I registered for the R'n'R LasVegas back in March, a few months before that plot twist of a summer smacked me in the face (and the knee). Not only did I have to DNS the R'n'R Chicago, but I had paid big bucks for the Vegas experience. Also, there were several blogging gals (Tricia, Marcia, Mary Beth, and Darlene) headed there as well. I was granted clearance to resume running in mid-September, giving me less than two months until the Vegas start line. Although I knew my endurance was fine, that still presented me with a tight window to get my body in 13.1 condition. None the less, I was determined to make it happen...
The hubby and I arrived in Las Vegas late Friday evening. It's a 3+ hour flight from Iowa, and by the time we were situated in our room (at a bed and breakfast), it was almost midnight.
Packet pick-up was the next morning for me. Despite being such a huge expo, getting my bib and shirt went quickly...unlike the LONG line I waited in to purchase my #VegasStrong shirt (the #VegasStrong shirts were made available as a fundraiser, with all proceeds going to the survivors and families from the October 1st shooting).
|My message on the writing wall (which later appeared on the route near the Mandalay Bay hotel)|
|After the 5K...Mary Beth, Marcia, Tricia, Darlene, and myself|
I found Mary Beth on the monorail, so her and I walked to the bag check together before meeting up with the rest of the crew.
|Mary Beth, Greg, Darlene, Tricia, myself, and Marcia|
|lined up with Darlene and Marcia|
|waiting to approach the start line|
|The #VegasStrong signs were everywhere|
Marcia and I continued onward, chatting about all things running and blogging. Her and I actually had met back in January (though we'd already known each other for awhile via blogging and social media), so it was fun getting better acquainted under the neon lights of Las Vegas Boulevard (by the time we reached the third mile, almost all of the daylight had disappeared).
So far, I was feeling pretty good, but I was paranoid. I had run a 10-mile training run a couple weeks prior, but that was the farthest I'd run since Grandma's Marathon (mid-June). Don't forget, I had that unexpected 3-month sabbatical immediately following. I knew this race was not in contention for a PR, and I was quite alright with that. I just didn't want to risk anything by running too fast. Our pace felt comfortable, but slightly faster than what I'd been training. Also, after the turn-around, were rewarded with a slight breeze (that felt oh-so-good!) and a slight decline in terrain, so it was difficult to slow down.
Having had a rather late lunch (around 2:30), I waited until after the third mile to take my first gel. It wasn't too much farther (between the 4th and 5th mile?) when I knew I needed another potty stop. The tummy was feeling a bit off and #yuck.
Before long, we spotted the Stratosphere up ahead, and Marcia warned me that it looked a lot closer than it actually was. She was not kidding! It was a beautiful landmark,but we didn't pass it until just after the 6-mile mark.
It was shortly after the 8-mile mark when I took my second gel, as we began a small loop through what is referred to as "Old Las Vegas." We even passed Elvis! I said, "Hey, way to go, Elvis!" And he replied, "Thank you, Little Darlin'!" I wish I would have gotten a picture with him (#mybad).
|Along Fremont Street|
We passed the Stratosphere again, this time around the 11-mile mark. It was right near here when we spotted the lead marathoner coming through (#overachiever LOL). At his point on the marathon route, he still had about 5-miles left to go, but he was looking fast and strong. It's always a goal for me to finish my half marathon BEFORE the first marathoner crosses the finish line....but this dude was really clipping along. Ha!
I finally drank the last of my water and tossed the empty bottle just after the 12-mile mark. I don't think I've ever run a half marathon with a cumbersome bottle in my hand, but I'm glad I had it with me.
|water fountain near Treasure Island|
|with Marcia (above left), and the hubby (above)|
Overall, this was a fantastic event. The corral line-up was a bit of a nightmare because it was so crowded (with very limited entry onto the course), but that would be my only complaint. Everything else was top-notch...bag drop-off/pick-up, music, crowd support (along most of the course), security, post-race food/drink.
Although my finish time was a good 20-minutes slower than "usual," I honestly do not care. I didn't expect to run this race fast anyways....it's Vegas, after all! Why not enjoy the experience, right?
For the most part, I felt strong the entire race. No hitting the wall, no muscle cramps, no fatigue. That said, my hips did feel a little sore towards the end (and were REALLY angry when I finished). I think the intermittent walk breaks played a significant role in keeping me in the game. I couldn't quite satiate my constant thirst, though...not sure if that was due to the dry heat of Vegas, or if I was legitimately dehydrated (probably a combination of both).
About an hour after finishing, my tummy totally cramped up on me, to the point that I could not eat anything at all. Thankfully, I had drank two little bottles of chocolate milk right after finishing the race, and eaten some potato chips as well. Ugh. That was not a pleasant experience. Looking back, I'm sure it was a dehydration issue because I know I did not have enough water the day prior. Sport gels have a way of wreaking havoc on my tummy if I don't hydrate properly during a race....and since I felt constantly thirsty, I was probably starting the race already dehydrated.
Side note--they had shirts available at the expo with all the participants names on them, and also banners with the runners' names as well.
**I'm linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner.