RocknRoll Las Vegas Marathon Race Recap

WORKOUT – 60 mins/elliptical

Here it is folks, finally.  This post will be quite long and full of pictures of myself, so please try not to throw up.   I have a lot to write and a ton of pictures, so besides this post, I’ll also be doing:

  • the normal race review about the event itself
  • my thoughts on the marathon itself
  • all the food I ate on marathon day
  • the rest of the Vegas pictures and what we did besides marathoning

In a word, the marathon was surprising.  I had NO IDEA how mentally difficult it would be.  I thought I was somewhat prepared, but it took me by complete surprise.

But first, let’s back up to Saturday.  We flew to Las Vegas ($25 each way on jetblue!), and the taxi dropped me off at the expo first to get my packet while Jaybob went to the Wynn Encore to check in.

The expo was at the Mandalay Bay where the start and finish was.  I’ll talk more about the expo in the race review, but it was huge and there were tons of people.

I then walked the 3 miles from the Mandalay to our hotel.  It was exactly 3 miles; I used the trusty garmin.  I wasn’t really stoked on walking that much in the late afternoon before the race, but I figured if I could run 26 miles I better not whine about walking a couple.

Around 6:30 we went out to dinner with friends who were also in town for the race.  We went back to the Mandalay but thankfully, this time took a taxi.  We planned to go to the Burger Bar, but there was a 90 min wait.  So we ended up at Red, White and Blue where I still had a burger and fries.

We got back to our room and in bed around 9:30.  Wake up was at 3:30am because the race started at 6:15am.  I did the standard “wake up every couple hours to make sure the bedside clock is doing its’ job”routine all night long.

Finally got up and stretched while drinking COLD Starbucks VIA coffee.  Yes, cold.  It was gross.  The sacrifices I make for running…  The Wynn doesn’t have coffeemakers in their rooms; they can then rape you on coffee along with everything else.  It obviously didn’t deter me as I had 5 cups with Clif bar.

I put on my throwaway sweatshirts and pants; I was glad I had these babies because it was 32 degrees at start time.  I only wish I had brought gloves.  and maybe a portable hot tub.  At 4:45 I caught the shuttle to the Mandalay and got there in plenty of time.  There weren’t lines for bathrooms so I stretched out some more and got acquainted with about 17 porta potties.

I got lined up in corral 8, but I didn’t really know what the correlating time was and didn’t really care.  There were 27 or 28 corrals so I figured I was fine.  We started at 6:15 and it was cold.  COLD.

My first mile was around 9 mins, slow, but there was a lot of people.  The first 2 miles I was freezing and slightly worried about how cold my hands were, but then slowly I thawed out.  The first 8 miles were really fun; they were on the Strip; it was exciting, fun, everything just felt easy and perfect.  Then reality set in….

The first hour I ran about 7.15 miles.  I took my first GU gel at 7.5.   At mile 1o we split from the half marathoners.  They were headed down the Strip to the finish line, and we took a right out towards the desert.  That was the first moment I wished I had ran the half.  It was a bummer leaving the excitement of the Strip for the boring nothingness we were headed for.

I took another GU at 12.5  I crossed the halfway point at 1:50.  This was the last time I looked at my garmin for a long, long time.  Mentally this is where it got really tough for me.  I was thinking, Man I’ve run for 2 hours and still have 12 miles to go! 

Miles 14-19 were really mentally difficult.  I had no idea, no clue what a mental battle a marathon truly is.  I had no idea what pace I was running and didn’t really care.  I was just focused on surviving and finishing.  We were running away from the Strip, and I was just beat down mentally.  I kept second guessing myself and doubting that I could finish.  Physically I was probably about normal: tired and achy, but mentally I was exhausted.  I felt like I was so slow and had so much further to go; it felt insurmountable.  I took my third gel at mile 17.5.

They were giving out the strawberry banana flavor on the course; it was pretty gross.  I don’t think I like the fruity flavors at all.

At mile 19.5 we turned around and started to head back towards the Strip.  This is where I started to mentally pick it up a little.  I could see the Mandalay Bay from 7 miles away which was a big mental boost.

Then it got a little strange and surprising.  There were official race pacers who ran holding a sign.  Then there were people running with specific times pinned on their backs.  Around mile 20 I passed a person with the 3:50 sign on their back.  I couldn’t believe it; I would have guessed I was running 4:15 or 4:20.  So I started looking at my garmin again and trying to run a little faster.  I was running about a 8:25 min/mile.

I took my 4th and last Espresso Love GU at mile 22.  Then I passed the person wearing the 3:40 sign, but they definitely weren’t 10 mins ahead of the 3:50 person so I was seriously doubting their validity and my sanity.  Nevertheless, I started pushing as much as I could, trying to maintain whatever pace I could for 4 more miles.

Next I passed the official pacer holding the 3:45 sign with maybe 3 miles to go.  I kept pushing and mentally kicking myself for not running faster in the earlier miles.  With about 1.5 miles to go I thought I might break 3:40.  I’d think for a couple minutes that I could and the next moment I’d think it was impossible.  At this point I had the emotional stability of Mariah Carey during her mental breakdown phase.

With .5 miles to go I ran as fast and hard as I possibly could.  I had 2 GU’s in my hand that I threw away, as if that could somehow lighten my load and make me speedier.  (I’m somewhat thrifty so this was a big deal to throw away two perfectly good gels!)

I finished in 3:40:35, narrowly qualifying for Boston.  I was 894th overall and the 167th woman.  My garmin read 3:40:43 and 26.36 miles.

I told myself the ONLY time I would ever cry after a race was if I qualified for Boston.  But I didn’t.

I was super sore and achy the second I finished, and I just wanted to go back to the room.  And it was cold.  My whole body was really achy as if I had the flu, but I was pretty happy to be sporting my big medal around so I dealt with the pain like a big girl.  And showed my medal off as long as I could.  I was milking that gravy train…

I wasn’t hungry at all after the race.  Around 1pm I had a Luna recovery mix with water and then we finally ate at 3pm.

ALSO, for you detailed people out there, I DID NOT carry a hydration belt, water bottle, or spibelt.  I had 3 gels in my hands and that was it.

But I did drink Cytomax at every single aid station, about every 1.5 miles.  Yep, every station.  For the record, I think Cytomax is gross, sickly sweet, and I wouldn’t drink it on a training run, but I do think it helped.

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