A year ago the most unlikely thing happened! My phone buzzed and it was a text from my little sister, saying "I'll sign up for the Las Vegas half marathon next year if you do it, too." WHAT?!?! Miss "I don't run unless someone is chasing me!"? The obvious answer was a resounding yes. So that's the story of why I signed up for this race.
Over the course of the year we got a bunch of people on board. My mom signed up for the half - her second. An aunt and uncle from NY had never been to Vegas and signed up for the 5k. My dad, his cousin, another aunt, and Travers (who is perfectly capable of running but just didn't want to) all came along for the ride. It was shaping up to be a fun weekend.
And it was! After a long week of drinking following the most disappointing election I could possibly imagine and my 33rd birthday the following day, we landed in Vegas on Friday night to continue the party streak low-key at my sister's place. Afterward I hit the BlackJack table with my dad and a $20 bill... and walked away half hour later with $30! Winning!
Saturday I continued to spend time with the family. The bad thing about a Sunday night race is having it hanging over your head the whole weekend, but on the plus side I had just PR'ed a half two weeks ago and didn't really care much about this one. So we walked around Vegas quite a bit, and drank, with a stop at the High Roller.
Great views from the High Roller
Mid-day tequila + observation wheel = winning combo!
Sunday was a little less fun as I had to figure what and when to eat to avoid a total disaster in the evening half marathon. I really just felt like I was waiting for time to go by until we could run the stupid thing. Finally though, it was almost time, and I was SO EXCITED for my mom and sister to run too!
We wore neon so our fans could spot us... but it turns out everyone in Vegas wears neon
The event kicked off with a one hour Snoop Dogg concert. I wouldn't ordinarily attend a Snoop Dogg concert probably, but it was pretty fun, and he was good as far as I could tell!
Drop it like it's hot
A few classics:
1.) Snoop: So marijuana is legal here. Who is f-ing high right now?
Me: Ummm...does this guy know what he's doing here?
2.) Snoop: What do you all like to drink while you're running?
Crowd: Gin and juice!
Crowd: Gin and juice!
Snoop: [perplexed] Gatorade?!
3.) Snoop: expletive-expletive-derogatory comment about women-expletive-explicit comment about women
Me: This guy should go for president!
After managing to get through the concert without a contact high (thank you fellow runners), which is more than I can say about some of my training runs at Lake Merritt, I left for my corral. At this point I was NOT excited to run a half marathon, but as it became dusk and the strip started to light up I had to admit it was pretty cool.
The plan was to just run comfortably the whole time. After running minimally since Healdsburg I was surprised to find that 7:3x pace was coming pretty easily, so I decided to roll with it. The course had a lot of entertainment which was good because there were a lot of distractions. I hadn't studied the course at all and I didn't know where the full marathoners were supposed to separate from the half, so once in a while I'd find myself surrounded by full runners and enter a brief panic that I had accidentally joined the full course. That would've been a nightmare. Luckily, I did not, and I just kept going along my way.
It was about mile 10 when a 7:3x pace stopped feeling so fantastic. If you look at my splits mile 11 is about 20 sec slower than miles 5-10, which is clearly where I was thinking "f- this, why am I pushing myself?" But then I started doing math and I realized that if I DID go back to 7:3x pace I would finish sub-1:40. I think I have some sort of compulsive disorder because there's no reason to go sub-1:40 two weeks after 1:34, but I found myself pushing it anyway. Somewhere in mile 12 I saw my family cheering and waved excitedly! (My dad said I looked like I wasn't even trying or sweating. False. Well maybe I wasn't sweating because I was super dehydrated and my face was caked with salt, but I was definitely trying.) I finished the race in a 1:38:59, for some reason stopped to have a coughing fit, and then made my way through the finisher's chute back toward my family.
After drinking several liters of liquid and going to the bathroom many times, I was getting ready for my mom and sister to run by. I am a total rule follower, but I had this grand plan to jump back onto the course and finish with them. It was making me nervous just thinking about it, but I couldn't think of anything more awesome than finishing a run with them. So my aunt was tracking and once I knew their estimated time to pass, she left to head closer to the finish. I had Travers with me - he actually stuck around to take a video of my rogue behavior. We waited and waited, both looking for my mom and sister so I could jump in, and then we got a call from my aunt saying we had missed them. I was SO disappointed :( Lesson: it's really hard to find people in a race with 36,000 runners. At least we got to meet up with them at the finish line.
We did it!
One thing my aunt noticed when we were tracking my mom and sister was that something had gone wrong with my tracking and the app said "location unknown". I definitely installed my D-tag correctly as this wasn't my first rodeo, so I'm not sure what went wrong. While we were at Shake Shack two of my training buddies texted to make sure I was ok, which was really thoughtful :) The 'unknown location' ended up with me having to submit a results correction, which after review the RD agreed to correct my time but listed by start time as the front of my corral rather than where I started. So my official time is slightly slower than I actually went, which really isn't a big deal but ever so slightly bothers my compulsive side :)
Afterward my sister really wanted to go to the club, and she had just finished her first half marathon, so I complied.
Did I mention that I had a 6 am flight the next morning and had to go directly to work? And that we had work all day/all week and dinner plans Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after work? Needless to say, I barely exercised this week and it was exhausting anyway.
I probably wouldn't run that race again. I always prefer to get the race over with and then have fun the rest of the trip - not the other way around! But a huge thanks to my family for coming out to support - great to see everyone! And big congratulations to my mom and sister!!!!!