Tamara’s Post – RnR Vegas Race Review…Been There, Ran That!
Wow! Despite the tons of negative posts I have read on the RnR Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon and experiencing a bit of my own personal race drama (read on) I still gotta say – (don’t hate me…) I loved the race! Jeff did a great recap of the race, so I’ll try not to repeat a lot but will give my perspective of a few things that stand out in my mind.
As we made our way to the corrals at 5:10pm, I began to get nervous we wouldn’t get in corral 5. The amount of people swarming out of the gear check area was overwhelming – and I wish I had a picture of Jeff’s face, he looked mortified we would miss the start…and a little mad perhaps because I used the bathroom one too many times which caused us to go out later than planned! I’m little…and bold (is pushy a better word?), so I had no problem making my way through six corrals to get to corral 5 (I did say excuse me!). We were ready!
I loved the wave start (understand this didn’t happen for everyone), it allowed us to immediately start running after our wave was released. Running down the strip was…incredible…amazing…memorable… the lights, the spectators, hundreds of runners around me…I was smiling from ear to ear as I darted in and out of people (yup, I love being able to pass a ton of people in big races and I don’t mind running in crowds!).
It took me awhile to notice the lane for the marathoners…and I will admit, I had a hard time staying out of it. Jeff hollered at me a few times (in a nice way, I guess), but with so many runners I found myself darting in and out of their lane often…sorry (I was running a decent pace and there weren’t many marathoners, so I’m begging for forgiveness…please!).
It seems like the first 6 miles flew by…I don’t look at my Garmin when I run (only after I stop) and know now that we were running between a 7:20 and 7:45 pace, no wonder it seemed quick! When Jeff pulled away around mile 6.5, I didn’t mind…I was still feeling pretty good. I remember not seeing as many bands as I recalled from other RnR events. I do have a vivid memory of a man playing a saxophone just before mile 7…I tried to move over to get ready to take a corner I could see up ahead and got so close to him I could smell his over abundance of cologne (Old Spice?!). Eek!
As we made our way closer to the bright lights of the strip, I enjoyed the sights. The cool little wedding chapel (no, we didn’t stop…Jeff was too far ahead!), the older casinos, the souvenir shops…and the thousands of runners on the other side of the road making their way down the boulevard.
I continued running a decent pace…and soon I was catching the 1:45 pace group! I knew I started 2-5 minutes after the first corral – so figured if I could keep them in sight I may PR (my old PR was 1:48 and I was shooting for a 1:45). I was carrying a small bottle of G2, but the flavor wasn’t my favorite…it was too strong…so I grabbed water a few times. And I let the 1:45 pace group out of sight by the time I hit mile 10 – darn it! Quickly my legs began to feel like bricks, my brain was trying to get them to move and they were slowing down…I had 3 more miles! As I passed the Venetian I began to think about walking…or just stopping right there. Would Jeff walk back and find me eventually? I kept moving…my mind was racing…I wanted to walk…the people lining the streets became a blur…the miles were slowly passing. I kept slowing and figured I wouldn’t PR at this point. By the time I hit mile 12 I was…a complete wreck. I had no clue how fast I was running (still couldn’t look, against my rules). With just over a ½ mile to go I had to pull out my earbud (I only run with one), I was becoming confused…I was hearing a lot of shouting (the spectators?) and talking (other runners?) and music (from the finish?)…and the lights were playing tricks on me also. I can’t stop, I can’t stop…I would rather fall over then stop (yup, I’m crazy like that). It felt like thousands (wasn’t really) of people were passing me (all those people I passed for the first 9-10 miles!). As I got to mile 13 a Christmas song was playing on the loudspeaker (huh?! Not motivating me!) and the last .1 seemed to take me forever! I saw the clock…1:49…I hit my Garmin…I see Jeff waiting in the finish area. I finished!! Now where the heck is my SALT!!! I had a very minor incident at RnR Va Beach with being a bit disoriented at the finish…and I was feeling that again…Jeff helped me get water, my medal (woohoo!), and we found a medical tent which had the salt (yummy!). I note that my Garmin reads 1:45, yup – I PR’d…go me!!! I was super excited (still am!).
We didn’t stay at Mandalay Bay very long, but it also didn’t take me long to realize my stomach was having issues…ugh…dehydration (still think that is what my issues were). We walked the 2.5 miles back to the hotel (took forever as I was dragging and felt awful). Jeff tried to make small talk as we watched hundreds (thousands perhaps) still on the course. As soon as we got back to our room, I laid down immediately…my stomach was cramping….my hopes of dancing the night away to celebrate were crushed as I feel asleep. I woke up frequently from the time I laid down until 3am (felt a bit better then), each time I woke up it was because of stomach cramps. I had a decent case of dehydration earlier this spring (I won’t go into details on the affects that happened 7-10 days after) and this felt like the same thing. My hydration prior to this event was horrible, I blame myself.
I was semi-fine the next morning (after sleeping in and eating). My only regret was that I didn’t eat dinner and I didn’t dance the night away! The rest of our trip was wonderful! We met and had lunch with a crazy (in a fun way!) fellow blogger Stephanie and also met her hubby who personally agreed with her craziness by the saying on his shirt (very cool, by the way!). Thanks for meeting up with us guys! Jeff and I hung out at the outdoor heated Rhumbar one evening – loved this place! And I did get to dance…I would have liked to hit a few more nightclubs, but after hitting the XS – I was done…we had a blast and hung out there until 2am (hmmm….that’s 5am EST). Very fun place…also met some fellow runners there.
I was super-sad to leave Vegas – the time seemed to fly by! My summarization on the race – great experience, no issues. I completely support those that are upset with the fact that the race ran out of medals – seems that could have been corrected, and the overcrowding issues at Mandalay Bay (I did not witness) should not have happened. I enjoy RnR races (this was my third…first was the inaugural RnR Marathon in San Diego circa 1998!) and I will do more RnR races…next up – RnR DC ½ Marathon in March. I have confidence that the Competitor Group has listened to all issues and will continue to improve their events (sure I got some haters out of that comment!).
Vegas – been there, ran that, rocked that, danced that, drank that, ate that – ahhhhhh…it was an awesome time!!!