It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever (since March) and now it’s come and gone.
I signed up for this race for several reasons:
- FOMO. Many of the PCB blogger/runners said that they wanted to run it.
- I love race-cations.
- I had enough FF miles for a free flight and Marcia offered to share a room with me (since the other bloggers were bringing their hubbys.).
- I’d heard great things about the course and the race and it was supposedly pretty flat.
- Running down the Vegas strip at night? Why not?
- The bling. Run 2 races in one weekend and get 3 medals!
Half Marathon Training:
If you read my blog, you know that I am not strict about following a training plan. I ran my last half marathon on October 1 and since then I have completed some easy weekday runs and a few long runs on the weekend.
Though I don’t usually care much about my short runs, I do like to get in a 12 miler before each half marathon.
I skipped my long run entirely the weekend I went away with my friends. I added extra miles to two races and then shortened my 12 miler to 10. But I did taper with 10 instead of 8. (I am a coach’s nightmare LOL)
I wasn’t really worried since with 40k runners, I didn’t expect to run at a PR pace anyway.
I was thrilled to be out there running and healthy and to be in the company of so many other enthusiastic runners.
Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:
I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep on this trip.
Resting your legs is probably a good idea. Fueling for a long race is important.
After 28 half marathons, you would think I would know this.
And I do.
But when your race has no time goals, you may ignore the prerequisites for a pain-free race.
Anyway, the day before this race, I put 16.4 miles on my legs which included a 5k race.
I took a fabulous bus tour of Red Rock Canyon. The scenery was breathtaking and I did some some hikes at several of the stops.
In the evening, I slowly raced a 5k. (You can read about it here.)
Afterward the gang (bloggers and spouses) decided to walk to find a restaurant for dinner.
One thing I learned about Vegas is that nothing is as close as it seems. Even taking the monorail involves tons of walking.
Race day included a lot of meet-up planning. Most of which was unsuccessful.
Marcia and I went out for brunch at Mandalay Bay around 10 am. We planned on eating again before our race which was scheduled to start at 4:30 pm but that never happened.
Eventually we headed back to our hotel from the Paris Hotel (where we had hung out with Kim & Tricia and their hubbys) to get ready and walk to the race start which was near New York New York hotel.
We were very lucky as far as the weather was concerned. It was cloudy and high in the 60s. Though I was warm while running, my tank and skirt was a perfect race choice.
Everything was very organized at the beginning of the race. We followed signs to gear check, our planned blogger meet up and waited until everyone arrived.
Finally they did so we could snap the obligatory pre-race photo.
The corrals were organized by colors and then by numbers. Everyone was in blue except for MaryBeth. We squeezed into our location and waited. Checking out all the crazy costumes kept us entertained. Elvises, super heroes, brides and grooms and more.
I took a Gu since it had been over 5 hours since I had anything to eat.
Little by little waves of 5 moved forward and started with a fire send off. This was very cool.
Marcia, Kim and I started together. I planned to start out slowly and stay with them as long as I could.
It was so crowded that it was impossible to run fast. We were just weaving in and out.
We started by running toward the airport past the Welcome to Las Vegas sign and by where the shooting occurred. There was no music during this stretch to honor the victims.
I stopped and walked at the first water stop around mile 1. My mouth was already parched due to the dry air. Marcia and Kim were smart to carry water (I never do.)
I caught back up to Marcia and Kim but then lost them when they stopped at the port a potties around mile 2.
I stopped again at the mile 3 water stop and walked for awhile. I thought that possibly Marcia and Kim would catch up but they never did.
At this point, I knew that the race was going to be a struggle. I felt light headed probably because I was hungry. My legs felt heavy and I just had no energy. This was worrisome since it was only the beginning of the race.
But the music started which was a nice distraction and we were entering the strip.
Around mile 5 I took another Gu (Smores – yum!!) and walked again. This was the pattern for most of the race. Run and then walk at the water stop which were every 2 miles it seemed.
Running was more of a struggle than I ever remember. But lights and sights of the Vegas Strip at night were mesmerizing.
It was hard not to smile even during a struggling pace.
We ran by the Mirage, Paris, the Bellagio fountains. Indescribable.
Eventually we left the lively part of the strip and headed toward Old Vegas. This part dragged until we arrived at Fremont Street.
Here the course looped around and finally we were running in the direction toward where we started. There was hope that I could do this thing.
Around mile 9, I took my final Gu (toasted marshmallow) which did not sit well. I won’t be buying this flavor again!!
The winner of the marathon passed me by and he had more zip in his step than I did. LOL
After mile 10, I gave up only walking at water stops. I just walked whenever I felt like it. I just wanted to cross the finish line. I had no idea what my time was and frankly I didn’t care.
Eventually I spotted the Mirage Hotel and then Paris and the Bellaggio Fountains. Of course, they weren’t as close as I thought but I did it. I finished it this strugglefest….with a smile!!
As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was handed a metal, water, chocolate milk. Other goodies such as bananas, bars, Pringles chips, pretzels were available including free beer.
I headed to get my Remix Medal and then to Gear Check (Both were easy to find.) to wait for the others to finish. One by one, they arrived. Everyone finished!! We were ALL happy (even though none of us had PRs except for Greg running his first half.)
Off we went (on foot, of course) in search of a place for dinner and celebration.
Additional Race Reflections:
- Organized packet pick-up.
- The Expo
- Easy to navigate to gear check, port-a-potties, the start, etc.
- Fire send-off -at the Start
- Amazing crowd support. People lined the entire course.
- Flat course.
- Awesome medal.
- Remix Challenge
- Perfect weather conditions
- Water and Gatorade stops at least every 2 miles
- The music – all genres from country to Elvis to Elton John to Kiss
- Security – police in helicopters and armed police everywhere
- The runners and their costumes
- Lots of photos (I had 18)
- The sights and sounds of the Vegas Strip (unforgettable)
- No major injuries. (just the usual blister on my foot)
- Sharing the race experience with friends
- Lack of sleep (3 hour time difference)
- Too much walking the day before
- Not properly fueling the day of
- Dry Heat
- Training (no 12 miler?)
- Flat course (I actually enjoy the variety of ups and downs)
- Black tees for a night race (neon perhaps?)
- Nothing really.
The RNR Vegas Half Marathon was a great race. I am so glad that I had to chance to run it.
Whatever made the race more painful that it should have been was my own doing. Lesson learned. RESPECT THE DISTANCE!! 13.1 miles is no joke.
Would I recommend this race?
Yes. Yes. Yes. I don’t usually repeat half marathons but if I did, I would run this one again. And especially if it were closer and cheaper.
I never looked at the watch throughout the race since it was dark and I had zero goal other than finishing. So there’s no reason to post my paces. They were consistently in the 10s which is slow for me until the last three miles when they were 11s.
Yes, one of my slowest recent half marathons even slower than some hilly ones. Am I disappointed? Nope, not in my finish time. Only disappointed that I didn’t choose to painlessly stroll to that time. In this race, that was as fast as I was capable due to several preventable mistakes (whining over!!)
March 17, 2018
Happy Running! Have you run the RnR Vegas Half Marathon? Ever run a race just for fun that turned out to be a struggle?