Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rock N Roll Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon Race Report

HELLO! I'm back and alive. Yes, I managed to leave Las Vegas fully intact, minus a few dollars, of course. Since this was more of a fun run, I'm doing a "travel" version of the race report. You don't need a mile by mile breakdown. You do need, many photos of my fabulous Elvis costume. Ha!

The Good
Oh my gosh, so MUCH good. We arrived in Vegas on Friday and checked into our hotel, The Mirage. We chose it because it was listed as being at the finish line. As a friendly tip to those of you considering this race (which you SO should) The Mirage is where you cross the line that clocks off your 13.1 mile jaunt. It is not however, where you exit the finisher cute. That is about a mile farther walk down past Caesar's. We really want to do this race again next year and will probably move down to Caesar's. 

After checking in we went to the Cirque du Soleil show "O". It was fantastic but we were very tired from jet lag and learned another lesson on seeing a show the first night in Vegas. Filed that under: well duh.

Packet pick up with our friends Rick & Laura
On Saturday we went to packet pick up and getting there early is a MUST. We got through the line quickly and had the rest of the day to sightsee (me) and play poker (the S.O.). I walked a billion miles. I rode the roller coaster at New York New York and walked a bunch of shopping areas.  We had dinner with friends, and then I mosied all the way down to Serendipity 3 for the famous frozen hot chocolate. The S.O. wasn't feeling great so I did some more night time exploring on my own. I saw Rod Stewart walk by and snapped a picture of the back of his head. I'm no Peter Parker.

Frozen Hot Chocolate. No, I didn't finish it. I tried my hardest.
The blonde spikey hair is unmistakable.
I didn't get back to the hotel until midnight and as the S.O. wasn't feeling great he was already asleep. I booked a dolphin yoga class for 8:30 AM on Sunday morning and figured it was fine since I wasn't "racing" the half. The dolphin yoga was super cool! It's basically a yoga class taught surrounded by the dolphin pools. They seemed to enjoy staring at us and playing. I admit to stopping mid-posture just to stare.
 
I had a very small (dumb B.o.B.) breakfast and then a banana and hung out in the room until it was time to load up on the race shuttles. Finally, at 2 PM we headed down to get on our shuttle that would take us to the race. 

The pre-race concert, Mackelomore, was a blast! And the group Elvis shot was soooooo much fun! I must have taken a thousand photos with Elvis fans and foreigners. It. Was. Awesome. 


It's actually a running Elvis suit. Custom made!
Mackelmore said he loved runners cause we "wear neon and smile a lot."
The Bad
The evening was getting cold and hanging out in my corral waiting for the start was not my favorite thing. I should have had gloves but I was determined not to distract from my Elvis costume. When I commit, I'm all in. 

As the race started I was pumped. I ran along and realized I had to stop to pee. Dang it. I stopped at mile 2 and got in and out of a porta potty in a couple minutes. I was having a tough time holding the nine minute mile pace I had planned to run. It felt much faster. I carried on and just tried to keep it relatively easy. My miles one through 11 didn't go over a 9:15, but they were all over the place. The aid stations were plentiful and well stocked. The volunteers were really energized and helpful.

More pre-race with the S.O.

The route itself is great! There are a few "hills" but nothing crazy. I heard lots of "Hey, Lady Elvis!" shouts along the way and ran with several different folks who wanted to chat. I also got to see my blogger friend Ken. He ran alongside me and we chatted for a bit, he was spectating and looked like he was loving it. I've seen Ken in Florida, Michigan (or was it Ohio?), and Nevada now. I heart blogger friends.

I wound up running with a woman named Tara for a long time. We both commented that we felt much faster than what we were running. We marveled at the famous lights of the strip and finally stopped chatting at around mile ten. 

The Ugly
At mile 11 I was hurting. My legs felt really sore and my back was killing me. I told my new friend Tara to go ahead and she moved forward as we hit the 11.5 mile mark. I started realizing I really had to use the bathroom. Mile 12 was a painful 9:47 and I finally saw a porta potty. I quickly darted off the course and as a soon as I sat down (there was no hovering option at this point) I felt like I got hit by a ton of bricks. I felt nauseated and woozy. Uh-oh.

I forced myself to get out of the porta potty because I was afraid I'd pass out in there and not be found. I stopped and told a spectator I wasn't feeling so hot. As I sat on the side of the course, she ran and got some nearby police. They asked if I needed medical and I considered it. Then, I realized I was wearing an Elvis suit and would be so sad if I didn't finish this race. I told them no and stood up to walk that final mile. Someone handed me a bottled water and I walked the whole last mile. It was a 23 minute mile. Oof. 

I hurt everywhere. And even though I crossed the finish line, I knew I wasn't done. I had to walk the mile long chute to get my checked gear and then a mile back to The Mirage. I took my time and walked through Caesar's instead of outside because I was freezing. The temps had dropped a lot and I was thankful for the jacket and gloves I had checked. 

When I finally made it to my hotel room I was near tears. The S.O. had the total opposite experience and had a fabulous new PR. He was waiting for me and helped me get into the shower and start drinking Gatorade. I had to laugh at myself because I definitely did everything wrong prior to this race and I paid for it.

My finish time was 2:18:38

Final Thoughts
Even with the awful finish I had, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this race. I went into it a bit on the lackadaisical side and got a little cocky. I can run a half marathon, easy peasy, right? Notsomuch. I learned my lesson and would highly recommend this race to anyone! It was so well organized and running the strip at night is nothing short of breathtaking. 

I'll be back in Vegas for the half next year for sure. Hope to see you there and thank ya, thank ya very much!
 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Viva

You know how the rest of the title goes...
 
LAS VEGAS!
 
I'm super duper stoked to be heading to Las Vegas tomorrow for a much needed racecation with the S.O. Co-workers are always astounded that we travel to race as part of our vacation, but it seems totally normal to us. It's especially true for this race since we're running the half and focused more on the fun stuff than the race itself. We're going to hit up Cirque on Friday and I'm sure we'll do some gambling and dining.
 
Lloyd is pretty excited to have Nana come stay with him for a visit. He loves staying up late with her. (My mom stays up much later than we do, which I find very funny.)
 
My runs this week have been race focused, even though I haven't set a "huge" goal. I mostly want to run sub two hours as I'm not quite sure how that Elvis suit is going to feel for 13.1 miles and I'm not exactly in PR running shape. I have been feeling stronger though and seeing some faster miles here and there. I am still getting in my easy days so that I can give my body the recovery it needs and stave off injury where possible.
 
Since I'm headed to Vegas and I plan to run the Rock N Roll NOLA half marathon, I applied to be on the Rock N Blog team. I have enjoyed the Rock N Roll races I've done thus far and I'd love to meet some of you non-Florida peeps out on the run! Fingers crossed on that.
 
Speaking of ambassador stuff, I am also gunning for an ambassadorship at The Skimm. What's The Skimm? Well, it's a daily newsletter that "skims" the news for you and shoots you a funny and concise email that keeps you up to date. It's perfect for people on the go who want the "Reader's Digest" version of current events. It's free and I love it. (I wouldn't try to get you to sign up for anything that I didn't actually REALLY like. Pinkie promise.) You can sign up for the newsletter at my link, HERE. #skimmlife
 
And that's all she wrote. Catch ya on the flip flop.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Weekend Recap

Hey all! How's the week going so far? Good here. I'm looking forward to this Friday as I'll be heading to Las Vegas for the Rock N Roll 1/2! I cannot wait. Here's how my weekend shaped up. 
 
My Friday plans got changed from a 5K with a friend's baby jogger to a four mile jaunt on the treadmill. I was bummed they had to cancel our date, but totally fine with not driving to the race on a Friday night with traffic. I had a slight panic trying to decide what to do for a replacement workout because I'm just not quite ready to race a 5K. Fortunately, Coach Jon, gave me a green light for the four mile treadmill run. It was too dark to run outside and I actually enjoyed the treadmill. I haven't been on a one in ages.
 
It was a quick dinner at home and then lights out early because the S.O. was racing a half marathon Saturday AM and I was volunteering.

We woke up early Saturday morning to head to the race at the lovely Honeymoon Island. It was pretty chilly out and I was super grateful that the S.O. handed me gloves as he dropped me off at my station. I was stationed at the halfway turn of the half marathon. My job was to send folks around the turn cone and cheer them on. I had a microphone. It was glorious.

The Sheriff is amused.
I met some very cool people who happened to be cheering for friends at my station and we had fun cheering the athletes on. Then again, I'm a total ham so being handed a microphone always makes me smile. I also do bar mitzvahs. Heh.

The S.O. and many in my new training team, Tribal Multi-Sport, did really, really well. Our two coaches came in first and second place overall and there was a lot of hardware earned. I'm really happy to train with such outstanding athletes.

After the race, we ate breakfast and did some housework before heading out to see a movie in the evening. We went to see Interstellar and I must admit that I was confused by some of the movie even though I did find it entertaining. It's worth seeing, just don't try to think through some of the plot holes, you'll go insane like that one astronaut....

Sunday called for my longest run since the ironman. I had an eleven mile run scheduled with some pretty specific pacing. I had to read it over a few times to memorize exactly what I was doing. I'm getting more and more used to this style of running and it's really teaching me how to run on tired legs.

My run was broken up like this:

3 MILES @ HIGH ZONE 2 PACE
2 MILES @ 13.1 GOAL RACE PACE
3 MILES @ MID ZONE 2 PACE
3 MILES @ 13.1 GOAL RACE PACE

You can see why I'd have to memorize that. I walked out the front door repeating, three, two, three, three. Three, two, three, three. Those last three miles were tough but I kept them at race pace and finished the fastest long run I've done in quite some time.

The S.O. and I finished out our weekend with (him) a little football and (me) an arts and crafts fair with Tori. Then we watched some tv and ate dinner in front of Sons of Anarchy. We just started that show and are really liking it. I love how I am rooting for straight up criminals. Ha.

Yesterday called for a recovery ride. *record scratches* Yes. A ride. I actually got on my bike. On the trainer. That was a big feat because I actually had to bring my bike upstairs and set up the trainer. It was a whopping thirty minutes of easy spinning but I made it through with an episode of Dr. Who.

And, I think we're all caught up now.

How was your weekend? Do any racing?
 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Try it again, Life.


As a friendly reminder that everything isn't always sunshine and Ironman races, Life has decided that I needed some lemons and that's ok. It's a good way to remind myself that lemons happen and I can and will get through whatever is thrown my way. Without being a total "vague-blogger" I will say that my job is a bit shaky right now, but I still have a job and that's what is most important.
 
I had a really great run this morning and I am reminded how much running soothes my soul and let's me think and release stress. The therapy cliché is very accurate for me. It always has been. I'm much happier when I run, well, mostly after I run, but I feel really lucky and fortunate that I CAN run. It's given me a lot and I suppose since it's the month of thankfulness, I'm feeling extra mushy about it. Me + running = 4 ever.
 
I'm really looking forward to Rock N Roll Las Vegas next weekend, even if I'm not really sure how I'm going to get through 13.1 miles. I have an eleven mile run planned for Sunday so that'll help. I'd like to run a sub 2 but I may just squeak by on that. I am running dressed as Elvis so who knows how many times I'll have to stop to sing for adoring fans.
 
This weekend calls for a little bit of 5K stroller jogging (I'm pushing Keara's baby so she can race), a little bit of race volunteering, and a lot of Lloyd and S.O. snuggle time. What can I say? I'm into giving back this month. Haha.
 
I hope you all have great weekends. Take some time to snuggle your own families and relish in what you can do.
 
*Super Sappy B.o.B. OUT.*