Saturday, December 12, 2009

Loose in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon/Half Maraton Event - Part 1

It has to be in two parts, mostly because of pictures, but the day of the event felt like three days rolled into one. I guess waking up at 4 am and going to bed at 1 am the next day had something to do with it.

I'm still not rested, but I've unpacked. Life has been busy since returning from Las Vegas, so I'll update as best as I can.

Friday 12/4

Made it to Vegas with little to no problems. Our flight was delayed for about a half hour, due to weather delays in the Midwest.

After checking into our hotel room at Luxor, and figuring out the elevator, we walked over to Mandalay Bay to pick up our race numbers and swag.

After a few times around the expo and scoring on some free Pearl Izumi socks, a red knit cap (came in handy), Elvis sunglasses and a ton of other non-essential items, we finally connected with AKA Alice:

She looked so put together and ready to go out. I looked like I needed an early bedtime! I don't know if it was the dry Las Vegas air or the smoky casinos, but my eyes puffed up almost the minute we arrived in Las Vegas. Oh yeah, I even met "Walter." I wasn't thinking, otherwise I would have gotten pictures of AKA Alice and Walter together.

After the expo, Michael and I went in search of some place to eat. It turns out that a sushi bar in Mandalay Bay had happy hour prices on select types of sushi and sake. We were there just in time to take advantage of happy hour.

Back at Luxor - Checking out the swag...

Nothings says "Merry Christmas" like Vanilla Gingerbread Gu. No, I haven't tried it yet.

After a walk down the strip, a brief stop in Walgreens, and a snack at McDonalds, we called it a night.

Saturday 12/5

We actually slept in. I've been waking up at home about 5 am without an alarm, so it felt weird to wake up at 8 am. After a coffee at Starbucks, we were back at the expo to look for more friends. I don't know why we spent more time milling around at the expo, it was kind of a waste, but we did see a few people from the Rehab United group, and walked up and down the strip with them. A long 4 mile walk was probably not the best idea but it was nice to get some fresh air. We also stopped inside a high end mall that just opened that weekend, just to see what it was all about.

Renata, Jessica and Me getting in a stretch. Those cylinders were illuminated ice. Security told us to get our feet off the display.

No trip to Las Vegas would be complete with a few architectural photos from Michael.

We parted ways with our friends and went back to the sushi place for our carb load dinner. We had the same happy hour meal, just left out the sake, and added a huge bowl of rice. We spent the evening in our room and rented a movie and snacked on pretzels filled with peanut butter. I know, not real exciting, but with the race the next morning and an early wake up time, we needed to keep things simple.

Sunday 12/6

Race day! We woke up at 4 am because we needed to meet the RU group down in the lobby at 5:15 am. I'm glad I had the where-with-all to purchase bottled mocha frappachinos at Starbucks and a couple of pastries the night before because that place was PACKED first thing in the morning. We kept the frapps cold in the ice bucket. It worked well!

Down in the lobby, we saw a couple of the RU people and then waited for everyone else to trickle in. As we were waiting, we noticed SEVERAL people starting to come back in from a night on the town, still all dressed up and blingy. I'm not quite sure if it was the "walk of shame" or they were still party-ing. Someone jokingly commented "gee, I wonder if they're running today?" My PT Bryan showed up, then eventually Justin and everyone else was there. It felt like we were about to go skiing, more than running. It was so cold. We all went outside to do some warm up stretches and then have a photo op:

Click photo to embiggen

I'm sort of on the left middle, with the reflective strips on my shoulders blaring. The guy right below me to the left with his tongue sticking out is Bryan, and guy at the front far left on the bottom row is Justin. Renata and her husband Gil are donning the white trash bags. Everyone else is either a part of the Run Fit program or RU staff. Photo credit to Michael.

After the warm up, we all went and dropped off our gear and waited in our numbered corrals. I was in #17. I couldn't get Lucy to cooperate, so I scanned the crowd for someone with my kind of Garmin. A guy was kind enough to show me what I was doing wrong. I had the right sequence down, I was just trying to hurry myself and missed a step. It really isn't that hard, but when you're half asleep and freezing, things just don't fall into place as they normally would. I called AKA Alice, but she ws still trying to get to the gear check area, which wasn't close, so we never hooked up. There were pre-race fireworks, the National Anthem, and then we were off, sort of. I started the run with Renata and Kristen. It took us about a half hour plus to get to the start line, since they were letting people go in waves. It was cool that the jumbotron at Mandalay Bay showed the runners.

I ran about the first two miles with Renata and Kirsten, but my calf was still tight, and I felt their need to go ahead of me, so I told them to just go ahead. I kept a relatively steady pace through the entire race. I was allowing myself some walking if I needed to, but it never got to that point.

Somewhere around mile 6, I think, maybe after the 10K point, I came upon Dawn, blogger Running Pink Chick. She came with a group from Canada. In the huge sea of people, I was so happy to see her. Since my camera went kaput on me right after the start of the run, she whipped out her camera and too this shot:

We ran together for a short while, but I had to keep my pace so my calf wouldn't lock up. It really lifted my spirits to run with Dawn.

I kept scanning for AKA Alice and her day-glow green race shirt, but no such luck.

After the turn-around that took us through a little neighborhood then back down the strip, I saw Renata waiting in line at the restrooms. Amazingly she caught up to me around mile 9, and we ran about 2 miles together. She pulled slightly ahead of me, but I always had her in sight. Around mile 1o.5, maybe 11, this Chippendale's dancer guy ran in front of me. He was wearing nothing more than the starched white collar, cuffs and bowtie, and black briefs, oh -- and running shoes. That's it. I kept thinking this guy had to be freezing or he was going to freeze something off...

As I approached mile 12, my left calf started to complain. It was stiff for the whole race, but it started to pinch and nag. I told myself that it's not a marathon, and I could manage 1.1 more miles. I did have the Zensah's on, which were a tremendous help. I don't think I could have run the entire HM without those. As I rounded the corner at mile 13, a huge group from RU waiting were there at the corner and yelled my name. One of the guys had a camera and I stopped and posed real quick for a photo,then ran my last .1 mile. I'll post the photo if I can get it.

Ran through the finish line! According to Lucy it was 2:30:00. Official time was 2:29:57. It felt good to squeak by in just under 2:30. It was my slowest half marathon, but with the calf issue, I felt quite satisfied. I ran the whole way.


We got the bling!

After the race, and gathering up post-race eats like bananas and oranges, etc, Renata and I decided it would be a good idea to hang out in the souvenir tent because it might be warmer. It was probably a whole 10 degrees warmer, but it made a difference.

To be continued...

Tuesday's song:
Leaving Las Vegas - Sherly Crow - Southbay Girl - Planet Ynnep Running



Meg Runs said...

Nice job! Your sushi looked yummy and it looks like you had a blast, LV is so much fun even if you're there to run! Everyone says that it was a cold run but you survived, finished and you're still smiling, well done! I enjoyed your pictures, thank you!
By the way, your blog header is SUPER CUTE!!! I love kids' art and your red title looks great with the picture! Who is the little artist?

Southbay Girl said...

sounds like you had a wonderful weekend and race!!! A nice mini vacation with a race mixed in! Did Michael run too?

Glenn Jones said...

Great report Irene! Sorry about your leggiving you problems, but the best thing about these mega races in places like Las Vegas or San Diego is there is always plenty to do outside of just racing.

Glad that you had a fun time! And I'm going to take you with me to big races so you can help me find a person or two among 29,000! Pretty amazing!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Love the new header! Great pics of the race, and too funny about the Elvis glasses in the swag! Great job on the race :)

Anne said...

That's the second time you've met Dawn, isn't it? The first was at Bucca de Beppo before an RnR marathon not long after we met. You too really do look happy and leave it to a Canadian to be dressed in a tank top when everyone else is bundled up! Looks like you had a lot of fun despite the calf cramps.

Pat said...

congrats on the race. It must have been a blast running down the strip. I wanted to do that race, maybe next year.

Irene said...

The sushi was the perfect thing! The AZ RNR Half we did in 2007 was colder, but after a certain point it's just cold, no matter what! The blog header is from my Grandson, Evan.

Yep, he ran and even PRed!

I was happy just to be able to run. I hope the calf eases up with in the next week or so.

I need to buy a frame for that drawing! ;) The Elvis glasses are now on a decorative nutcracker.

Yes, it is. I was in contact with Dawn when I found out she was running in LV, too and gave her my cell #. I was so happy to have found her on the run!

Yep. Next year!

I Run for Fun said...

Just catching up...CONGRTATULATIONS! Awesome job, running inspite of the injury! Love the pics...looks like such a great time.

Irene said...

Thanks, it was fun!

Lisa said...

It sounds like a great race (and even better weekend away). I am glad your calf didn't give you too much trouble. I hope it heals well.