Wednesday, November 18, 2015

~RnR Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Report 2015~

The Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon was by far the biggest and most logistical race I have ever run! It was quite the experience-- one that was both exciting, unique, very memorable, yet totally chaotic at times! 

We went to the Expo on Saturday morning. It was super busy. We drove down since we had a car anyway. It probably took longer than taking the Monorail but parking was free. Plus I didn't feel up to walking too much, if you know what I mean! ;)



The race package pick up was quick-- very organized and efficient, literally zero wait. 

We wandered through the Expo. We picked out some finishing shirts- they didn't have my size in the shirt I really wanted but I still like the one I ended up getting. 

I was not feeling so great so I didn't explore the Expo as much as I would have liked to. Probably means I spent less money so maybe that's a good thing! We bought a box of Gu Chomps- they now sell them single serving which is good. They have a new flavour- Salted Caramel Apple which is delicious so I stocked up on those! 


I saw Tina at the Nuun display- she was chatting to someone else so I hung around for a few minutes waiting to say hi. The Sparkle Skirt booth was right beside and I really wanted to get one but I was no mood to be making decisions so I ended up skipping it. Kind of regret that but I can always order online or at another race. 

We ended up missing Tina while I was trying on skirts but ran into her a few booths over. 



We chatted, she gave us a few tips and we went to the Bondi Booth. I found a headband since I can always use more of those!  

Just before we headed out we stopped to get our wristband for the post-race beer. Beer is usually the last thing I want ever, never mind after a race but we figured it was better to get the wristband just in case. We ended up not using it. 


Onto the RACE:

We didn't do much the day of the Race (Sunday, November 15th). We slept in till 11am which was glorious! Attempting to find food at noon was a bit of a gongshow. We waited in line for almost an hour for the buffet. I had some pre-race nerves so didn't feel like eating but I knew I had to. The buffet was really good but I don't think I would go to one again just before the race because I didn't eat as much as I would have liked to. One of the reasons I don't like buffets in the first place- never feel like I get my money's worth. 

We went back to the room, got ready and headed out to the Race start at 3:30. The Race started at 4:30pm. Our corral estimate time was 5:03


The empty Strip closed down for the upcoming race at 2:30pm


We took the Monorail one stop to MGM Grand and walked over to Mandalay Bay. It was a bit of a hike. There was a pre-race show that Kid Rock was headlining but we just listened to it as we walked over to the race corrals. 





It started to get super windy as we were waiting to start. We went into Mandalay Bay to use the washrooms- all the port-a-potties were over by the stage. There was quite the line up as expected so we didn't get to our corral until 4:45. 



Hubby decided when we signed up that we would run together. He hadn't done a half marathon in a couple years, focusing more on strength training the last little while, so while he can still run way faster than me, we thought it would be fun to run a half marathon together! 

Luckily we spotted Tina again so we hung out with her for awhile. She is so entertaining and got me very energized!! We moved up into the middle of our corral to hopefully reduce the amount of dodging we would have to do during the race. 




The weather was not completely in our favour. I had been following it all week and all day. It was supposed to be a high of 18C at 3pm and then go down between 17-13C while we were running. I'm used to races where the temperature increases from start to finish so this was different! I knew I would be chilled walking to the race and all the waiting around but I would warm up quickly once I started running so I wore a t shirt, sleeves, capris and an old long sleeve cotton race shirt I was ok with throwing away. Of course I wore my water belt, with only 2 bottles. 

Almost at the Start Line!!


Finally, around 5:15pm it was time for us to start running!! We ran south for a mile before turning around and running north up the Strip. There was a lot of dodging at the beginning which I expected. We saw a few Elvis costumes, one Kiss and a whole bunch is sparkle skirts and tutus. It made me wish I dressed up!! Next time!

We stopped at the Vegas sign for a picture. It didn't really turn out!



I had a slight stitch in my right side for the first 10k. It wasn't horrible but there. After the first few KMs it seemed to open up as we took over the entire side of one side of the Strip. My first couple of KM were slower, trying to find my pace and getting around people. By 3-4KM I felt I was getting into a good pace, not dodging as many people and even though it had started to rain slightly, I felt good. I took off my cotton throw away shirt but tied it on my waist for a little bit just in case the rain got worse. 


The water stations were a complete gong show. I am so glad I always bring my own water and fuel so I don't have to rely on what the race offers. Every time we hit a race station, our pace would slow down, people would walk in the middle, there were cups ALL over the ground, slipping and sliding everywhere. 

I stuck to my 10 & 1s, drinking water when I needed it & taking my Gu Chomps starting at 50 minutes. 

We started to get a bit behind pace-- I had decided earlier that I would worry less about a time goal and just have fun. So many people told me this race was not a good one to go for a PR and I see why! We dodged people the entire time. The race etiquette was out the window- people walked whenever and wherever they wanted, usually the middle, where I was trying to run! It was frustrating since I definitely used more energy this way.

Around 8K I ditched my cotton shirt from around my waist. I was warm and knew I likely wouldn't need it for the rest of there race.

There were a handful of bands playing-- I'm not sure why but I expected more bands along the way.

Running the Strip was pretty neat! Such a fantastic way to check out the hotels without zooming past them in a car or dealing with traffic!

With the exception of the first Mile marker and the 10K marker, I didn't see any markers until the last few kilometres and they were all blown over. I felt that was disorienting since I didn't know how far we had gone for most of the race, even though I did have my Garmin. It was dark so it was hard to see the distance when I would look at it.

I knew at 10K we were a bit behind where I wanted us to be at but still felt fairly good.

We stopped to take a picture by all the Wedding Chapels!


There were some parts that were not so great- after Stratosphere there is a long, dark and open stretch that was windy and boring. When we weaved through Old Vegas it was also dark, no bands and very disorienting. I did struggle here a bit. Thankfully hubby stayed a few steps ahead of me the entire time so that kept me going! It was here that I took my arm sleeves off- so probably around 13K? I also missed taking a Gu (damn sleeves are so hard to take off it takes an entire walk break!) so that ended up affecting me a bit later.

We briefly ran on Fremont Street which was cool!! I had never been there before and it was nice to have a stretch of bright lights and activity when the previous few kilometres were dark and quiet.

The run back down the Strip from Old Vegas was when the wind picked up! Holy heck it was tough! Running into that was so hard, both physically and mentally. My legs were done yet I could see we still had a ways to go. And the dodging just continued.

The wind just continued the entire last stretch-- we hoped it would die down as we got past Stratosphere and the big hotels started to shelter us but it barely helped. So windy! I guess all those wind advisory updates I was getting all day were no joke!

My calves and quads were on fire the last 3-4KM of the race. Walking didn't help them much either and I just wanted to be done.

Soon we could see Mirage in the distance and I knew the end was near. At my last walk break, hubby was just a bit ahead of me and I was struggling so I yelled at him "walk" but he couldn't hear me well (damn wind!) so I had to yell it again a couple times. When he finally heard me he thought I was saying another word that starts with "F"!!

FINALLY we could see the finish line, the crowd was getting bigger and we dug deep to finish. We dodged people (walking) right up until the very end!

I was so relieved to finish, happily in 2:19:27!


Once you finish, you have to continue walking down the finisher's chute for a kilometer. Along the way you get your medal, take Finisher's photos, get space blankets (my first ever- so cool and needed!), water, gatorade, food, etc. I needed a bag for all the stuff they gave us! We didn't take many pictures at the end because we had no hands!

I purposely chose our hotel, Paris, because it was situated at the end of the finisher's chute. We had to hop a short fence and then we were right at our hotel. It was darn cold out at this point, and soooo windy that I was thankful that we didn't have far to go to get to a hot shower and warm clothes! Surprisingly those space blankets are quite warm!



Thoughts on the race? It was crazy, fun, exciting, different, and thrilling to run the Las Vegas strip at night! Would I do it again? Sure! Is racing with 50,000 other people my favourite thing? No. Mentally it was hard dodging all those people (and we were in the correct corral based on our estimated time, although we ended up being a couple minutes slower). I also found just the logistics of an out-of-town race hard- getting to and from the start, when to eat, what to do before the race (since it was a night race) without walking too much, etc. One thing I would change was maybe forget about a time goal. I am disappointed that I didn't PR BUT overall I am so happy with how I ran the race and I don't think I could have done anything differently other than taken a couple extra Gu chomps earlier but I still don't think that would have gotten me a PR. Maybe a minute or two faster tops. That wind and the constant dodging of people just made it too difficult!

Race shirt, medal (glows in the dark!) and bib


Close up- slot windows spin- the other side of the bananas is '3'



A couple of the race photos- trying to decide if they are worth $75 US!!! Yikes that's expensive and these are the only good ones.




9 comments:

  1. I have to say I am jealous of your little getaway and race ;) So happy you guys got away for it!
    You did awesome, big races like this are hard to PR in, so many people running for fun and plus you want to enjoy it too.
    for photos if you do not have one of you and your husband together at the race I would pay it, I did for our Disney race and still really love the photo and do not regret the $$ spent.
    This race is on my list for sure!

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  2. I have always wanted to do this race. It sounds so fun! I have heard the wind can be a bit much, but running the strip just sounds awesome! Congrats on another race! Love all the pictures. And I am with you, beer is the last thing I want after a race! :)

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  3. Awesome job!! You should be soo proud!! Looks like fun and I'm glad you and hubby got a weekend getaway out of the deal!!

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  4. Awesome job!!! It looks like you guys had fun :)

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  5. This race looks like so much fun. What a great little getaway for you two.

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  6. Congratulations on your half marathon! That's fun that you guys were able to run it together and have some time away

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  7. So awesome that you guys did this together! Love it. And I am jealous of your little getaway! So awesome. Looked like a fun race for sure!

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  8. I did this race a few years ago and had a similar experience! The people walking 5 or 6 wide ahead of us, and the people who stopped to walk out of nowhere drove me insane!! But it was super cool to have the experience of running along the strip in the dark :) Glad you guys had a good time!

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  9. Congrats on your race! So nice that you and hubby did it together. I don't know that I could ever run such a long race in the evening (I prefer to run when there's not a day's worth of food in my system lol!). And $75US for photos!! Brutal!!

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