I was doing well in my training for my 1st half marathon which was supposed to be the Rock N Roll P.F. Changs Half in Phoenix on January 15th, 2011. Then my friends, Juli, Kristen, and Christine convinced me to sign up for the Rock N Roll Vegas Half on Dec. 4th 2011.
I signed up right before it sold out. Honestly I was more excited about having a fun girls weekend than I was about running. I got the kids off to school on Friday morning and then we headed out to Vegas. It’s only about a 4 hr. drive from Phoenix. We checked into our hotel and headed to the expo. It was huge. Of course, I had nothing to compare it to since I had never been to any race expo or run in any race before. Not even a 5k. What better way to start my racing experience than with 44,000 other people on the Las Vegas Strip right?
We got our numbers and did some shopping and went back to the hotel for dinner. We met up with another friend the next day and headed back to the expo. We went over to the Brooks Carnival area where I won a lovely T-shirt. My friend, Christine, won a new pair of shoes! She threw that ball into that tiny cup on top of the shoe mountain.
Before I knew it, it was Sunday afternoon and time to get ready for the race. I pinned my bib on and put my chip timer on my shoe and we dropped our bags off at gear check. My friend Juli was running the full marathon so we said goodbye to her and then went back inside to wait for our race to start. Christine brought glow sticks for everyone and handed me one. I bent it to get it to start glowing and it cracked and the stuff inside shot right in my eye. I have to wear contacts because I am blind as a bat. My eye started burning like crazy. My friends shuffled me past the line of 100 people waiting to use the bathroom and steered me over to the sinks. I took out my contact and rinsed my eye out with a ton of water and the burning got a little better. After a few minutes I put my contact back in and we went to get in our corrals. I was still a little blurry in one eye but I wasn’t about to let that stop me from running the race. My friends are much faster than me so I was in a corral way behind them.
The race started and I took off. It was crazy crowded and I was weaving in and out of people. There were a ton of people dressed up in fun costumes, there were people running barefoot, and I passed one very tall burly man wearing nothing but knee high socks, a scarf, and a nude colored thong. He was running with a beer in his hand.
My normal pace was about a 12 min. mile at that time and I ran Miles 1-5 at a 10:20-10:40 pace. 6-9 I slowed it down to a little over 11 min. miles. At mile 10 I was dying. The farthest I had ever run was 12 miles and I couldn’t believe I still had 3 more to go. I saw so many people around me walking. I wasn’t with any of my friends, and I thought I can walk for just a minute. So I walked for a few minutes and then started running again. Walking was a big mistake because it made it ten times harder to start running again. I felt like I was sprinting, but I looked at my watch and was barely hanging onto a 12 min. pace. Mile 12 was 13 minutes. Mile 13 was 12 minutes and then I ran as hard as I could to the finish line. My goal was to run it in somewhere close to 2 and a half hours and I came in at 2:29.
It was like this for the whole race.
The finish was insane. I got my medal and stood in line for my picture and then I made my way back inside to get my bag. There were people crammed everywhere. I guess a lot of runners who drank the water had gotten sick. I was fine. I met my friend Christine who had waited for me and she was really sick. My other friend Kristen, went to look for Juli, who was running the full. I helped Christine back to our hotel room. It took us forever to work our way through the hotel. She had to stop at a bathroom to be sick. We made it to our room and she took a shower and crawled into her bed.
Poor Juli was running the full and having a hard time. They did a terrible job of keeping the full marathon lane separate from the half so she merged in with all the halvers at the back who were walking and couldn’t get around them. It started raining on her. They were breaking down the tables at the water stations and were out of water and cytomax. She had to stop at a 7-11 just off the course. She made it to the finish and there was a huge traffic jam in the hotel. The big Michael Jackson Show at the hotel was just getting out as the same time all the runners were finishing and it was wall to wall people. People were passing out and getting sick and not able to move at all. It was terrible.
It wasn’t quite the first race experience I was hoping for but I did have a good time. I ran my goal time. I got a very cool medal. It glows in the dark. I guess they ran out for the later runners. They are supposed to be making major changes for next year. I was proud of myself for coming a long way since I had started about 8 months earlier and could barely run a quarter mile.