Thursday, December 15, 2011

Las Vegas Half Marathon Recap

Kim and Stacey at the start
This is a long time coming, but I am finally recapping the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon that took place on Sunday, Dec. 4. 

The race was huge!!! Approximately 44,000 runners were there and about 38,000 of those were half marathoners.  I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be running a PR with a course that full.  The race took off in front of Mandalay Bay and continued down the strip, veering left at the Stratosphere and then looping by Fremont Street and back onto the strip to finish behind Mandalay Bay.  The best part of the course was that the lights on the Strip provided a great distraction from running.  Having said that, there were also some pretty significant drawbacks.  One, it was too crowded.  To give all runners the experience of running the strip at night, the marathoners started about an hour before the halfs and joined the halfs for their second half of the marathon.  Unfortunately, this meant that all 44,000 runners were on the course at the same time.  This meant that the course was crowded for the entire race.  I ran about .2 miles more than a 1/2, which I think can be attributed to running around people. 

Two, there weren't enough port a potties.  The starting line was crazy, so it was nearly impossible to get to the port a potties at the start.  I passed up the first set up port a potties assuming there'd be more soon.   I was wrong.  Nearly 3 miles later, there was a single port a potty, which I waited over 7 minutes to use.  That's a lot of down time for a race.

Three, the finish area was a mess.  I crossed the finish line in a pack of about 50 other runners.  It kind of ruined the fun of crossing the finish line.  Then, it took us nearly an hour to make it back to the car.  The whole area around the Strip was chaos--I felt bad for anyone who was vacationing in Vegas that didn't know about the race.

Fourth, I am not sure this was a negative, but it was odd--the race was at night and it was cold (really cold for Vegas standards and the finishers at the end were treated to some rain).  It was difficult to plan on what to eat all day and when due to the start time. 

Despite all of that, I finished in 2:28--not a PR, but if you subtract 7 minutes for the port a potties and a couple of minutes for the extra distance, it would have been!  That's surprising to me.  Overall, I am not sure I would run the race again, but I did have a great time in Vegas and was excited to see my friend Stacey and start the race with her!

After the race, we hopped in the car and took off for Phoenix--arriving home around 3:00 in the morning.  Then, I woke up the next morning and hopped on a plane to South Africa!  I had the good fortune of getting to present at a conference there and then  took a little side trip to Kruger Park.  While, I didn't get a lot of running in (I ended up being sick, the temps were high when I felt better, and I was a little afraid of crossing paths with a highly venomous snake running around Kruger), it was a great trip and I am getting back in the swing of training as of today!

1 comment:

  1. I'm exhausted just reading your travel schedule! Sounds amazing!

    As for the race, Great work. Sounds like you did wonderful despite all the challenges. I think you are getting stronger and stronger! Good work! I don't think I would have minded the people. I would not have been crazy about the evening start. Proud of you!!