The Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon and 1/2 is particularly unique in that it is held on Sunday night. The idea is to run up and down the strip in the dark to thoroughly enjoy the lights and the full spectacle that is Vegas. I flew in on Friday so that I could maximize the weekend but also so that I wasn't traveling and wearing myself out the day before the race. My bestie from high school, Angela, met me and we began our girls weekend.
We stayed at Bally's which is right in the center of the action. I forgot how great the people watching is and got some good action in while waiting for her to arrive. I had been to Vegas once before a number of years ago under very different circumstances. While I was in town this time for a 13.1 mile racecation, last time I was there to PARTY and party I did. Vegas looks and smells a whole lot different when you are sober and a reformed smoker. But there is plenty to enjoy no matter your perspective. When Angela arrived we grabbed some dinner and then headed to the room and to bed. It was late and we wanted to get a full day in on Saturday.
Saturday we slept in. Like really slept in. I cannot tell you the last time I stayed in bed until 10 am. And it was 10 am Vegas time which is 1 pm my time. It was GLORIOUS. No screaming toddler wake up call, no breakfast to make, no appointments or activities to be at. Nothing. Such a treat. When we finally did get out of bed we headed to the hotel gym for quick runs and then after a shower to the buffet brunch at Paris. I love a good buffet. It is always so much fun to try a bunch of random stuff at one meal and this one did not disappoint. It wasn't exactly my typical day before race meal, but since the race was Sunday night I had some extra time to digest and get my stomach under control.
After we ate it was time to head out to the Las Vegas Convention Center for packet pickup. We took the monorail and enjoyed the views of the city.
From the expo we made our way back to Bally's and to dinner and a show. I've wanted to try BLT Steakhouse for ages and there was one right in our hotel. We indulged in delicious soup, popovers, steak (salmon for Angela), parsnips, and stuffed mushrooms. We would have crammed dessert in too if we weren't running late for the show. Again, not my typical pre-race dinner, but what the hell, you only live once! (All of this eating came back to haunt me a bit).
We bought half price tickets for the show Jubilee, also in our hotel. It's a traditional show girl show with singing and dancing and the girls in wild feathered outfits and enormous headdresses. Both Angela and I would have died for one of the headdresses. They were too cool. The show was entertaining, but not fantastic. All of the dancers were incredibly subdued - almost as if the entire cast was on valium. But it was a fun way to spend the night out without traipsing all over the city and wearing out my legs before I needed them to run. Mostly though, it didn't matter what we were doing because it was so great to get caught up and laugh after not seeing each other in a year.
Sunday. Race day. Once I was up and awake (again after a decent late sleep) I started to get nervous. What the hell was I about to do? Run 13.1 miles after my longest training run was only 9.5 and fairly miserable toward the end? Insane! We found a good carb filled breakfast and I filled up my stomach early in the day so I didn't have to eat a ton later. It didn't matter - I really couldn't eat much later in the day anyway. We took our time getting ready and headed toward the start line on the monorail. It was fairly easy to find our way since half of Vegas was headed in the same direction. Somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 people took place in this run and that doesn't include all of the family and friends that were there as spectators.
Pre-race entertainment included an hour long concert by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. We hung out listening to the music and chatting with a woman from Illinois that was there to run. I had been worried about being properly hydrated in such a dry climate especially after a five hour flight. So since Friday night I had been chugging insane amounts of water loaded with my Skratch electrolyte mix. And I had not needed to go to the bathroom nearly as often as I thought I should. This made me even more nervous about being properly hydrated. Well the floodgates opened when we got to the concert site and I spent a fair amount of that time in line for the portopotties. All of my fluid intake also came back to haunt me during the race.
I also started to get a minor headache while we were waiting for things to get started. I decided it was not going to get better while running so we scooted over to Mandalay Bay to buy some Advil in the gift shop and make one more trip to the bathroom. Then back to get in my corral and get ready for the race start.
I'm going to save the actual race for it's own race report because otherwise this would become the longest blog post in Vegas history. But rest assured the race happened and I finished. Then back to the hotel to shower and get warm. After changing we headed to a burger restaurant in the hotel and ate soft pretzels, brisket chili, and I had an enormous burger. There was not enough food in the place. And I was hobbling around like a crippled octogenarian. In the middle of dinner I got a crazy hamstring cramp and had to stick my foot on the back of Angela's chair to stretch it out. I'm sure I looked like an insane Cirque du Soleil wannabe. But this meal may have been my favorite part of the weekend. There was something so relaxed and comfortable about the meal and, of course, Angela's company.
Monday morning I could move better than I expected and after Angela left for the airport I wandered down to Hard Rock Cafe to get my traditional t-shirt souvenirs for all of the boys at home. Then off to the airport where I purposefully went to the wrong terminal so that I could get a pedicure and foot massage. At this point I was hobbling significantly enough that an airline employee asked if I needed a wheelchair. Nope, just younger joints, but thanks. The pedicure went a long way to relaxing my aching feet and then I was on the plane, home, and back to the grind of normal life.
This weekend was just what the doctor ordered. It was amazing to actually taste my food for the first time in a while instead of shoveling it down as quickly as possible before a screaming toddler climbed into my lap. It was nice to take care of me on my time instead of fitting my stuff in between everyone else's schedule. And best of all, I got to hang out with and catch up with my best girl Angela. She is so much fun and better than any therapist. She lets me dump my crap but doesn't let me wallow in it. AND she was great about deferring to what I needed for the race. She totally got it when I didn't want to traipse all over town and kill my legs the day before the run. Good good stuff. I don't know when I'll get another trip like this, but I highly recommend it. In the meantime, Elvis has left the building!