Friday, November 22, 2013

Race Recap: Rock and Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

 Yesterday night I returned from my trip to Las Vegas.  Of course I took all day today to recover since that's what happens after 5 days in Sin City... the rest.. well that stays in Vegas.  Alright, fine I will tell you about the race experience.

Chris and I took the same flight out of Chicago on Saturday morning and landed in Las Vegas around 8AM local time.  We took the shuttle over to the hotel, Treasure Island, and dropped our bags off.  We made it our first mission to get caffeine. Chris got a coffee and I got a coke.  Our 3rd party member, Vijay, arrived a little over an hour later and off we went to the expo to pick up our race packets.  The timing couldn't have been better since the expo had just opened when we got there.  There was a long line of people filtering in, but we didn't have our confirmation sheets so we had to fill some out before we could get our packets.  By the time we had done this the line was done.  We picked up our bibs, shirts, and bags and meandered through the expo.  This was the first big one Chris has been to so I wanted him to get the full experience.  Afterwards we walked back to the hotel.  The walk round trip was about 3 miles.... we would wind up doing a lot of walking the first day and a half even though we never ventured further than 1 hotel over.  We tried to keep things easy on the first day so we caught a show next door at the Mirage on Saturday night.  We saw the Beatles/Cirque Du Soleil - Love and it was the most amazing show I have seen yet in Vegas.

Daytime view from our room

Night time view from our room
Shirt Design

On race day we had slept in slightly then wandered across the street and got brunch at the Palazzo at Grand Luxe Cafe.  I know we have one in Chicago, but I've only been to the one in Vegas.  After lunch and a brief tour of the canal shops we went back to the hotel to veg out for an hour before heading down to the race start.  Here is one mistake I won't make again - we walked down to the start of the race, which was about 3+ miles away.  It took us an hour and 15 minutes to get there with a restroom break on the way.  We arrived about 30 minutes before the race began.  My legs were already tired before this walk, but this was the nail in the coffin.  I already knew this wasn't going to be my best race.  I have been trying to recover from IT Band Syndrome/Runner's Knee and had only run 3.5 miles in the 2 weeks before the race.  To top things off I had fractured the tip of my left big toe just 3 weeks prior.  All things considered I should have just dropped out of the race and no one would of thought any less of me.  I couldn't do that though.  My goal was to do 13 halfs in 2013 and the 13th might turn out to be the unlucky one.

No backing out now
After some announcements, a wedding ceremony, a pep talk from Kimmy Gibbler (Full House), and the national anthem we were finally off.  I was in the 7th corral and took about 12 minutes for me to get to the start line.  It was slow going and crowded at first.  We made our way down and around the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign.  There was a photo opportunity but I declined.  I just wanted to get done with the race and off my feet.  Early going was slow and steady, just trying to stick with the crowd.  I ran with a 4:00 hour marathon pace group for awhile. The dry air was getting to me so I made sure to get fluids at all the aid stations.  Overall I was holding up pretty well though. It was nice heading down the strip.  There were so many spectators out cheering all the runners on.  Once we got towards downtown and did a couple miles off strip did things get strange.  We ran down dark streets with periodic bursts of light from portable light posts erected just for the race.  This wasn't a sketchy area at all.  Once back to Fremont Street the energy came back.  There was a burst of energy from runner's who had done the half of a half finishing that finished on Fremont to cheer us on.  It also helped that there was a giant metallic praying mantis spewing giant flames up in the air.  Soon we were back on Las Vegas Blvd and heading back towards the strip.  The marathon runners continued down the canopied section of Fremont, which would of been awesome to run down.

 It wasn't until mile 8 that my knee started to hint that there might be trouble, but it wasn't too bad.  I made the decision that I wasn't going to stop to walk, I was going to run this thing since I had made it this far.  By this point in the race the crowds had also thinned out.  There were something around 30K registered half marathon runners, but only 20,566 had finished.  I wonder where those 10K people went?  Around mile 11 I had seen Vijay on the other side of the street heading north.  He was in a much later corral so was only around mile 6.  It was also around this time that I got to take my greatest race picture yet.  I had not seen the photographer sitting in the road because I was behind 2 girls running abreast who dodged to the right at the last second. It was "Oh $H!T!" and a dodge to the left in order not to trample him, but he was a pro and captured the moment perfectly - as well as a runner behind me who decided to join in on the moment.

Oh, hello
I tried to push things a bit the last couple miles, but my body wasn't having any of it so I just tried to hang on.  I finally made it to the finish line at the Mirage in 2:04:07.  This was no where near my best time, but was also no where near my worst so I'm calling the race a success.  I was still feeling ok if a little sore and tired and slowly starting to stiffen.  This was the longest finishing chute I've ever been down and took a good 15 minutes to walk through.  I grabbed a space blanket, my medal, a water bottle, a gatorade bottle, an apple, a chocolate milk, and finally a beer.  After that I had to fight the crowds to get back to the hotel.  I stayed at the hotel just north of the finish line, yet it took about 45 minutes from finish until I got back to my room, where my knee proceeded to scream at me for the rest of the night and into the next day.

I rocked it
Gear Bag and Medal
Close Up of Glow in the Dark Medal

 After the race I showered and stretched.  I waited for Chris and Vijay to finish.  Chris got back about an hour after I was done.  Vijay wasn't too far behind him.  I was actually hungry at this point.  I had been messaging with Mo about meeting up, but Chris and I decided we weren't making it out of the hotel at this point and we definitely didn't want to fight the crowds again.  We wound up going downstairs and having dinner at Kahunaville.  I stayed up and gambled a little bit and Chris went to bed.

The day after the race we were all still a bit beat up.  We went over to Paris for the Village Buffet since I had a Groupon and we refueled on delicious crepes and wine.  We gambled a bit and then I learned Mo was nearby at Planet Hollywood so Chris and I went over to meet up with her for Remote Pint Night.  We started things off classy by stopping in a convenience store and buying tall boys...  This would turn into a late night of fun.

Stop 1: Planet Hollywood - tall boys from ABC Store.
2: MGM - Gambled on the old fashioned horse race machine and got free beers
3: Aria - Todd English Pub for happy hour
4: Cosmo - cocktails at the Chandelier bar.
5: 4 Queens - dinner and microbrew at Magnolias
6: Main Street Station - More gambling
7: Binions - even more gambling
8: The D - quick tour of the refurb job done here

We finally took a bus back to the Strip where a couple of over-served young women were fighting with one guy and tried to get another to pull his pants down on the bus.  It was a fun night and the alcohol took some of the soreness away.  I'd pay for it the next morning, but hey, that's waking up in Vegas!

Oh and I met Teller from Penn and Teller at the airport on the way home!
Totally friends now!


  1. I forgot all about those drunk girls until right now... LMAO.

    Good times. Remote pint night was so fun, and the best part, we didn't have to run first! (Well, I did, but I'm crazy.)

  2. Great job. I totally forgot to post about Kimmy Gibbler in my race review. I was corral 19 and it seemed like forever before we got across the start. Funny though our finish times were very close!

  3. I gotta ask... does Teller speak when not in role? Nice job finishing off the 13 in style.

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