Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas Marathon

Marathon #3 is on the books, and it happened in Vegas, yo!


Packet Pick Up: Our flight got us to Vegas mid-afternoon on Saturday. After checking into the hotel and freshening up, we headed over to the expo at the Sands Convention Center. Packet pick up would have been a smooth process if I knew how to read numbers. My bib number was 51253. On the first attempt, I led Maria to the line that started with 1500. Fail. On my second try, I went for the line that started with 5100. Fail #2. In addition to being nowhere near the correct number, I was also choosing lines that were for half marathon participants. Luckily the girl at the second line I chose pointed us to the correct table. Who knows if I ever would have made it on my own? After that, it was smooth sailing to get our bibs and shirts, and we spent some time wandering around the very large and very awesome expo.

Course: The course started by taking us down the Strip for the first few miles before taking us out into what felt like the middle of nowhere for about 15 miles and then back along Fremont Street and onto the Strip again for the finish. Crowd support on the Strip and on Fremont Street was awesome – people lined both sides of the street and were loud and encouraging. However, the middle portion of the course was unpopulated and BORING. Painfully so, in fact.

Aid Stations: There were seventeen aid stations along the course. Gatorade was available at every other stop, and Gu gels were available at two of them. The aid stations had plenty of volunteers, and all of the stations were well-stocked and prepared for runners.

Post-Race Goodies: I am not sure I can even recall all of the food options available at the end because there were so many! I helped myself to a chocolate milk, a small Jamba Juice all fruit smoothie (my favorite!!), four Snickers Marathon bars, and an apple. While I was thrilled about the Jamba Juice, I was a little disappointed that there weren’t any bananas at the finish. Bananas are the one thing I always enjoy post-race, and I thought it was a little odd that they provided apples instead. Overall, however, the post-race food selection was top notch. There were a lot of options to choose from, and at least when I went through the line, there was no shortage of supplies. It looked like they had enough food to feed many armies.

Swag: If you have run a Rock’n’Roll race before, then you know exactly what the shirts were like – Brooks short sleeve techinical tees. I liked that these were black, as having a neutral color makes it easier to wear them again. The medals were fun; they are glow in the dark, which is perfectly fitting of a race held in Vegas!

vegas race collage

Results: I’m not really sure how I feel about my results in this race.  I knew even before the race started that I didn’t have a repeat of my Fargo performance in me because my training hasn’t been as dedicated as it was for that race, but my plan was basically this:

Secretly, I was hoping for 3:35 or so, but that was not in the cards. I finished in 3:48:10; 18/241 in my age group, 90/1158 for women, and 494/3233 overall. I can partially blame it on this:

There were times when I felt like a tumbleweed being blown around, and I had two miles that were over 10 minutes when I was running directly into the wind. That being said, I also made a lot of mistakes for which I can blame no one but myself. As I mentioned before, I took my training a little more lightly than I should have, I ran my last 20 miler 9 days prior to the race, I went out too fast at the start, and I drank more Gatorade than what I am used to. While I am slightly disappointed in the time that was on the clock when I crossed the finish line, I will say that I am proud of my performance overall. This was easily the hardest race I have ever run, and I know that I left everything I had on that course.

Overall, while I enjoyed the race, it isn’t one that I will be repeating. The middle section of the course was  so very boring, and while I know that every race isn’t going to have the awesome crowd support of the Fargo Marathon, I was really disappointed in the lack of spectators in Vegas.

I have some other fun Vegas stuff to share, but this post is already too long, so it’s going to have to wait for another day!

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