Thursday, December 9, 2010
Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Report
Race day dawned bright and early at 4:45 a.m. OK. Maybe not bright since it was still dark out. I hopped in the shower, woke up a bit and got ready for the day. Since I was running in Las Vegas, I decided I wanted to represent my stomping grounds. I put on my black capris, my red Wisconsin football T-shirt (fitting since the Badgers were "officially" invited to the Rose Bowl later that day) and a pair of black arm warmers while munching on my pre-race breakfast of donut holes from Krispy Kreme. What? You've never fueled with donut holes before?
Shortly before 6 a.m. my sister-in-law and I headed out for the starting line.We were staying at the Excalibur, about 3/4 of a mile from the starting line. And since there was a connecting walkway between our resort and the Luxor next door, we didn't have to actually walk outside until we got across the street from Mandalay Bay, where the start/finish line area was. And it was easy to get to. Just follow the endless stream of runners and watch the sunrise over the mountains.
We got near the start corrals and my sister-in-law decided to hang out in her corral. I had to drop my bag off at gear check, so I left. After dropping my bag off I hit the lines for the port-a-pottys. Even though the lines were massive, they moved somewhat quickly. But wouldn't you know it, by the time it was my turn, I couldn't go. Apparently I'm not able to pee under pressure. Yes, I knew I'd have to go. No I couldn't. Ugh. Not wanting to hold up the lines, I left and made my way over to Corral No. 23 and waited for the race to start.
About 30 minutes after the national anthem was sung and the first runners started, it was go time for me. Both time for the half marathon to start and time for me to have to pee. Ugh. Too bad. No time for a pit stop.
I started to run.
I've never run a race this big before. Depending on who you listened to, there was between 28,000 and 30,000 people running the half and full marathons. Crazy. Yet, it wasn't unbelievably crowded. Yes, there were a lot of people, but not so many it was hard to move. I settled into a comfortable pace fairly quickly.
The beginning miles felt really good. I was keeping a steady pace, right around 10:30 minute/mile. I felt good. I was running, taking in the sights along the strip. I passed the Excalibur, MGM Grand, the Statue of Liberty outside of New York, New York and the Monte Carlo. Then it was passed the Eiffel Tower outside of Paris and the fountains at Bellagio. Next up was Caesars Palace, the Mirage, Harrah's and the run-through wedding outside of The Venetian before passing Treasure Island and Wynn before nearing the north end of the strip and Circus, Circus and Stratosphere.
Somewhere right after Mile 5 I decided to ditch my arm warmers. At this point I was only walking through water stations, so that's when I got rid of the arm warmers. I was still feeling pretty good. Miles 6 and 7 took us up through the Fremont Street area. I was a little discouraging at this point, just because we were nearing the turnaround point, so you'd see runners going in the opposite direction. I thought we were close, but then we'd make another turn away. A bunch of turns later, I was finally heading south again. Back towards the finish line. My pace had dropped a bit and I was adding in an extra walk break each mile, but I was still feeling pretty good.
Then Mile 10 hit. I was seriously on pace to hit the 2 hour, 30 minute half marathon I've been coveting all year when I hit Mile 10 at 1 hour, 58 minutes. Then all of a sudden my legs starting revolting. It's like they decided at that point they'd had enough and didn't care that I was still 3.1 miles from the finish line. They just wanted to be done. Add to the sudden dizziness and light-headed feeling I got and it was a little bit scary. So I slowed down and walked. Some of it probably had to do with the fact that I managed to come down with a cold on Monday and it only got worse as the week went on. Add in the insane amount of walking I did in the three days I was in Vegas before the race (yes, yes not very smart). Sickness and tired legs? No wonder they decided they were done.
Mandalay Bay parking lot and the finish line was in sight. It hurt, but I made myself run the final tenth of a mile.
Besides I had a good time. Seriously. How could you not have a good time while running up and down the Las Vegas Strip? And what better ending to a half marathon in Las Vegas than a free concert by Bret Michaels? I'd say it was a good morning.
And 2:30? You've been warned. In six months you're going down.