You know what they say about good intentions?
I'm sure the race coordinators at Competitor had really good intentions when planning the
new night race for the Las Vegas Rock N Roll marathon and half marathon. I'm sure it
all looked good on paper. The reality was another story.
The expo was
pretty straight forward and the same as any other race expo, such as
retrieving race numbers, d-tags, swag bag, t-shirt and freebies
(mostly food) at the expo, plus peruse the expo for the latest and
greatest gear. Hubs and I attended the expo on the Friday before the marathon/half marathon, so it wasn't too bad as far as crowds and getting out of there with in a reasonable amount of time.
This year the
race was a night race. It sounds kind of fun to run the strip at night
with all the lights, right? The marathoners started around 4:00 PM and
the half marathoners started around 5:30 PM. With the wave starts, I
think we stared around 6:15PM-ish. The corrals were rather tight, and it was hard to get into our appropriate corrals. I was supposed to be in corral 9 and ended up being good with starting in corral 13. I've started other races that were quite crowded and just started in the wrong (higher numbered) corrals because I couldn't move due to crowds, so I really wasn't too surprised that this was the case. I figured it would ease up and become less congested once the race started. It did ease up a little, but, due to the fact people couldn't get into their appropriate corrals, there were walkers in front of runners, which made for slow going in some parts of the race where I felt good enough to kick things in gear. After the sun went down the temps
dropped down to the low 30s and the wind kicked up in spots. It's also
really dry in the high desert and you tend to get thirstier. With
about 44,000 people running total, they did not prepare for running out of
electrolyte, gels, and water cups. I carry a 20 ounce water bottle with
me, and might need to refill it once. I refilled it 4 times at water
stations. There was one stretch of the course where they ran out of
cups and there was no water for 3.5 miles. The marathoners were mixed
in with the runners at a several points, which screwed up those marathoners who were trying for a BQ or PRs. There were about 20,000 MORE people this year.* I was unintentionally elbowed and bumped several times, and have
a pretty good bruise on my arm from someone's elbow. I was often stuck
behind groups of people who were much slower, and it was hard to get around them. As much as I tried, I couldn't speed up at the end, because I just could not navigate around people. After
the finish line the water seemed like long ways away, and I had to ask someone
where she got her water. I know there were tables with bagels,
bananas, fruit, bars, etc, but it was so crowded I never made it to
those tables. It also took me a while to get a mylar blanket. I was
FREEZING. When I ran I was mostly fine. Stopping was another story. I
was shivering while I waited for Hubs, who was about 10 minutes behind
me, and that seemed like an eternity. My gloves got wet at the water
stations and my fingers were freezing. I really wanted a hot beverage like hot tea or hot apple cider. Even hot chocolate would have sufficed, and I'm allergic to dairy. Heck, a cup of hot water would have been great. We didn't stick around for our
post race beer, we just wanted to get our gear, use a restroom, and go
back to our room, but that took about two hours total. Mandalay Bay, where the race ended, is connected to two other hotels and an overpass walkway to the hotel we stayed at. We thought we could walk through the hotels and overpass to get to our hotel room at New York, New York, which should have taken 10 to 15 minutes. We never made it out of Mandalay Bay. We got stuck in a cluster f*** of people trying to do the same thing. People were getting sick and passing out around us. The EMTs had a hard time getting to people in need. It looked like a war zone. It turns out part of that walkway area was blocked off for some Las Vegas premier for a Michael Jackson tribute show. Talk about bad timing! It took us well
over an hour to get back to our room, which was less than a mile from
Edit - Check out this article as to why so many people got sick!
We missed the after
parties because it was so late when we got back to our room, but we were
too tired to go anywhere. While I showered, hubs went into the hotel lobby area to get food and bring it back to our room. The hotel restaurants were OVERWHELMED with post run people just trying to get something to eat. A couple of places told hubs that they were no longer seating people or placing to go orders. He managed to find a place that had pasta, which turned out to be fantastic, but maybe because I was so hungry by the time he made it back up to our room at midnight.
The next morning we didn't have time for much more than packing and catching the shuttle to the airport. While at the airport we heard stories from other runners who had the same experience. I'm sure Competitor has heard an ear-full by now. I'm
also sure they saw everything that happened from their heated and
catered VIP viewing section... I guess they were initially too busy paying attention to their bottom line and not the finish line.
There were some high points. They actually had women's sized t-shirts this year, finally, and it FITS. Hubs and I attended a pre race carb load dinner at the condo one of our track club
buddies, and we saw a lot of friends there. I also met up with my
blogger friend Dawn (Dawn on the Run) from Canada at a Tweet-up. I also met Mary (The Running Green Girl), Carrie (Family Fitness Food) and a few other bloggers (who I can't for the life of me remember their names, but they are wonderful people!!!) I
also did better than I anticipated. My mile splits weren't that great,
but I was happy to see the finish time of 2:36:48 because it felt more
like a 3 hour run running at night, plus it was hard to pace myself with so many people. I'm generally happy with my run. I did chat with a few (a very few) people who enjoyed every aspect of the race, and I'm glad to know it was enjoyable for those people. I'm guessing they were either uber fast and got out of the race area before the chaos hit, or they were walkers who were at the back of the pack and missed the bulk of the chaos.
The medal is pretty nice. It even glows in the dark.
The skyline is actually a sparkly green, but it didn't photograph that way. I didn't know it glowed in the dark medal until someone mentioned it to me once I returned home. Of course I tested the medal for it's glow in the dark capabilities. All the yellow coloring on the medal does glow in the dark, and even though it's a novelty, it's still pretty cool.
Besides the race, hubs and I did enjoy a night out. We caught a show, Zumanity, and had a fabulous dinner and drinks on Friday night. Sure, we could easily have a nice dinner out in our hometown, but sometimes a change of pace can do a relationship some good, and being in Las Vegas for some time with hubs was worth the effort of being there.
I'm not sure why, but I have DOMS in both forearms. I'm guessing I was tensing up after the race while trying to keep warm. I dunno.
Now it's back to normal and continue training for my next race (my favorite) The Carlsbad Half Marathon in mid January.
Song from Monday, November 28, 2011
Monday Morning - No Doubt - Run-DMZ
*The 2010 Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon/Half Marathon event had 24,403 participants listed as finishers.
PS... Any one else having issues with Blogger? I'm having issues with comments and showing my full list of followers.