Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Vegas RNR

WOW!  What a race!!  I was very excited to be a part of the "Strip at Night" race in Vegas for the 1st time!  A night race run down the famous Las Vegas Strip.  Running under all the neon lights of the casinos sounded amazing!!
Well...the weekend in Vegas was super super crowded with Runners of all shapes and sizes.  Saturday was Expo day, my favorite part of any race!  As I stood in a 3 mile long line to get in, I wondered if this would be any indication of how the race might be...once in the Expo, I felt very energized!!!  Surrounded with all the things I love...runners, running gear, and nutritional items for sale!  I visited each and every booth, and was delighted with all the new and creative things made especially for me... a Runner! Hahaha  4 hours later I think I saw EVERYthing, although most of that time was standing in lines and weaving in and out of the crowds!
Sunday, was the Big Day!  The most anticipated race of the year for me!  Since the race was a night, I wondered how I should spend my day.  Ate a big breakfast and did a little sight-seeing.  I met up with another LIN Lady in the afternoon and we got ready together.  We went as Showgirls, shiny, bling-y skirts and headbands with feathers... we were ready to Rock the Vegas Strip!
We took a shuttle to Mandelay Bay where the start and finish line would be.  Our Shuttle drive a little lost let us out somewhat close by, as we walked back to the Mandelay Bay...it beat walking there from our Hotel (smiling as the story is about to begin...)
As the crowds gathered to warm up and listen to the Pre-race concerts, I will say, it was FREEZING outside.  Absolutely freezing!  We grabbed a Starbucks to keep us warm!
We did meet a fellow runner who also was the key-board player for Tim McGraw, so we were invited to be VIP's and got to hang in the VIP tent prior to the race near outdoor heaters and private bathrooms...but that was short lived as we made our way to the Corrals.
the Corrals were jammed with 50,000 runners all waiting to start... the Wheelchair athletes took off before we made our way to the corral...I am one that likes to stand in the crowds at the start for mental preparedness...but we jumped in Corral 12 and within minutes we took off...it seemed that everyone started at once. 
I dodged in and out of runners/joggers/walkers... I was surprised the effort it took to do just that! 
I settled in and tried to enjoy the experience...the neon lights the crowds cheering and  knowing that I was doing something that I had dreamed about doing for months.  I had a great 8 miles... I felt no pain, no sense of tiredness, and I felt I could run forever...even though my pace did quicken a bit around the turn around area- Freemont and Golden Nugget, when the cheering crowd were the homeless, and no lights in a not so good of area... I didn't want to be left behind!  hahhaha
Coming back to the home stretch with 5 miles to go... I tried to run through some walkers, and I tripped on a marker in the road... didn't go down, but felt the twinge in my knee almost instantly!
The last 5 miles were tough, and it started to get COLDER as I slowed down more and more...
the water stations were cleared out as by standers were passing out beer, and another volunteer dipping cups into a pitcher of water and handing out...NO Thanks!
Neared the finish line, I ran in with about 10,000 others so it took some time to cross over the timing mats adding to my time...
COLD and miserable... I got my Medal!!!  Hooray!
Then the misery really set in... the strip was closed and no shuttles running as we were told there would be a way back... we ended up walking back to the hotel in the COLD, rainy weather, with nothing more than a Mylar blanket almost 3 miles...
Great experience, but one I won't do over!!