Sunday, December 9, 2012

Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon race report

Submitted by Heather Stewart @captainstewie

Ten Half Marathons in one year!

On Sunday, December 2, I celebrated a milestone or what I like to call a Runniversary.  I ran (with my friend Ditto) my 10th half marathon, the Vegas Rock N Rock Half Marathon. The 2011 Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Vegas was my very first and it was a strange experience to say the least. (See my 3 part race report here.) I think the funniest part of the blog is where I say my goal for 2012 is 3 half marathons…hahahahaha!

Anyway, we went to Vegas.  Ditto and I left on what I like to call the “Stripper Flight”… Southwest, 8pm, Friday night, Burbank to Vegas ;) and we got there and so did my luggage! I’ve learned my lesson and I carry on my running gear now so all was right with the world! We had a late dinner and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning! It was great fun! (If you get a chance, The Hangover slot machines are really fun!)

The next day we went to the Expo to pick up our shirts and bibs and see what kind of damage we could do!  It was so big and fun! At one point I saw a sign and it said “Scott Jurek will be here from 12-1pm and there he was!  For those of you who don’t know, Scott Jurek is an award-winning ultra runner who was featured in the book Born to Run.  I totally “Fan-Geeked” out! I had him sign my bib for inspiration! It was so cool to meet someone who was so calm and accomplished. I mean, this guy has run a 50 mile race in 5:50. I’ll be lucky to finish a marathon in that time!

Vegas is Vegas…we took it easy on Saturday, enjoying our friends, but going to bed at a decent hour and then woke up Sunday had a large breakfast and got ready to run! We had to take a shuttle to the start line, but the finish was in front of our hotel. We were smart and got there at 2:30, two hours before the race, because it’s crazy with nearly 30,000 people trying to get to the other side of the strip.
Last year the race had some problems and the organizers made good on their commitment to fix these issues. When we got to the Start Line, we found my good friends Shannon and (yet another) Heather.  I’ve know these girls going on 15 years and this was Shannon’s 2nd and Heather’s 1st Half Marathon.  It was so awesome to see them! It turns out that all the runners in my little group were ladies! Girl POWER! The boys were on the sidelines and at the Finish Line!

Ditto, me, Heather, Shannon and Ryan
We checked our bags and waited in the longest bathroom line EVER. Thank goodness we arrived so early! Ditto and I were in Corral 8 (we lied about our time!), Ryan was in Corral 20 and Heather and Shannon were in 35 and 36 respectively. We were running behind and Ditto and I ended up in Corral 12, which was still okay!

This race benefits The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I don’t know much about Crone’s or Colitis, but I know this, my friend Vinson’s daughter suffers from Crone’s and when his girlfriend and fellow runner, Ryan, asked me to #run3rd for Kilah, it was a no-brainer. Although the other dedications were in my thoughts, Kilah was the only name on my index card! Right before we hit the start line I said to Ditto, “We’ve come a long way, Kid” and then I touched my back pocket where my index card in a baggie was folded up.

And we were off! Holy Cow was it windy! I had a slow start (mile one is always my slowest!) but got going at mile 2! I decided to do intervals, run 6 minutes and walk 1 minute. This is how I’m going to be training for the LA Marathon and technically anything I run from now on is in training for that! Mile two was awesome because we got to run by the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and see the strip stretching out beyond it.

My goals for this race were to:
  1. Keep good form. Head up, good posture, arms at 90 degrees.
  2. Do my best.  
In the book, Born to Run by Christopher Macdougall,  his coach tells him right before he’s about to embark on his first 50 mile ultramarathon, “You’re not going to win, just do your best.” Ditto’s husband, Cody, said this to us right before we left and it stuck. I thought to myself, “I’m going to run the best I can for 6 minutes and then I’ll rest for one, then I’ll run my best for 6 more minutes.”

So that’s what I did. I ran in my best form with the fastest pace I could. I had to stop to use the restroom at mile 3 (when will this stop?) and I know that hurt my time. Around miles 4 and 5 runners are right in the middle of the strip and people are cheering and holding signs and high fiving! I ran a 6 minute set at a 10 minute mile I was so energized! Thanks strangers!

We ran down the strip, past the fountains of the Bellagio, the enormous Christmas tree at the Venetian and the tower of the Stratosphere into downtown. We ran past wedding chapels and the pawn shop from Pawn Stars. We ran through a residential area, past the future home of on Stewart Street (YEAH STEWART! My last name ;) ) and past fantastic Fremont Street. Then we headed back to finish in front of the Mirage!

I won’t lie, I choked up when I finished.   I got my medal (Glow in the Dark!) my mylar wrap and some sustenance. I kept thinking that I couldn’t believe it’s been a year! I got to bag check and my friends were waiting… as we started walking back the fountains of the Bellagio started to dance to one of my favorite songs, “Your Song” by Elton John. I sang and danced and stretched! It was so great!

Then off to shower and dinner…the guys got us a seat at a delicious burger joint where I had a Grown Up float! It was Blue Moon with orange sherbet in it…sooooo good!!!!

All in all it was a great weekend and great experience. Kudos to the organizers for fixing what was broken and putting on a tremendous race!

On Sunday December 2nd I :
Ran 1st for me:  10 Halfs in a Year!!!!
Ran 2nd for my family:  Friends and family are one in the same I was so proud to be with Ditto on our 10th half in a year, and Ryan’s 5th this year (her first was Vegas last year too!).  I love new runners (come to the dark side friends!) so it was especially awesome to have Shannon and Heather there too!
I #run3rd for Kilah, who is beautiful and smart and talented and lives with Crohn’s every day. But to see her smile you’d never know!

“I just don’t think I could get drunk enough to NOT find that annoying!” Ditto 2:26:46
“Free drinks for ladies and last time I checked, we qualify!” Ryan 2:39:30
“Made it! And so did my luggage!!” Heather 2:56:15

No comments:

Post a Comment