Last Sunday afternoon, I did something I’ve never done before, actually I did a couple things I’ve never done before A) ran an afternoon/evening race B) ran a race that I flew to run C) visited VEGAS!
The short version :
This race was much tougher than I expected, and I suffered. I had a ton of fun running in a tutu, and the experience of running down the Strip was once of a kind!
Spoiler alert : I finished the race in 1:52:56, even though my official race time was 1:53:14, I know my watch was accurate.
I’ve talked about our trip to Vegas in these previous posts, so this is JUST about the race itself. Feel free to read about Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday of our Vegas vacay, as well as check out Jay’s pretty photo’s.
We flew into Vegas on Saturday afternoon, as the race package had to be picked up at the expo before 8pm Saturday night. I had originally looked into flying in on Sunday am, which would have been a bit more rushed, but would have enabled me to better control my food/water intake, but there was an extra race day pickup cost of $40. Crazy in my opinion, especially with it being an afternoon event, but they obviously wanted people to walk through the expo.
The expo was big, and fun to walk through, but I felt like there wasn’t enough samples/freebies, and that the hall was huge for this expo, and could’ve been cut in half to save money (they rented 2 halls joined together).
Our race package included our bib, timing chip, re-usable swag bag, some samples, our technical black race shirt, and a shit ton of flyers.
The marathon started at 3, and the half at 4:30 on Sunday afternoon. We left our hotel to walk to the start, at 2:50pm, and met us with both Jenn and Nikki on the way as planned. We arrived at the start line area around 3:45, and it was well laid out. The portapotty lineups were huge, and I was glad I had stopped at a restaurant on the walk down. We got our glow sticks glowing, took some pics, and headed to our corrals.
I was listed for corral #2, but I knew with my cold, and not so great fueling, that I was not going to be able to pull out a PR race. I lined up in corral #3, near a 1:45 pacer, which I figured was still a bit out of my grasp, but the appropriate place to start.
I met a lovely lady in my corral, from Eastern Canada, who was having a minor freakout over her Garmin being on the wrong screen. Thankfully, we had the same Garmins, and I knew exactly what to push for her to get it up and running again.
While Jay was waiting for me to get back to the Strip, he took some other shots of the race:
We had a few more minutes to kill, and then we were off! It was great being near the front, and not having to stand around any longer, as the bottoms of my feet were already a bit sore.
It was packed at the start (every race is), but I couldn’t believe that there was still people that started in the front that were WALKING, or jogging slowly. I just can’t understand why people think that rules don’t apply to them. There was no crazy time limit on the half, no reason for them to start where they shouldn’t, and get in other people’s way. It always seems to be the really big races I’ve run, like Sun Run, and this Rock & Roll race where people think this is ok. And what I really don’t get, is why they’d want to have THOUSANDS of people passing them?! Can you say deflating?
Anyways, during the first km, this guy was signalling us on the right side to run on the median, and I followed a girl I was pacing myself with, and we ended up taking a pic in front of the Vegas sign – score!
Of course, this picture is one of those ones that costs 15 million dollars, so I didn’t buy it.
This took like 10 extra seconds, and was so fun, and really started the race off with such a great feeling.
Always in the first few kms, the blood is pumping, and I’m so jazzed to be racing that my pace is super awesome, and I feel like an elite runner, I feel so strong and fast, and weaving through people, I just love it. It’s probably my favorite part of every race, I love the thrill and competitive drive running through my blood.
That was NOT the case today. Immediately starting, it was too busy to do too much weaving, especially with the random walkers, and we were headed away from the Strip, and straight into a headwind. It was tough. There was no buildings for cover, and it was just put your head down and trudge along. I knew right from the start that this race was not going to be fast for me.
I had this perfect pacing girl, but I lost her after we turned back towards the Strip, she took off keeping up with the 5 min kms, I just couldn’t stay with her, and dropped back. In the Surrey Half, I felt like those 5 min kms were just about perfect. There was a few times, I had to fight, and a few 5:15′s, but for the most part I hovered 5:00-5:05 consistently.
I couldn’t hover at all near the 5:00 mark after the first few kms. My feet hurt. The winds were strong. It was HOT. I was thirsty. I felt like I couldn’t get my breath at all. I have never felt like this in a race before, but I figure it was due to the loss of my voice on Friday. I was just not feeling on top of my game. Really, nowhere near my top.
I kept talking to myself, trying to calm myself down, not focus on the pace of my watch, but instead focus on whatever pace I could maintain comfortably. I knew going into this race, that it wasn’t going to be a super fast one, but there’s always a little voice saying you never know, and urging you to try and push the pace. You could probably actually call that my Beast Mode trying to push through. And really, I’m wearing a Beast Mode tank from Viewsport, I want to be flying!!
As soon as we got back to the crowded part of the Strip, the spectators and fans were so great! I didn’t go more than 30-60 seconds without having people cheer me on, put their hands out for hi-5′s, and tell me they loved my tutu! I probably heard “Go tutu!!!” at least 100 times, and I was loving it! This was super fun, and although the winds were bashing me around, and I was fighting to keep a 5:20 ish km, I was still smiling and having fun. Plus, it wasn’t almost dark by now, and my light-up tutu looked awesome blinking in the dark!
I decided to keep my light up wand until I saw Jay (if I saw Jay), and then give it to a little girl in the crowd. I did see Jay, and even managed to squeak out a “Jay!” before he turned and caught me. I absolutely hate this picture, but my hubs stood on a sidewalk watching for me to take it, so I’ll include it.
After seeing him, I looked for a little girl to give my wand to, I found one, and reached out to her, but she obviously didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I had no voice, and then she did take it, but I kind of tripped/rolled an ankle, on the un-even pavement, and felt like such a tool. Thankfully, my ankle was fine after a few moments.
After I passed, Jay watched for Nikki, and he didn’t spot her, but he did grab some great shots of other runners (errr and maybe a wanna-be runner?) Alan from the Hangover, was NOT a registered runner, he was one of those guys that you take pics with on the street for tips, and he just jumped into the race. Too funny.
As you can see, lots of running Elvis, and lots of neon color, flashing lights, and glow stuff! It was definitely a well dressed race!
We followed the Strip all the way to the end, went through some residential area, back through Fremont Street, and back to the Strip. I took water and gatorade at every station, and I re-filled my handheld not once, but twice during the race. I felt hot and thirsty the entire race, and just could not get a handle on my breathing. I guess the being a bit sick, and losing my voice, affected me a lot more than I thought it would. It was frustrating to not feel like I was in the right running groove the entire race. And to top it off, my feet hurt basically from the start till the end. They ached on the bottoms of my feet. I guess I have sensitive feet because they often start hurting if I’m on my feet too long.
When we got to km 15, I finally felt like I was running better. I still wasn’t comfortable, and I was fighting with keeping my kms below a 5:30, but I started to feel better, as the end grew closer.
I gutted out the last few kms, and apparently even Jay saw me finish. The halfer’s were in the inside lane, and I was really struggling to finish strong, and even with scanning the crowd, I didn’t see him at all. He got this shot, which again, I hate.
There’s a much better finish line shot of me from the race photogs, but again, I don’t have the 15 million it costs to buy a picture.
After crossing the line, we were handed space blankets, our medals, chocolate milk, jamba juice smoothies, apples, water, gatorade, and snickers workout bars. We also had our pictures taken, but more than 1 volunteer advertised them as free souvenier pictures, so I assumed that we would get that picture sent to us digitally for free, but NOPE. They want us to pay for them. Grrrr.
My only compliant during this finishing chute, is that we should have been given a bag to carry everything, and the exits for leaving the chute were few and far between. Jay found me from the other side of the fence, and I handed him half of my goodies to carry, and yet still had too much to balance! I tried to find him at the first exit, but it was confusing and we lost each other for about 10 mins. Thankfully, we did find each other.
We were so focused on getting back to the hotel, we didn’t take any post race pics. Shocker.
My official results : 1:53:14 (their timing) 1:52:56 (my timing), 68/1902 females 25-29, 443/13,506 females, 1645/22,114 overall
All results can be found here.
Overall, how would I rate this race?
Terrain/Course/Difficulty : B. The course was good, it was interesting most of the time, but I think it would’ve been better to start the opposite way, or start down near old Vegas, as part of old Vegas were quite sketchy to be running at night, and the fan support is most needed in the middle and end of a race, not in the beginning.
Affordability and Value : C. Registration, 2 months before, was $175 or $185 for the half marathon, which is the most I’ve ever paid for a race. I guess I expected more, because it cost so much. The shirt is nice and fits well, the medals are quite large and super heavy, and apparently glow in the dark – I haven’t checked? But, really, there was nothing to me that stood out as being worth this extra amount of money. I get that the Strip had to be closed down, and there was a lot of logistics to that, but, all of their events come with hefty price tags, so I
Organization : B+. After reading recaps from last year, I expected things to be much worse, but they did a good job. I had no issues with how anything was run at all, I just wish that the race itself had been more affordable, or that we could really see our dollars at work.