Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon -Race Recap Part 2

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Talk about a destination race!  Las Vegas is it!  My race began… As the gun went off, I was thinking about many things.  First and foremost was, OMG, I just ran a marathon two weeks ago to the day.  Can I do this again?  This soon?  Have I fueled enough?  Will my feet hold up?  I felt good as the race began.

The race course starts in a southerly direction.  On Las Vegas Boulevard, we ran south for about a mile, and turned to the other side to start running back toward Mandalay Bay Hotel.  The crowd was huge, and because the Half and Full started at the same time, the first several miles proved to be very challenging.  The dodging and weaving around countless runners was tough, but I knew this going in.  This was the biggest group of marathon runners that I had run with since this race two years ago.

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There I am! Can you see me?

My concentration those first several miles revolved around taking in the views.  The lights, the casinos, and the amazing crowd!  The people of Las Vegas, I’m sure most were vacationers, was absolutely incredible!  Thousands upon thousands lined the race course on the boulevard, hoping to catch of view of that special person they were supporting, or just cheering in general.  This race is truly unique in so many ways.  Mostly, it’s the fact that the Strip is closed to traffic, and to see runners only, is just amazing!  Image

My mood was uplifted by my surroundings and the crowd.  It was just amazing.  It kept me occupied, and happy all during the epic run toward downtown Las Vegas.  First passing Mandalay Bay again at mile two, then comes The Luxor, and Excalibur, The Tropicana, MGM, New York New York, Monte Carlo, and then City Center.  Heading north on the Boulevard, we then passed many more iconic hotels like The Bellagio, and Paris, The Cosmopolitan, Planet Hollywood, and on further, past Caesars Palace, the Venetian and Palazzo.  We ran by where the race would eventually finish at The Mirage Hotel and Casino.  As a Rock ‘n’ Roll event, there was plenty of local entertainment along the way.

About 5-6 miles in I started to grow tired of the runner traffic.  It was just so hectic running with that many people.  Having to worry about foot strikes, not tripping over other runners, was really starting to annoy me.  As we heading downtown, we ran past the hotel I was staying at, The Wynn.  We past Encore, and then the course got a lot darker heading into downtown.  I started to yearn for mile 9 to come, knowing that the 20,000 plus Half Marathon runners would be breaking away from the marathon course.  I was ready for a quieter, less busy run.  Running into downtown there were plenty of sections that were very dark.  This made this section very challenging.

Fremont Street!  Mile 9, we made it!  The Half split off, and the full marathoners then got to enjoy a special treat.  Running right down Fremont Street!  Right down the center of it.

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This is how I felt!  My only wish is that my picture looked like this.  It was intense, and truly amazing to run through this section.  I. Enjoyed every moment.  The crowd support here was just fantastic,  who wouldn’t want to step out of the numerous casinos to watch a few thousand runners on an epic 26.2 mile journey?  I would have!

A quick trip down Fremont St., and we were now headed out into what I like to call the “getting the miles in somehow” portion of the marathon course.  Miles 10 and 11 had us running out toward and past the Las Vegas Freeway for a straight shot run up N. Martin L. King Blvd.  The temperatures were perfect.  I was just warm enough, but not too warm.  I was sweating, but nothing too serious.  I did make sure to hydrate all along the way, in fact, the aid stations were a nice break in the monotony of this part of the course.  We actually ran by one “band” that looked like a family band.  A really young kid was rocking it on his guitar, and it looked like his young sister was the lead vocalist.  It was about that time that a guy right behind me must have clipped the curb with his left leg, and took a massive spill.  He moaned, groaned, and hit hard.  I was scared for him, but aid immediately rushed to him.  I was so impressed!  Especially on this portion of the course, where there just wasn’t as much support.  They were right there to take care of him.  I have wondered several times since if he was able to regroup and finish.

For quite a while as we headed further and further away from the Strip, the view of The Stratosphere got smaller and smaller, and eventually disappeared.  I remember thinking, ok, ok, just keep running, and it will come back into view just as you need a bit of inspiration.

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The Stratosphere is 1,149 ft.  It is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the US. and the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere.  It was visible for a while, but eventually we just were too far away to see it.  I was looking forward to seeing it again on my return to the Strip for the finish.

The more marathons I run, the better and better I get at anticipating “the wall”.  For me, it really isn’t about my body revolting, it’s all about the mental aspect.  Being positive, moving forward, pressing on.  Miles 13 through 20 were pretty dark, but the course was mostly flat, and easy to traverse.  I continued to hydrate, and felt really good.  My pace wasn’t stellar, but I maintained positive energy.  My thoughts revolved around that tower, it really gave me something to strive for visually.  To see that tower again.  It gave me energy, and kept me focused.  My pace slowly crept toward 8:20 per mile.  Coming off from my overall pace two weeks prior at The City of Oaks Marathon, of 8:06 at the finish, I knew I wasn’t going to come close, but I was good with that.  I was hanging in there.

The tower came back into view at about mile 21.  Yeah!  Wow!  We get to run back through Fremont St. again.  How exciting!  A double dose of the downtown neon!  Then we turned back toward as Vegas Boulevard.  Just a few miles of the race remained.  We joined back in the half Marathoners, but had one side of the course just for us.  It was marked well, and seemed like most Half runners respected the invisible line of delineation. At this point the Half runners were back of the packers, walkers, mostly, and tons of them.  It felt good to be passing so many runners, albeit Half runners.

I did pass some marathoners, as I found a new energy, a renewed focus because of being back on the strip.  Passing the hotels again, with tons of screaming onlookers.  It was electric!  Slowly but surely I pressed on, 23, 24, 25.  The finish line at The Mirage came into view.  As I glided to the finish, I was amazed by the crowds.  The lights and sounds of Vegas made the finish spectacular.  I crossed the finish, not too tired, and stopped my Garmin.  An amazing medal was placed around my neck, as the volunteer knocked my phone out of my hand, crashing to the ground.  Luckily it didn’t break.

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It glows in the dark, too!  The shirt is pretty slick, too, don’t you think?

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My oh my, my 5th marathon of 2013, now finished.  My second in two weeks.  It felt amazing!  I made my way through the finisher village, which was long.  Picking up recovery food and drink along the way.  Water, chocolate milk, apples (no more green bananas).  I grabbed a bagel and PowerBar.  Foil blanket wrapped around me, I eventually found an exit out of the finisher village, and started to make my way back to my hotel.  All in all, it was just an amazing race, and one I truly recommend to anyone looking for a great destination race.  If you love Vegas, or have never been and need a reason to go, you must run this race.  You would not regret it!

My official results:

Chip time 3:41:41 (my third fastest marathon)

62/314 in Age Group

266/1860 Males

315/2927 Overall

Top 10% finish in another marathon! sure! I’ll take it.

 

Viva Las Vegas

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Just one week from today, I will be boarding a plane with my best friend, heading to the land of swimming pools and titty bars.  Gambling chips, stilettos, and money.  Neon lights, slot machines and Cirque.  Of course, it’s one of my favorite places on Earth!

Las Vegas will be the sight of my fifth marathon of the year.  Challenging because of many things… It’s 26.2 miles, first and foremost.  It’s a huge race, meaning thousands of runners,  The race is in the evening, and Vegas is the also the land of buffets.  Proper fueling, and hydration will be critical, in Vegas, no easy feat.  I really have to be mindful.

I ran this infamous race back in 2011, except then, I ran the Half.  It was my third Half, and have since run 16 more.  I was really a newbie to racing that distance back then.  I was also coming off from being sick for ten days leading up to that race.  This time, the Full, my 8th Full.  I feel good right now, so I have to take care of myself over the next week.  I want to stay healthy and give myself the best shot for a great marathon.

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My 2011 race shirt front and back.

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With all the good and bad publicity that Rock n Roll races get, I am curious to hear about your experiences with them.  Have you run any?  If so, which ones?  What did you think?  I’ve only run the race two years ago, and had a great time.  I will be signing up for the inaugural Rock n Roll here in Raleigh next April, but would consider others if you have other suggestions.  I bet the New Orleans race is amazing.  I will probably try the Savannah race sometime.  Let me know.  Would love to hear your thoughts.

This marathon is 10 days away.  It will be my 8th marathon, and 50th race overall.  Is there a better place to celebrate such achievement?  Now I just have to figure out if I will dress up as a Blue Man or Elvis for the race…..just kidding.  I am not a costume wearer.  I will be going for another PR, so I have to take this run seriously.  I can’t wait!

Viva Las Vegas!

Countdown to Las Vegas

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Every day that passes, my upcoming trip to Las Vegas is more and more on my mind.   Let’s face it, I love the place!  I’ve been going to Las Vegas about twice a year for over 10 years now.  Las Vegas has changed so much just during the timeframe that I have been visiting there.  I used to gamble in the Sahara, the Stardust, the Frontier.  All of which are now closed, or completely gone.  City Center, and the Cosmopolitan are some of the latest additions to the Famous Strip.  I have just as much fun now, if not more so, when I visit than I did back then.

The overall feel of Las Vegas, from stepping off the airplane, is just truly unique.  If you’ve never been, I highly recommend that you make the journey there at least once.  There is world class food everywhere, beautiful sights to behold all over, and of course it’s the gambling Mecca of the world.  I’ve been there in the height of Summer, when temperatures soar over 110 degrees, and I’ve been during all of the other seasons, as well.  They all are unique.

This trip coming up will be a combination trip for me.  Time to relax, and enjoy the food and the gambling, but also to run.  I am registered for the Rock n Roll Marathon on 11/17.

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I am really excited about it!  We fly in on the morning of the 14th, so will have plenty of time to adjust to the time change, and be rested before race day.  This race is run in the evening, so that is different for me.  Race day fueling will be a challenge.  When to eat?  It should be great fun.  It will be a crazy, crowded, electric race.  My main goal is really just to enjoy every moment.  Run my race, and take in all the sights of Vegas.  There are plenty!

Three weeks from today will be the day before the race.  I will not be dressing up as Elvis for the run, but I’m sure there will be plenty of them on the course.  There is also a run-thru wedding chapel, for runners who want to get hitched during the race.  There will be tutu’s, and wigs, and costumes, oh my!  Truly unique, and what I just love about Las Vegas.  Over the top, and awesome!

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As the excitement builds, so does my energy for running Vegas again.  This race will be my last race of 2013, so hopefully I will race it with gusto, and much enthusiasm.  So get ready Las Vegas, I am heading your way for the ultimate party with thousands and thousands of my running comrades.  Shutting down the Strip to everything but runners on November 17th during the race.  Don’t be mad at us, cheer us on.  This only happens once a year.

If you’ve never been to Las Vegas, Nevada, you must go!

13th Forever

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I love Friday the 13th!  It’s always been a very lucky day for me.  You see, I was born on the 13th, and my youngest son was born on my Birthday, so he shares the same lucky number.  I think it’s funny how bad luck became synonymous with this day on the calendar.

Today is a great day to accomplish something that you may be afraid of.  Rent a scary movie tonight, and don’t be afraid of the dark.  After all, I doubt that Jason will be waiting for you when you turn out the lights tonight.

Rejoice in this day, the 13th.  It’s the start of the weekend, and a chance to do something different.

Register for a marathon today!  Now that is scary!  Seriously, if you are into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series, they offer $13 off registrations today.

Have fun out there and be safe!

Happy Friday the 13th!

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Rock ‘n’ Roll me!

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The decision is final!

Tickets and reservations have been made!

Registration for the Marathon in complete!

I am running The Strip at Night on November 17th, 2013.

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The adult playground is about to become the location of my 8th marathon, and I couldn’t be happier.  Already looking forward to the glitz and glam, the neon lights, the people!  Runners will take over Las Vegas in a few months and rock the famous Las Vegas Boulevard.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

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Triumphant return?  Well, I haven’t registered yet, but things are shaping up for a trip to my favorite place to take part in one of my favorite things.  Running the Strip at Night is amazing, and this time I would be running the Full Marathon.

I took part in the infamous race of 2011..  The one talked about for months based on negative experiences by thousands of runners.  Over crowding, under equipped aid stations, lack of barriers between full and half marathon runners, running out of water at the finish, green bananas, the list goes on and on.  Let me be clear, I had a great time.  It was my third half marathon, I had no issues.

I remember thinking that if I were to go back again, I would run the marathon.  Well, that will probably happen.  Running this marathon would mean three marathons this Fall.  It would also mean two marathons in 14 days.  Maniac material?  I can do it, I believe in myself, and think it would be an utterly fantastic time to run a full 26.2 in one of my favorite destinations in the world.  LAS VEGAS!!!

This is a picture of me after the 2011 Half.

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Who wouldn’t want to run…..especially when there are showgirls around!

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Now, to book a flight, hotel, car, and register!

Runcations

ImageIt’s been a few days since my last post, but all for good reasons.  First we had a bad storm roll through a week ago today, with straight line winds of 80mph.  It knocked out power to my home for almost 48 hours.  Then I got food poisoning, and was down for the count for a few more days.  Now, with only two more days until I go on vacation,I wanted to blog again and post a question.  Do you run while on vacation?

I have made several trips for the sole purpose of running a race.  A couple of years ago I flew to Philadelphia to run a Half Marathon with my brother and a few friends in Jersey City.  I’ve also flown to Las Vegas to run in the 2011 Strip at Night, the first Rock ‘n’ Roll event out there on the Strip with the evening start.  I love running while on vacation, but sometimes we just need the rest.  This trip I am not planning on running at all.  I am using it as a small break to rest, and get my body ready for Fall Marathon training, which begins when I return home.

I pose a few questions.

1. Do you prefer a runcation or a traditional vacation?

2. Where have you traveled to race?

3. What distance is the furthest you’ve traveled to race?

My answers?  I love to take vacations period, but love to be able to include a race because it may be the only chance I have to run a race in that area.  I’ve traveled to NY, SC, VA, NJ and NV to race.  The furthest away being Las Vegas twice to race.  The other race I did just north of Vegas was in Area 51.  The E.T. Midnight Half Marathon in Rachel, NV.Image

Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh

RunRaleigh Racing is local, and also a favorite.  The race director, Paula, puts on great events.  The highlight is this Half Marathon which has been run the last two years in mid April.  It is a great event, supported locally by over 1,000 runners.  Due to Competitor Group, bringing a brand new Rock n Roll event to Raleigh in 2014, this race is being displaced until Fall because the City of Raleigh granted this non-local event first dibs on the same date for the next five years.  I feel this is quite a dilemma, and it has caused quite a stir in the local running community.  I will be running the Rock n Roll Marathon next April, as it lands exactly on my birthday, and figure how can I pass up the chance to run a marathon on my big day.  Others are trying to find a common ground, make decisions on if they can or should support the Rock n Roll event.  I will also continue to support the local Half in the Fall, on its new date.  

What do you think?  I don’t think boycotting Rock n Roll is in order, but maybe you have a different perspective?  Please share your thoughts on local versus big name events.

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