Friday, December 9, 2011

the rock and roll vegas 1/2 marathon recap.

so i know it's been a few days since the race and most of the other bloggers have already posted their recaps, but i had to take a couple extra days and recover. by that i mean physically and mentally. physically i had to get to the point where i could walk around not looking like an 85 year-old woman. also i have been feeling sick ever since. first i don't think i refueled enough in the days following, which didn't help the recovery. with the mental side of things this race was a lot. there were sooo many people there it was overwhelming. but before we get that far, let's rewind to last friday.

i LOVE expos. seriously i do. it is one of the best parts of the weekend. it's crazy and packed and there are so many running things all in one place. i always go with lots of time and usually on the day before a race. since this one was in vegas though, we got to go on the 1st day and was sooo glad we did. recently at work the company decided to change the way we do vacation time, so we had to use quite a bit of time before the end of the year. i had already taken the monday after the race off but also scored the friday before as well! i thought i would be finishing up my final for the end of my dreaded class, but was able to knock it out the few days before. so that meant sleeping in and hanging out on my couch till my mom got off work and we could go to the expo.
once we arrived at the venetian it was already a crazy amount of people in the casino because it's a friday night in vegas and the rodeo was also in town. we trekked our way to the convention center and found that the expo was busy but not nearly as crazy as normal. we got our bibs and headed over to the corral change station since we both wanted to move up. i wanted to be up with the 2hr pacer and mom was shooting for a sub 3hr and needed to start with a faster group. i moved up from #18 to #9 and could not be more excited! mom moved up from #36 to #33. we grabbed our tees (so excited about women's sizing!) and headed into the fun part. there was soooo many booths.
yay zappos!
we browsed around and mom kept trying to pull me in different directions other than the laid out aisles. we both bought a few things, small stuff like socks and headbands. but it wouldn't be vegas without meeting a showgirl! when we got to the end of the expo, we were tired and definitely ready to go. we met up with my dad at outback to strategize our plan for sunday. my aunt was coming into town and staying at a hotel just off the strip. we decided to meet there at 3p so we could avoid the traffic and hang out for awhile before walking over to ballys to take the tram toward the start line.

saturday we laid low, slept in, went to the grocery store, and i went to my 1st blogger meet up! it was at the eyecandy bar inside mandalay bay and i was definitely nervous. i didn't know anyone and wasn't even sure who i was looking for. the group was actually easy to find and i inserted myself very well into a conversation, yay me! the 1st 2 girls i met were super nice and we decided eventually we should get up and meet others. we joined another group and they were also really nice. after that we ended up splitting to try and meet others and thats about where my fun stopped. i felt like everyone knew each other and i definitely didn't. so i headed home so i could get some good sleep.

sunday morning i decided to get up early (8am is early for me lol) so i could carbo-load with pancakes and bacon for a little protein. the plan was stay awake for awhile then nap around noon till 1p before getting up to get dressed and leave around 230p. about 11a my mom called to tell me that my uncle had gotten really sick and they weren't going to be coming out. that meant we had nowhere to meet/park easily. we decided to park at ballys still and stick with the tram idea. i had heard people were getting there crazy early for the good spots and i didn't want to play around with it. with the problem solved i headed in for a nap.
all i kept thinking about was this!
i didn't sleep well but got about a 1/2 hour. when i got up the nerves really started to set in and I was starving. i had a bagel and started getting my stuff together. we left on time and made it to the strip pretty easily. i decided to take my chances and try to park at mgm because it was wayy closer to mandalay bay and the start line. success!! richard and i decided to wait inside for vanessa since she was so close rather than trying to find her at the start line. she got there pretty quick and we all headed to the start line. runners were pouring in from everywhere and the full marathon was just about to start once we got to the start line. i started getting super excited!
at the start line!!
we found my parents after they had moved 3 times to hang out together before the race. i was really glad they were there so we didn't have to worry about a gear check, just the porta potty lines. we made it in plenty of time and headed to our corrals so we could stake out a good place. mom and i said our good-byes and good lucks and went our separate ways. our race crew waved good-bye and headed down the street to hopefully see us as we went by. once in the corral i knew there was no turning back. i was hoping i was in the right corral, my plan was to stick with the 2hr pacer and the cross the line just ahead of him. i had just recently decided to actually set a goal after my training went really well and the encouragement of my runner group. problem was i couldn't find the pacer.
last plan of action pep talk.

the wind kicked up a little right as we were about to start and we all knew it was going to a cold one. we were being released in waves and i was sooo glad I moved up, i was ready to go! finally it was our turn and we were off, now by off i mean across the line. there were soooo many runners it was hard to get any space. then the full marathoners came out of nowhere and joined us in the left. we found out they were there after they started screaming to move out of the way. i kept looking around for our race crew but couldn't find them, plus i had to keep moving around runners. before i knew it we were passing the 5k mark. i figured by then the race would open up and I could finally find my groove, not sooo much.
right after the start!
the water stops were sooo packed and i was afraid to get run over but muscled my way through. we hit the ghetto and then downtown and i knew we were almost halfway. it was still crowded as all get out and we were still bobbing and weaving like crazy. people started using the sidewalks and move through bushes to get around other runners. as we headed out of downtown and literally only had to run back to start line we got our gu packs about 2 miles early, it totally threw me through a loop. really the whole race threw me through a loop.

at mile 10 i decided to look at my ipod, just to see where i was and if i really could break the 2hr mark. it read 1:31:35, to make it i needed it to read 1:30:00 or below. i knew in that moment i wasn't going to make it, but decided i was going to get damn close. i picked it up as we hit the fun part of the strip and kept telling my body, it only has to hurt for 3 more miles, then 2 more. mandalay bay finally came into view and i knew the finish line was just after that. when we hit mile 11 my body was done. i had bobbed and weaves for 11 straight miles, never finding a groove or pace, and i was ready to be finished.

my plan was at mile 12 to turn on whatever i had left or once i hit the luxor, whichever was going to carry me through. i saw more people fade and stop right in the middle of the road in mile 12 than i ever have in a race. it was crazy! as I turned the corner into the final chute i swore i heard my dad scream my name but couldn't see and didn't dare turn around as i would probably lose it if i did. the finish line was there, i could see the flags, oh wait that's not it. finally i got to the line and grabbed my ipod to stop the stopwatch and saw it was 2:00:45. i prayed i started or stopped it too late and i really did hit my goal. about 10 feet after crossing the line the traffic started and continued all the way back to the car. the medal station was too close to the finish line and they weren't handing them out fast enough so there was a huge wall of people that didn't move.

finally getting my medal and a space blanket i made my way through to the food which all looked terrible except the bagged pretzels. i started heading out of the secure area to find my own race crew only to find hundreds of others doing the same thing. i realized we never made a place to meet and this could be difficult. a minute alter i saw richard trying to flag me down and was really glad he was so tall. my dad and vanessa werent far behind him and there were sweaty cold hugs all around. i finally looked up after trying to catch my breath and asked what my time was. i knew I hadn't hit it or they would have said something immediately, they all knew I was trying for the dream sub-2hr goal. richard broke it to me 1st, 2:00:38. i hung my head for a minute, sad that i didn't get under the 2hr mark. then i realized i had made up a minute in the last 3 miles and that was a 3 minute pr from long beach! hell yeah!
i found them!
my mom was still out there and my dad said she was doin really well so we crowded into the convention center across the parking lot for some warmth and do they could sit down for a little bit. i felt a little weird, knew i needed food and gatorade so my dad came with me to the snack store to get some. pretty soon it was time to go back out to the cold. somehow with the crazy mass of people we lost my dad and couldn't get through on cell phones so we headed back to the finish line because we knew my mom should be finishing soon. i got the text that she had crossed the line just after her sub-3hr goal, in 3:01:55,  but still couldn't find my dad. we waited and waited for her to come out of the secure area finally getting a text that he had found her! just before it had started to rain slightly and i was so glad we could go through the convention center to get into the hotel so we were out of the rain and warm.

she and i hobbled up front sharing all the crazy stories from the road. like there was no water at the 1st stop she got to, the full marathoners screaming at both of us because we were in their poorly marked lane (which i do really feel bad for), that after corral #15 they just let everyone go without a break in groups, the runner traffic never let up, and there was never enough space since we were only allowed on one side of the strip at a time. as we got closer to the casino we started slowing down, then we were stopped for no reason. turns out the cirque de solei show was letting out into the same traffic path causing a huge backup. all of sudden people right behind us started yelling for a paramedic because someone had fainted, but there was no way to get anyone through. people started going to the side and throwing up and everyone tried to help each other by handing over water, pretzels, bags if they couldn't get to the side to throw up and standing around each other to make sure no one tripped over the people on the ground.
finally we got out to the open area of the casino and could not have been any sooner. i was starting to feel really hot and kind of nausea and really didn't want to be another one of the people on the side. we had originally planned to eat in mandalay bay but all we wanted to do by then was get the heck out. richard, vanessa, and i took the tram back to the mgm parking garage and my parents headed to their car at townsquare. we were trying to figure out somewhere to eat together but it was past 10p on a sunday and even in vegas not everything is open. vanessa went to the nearest fast food place because she was soooo hungry, my parents went to ihop near their house, and richard and i ended up at roadrunner by our house. it was sooo good. i had a raspberry lemon drop martini, not exactly the yard margarita i wanted but it was delicious just like the rest of dinner:)
we made it home after nice, full, and exhausted! it was near midnight and i was sooo glad i was off the next day. i took it to recover and start reading all of the other crazy things people went through. it was also my dads birthday so my parents and i went to dinner to celebrate his day and our 2 prs:) looking at the whole thing now im honestly not sure i will do the race next year. there's tons of things people are saying about getting sick, and not being taken care of, im grateful that i was able to complete my race without issue. i am also pretty confident that i could have reached my goal if there hadn't been so many uncontrollables. im glad i participated this year, especially being the 1st year at night. i have now heard they want to grow it to 60,000 in the next few years, it's too many. if they do, they need to make it a half marathon only. in the end, there were just too many people. i definitely will continue participating in rock and roll half marathons and continuing racing with other companies. i just might start paying a bit more attention to how big the race is supposed to be:)
1/2 marathon #6!


Jamie said...

I love all your pictures and your outfit was super cute! Congrats on your finish and time... it was definitely a crazy race so kudos to everyone who did well despite the uncontrollables! :)

~*katy beth*~ said...

thanks race twin! ;)

Megan said...

way to go girl! that's an awesome PR!

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