It was a quick trip to Vegas, but fun and eventful all the same.
We spent the first day there eating, at the expo, losing money at the slot machines, eating some more, and seeing David Copperfield (I liked it. It was a little bizarre at some points that involved a small robotic alien, but he basically made a gigantic dinosaur appear out of nowhere, so I was thoroughly entertained.)
Here I am at the expo…
Like I said on Instagram, I haven’t run a Rock ‘n Roll race since Rock ‘n Roll AZ so it was bringing me back to that race and all of the feelings of my first handful of marathons. Loved it.
The start time assigned to my corral was 4:40pm. The thought of running at night sounded really great. I am definitely a fan of running in the dark (I’m a faster runner in the dark before the sun starts beating down and my favorite legs of relay races are the ones done at night.) It did make for some anxiety the day of the race though… what to eat when you’ll be running at night and your body’s running clock is always set to morning?
(Side note about Chipotle- during summer training this became my pre-long run meal. Not on purpose- it just evolved into that. So no worries about this meal because I knew my body does well with it.)
This was taken at noon. I only ate about a quarter of it (B ate the rest.) About an hour and a half before the race I had a little water, an apple, and a Clif bar.
The weather forecast was not looking so good: there was a wind advisory. Anyone who knows me knows: I will run in the sun, altitude, heat, rain (my favorite), anything! But my absolute least favorite condition to run in is wind. Yikes.
After getting dressed in the hotel room, my brother (remember he and his wife Lacy ran it- read here) says to me, “You’re wearing the race shirt?? Isn’t that a no-no? Like wearing a t-shirt of the band to their concert?” Maybe so… I just thought it was a good shirt 🙂
Luckily, the start line was right by the hotel we were staying in, The Luxor. Easy Peasy.
B had to head to the airport as we were heading to the race (he had patients Monday morning) so I gave him a kiss goodbye and we went our separate ways.
Thad, Lacy and I headed out, used the potties, watched a teeny bit of the Kid Rock concert, checked bags, and headed for the corrals.
Here’s Kid Rock singing Bawitdaba:
Here’s a Start Line selfie:
Don’t you think our mom and dad would have had fun watching us??
More Start Line:
Something I noticed about the corrals and start times: there wasn’t much organization. Runners were just lining up wherever and the MC at the start line was letting the corrals start every few minutes. I don’t expect that all runners stay with their corrals (I’ve started plenty of times with a corral other the one assigned to me), but this was more chaotic than your typical race. I prefer it to be somewhat controlled because if someone goes into the race with a time goal, it can be difficult to maintain a faster pace with walkers in front of them. Anyway, I brushed it off because ultimately, I was thankful that I was able to start with Thad and Lacy.
In an earlier text from my (brand new) coach he said to stick with the 2:05 or 2:10 pacer then “drop the hammer at mile 7.” I’ve never “dropped a hammer” before, but I said, “Will do.” After all, he’s the boss. (I’m really liking this having someone else make my decisions for me. After all, it’s why my marriage to B works so well.)
After I crossed the start line, I started looking for any pacer I could find. I quickly figured out: there were no pacers. It didn’t matter anyway, because controlling my pace wasn’t an option. There were runners of various paces from walking to sprinting and the course was extremely crowded. I passed who I could while also trying avoid running zig zags on the course.
My first 4 miles looked like:
After the first four miles I was able to break free a little bit, and I was feeling the tailwind and slight downhill (I knew it would end around mile 9.) The course was still very crowded, though. It was sprinkling a little, but I love running in the rain; it didn’t bother me (I know a lot of runners that dislike it so some were bummed about this.)
Next 4 miles looked like:
7. 8:36 (took in a Salted Caramel Gu at mile 7)
All this time, I really enjoyed the lights while running on the strip. However, I soon learned that I didn’t love running in the dark as much as I thought I would. I didn’t see one mile marker throughout the whole race (this could have been entirely my fault) and I felt like I was missing out on something (can’t put my finger on it) by not being able to fully take in my surroundings. Don’t get me wrong- I didn’t dislike it, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Major plus: no need for a visor.
Approaching mile 7, I wanted to step on the gas and do what my coach said, but it was literally impossible. I’m not making excuses- I promise.
At mile 9, we turned and the wind wasn’t pushing from behind anymore, it was coming in gusts from various directions- mostly from the front. The crowd was breaking up a little, but my extra push was cancelled out by the headwinds and inclines.
Remaining miles looked like:
13. 8:17 + 2:49
Crossing the finish wasn’t quite as magical because I couldn’t see the cheering crowds as well as I’d have liked, but you know how I feel about finish lines- still loved it.
Guys- running a half marathon two weeks after running a full is awesome. The race is over really fast. At mile 11 I was like, wait I’m almost done! It was awesome.
Please look at this awesome fella who finished right next to me:
But wait, you have to see his jumping prep:
Love his enthusiasm.
After crossing the finish line, I grabbed a Gatorade, and immediately started hunting for a bathroom. I had to go the entire time! I kept walking through finisher’s area looking for a bathroom and a way out because I was eager to head back to the course to cheer for Thad and Lacy. I soon realized that there was no bathroom and the (barricaded) finisher’s area was quite long. If I wanted to make it back to the course I would have had a long walk ahead of me. I knew I already had a long walk back to my hotel, so I opted to just retrieve my check bag and be on my way. Getting my check bag went very smoothly and the trucks were close to the finish.
I think one of the coolest things that night was walking on the strip on the way back to my hotel. It was empty and quiet. I have been to Vegas more times than I can count, but I had never seen it like that. It was neat. (Maybe I just have a love affair with dark, empty streets because as much as I loathe 3:45am summer runs, I love a dark empty street.)
After this photo I continued walking back to the hotel. Then I heard angels singing, I saw the heavens open up and shine a ray of sunlight on this:
I ordered a burger, fries, and a coke. My favorite. Oh yea, also used their restroom.
By now, my body had cooled down and I was wet (from rain and sweat) and I was freezing.
I walked back out into the cold and wind and made it back to my hotel. In the food court at the Excalibur (which is connected to Luxor) there was a Cinnabon. I may or may not have had one. Oink oink.
I met up with Thad and Lacy in the food court. I was so proud of them!! They did it!!! Lacy did it without her shin splints acting up and Thad was able to stay on top of his blood sugar for the most part (remember he’s Type 1 diabetic.) We were all excited to shower, and crawl into our warm beds with our full bellies.
It was only later that I realized that we did not get a picture of all three of us with our medals. Doh!!! Grandmom is not gonna like that.
Overall, I’m glad I did this race!! I would advise fellow runners, if they asked me about it, that it’s not the best race to head into with a time goal, but it would be a really fun one to do with friends. I’m so happy that I was able to experienced the Strip at night. Will I be setting my phone alarm on registration day next year? Probably not, but Vegas is always a blast and it’s close to home, so you never know.