Ever since the Portland Marathon (October 8), I slowed down a lot with how much I was running. This was partly due to wanting to cross-train more frequently, but mainly because a week after the marathon, I had a bad fall while trail running. My right knee took the brunt of it and for a week, it physically hurt to walk or even bend my knee. I had deep bruising underneath and it took a good two weeks for it to really feel back to normal. After that, I was super busy with a new store opening which made me feel tired and stressed. Because of all of that, running took a bit of a backseat. I only ran 35 miles total between the marathon and the Rock 'n' Roll race. And knowing how little I had done to prepare for Rock 'n' Roll, my goal was to run for fun and that I did.
Geof and I drove down to Las Vegas late on a Friday night. It's about a six hour drive from Salt Lake City but by the time we arrived, we were so tired. I ate a burrito in bed and dozed off for the night. On Saturday, we visited the expo, picked up our race packets and wandered around the Strip. My meals this day were spaghetti at VegeNation for lunch and a seafood bucatini at Momofuku for dinner.
The next day was race day—Sunday, November 12th and the race had a late afternoon start. I really don't know how to fuel for a race with a start time of 4:30 p.m.! I ate a naked burrito for brunch and didn't eat anything after, resulting in me being a little hungry during the race. But hold on. Let's start with one quick bit of news. Geof and I did the run-through wedding ceremony on the Brooklyn Bridge at the New York-New York Hotel right before the race start, right by the starting line. It was funny and informal and perfect. We’re married now! It was kind of a spontaneous thing to do, but it fits with who we are and ties into our love of running. I've never wanted a large wedding nor do I want to be the center of attention, so we decided to take the opportunity because what other race allows you to get married as part of your race experience? We had to. We still plan on having a party to celebrate with our friends and family back home though.
Well, back to the race. This whole half marathon was more about the experience than anything else. We waited in the corral with a runner dressed up as Elvis and chatted with him. Early on, Geof and I decided to run with each other and take in the sights during the race.
With the late 4:30 p.m. start, it got dark quickly. I had a headache all morning but running always manages to make me feel better. I soon forgot about my headache and started enjoying my surroundings. The Strip was closed down to traffic and it was exciting to run it at night with all the bright lights, right in the middle of the road. The first 3–4 miles were crowded. It was hard to get around anyone. The road was bumpy where the reflectors were and I tried to pick the best paths to avoid them (my ankle still gets a bit iffy on uneven surfaces from my injury in March).
We stopped at the Las Vegas sign to take photos and then headed back toward the Strip, passing every resort along the way. It's pretty crazy how many there are. Las Vegas is a strange place. We ran by the Stratosphere Tower and I took a quick bathroom stop at 7.6 miles in. I felt more tired than I usually feel 8 miles into a race and realized this was probably one of the warmest races I've run in. 66° is just too hot for racing.
At 9 miles in, we turned a corner and ran right through old downtown Las Vegas (Fremont Street) in all the neon signs. This was by far my favorite part of the race. Geof and I are both designers so we geek out over stuff like that (off topic: we really wanted to visit the Neon Museum and Boneyard during the trip but all of the times that worked for us were sold out! We just might have to make a trip to Las Vegas one day to go see it). The Fremont Street portion was short but impressive and then we headed back the way we came for the last few miles to the finish.
Later on in the race, as we headed back toward the Strip, I wasn’t able to pick it up too much and my comfortable pace was around 9:00 min/mi. I believe it was a combination of my lack of running in the month prior, my headache, the warm weather and being hungry, but it didn't matter. I moved my feet along and soon enough, we were in front of Caesars Palace and running through the finish line, together. Final chip time—2:01:50.
I’m more than okay with the outcome and had fun. One of my major goals is to run a race in every state and it felt good to check off Nevada.