos have now adopted a strict rule that you cannot bring your own booze.  Pro-tip: this rule is circumvented through this trick — I put my beer in a black plastic bag.  I know this sounds complicated and tricky, so I’d recommend bookmarking this page so you can remember how to sneak booze into a casino the next time you are in AC).

8:30 – With my mom and her fiance checked in, we head to Scarduzio’s in Showboat for some pre-race steaks.  As always, Scarduzio’s does not disappoint.  It is my personal favorite steak place in Atlantic City, beating American Cut in Revel.  After dinner, we part, as my mom has to get some gambling in, and she only gambles by herself.  Unfortunately, she learns the same lesson that I have learned time and time again: the Showboat is a horrible bitch.  I, too, have to get a bit of gambling in before I go to bed; the Showboat devours my bus voucher, but I hold my own in about 15 minutes of blackjack.  And with that, I’m off to bed for the 7K tomorrow morning.

Saturday

7:00AM – Woke up.  Had a beer.  Not that bad a decision.

We take the short walk from Showboat to Revel, but not before my mom wonders whether we should take a cab there (you know, to prevent the extra “miles” on our legs).  The weather is a bit cold, but much better than yesterday.  We will be running today with a handful of my mom’s co-workers, four nurses and a doctor.  When I was picking up my race packet, the staff there was very insistent that I fill out an emergency contact form.  I figured with a total of six medical personnel running with me, I’d wager on one of them stopping to help me should I collapse on the boardwalk.  That is, I guess, if they weren’t too worried about making good time.

9:00 – And we’re off!

It was surprisingly quite different than the half-marathon I ran six months ago.  First, it was much more lightly attended – about 500 runners total versus the thousands I ran with in the marathon.  It was also funny noticing the random people stumbling about the boardwalk, fresh off a night of bad decision making, being completely stunned by what was going on.  You could read their faces as you ran by: “Why are all these people running?  What are they running from?  Where am I?  Boy, I had too much to drink last night.”

9:45 – I finish in a mediocre 42 minutes.  How mediocre?  Well, I finished 40th out of 87 men, and 6th out of 13 men between the ages of 20-29.  That’s me – going right down the middle, and not showing off.  As I wait for my mom and her friends to finish, I continue my beer drinking ways.  Each runner’s bib comes attached with a ticket stub for a free beer, so I cash mine in, as well as the other stubs donated by generous sober runners.

11:00 – By now, everyone else has finished and we are at a post-race brunch in Revel.   After brunch, we head to Showboat to shower off and pack up our bags.  Despite having scheduled a 1:00PM checkout, Showboat has taken it upon themselves to deactivate our keycards at noon.  Showboat, you horrible bitch.

After this snafu, my mom, despite having just ran 4.35 miles, is still itching to walk the boardwalk.  So we head up to Caesar’s, walk through the shopping centers (all while reminiscing about the old-school mall that used to be there), and stop for a beer at the Boardwalk Beer Garden at Caesar’s.  I have to say, I was not very impressed with the Boardwalk Beer Garden.  Atmospherically, it was just loud and awkward.  Much of the music consisted of taking a 70’s song and adding a throbbing base BUM BUM BUM to it.  Come on, folks, “Carry On My Wayward Son” is a classic, BUM BUM BUM beats won’t improve it!  Additionally, the beer selection was fairly paltry for a beer garden.  Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels these sentiments.  Ah well, it was worth checking out once, but I don’t think I’ll be back.  However, while we are hanging out there, we get some good news: OB is in town.

3:00PM – After the disappointment of the Boardwalk Beer Garden, we head to a classic: the Mountain Bar at the Wild Wild West.  It never disappoints, as you get what you pay for: cheap beer.  (Side note: table games are apparently back at the Wild Wild West.  This shall be explored in a future AC Diary, I can guarantee that.)  OB shows up, having imbibed a hefty amount of booze on his bus ride down, and proceeds to charm both my mom and her fiance.  After a beer or two, OB and I check-in to Harrah’s to continue the putzing.  OB is upgraded to a suite with a heart-shaped jacuzzi.  Remember this.

As we get to the room, we contemplate what to do with the night.  Polar, who you may remember from previous diaries, is coming into town with a couple friends, and we were planning to head to the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival.  However, the event is sold out – which is shocking, because I’ve never heard of any event selling out in Atlantic City.  I decide to head to Carmine’s in Tropicana to meet up with my mom for dinner with her coworkers, while OB patiently awaits Polar with a bottle of Jack Daniels by his side.

7:30 – Carmine’s is always a hit.  The food and wine are passed along merrily, and a good time is had by all.  My mom is a trooper – she’s been cruising Atlantic City all day since 7AM, starting with a 7K and having beer and wine the rest of the day.  Not only did my mom help foster my love for Atlantic City, I think she also created my love of the “putz” – exploring the world aimlessly and having a good time.  Happy birthday Mom! (This concludes the “gratuitous flattery” section of the diary).

10:00 – I meet up with OB, Polar, and his friends, who are having dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s at Harrah’s.  Here’s why you gotta love Atlantic City – I walk into McCormick & Schmick’s, swigging from a Coors light bottle, and I introduce myself to no one.  I make a lap around the restaurant, and again, nobody bothers to stop me and ask me why I’m walking around.  I eventually find OB’s table, and casually grab a seat from a random table and drag it over.  Again, nobody questions this.  I love Atlantic City.

After dinner, we head back to OB’s room, where it is clear that OB has had a bit too much to drink and needs a time out.  Polar and crew head down to the floor to party in the X-Hibition Bar.  I join them, but by now, it has been nearly 24 hours since I gambled in Atlantic City, and head to the blackjack tables.  Since I’d be gambling by myself, I made sure to look for a table featuring the most friendly crew.  Within minutes, I find a table where two dudes are singing “Wonderwall.”  These are my people.

I gamble for a bit, mostly treading water but generally up a couple bucks, before checking in with OB.  He is down for the count, both gambling-wise and partying-wise.  I head back to the room to join him.  Of course, you know where this is heading.

2:00AM – OB and I are drinking red wine in the heart-shaped jacuzzi.  I made him promise to wear underwear and warn me if he was going to pee in the tub, and the man stayed true to his word on both counts.  But having not lost any money yet, I still have the gambling itch, and now, after a rejuvenating bath, I’m ready to hit the floor again.

3:00 – Polar and crew are winding down as well.  The X-Hibition Bar was a pretty great scene (there was one girl who was very eager to dance with me, which is always a great confidence boost), but I can’t come to terms with paying for drinks when I can get them for free just a dozen feet away.  So I head back to the blackjack tables, once again looking for the fun-loving crews.

I then go on my “best” gambling run since starting this diary.  And by “best,” I don’t mean I won much – I hovered around +$100 and -$30 the whole night.  But, that’s the key element – the whole night.  I was able to play for hours, before finally calling it quits shortly after 5AM.  I know I’ll never make tons of money gambling, but I just love the sport of it.  I go back to OB’s room, and crash on the couch, using towels as blankets.  I truly felt like a winner.

We left early the next day, each of us nursing the “classic Atlantic City hangover” (see the last diary for what exactly this is).  I must confess, the night didn’t quite go according to plan – I had hoped to get to the Beer Festival, or perhaps go casino hopping later on.  But that’s Atlantic City for you – it’s always a game of chance.  You shake the dice, you hope for the best, and end up with a night in a heart-shaped jacuzzi.

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