No making it rain. ~ Shana Mac
Ah, Vegas. Home of the $3 Prime Rib special and all-nude review. Gotta love it when 20,000 runner dorks descend on the city of vice.
So what a weekend. Here is the short version:
- Got up too early.
- Slept through my whole flight
- Warm up run
- Wonderful dinner at Nora’s
- Wu Tang Clan
- Bed too late
- Up too early
- Lost my gels
- Ran too fast
- Second half was kinda crappy
- Finished strong
231 232 overall, 42 in class (official results)
- Pretty whooped after
- Great dinner at Spago
- Way sore on Monday
- Vegan Donuts at Ronald’s
- Checked out Vegas
- Back to airport
Now, for those braver souls… here is the full deal.
Apparently, I am no longer able to add as I got up at 4:15 for a 8:55 flight out of DIA. I could have slept another hour but I suppose for flights, it is better to be early than late. So I tried to read a little but was way too tired so I just napped in the airport instead. Other than snapping awake to the panic that my laptop was gone, it was all good. I pretty much slept the whole flight to Vegas which was packed with cowboys and runner dorks who would not shut up. Thank you iPod and Shure ear-pods!
Got to Vegas and met up with Carissa from GroundFloor Media and her husband, Zack. We grabbed a shuttle to the hotel (Mandalay Bay/THEhotel) and then I checked my bag and walked down to the Expo to pick up my race pack. Vegas never disappoints when it comes to an eclectic mix of people and this weekend was host to not only the marathon, but National Finals Rodeo and the De La Hoya/Pacquiao fight. Cowboys, fight fans and runners mixed with the usual Vegas crowd. Great people watching for sure. I had not been seeded (bummer) but I was able to sweet-talk my way into the corral (yes!), which was pretty cool.
We grabbed some lunch with Amy Claire from GFM at the Noodle Shop (not so good) and then I got into my room and went for a quick run. Running on the Strip is interesting to say the least and I occasionally found myself running in the gutter having been cordoned off from the main sidewalk. I quickly figured out this was not the best idea in the whole world and ran east, off the strip then hit the pool for a cool-down. I would say that I felt, okay… not great but given the last couple of weeks, that was pretty much what I expected.
John rolled in from LaQuinta later that day and we met up with the GFM crew for dinner at Nora’s. Laura, Ramonna, Amy Claire, Carissa, Zack, John and I were joined by three of Carissa’s friends from New York and we had a great time. Nora’s accommodated my wacky Vegan-ness without troubles and I wolfed down a pizza with glee.
John and I drove the New york friends back to their hotel then decided it would be a good idea to wander around the casino for a bit. Once we hit the floor, I noticed that the Wu Tang Clan was playing at the House of Blues and so we went over to see if the show was sold out or over. No to each question, so John splurged for tickets and we hit the show. How often do you get the chance to check out the Wu?
So the first act finally came on (a local hip-hop act that wasn’t bad at all), then a horrendous rapper named Queen Shalika or something, then a worse group called Ice Cold. At this point, I was really getting tired and needed to get to bed but wanted to at least see a little bit of the Wu Tang Clan. They finally came on at about 10:45 so I stayed for a few songs then hit the sack. John stayed for the remainder of the show which he indicated was pretty good.
I was up early (4:30) for the race and definitely didn’t get as much sleep as I would have preferred but whatchagonnado? I stretched a bit, ate a sandwich, and got all my stuff together then headed down to the start line. I had heard that one needed to get there early but since I was seeded, I could have slept for at least another 30 minutes. Live and learn. I followed a HUGE group of Elvi out to the event (yes, people dressed like Elvis) and then headed for the corral. At Denver, we were seeded according to approximate pace but at the Vegas event, it was more of a free-for all (not particularly chaotic in the corral) so I just took my time warming up, stretching, etc. until they started the wheelchair event at which point everyone behind the corral rushed forward. Fortunately, this was about 2 minutes to the start so I was in a really great position for the gun. Unfortunately, I lost two of my Clif Shots, which was a bit disconcerting and annoying but there really wasn’t anything I could do at that point so I just went with the flow.
At about 6:05 we were off, accompanied by a fireworks show and we headed North up the Strip. There were no problems with congestion since I started way up front and we had 4-lanes and a straight course ahead of us. We ran all the way up the Strip, which was actually pretty cool, and I settled into a steady 7:45ish pace that fluctuated a bit (7:15-8:00). I had the idea that I might actually qualify for Boston so I decided to push it to see what I could do. Probably not the best plan but I figured, “What the hell,” and just motored along the Strip, checking out the landmarks.
We started at the south end, which is much newer and more populated and worked our way north to the seedier end of the Strip. So the sites became danker and danker as we moved along the first 5-6 miles of the course. Shortly after turning off the Strip, the half-marathon runners took a different route so the full-marathon peeps were on their own. We worked our way into North Vegas which became a bit sketchy and devoid of attractions to draw the eye. It was interesting, to say the least. I kept up a pretty solid pace for the first half (1:39 at the mid-way point) but wasn’t really feeling very well. I just tried to keep up the 7:30 pace for as long as possible and eventually was really suffering. I had a few decent miles in the last half, usually when I would latch onto a faster runner and try to hang on for as long as possible.
Towards the end, I started walking through the aid stations to really get some liquids down and was able to pick up three more Shots at about mile 16 which I readily slugged down. Unfortunately, I gobbled one at about mile 16.8, thinking there would actually be water available at mile 17 but that station was non-existent so I was really hurting for liquids by mile 18. Oh well. I had some really bad miles in the last half but was able to finish much more strongly than Denver so that felt pretty good. I came into the final few hundred meters and really just focused on running fast and strong and finished with a chip time of 3:24:35. This beat my top-end goal by about 5:30 and was a full 17-minutes faster than my Denver finish. I finished 42nd in my class and
231st 232nd overall. That puts me in the top 5%! Really, really satisfying.
Immediately afterward, I felt a lot better than Denver but my legs were really sore. I also had to pee like crazy and noticed that I had some blood in my urine. Having not experienced this in the past (but not terribly concerned because I vaguely remembered reading something about this), I headed to the medical tent to be sure and the doc confirmed that due to the muscle breakdown, it is pretty common to have that happen after an event of this type. So I ate some more food, drank lots of water, took a cool-down dip in the pool then headed back to my room for a much-needed soak. I pretty immediately started peeing normally, so that was nice.
I just kicked it for the remainder of the morning then met up with the GFM crew for a Coke. John and I then sought out more Stu-friendly food at the Border Grill. They were friendly and accommodated my wackiness with a tasty chop salad. Good stuff. We didn’t do much the rest of the day until later when we headed down the Strip to check out Planet Hollywood to find some food. I was feeling really sore and woozy by the time we finally landed at Spago. They were great and made me a special, off-menu, vegan pizza which was quite tasty. I felt better after eating and getting some more liquids then we headed back to THEhotel and I hit the sack.
Today, I woke up really sore. Much more sore than post-Denver but without some of the more long-term ouchiness (toes) that accompanied my Denver experience. My right index toe is pretty tender but everything else seems ok. My quads are most sore and I definitely noticed them tightening up and suffering during the event so that makes sense.
I took a swim in the morning then John and I checked out and headed off the strip for vegan donuts at Ronald’s. Definitely yummy but I now know why donuts are not on my list of “missed foods”. Just not my bag for a breakfast chow-down. Very tasty, though. John and I then just dinked around Vegas for a bit then he dropped me off at the airport. My flight is now about to start boarding so I’ll wrap things up…
Overall, this was a great time and a fun event. I wish they had been a bit more organized, particularly at the start, and wish all the aid stations had been where they said they would be. There were restrooms all along the route, which was nice, but there were a lot of other advertised amenities that did not materialize and overall, I think that they over-sold the event in their marketing materials. Not like that was a big deal to me, but I can see some people being a little pissed.
The accommodations at THEhotel were top-notch and restaurants really went out of their way to try to set me up with food I could eat, so overall, though Vegas is just completely ridiculous, it was great to be there this weekend. Not sure I would do this event again or not but I did have a great time.
I’ll probably have more thoughts later but for now, that’s all I have.
[edited for creative spelling and overall place adjustment]