Last weekend I flew to Las Vegas from Kauai to participate in the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon, my third half marathon in 2013. I’m kind of excited that I got to cross that off my list for the year because although I made a 3-race goal for myself at the beginning of 2013, as the year went on I didn’t think it was actually going to happen.
Vegas is beautiful this time of year and since it’s the off season crowds were minimal. I was a little disappointed that I missed the holiday decorations by a week or two, but the Conservatory at the Bellagio still had some cool fall decor.
The race was on Sunday and we arrived a couple days early to acclimate ourselves and adjust to the time change. (Really, I just wanted to escape work and go shopping!)
The race expo was at the Las Vegas Convention Center and was super big and crowded. Had my husband not been with me, I would have hung around there longer than I did but he’s a typical guy and was getting on my nerves with his antsy-ness so we cut it short. I actually love race expos and could probably spend several hours looking around checking out new gear and possible future races to attend.
We stayed at the Aria Resort & Casino which had a great location and nice amenities. The rooms were nice and spacious and the restaurants we tried were all great, especially Javier’s, their Mexican restaurant. The chicken tacos were beyond amazing. Like, pretty much the best I’ve ever had. The service in the bar was so exceptional we went back a second time, and really, who does that in Vegas where there’s so many amazing restaurants to try.
Our room was on the 29th floor and had a pretty view of the strip.
Sunday’s race had a 4:30 start time so I was really confused about how to fuel and hydrate in the early part of the day. I ended up not timing the hydration part right as I pretty much had to pee for the first 6 miles of the race (even though I went right before the start) and couldn’t hold it any longer by mile 7.5 and had to stop AND WAIT IN LINE for the porta potty. This took several minutes off my time as I later realized when I discovered my Garmin was set on auto pause.
The sun was just setting as we filed into our corrals and the weather was perfect. Once the race started it was slightly annoying to have to weave around people for the first several miles. I was in the starting corral I was assigned to, but others were clearly not. I mean, I’m a slow runner and for me to be passing and weaving around people who started in waves before mine means something is not quite right with the system.
Nevertheless, it was the Las Vegas Strip that we were running down and there were more than 30,000 people at this race, so I really can’t complain.
The course is an out and back so the first and last miles are super exciting as you pass all the casinos and lights and music. The middle miles are dark and weird…you can’t really see anything and I’m not sure if we were running through a neighborhood or an industrial area or what. The spotlights they used to light the course were blinding and didn’t really have much ground coverage. If I run this race again I will bring my own head lamp for this portion of the race.
Other than my hydration issue and resulting potty stop, I felt really good and strong throughout the race. I ran a negative split with my final mile being the fastest of them all, go figure. Although in full disclosure, this course is super fast and flat with nary an inch of elevation.
Whatever. A faster time is a faster time, right?
The finish line was so crowded and confusing. I wanted to wait for my husband to come across the finish (this was his very first half marathon, yay!) but they kept pushing me back to the end of the secure finish area. Now that I think about it, I should have left the secure area and gone to the spectator side of the finish line, but for some reason my brain wasn’t working at that point. I was freezing my ass off and confused as to how I would ever find my husband in the sea of people.
It all ended well and we headed back to our hotel to warm up, meet up with our daughter Bailey who had flown down from Northern Nevada to hang out with us, and have a post-race sushi dinner at BarMASA.