Las Vegas is CRAZY. The minute I got off the plane, I could tell that I was not in my natural territory. I have never felt claustrophobic, but this place could bring that feeling out of anyone, I am 100% sure. I was so overwhelmed by everything. It was huge, loud, hot, bright, smelly, and I couldn’t figure out how to get out of my damn hotel! When I arrived on Friday, I basically just held on for the ride. I didn’t want to make any decisions, I just wanted someone to grab my leash and lead me. This worked out well, since most of my friends had been in Vegas before and knew the right places to show me for my inaugural stroll. We walked around A LOT and had dinner at the Harley Davidson Café, which was decent. Their portions were huge, so Alicia and I split the chicken parmagiana. It was just what we needed, lots of pre-race carbs. We also went to CVS and bought crackers, Oreos, Skittles…all sorts of bad stuff that you’re allowed to eat when you’re doing a half marathon. Heh heh.
Saturday we had to wake up at 4:45 AM, ouch. We all met in the lobby and saw the stragglers from the night before looking pretty darn haggard! The drive was 45 minutes to Boulder Beach at Lake Mead. The organizers started both the marathon and the half marathon later than announced because it was so dark outside…not sure why they didn’t think of that before… Good thing, though, because the line of cars to get into the park was unbelievably long!!! Once we got there and got in the race lineup, it was all good.
The race was HOT. It was HILLY. The first half was incredibly HARD. The elevation gain was “only” 380 feet, which, when I think of that in hiking terms is absolutely nothing. Running, though, it’s a different story. I had to walk quite a bit during the first half, but still, we kept good time. Alicia and I ran together for about three quarters of the race and then she broke off and went ahead. The second half was smoother. I found my pace and it was a lot of downhill, but they took away one of the aid stations so I was just dying of thirst!! We didn’t carry water with us because A) it’s a huge pain in the ass on a longer run, and B) there were supposed to be water stations every one-two miles. They were there in the beginning but they shut one of them down prematurely, which really pissed me off. But what do you do? Unfortunately, there isn’t a vending machine on the trail, so I had to suck it up and keep going!
The final section was all downhill, and you’re staring straight at the finish line for what seems an eternity! Behind it was Lake Mead. It was SO beautiful! I looked at my watch, I ran, I looked at my watch, I wiped my sweaty face, I ran some more…finally I saw my friends waiting for me and cheering me on! I crossed the finish line TWENTY minutes faster than my last half marathon time!!!! AMAZING! My hardcore training totally paid off!
That night we did the obligatory partying. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hang, considering my amazing accomplishment of 13.1 miles (and a too-short nap), but my friends and I danced and frolicked until the second time the clock struck 2:00 AM (Daylight Savings weekend)! I will not go into further details here to protect the not-so-innocent. The next day I paid for it, but I managed to get outside because it was beautiful and 80 degrees. When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you don’t argue when sunshine is offered up. You just take it.
And THAT is how I do Vegas!