06 December 2011

Well... crap.

For those who are simply interested in the bottom line, I won't play the suspense game. I'm going to just give you the bottom line right off the bat, and you can choose to continue to read this awesome recap and the rest of my RockNRoll Las Vegas Half-Marathon story, or you may just go on your merry way, having found out that the ever-elusive, official sub-2 continues to mock me.

Official finish time:  2:03:25


Of course, there is a story. And here it is...

After spending all of Sunday morning lolling about, though the opportunity to really sleep in for the first time in 12 years was crushed by an 8 a.m. phone call... "honey, where's the phone number for the music teacher?"... I did continue to loll in this amazing bed after hanging up...

I finally dragged myself out of bed, enjoyed some not surprisingly over-priced room service that included the best scrambled eggs I think I've ever eaten, and commenced foam-rolling here...

After which I took a luxurious shower in here...with no one pounding on the door or screaming in the background...

If you think I'm being show-offy about the room, I am. I stayed at The Venetian. It was so cool and way more luxurious than anything I've ever experienced. As part of the marathon 'deal,' it really was a deal. The awesomeness of the room was part of why I broke that Vegas rule about spending a lot of time alone in your hotel room. 

The shower woke me up and made me realize that I had to go outside, move my body and get a little fresh air. It was about 1:30 at this point. It was beautiful out...crisp and very slightly breezy. I got back to my room around 2:30. I had planned to meet Beth and her good friend Erika, Aron, and Page in the lobby to head to the start line at 4 o'clock. 

I felt good. A little nervous, but I felt ready. 

I had an ambitious pacing plan. I felt quite confident about what I was planning on doing, though I must admit it was a bit intimidating hanging out pre-race with people who are all wayyyyy faster than I am. But it was fun. Beth and I compared bananas...

[still waiting for Page to email me that lovely photo ... a-hem...]

it helped keep me from being too tense. 

Our cab ride gave us a brief glimpse into the mayhem we were about to enter. We jumped out before things got too bad and alighted right in front of a row of portapotties with no line. NO line. We went. Then we proceeded to look for the gear check...

Page and Aron wore their Santa suits to stay warm, and Beth snuggled in her $3 leopard blankie from Walgreens. You can't see me, but I was wearing my award-winning pants to stay warm.

There it was!
The Mandalay Bay Resort Casino...
and start line...
and home of the gear check from hell.

Yes...all these people are in the gear check mob...not line.

By the time Page and I finished at the gear check mess, it was 5:15. We met back up with Aron, hit up more portapotties, and then headed to our corrals. Total chaos. I feel so sorry for the Mandalay ... their landscaping is just trashed now. As the walkways were jam-packed, people were climbing through and over the bushes and flowers. People were falling off hidden curbs...it was crazy. Somehow, we managed to get into position before the start. They are super fast so I was alone in Corral 6... alone with a thousand other people and this guy...

It was freezing at this point. The wind had really kicked up...
but this guy didn't even have goose-bumps!

Crazy, craziness at the start...solid people.
This is the scene from Corral 6 looking forward.
There were another 30+ corrals behind me!

I was running so fast, the lights of The Strip were a blur :P

Mile 1: 9:24
Mile 2: 9:04
Mile 3: 9:03

Right on target...slow and steady starts the race :)

A bit after the 5K mark, I decided to do a Gu. There was a water station, and the next one wasn't until 5.3. Mile 5 had seemed too late when I ran the Long Beach Half-Marathon. I ripped off the top of the Gu and started sucking it down with my water. Crap. I had grabbed the wrong one! I usually take a chocolate one with NO caffeine first. This was a Roctane Chocolate Raspberry. I only took about half of it before I ran out of water, so I just held onto it to finish later. 

Mile 4: 8:56
Mile 5: 8:51

Hitting my target splits pretty much on the money. I finished the Gu at that next water station. I was feeling great. I was surprising myself, actually, at how 'on' I felt and how closely I was hitting the desired pace.

Mile 6: 8:49
Mile 7: 8:49

Something happened. Shortly after the 10K, my stomach did one of those really loud rumbling turns. And it hurt. I tried to zone out the cramp. I was momentarily successful.

Mile 8: 9:06

And then I wasn't. Whenever I attempted to bring my mile split below a 9-minute pace, the cramps stabbed and groaned. I needed a bathroom ... stat. I started having that caged-animal-get-me-the-f*ck-outta-here feeling... and we were in the ghetto. Yeah. I forgot to mention that. Once we left The Strip at around Mile 4 or 5, we headed into the not-so-glitzy part of town...which was cool. But where the heck was I going to find a place to safely curl up and die? 


Dude... I flew into Denny's. I smiled (or grimaced) at the counter guy..."Please may I...?" and he waved me on, with a slightly puzzled expression on his face. I practically took the door out of the frame charging into that room. It was vacant! No one wanted to be privvy to that Denny's 'Grand Slam.' Yes, I lost a full 5 minutes of my time. It was worth it. Really. My husband had to throw out the line... what happened at Denny's, stayed at Denny's. Definitely not something I wanted to leave on the course :P

Here was my view for 5 minutes.
Very clean, no graffiti. 

Once I was done, it took me a bit to regroup.

Mile 9: 14:04   (9:01 if you delete the potty break)
Mile 10: 9:01

All of that emptying left me feeling pretty depleted, but I knew that I could go faster. So I did.

Mile 11: 8:48

Yay for Emily and Sarah! The World's Greatest Cheerleaders! They were loud and they were sparkly... and they saw me and screamed my name! Total internal power surge :) Thanks, you guys, for being there at mile 2ish when I was feeling solid and again when I really needed you between 11 and 12. Thank you!

After the two of them, it all was a blur. I didn't even want to look for the Mandalay which marked the finish. That thing is so huge that you could see it and be miles away still. I just focused in front of me... moving my feet...steady... consistent.

Mile 12: 8:48

My Garmin was all whacked out...well, mostly because my mind was whacked out and I couldn't compute or remember anything. I didn't really know how many miles I had left or how far I had gone. It was dark. I was afraid to turn the little light on because I might hit the wrong thing and screw up the timing/pacing thing. Where was that last mile marker? Where? WHERE?

Mile 13: 8:39


Then all of a sudden we need to take a hard right toward the hotel, immediately followed by a left and then up a little hill. What the heck? And then down a little hill into the finish which was a wall of people. I honestly slammed into some people as I pushed my pace across the line. Everyone did, so no one was mad.

glow-in-the-dark, sparkly medal and a bottle of water at the finish

The situation at the finish was horrendous. The crowd control was non-existent. No effective signage. No alternate routes. Everything funneled in and out through the same space. Retrieving things from gear check wasn't as bad as the drop-off had been, but then we had to figure out how to get back to the hotel. 

We couldn't find the free shuttles. No effective signage, remember? And we weren't entirely sure we wanted to find the free shuttles as we were imagining the lines. Somehow, we managed to stumble upon the lobby and find the taxi line...which required most impressive wait though not as long as the shuttles, I later heard. 

we are happy to be inside...and done

We finally climbed into the cab and embarked on the ride from hell driven by Cabbie McLoud. I dare you to watch the video...it is only 16 seconds long...we got to listen to this for over an hour. 

If anyone can translate what this man is saying shouting, Aron, Page and I would love to know. 

It took us almost 2 hours and $45 to go 2 stinkin' miles. As soon as we could clearly see a way into The Venetian, we told McLoud to just pull over and let us the *bleep* out! 

The fresh air was simultaneously bracing and calming. I felt so much better out of that cab. We headed over the street to our hotel, whereupon we all went to our rooms and didn't venture out again that night.

My belly continued it's cramping and clearing...in fact, it still is. I had a super hard time sleeping. While I'm used to running at night, I'm not used to racing at night. Totally different ballgame.

Would I do it again? I don't know. Vegas is weird. It was so fun to meet other bloggers in the flesh. It was also so fun to run down the middle of The Strip with all the lights flashing. But as an event, they have some serious work to do. If you think you want to do it, go in with your eyes open to the element of utter chaos and lack of preparedness. Expect no food or amenities at the end. Expect for it to take hours to get from the finish line to your warm, comfy quarters. And if you can't handle those conditions, it is definitely not the race for you!


  1. ahhhh. friend. you will definitely get that sub-2!! your pace was awesome at this race...i think i had the same stomach issues though. it was weird. my stomach just felt heavy after i took any gu's. not good. and i agree with just about everything you said about the race. it was fun, but frustrating. this is was a great recap of the race!

  2. well at least you had the presence of mind to snap a picture of the toilet stall door. Looks a lot like a guys stall, in case you were wondering. And you got sub 2 "moving time" - stopping for a dump is simply a timing chip formality.

  3. Aw, crap! Literally.
    You'll get it. You will.

    PS: I think the cabbie said something Hannah Montana.

  4. So close! Those tummy issues had to suck! Thank goodness for Denny's. Sorry about the mess at the end. And wow, that cabby was LOUD!!

  5. Sooo many things I want to say!

    Very "punny" title.

    What was that guy thinking? Wasn't that outfit going to chafe? Ouch!

    And I have not heard good things about the race organization. I am no longer jealous that I couldn't go!

  6. Well, it could have been worse...the guy at Denny's could have made you buy some food there. So you almost beat a sub-2...you are still faster than me. And I agree with Patrick, even if he does spend too much time on a bike.

  7. Who was that telling the cabby to shush? Awesome! :)

    I noticed your outfit again -- quite fitting. :)

    You're going to get that sub-2. At Oakland. We'll run it together. I'm going to make you eat a ton of cheese the day before, and Immodium right before he race. :)

    Looks & sounds like you had a great time... definitely memorable. :)

  8. I was lulled into la la land with all of the hotel talk, and then thrown into a mini panic attack at the thought of the tummy troubles! You told the story very well...now I don't feel like I ever need to run that!

  9. I saw that guy adjusting his banana hammock by a port-o-potty around mile 20 of the marathon! I think he might have been taking a sip of a beer too! LOL!

    I had bad tummy issues too- turned into a barf party about 45 min post race. Thank heavens I was staying at Mandalay. That would have been bad to puke in a cab or on a shuttle!

  10. omg cannot get over that butt guy in your corral.

    I am with you! My stomach did not behave. I think it's cool how I went to Denny's to put stuff in and you went to Denny's to put stuff out that day. Hope you are feeling better. It took me until this morning to be able to really eat again.

    And I'll never eat a banana like that crazy one you had. Dolvett all the way.

  11. Stupid RNR LV. What a shit show.

    As for your sub-2, it is SO CLEARLY just a matter of time. All you need is a good day in terms of stuff you can't control.

  12. Ugh!! You'll get that sub 2...but sounds like your belly had a different plan. I'm so sorry you had such issues! Next time! I loved the part about relaxing in your room....it sounded like a slice of heaven!

  13. oh man, that really is a bummer. i ran a marathon in september and my stomach did the same thing to me at mile 17. it was awful and there was no denny's (or anything that even came close) for me to stop at. i made it through the race but had to walk a lot. it was so depressing because i knew i was capable of a much faster race if only my stomach hadn't gotten in the way. alas, such is the nature of racing. i am sure you will get that sub-2 though! you were oh so close and if your stomach hadn't acted up you would have had it no problem.
    i'm not sure how interested i am in this race after reading so many of the recaps ... if i am going to run at night i want it to be in a relay!

  14. SO CLOSE! Love the medal. So sparkly looking. can't imagine running after noon let alone running at night... you did awesome!

  15. You will get your sub-2 - no doubt! Great job given all your stomach issues...hope you're feeling better!

    Great recap - That race sounds crazy! And gravy I don't know what that cabby was saying :b

  16. wow....the more I read about this race the more it sucks...and the less chance I will ever do it.

    I am with Patrick....timing chip FORMALITY...chin up my friend.

  17. That hotel room is amazing. I might go just for that! The crowds and such...decidedly less amazing, though it looks like you had a fantastic time meeting up with some really cool bloggers.

    My first half marathon tore my stomach up. It was bad. I promised myself before every water stop that I'd stop at the next porta potty, but then I kept going...let's just say you didn't want to be the person standing behind me in the bag pick up line. :P

    I love that you took a picture in the bathroom. I'd totally do that. And your paces were spot on, lady. You've got this. Like I think I said on Daily Mile, you may need to pick a race just for its PR possibilities.

  18. oh girl, ahhh. I feel this pain. crap indeed. a big long crap. A 5 min crap. Shit. But I'm impressed with your negative splits here! great last mile...you finished strong and didn't let this ruin your go get em attitude. Your trip sounds so fun! Would love to have been there.

  19. You'll get your sub-2:00 soon! I agree with Alyssa -- you should do the Oakland half. For the most part it's flat (til near the end, ha), awesome crowd support, small number of runners.

    That bare-ass runner is cray-cray. Wasn't Vegas super cold that night??

  20. Sorry to hear about your stomach issues! I'm sure a sub-2 is just around the corner for you.

    However your hotel room was AMAZING! That is gorgeous. Clearly I have got to make a trip to Vegas!

  21. Darn bodily functions! Yeah, I missed a half PR in Oct 'cause I had to answer nature's call. But all things considered it looks like you ran an awesome race! Great job!

  22. I TOTALLY SAW THAT NAKED GUY. There are things you cannot unsee.

    Sorry about the stomach problems. I've been there.

    The shuttles were way around the finish line. You had to go along the convention center, towards the left, and around the entire finish area. We totally went the wrong direction at first trying to find our way out. $%!@

    I'm positive you will get your sub-2 soon!

  23. you did great just keep at it@ and WHAT is /w that assless short guy?!?@?! OMG :P

    I love that hotel room! I saw your dance photos too

  24. Ugh - this (race) experience sounds miserable! Sorry your stomach was so bad, and sorry the race/after race was so poorly organized.

    You will get your "official" sub-2 for sure!

    Thank goodness for Denny's! Oh, and that room looks swank-ay! nice!

  25. wow! good to know. Another reason why I don't run. LOL

    I had some serious flashbacks from embarrassing, yet painful, moments where I need to crap immediately. Not fun.


  26. I am laughing SO HARD at this: "No one wanted to be privvy to that Denny's 'Grand Slam.'" And then you took a photo of the bathroom door! HAHAHAHA!! Oh man, must get myself together because I'm at work...

    You are awesome and funny and more awesome. You ran great splits, which were even more impressive considering the madness of that crowded race. This means you WILL have a sub-2 soon. You've got it. Oh, and I've been hearing that a lot of people felt sick and they think it's because the race used fire hydrant water.

  27. Can't get the image of 'that guy' out of my head.

  28. First so sorry we did not meet and I feel like we we're in the same places a tons of time. I am sorry about stomach issues I am soo impressed on ur time and how u recovered given the situation! Be proud! This was totally crazy and you made it! Seriously impressive! Great recap though, really funny and a great read! Hope u r feeling better

  29. Not only did you dominate the denny's bathroom, but your mad skills for creeper videoing are classic.

  30. Are you serious with the butt guy! I still am irregular--tummy issues bleck. You are one tough cookie and I miss your face.

  31. gut wrenching laughing! love the way you tell the story. reminds me so much of HTC - the story telling and the way you battled through.

  32. Great race! You got faster towards the end which means that you'll get that P.R. in the next one!
    Sorry to hear about the post-race chaos, but overall it sounded like a great weekend.

  33. So I love this mile by mile recap! I had a similar experience in the Columbus 1/2 a year or so ago... finish time was 2:02:23... EFFFF!!! All because of a bathroom break. EFFFFF!!!!

    I'll never let it go!

  34. Did you see this? http://www.lvrj.com/news/marathon-runners-say-they-were-sickened-135233493.html

  35. Sub 2 will be yours. I just know it! Great recap. Seems kind of crazy and what's up with the pantless guy? Not sure if it's funny or just too weird :)

    Congrats on a well run race! I've been considering once again trying Gu just for the convenience. Once again I'm not so sure.

  36. OH man! Yay Dennys! It's an american tradition! :P I though of you all weekend totally hoping you'd have the race of a lifetime. Well, at least you had a memorable experience, right?
    Lush hotels are a little piece of heaven. Loved mine this week too. So nice to step out of reality for a while, huh?


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