Friday, December 13, 2013

Stephanie's National Nurses race report

Submitted by Stephanie Harris @Steph_Harris12

Inaugural National Nurses 1/2 Marathon, October 13, 2013

In keeping with my 2013 goal of completing one half marathon per month, I needed a race for October. The race I had originally chosen was out of the question according to my husband. We had ran a different race earlier in the year who's course was very similar to the October one. So, here I was in search of a new October race when I had already mapped out my year of races.

I came across the Inaugural National Nurses Half Marathon and 5K series that was going to take place in Las Vegas. I thought this sounded perfect since it was local for me and no traveling was involved. This has been a year full of traveling for many different races. Initially wasn't too excited about this race when I saw how hilly it was. I'm a chicken when it comes to hilly races. So, my search of an October race continued.

After much searching, my husband and I agreed that we would sign up for the Nurses race. This was perfect since I am a nurse and it was a race geared towards nurses, being healthy, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. It was also nice because it was not just limited to nurses, anyone could sign up and run. I really liked that the race cut off was when the last person made it to the finish line and that it was walker friendly. I know so many people would want to get out there, but the thought of running scares them off.

This race was set to take place in Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, Nevada. If any of you have been lucky enough to tour Red Rock Canyon while you've visited Vegas, you'll know how beautiful this route promised to be. This was another reason for doing this race, the incredible views. The mountains in Red Rock are various colors of red, orange, browns, and pinks. There was always an opportunity for wildlife sightings. The finish line party was going to be at the visitor's center.

The first disappointment came when the government shut down did not end in time for this race. All of a sudden we had our October race, but it was now unknown whether or not there would be a race since Red Rock Canyon is a national park. The race director and volunteers worked hard to find an alternative route. This came just a few days before the race.  We ran on the highway that ran in front of Red Rock. The views were still spectacular, but it was also still disappointing not to be running inside the part.

Since this was an inaugural race, I anticipated a few bugs here and there. The main bump I really noticed was the race transportation. The race was to have two buses transporting runners to the start line at two different times. There were two buses, but they decided last minute that they would leave together. So, as we parked at the casino, we saw the buses. As we walked towards them, we watched them drive away. Luckily, the race director drove us and two other people to the start line in her personal vehicle. It was very dark at the start line and we decided to hit the portable restrooms. The line was pretty long and before I knew it, we were the only ones there and it was pitch black out. We had to run to the start line and made it within seconds of the start gun! I already felt defeated and the ran barely started.

It ended up being a great race. It was so beautiful to watch the sun's rays touch the tops of the beautiful red mountains. It was a chilly race, but I was prepared. The course was very scenic. I saw cows, horses, and a little fox. The race support volunteers were great. There were high school orchestras, cheerleaders, nurses who came out to support other nurses, and lots of hydration stations. I didn't run with my music going or my training plan, I just ran with my thoughts and took in all of my surroundings.

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