Vegas Rock N Roll Half marathon 11/17/13
Ok so I have wanted to do this race for a few years now. This year the race date fell on the weekend of both my husband’s and my birthday so it was the perfect opportunity. My husband loves Vegas so it was an easy sell.
Pre-race info was very helpful and everything I needed to know was emailed about a week in advance. I did start to worry about some logistics of doing a nighttime race. How would I figure out my fueling strategy? How much should I eat and when? I had never even done a training run at night-how would that be? Would I be tired? Then there was the time change issue as well-would that affect me? How about the temp?
We got into town on Thursday night in just enough time to celebrate my birthday with a nice dinner and yummy chocolate birthday cake. Friday I was ready to head to the expo at the convention center. This was the first day of the expo and thus not too crowded. Packet pick up line was non existent and t shirt pick up was a breeze. There was tons of swag and lots of samples to be had. The usual vendors were there and there was lots of buying opportunity.
Ok so I read about the opportunity to secure a VIP “potty pass” for race day by purchasing $150 worth of Brooks apparel or shoes at the expo. This was something I was extremely interested in based on past experiences with ridiculously long porta potty lines. I was easily drawn to the super cute jackets and other race paraphernalia and spent the $150 to secure the VIP pass. More on this later. One thing I had never seen at an expo before-vitamin B-12 shots given right there. I know lots of celebs are into this now not sure how many runners do these and if they are of any benefit. Took some cute pictures, shopped around a bit and was out of there in about an hour.
I was asked by the R and R people to participate in a panel that day for their sponsors and prospective partners. The purpose was for them to have a cross section of runners doing the race, who might use their products, and they would have the opportunity to ask us questions about our running habits and purchasing history. I arrived at the Encore Hotel to meet the other panelists: One guy who has a “tour pass” (allows you to do as many races in 1year as you like) seemed like your average weekend warrior type. A woman who was walking the race with Team in Training, another mom type doing the full marathon, a woman from The US Olympic Marathon Team Magdalena (can’t remember her last name), Dorothy Beal our local celebrity/pro runner. She was so nice, very down to earth and easy to talk to and me. I was a little nervous about what I was doing there but the questions were pretty basic and easy to answer. Did a couple of plugs about running with MRTT. The panel was moderated by Brooks Running. The whole thing took less than an hour and we all received a great Brooks jacket and PFC Changs gift card for participating. Also made a couple of good MRTT contacts.
I finished out my day with a visit to the Venetian Canyon Ranch Spa for a massage (bday gift from my hubby). A $35 coupon to the spa was in the race bag too! Went out to buy supplies and relaxed the rest oft he evening while my hubby played poker.
Walked around the Forum shops on Saturday with my hubby. The weather was gorgeous in the 60’s. Ate normally but did try to drink a little more. I could really feel the dryness in the air there compared to the DC humidity. We went out dinner where I had my pre race pasta dinner and then we went to see Rock of Ages. Great music not so great show.
I was in bed at 12:30 knowing I could get a full night’s sleep. This made a huge difference for me. I am usually quite stressed the night before a race and typically toss and turn before getting up and some ungodly hour to eat and make it to the race. Knowing I could sleep was comforting.
Woke up Sunday on race day around 8:30 feeling rested but a little nervous. I still wasn’t sure what and how much to eat. I was meeting 2 other McLean MRTT ladies for Brunch. The buffet was a little overwhelming and I just wasn’t sure what to eat. I settled on pancakes and French Toast with a little fruit. We made our meet up plans for later so we could start together. I had been doing some long training runs with Laura the past few weeks and we were about the same pace. I planned to eat another snack around 3 as my wave would be going around 4:45. I was dressed and ready but did not feel like eating. I made myself eat a half of a bagel and half of a banana. I tend to get super nervous before races and not really hungry at all. I filled up my fuel belt with Gatorade and headed to the shuttles.
Closing off the strip for the race is a logistical nightmare traffic wise. It took longer to get to the start than I imagined. Laura and Cambra were stuck in traffic and made it just in time.
So back to the VIP potties. Best $150 ever spent!! The line for the regular porta johns were hundreds deep just like every other race. But…the trailer style VIP potties only had 10 people in line with real toilets and sinks, amenities and gels. I even had time to go 2x while waiting for Laura and Cam to arrive. Security was good in the runner area and seemed well organized. I saw the tail end of the Pre-race All American Rejects concert.
Laura and Cam arrived just after the first wave went off and we were able to snake our way up to our corral. We passed Elvis a few times as well as a few brides in their veils, lots of tutu mamas and team in training groups. The sun goes down pretty quickly out there and it was dark at the start with lots of runners in neon glow in the dark apparel and lots of other interesting costumes. The whole energy was so infectious! I forgot all about the fact that I had never run at night even once. The first mile was quite crowded and slow and we really couldn’t get going for about the first 10 min. Having my MRTT mamas with me was so great. The spectators were so motivating and the people watching was fabulous. Not quite sure how people run with beer contraptions on their heads? There were quite a few brides running as there was a run thru wedding chapel at mile 2.
Finally found my pace and got into my groove. I was glad I had my own drinks as the first few water stops were a little crowded. I also like to drink on my own schedule. I lost my friends for a few miles but then there they were again at the end. I felt really great and was able to keep a slightly faster pace than I thought. Around mile 11 I started to get a little tired. This is usually the hardest part for me. I tried to distract myself with the music (live bands throughout) and people watching. I kept popping gels to get me through. Seeing the hotels on the strip I knew I was getting close to the finish. It is rather deceiving though, the buildings are so big you feel closer than you are. The last half mile was hard but Laura and Cam were right behind me again and we all ran through the finish together. I beat my last half time by 2 min 30 sec! I was so excited! Got my amazing glow in the dark finisher’s and my chocolate milk at the finish. Found my hubby pretty easily. There was no shortage of post race drinks, food and a beer tent. I stuck with the chocolate milk.
Walking back to my hotel, the crowd was so amazing and rowdy I almost felt like a “Rock” star high fiving other runners on the way. This was probably the most fun I have ever had while running 13.1 miles. I hope I have the opportunity to do it again-who know MRTT road trip next year?!