Previously, on PavementRunner.com:
After running a half marathon PR on Saturday at Revel Canyon City, and then running on Sunday at the Inaugural Disneyland Avengers Half Marathon dressed as Capt. America, at 5:30 am, I quickly made my way to the airport to hop on a plane to run the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon — my third half marathon in two days. My story begins at the (redesigned) Tropicana Hotel a few hours before the race.
The party before the party
I made it into my room a couple of hours before the race. I was able to connect with Wifey at the airport and we easily caught a cab to our Hotel. They completely redesigned the Tropicana. I remember being there last year before the race and taking note at how they completely re-did the look/feel. The great thing about that location is that it’s a block or two from the starting area.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were set to take the stage at 3:30 with the race starting at 4:30. I really wasn’t able to get off my feet after landing in LV, but I felt pretty good. Sure my legs were tired, but the trip over from Anaheim was problem-free and, unlike last year’s San Antonio to Las Vegas, I was able to get in substantial food between the two races.
Side note: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis KILLED IT. I was already a fan, and yes, I was bummed that Snoop wasn’t able to make it, but they did a great job and I enjoyed the concert more than I thought I would.
After connecting with friends during the concert and in the starting area, we finally made our way to the corrals. At this point, I felt really excited to be back where I was last year… and EVEN MORE excited to be running the half this time around with friends.
I told Andrea that I would run with her at whatever pace she wanted. We would enjoy it, take pics and just experience the race as it came to us. She was doing her very first double-race day and after hearing all of my “crazy” SA2LV stories, she was joining in on the fun with the Disney2LV challenge. This was her first time starting in corral 1 and I let her know that she didn’t need to worry about how fast everyone else was going. I let her know to just stay to the left (since that is the side we were on) and allow everyone else to pass us if they wanted. The thing about corral 1 is that you have the elite runners, and sometimes the range can be from sub-3 runners to 3:30 marathoners… the further back the corrals go, the closer you are to being around people your own pace. Corral 1 and 2 is a wide range of hodge-podge speedsters in most races, myself included.
And just like that, we were off. Well, Andrea was off at least. She took off like a rocket. In a matter of seconds, she was 5-10 people in front of me. I thought “where is she going?” and must have had the most confused look on my face. We made eye contact and she had this “deer in headlights” look. I caught up to her and I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something along the lines of not wanting to get trampled by fast folks. It was the funniest thing. It obviously wasn’t a pace we could continue to hold and a little bit later it opened up and we settled into a more comfortable pace.
Along the first few miles, we stopped and took pictures, saw some familiar faces and were just having a great time. We got a lot of compliments on our Disney2LV shirts and it made it really easy for us to recognize other friends and for people to recognize us. Running down the strip is an experience that is hard to explain. It’s great because you are running down a street that is only closed 2x a year: once for New Years and the other for THIS race. The strip is lined with people cheering on the runners, combined with people who are “enjoying Las Vegas’ hydration policy” and just all-around good vibes. As the sun goes down, the casino lights get brighter and you just get swept up in enjoying the run.
After the first mile or so, we lost Richard, but reconnected with him a few miles later. After that, the four of us stayed together the rest of race. We talked about all kinds of things and cracked jokes for the first 7 miles and just really enjoyed each others company. At this point, I was amazed at how GREAT my legs felt. I remember saying that they felt the best they had all weekend and I had this overwhelming sensation of just being happy. The weekend was going great and I was doing what I love, but most importantly, I was doing it with friends
who are just as crazy as I am.
Between miles 8-10, I think we all sort of hit a lull. Our group got really quiet after we turned off the strip at mile 7-ish. We spread out a little bit and kind of all got into our own little zone. These miles are through some neighborhoods and fall victim to not being as “exciting” as running down the strip. It’s not their fault, we can’t blame these miles.
Once we made our way back onto the strip, we sort of regrouped and the cheer just came back into the picture. We were about 3 miles away from finishing an amazing day and as we passed each hotel, the finish line got closer and closer. Once it was in sight, I could tell that the four of us could feel the anticipation of finishing the Disney2LV challenge. We all crossed the finish line together, hands held high.
Looks of “what the hell did we just do?”
All the emotions.
We finished somewhere around 2:17 (finisher’s medal), but I don’t think any of us were concerned with it. For me, it was just one of those races you remember for how much fun you had and who you ran it with. I wouldn’t have had it any other way and it was THE PERFECT ending to an epic weekend. I had zero regrets on how any second was spent the entire weekend. I was constantly surrounded by inspirational and amazing runners, made new friendships, expanded existing ones and am forever grateful for everyone that was a part of it.
Would I do it again?
That’s the question, right? Well, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas is set up perfectly to be the “second race.” It’s on PST and starts at 4:30 pm. That means you could logistically do a race in the morning almost anywhere EAST of Vegas. If you were to stay on the West Coast, flights are pretty short and the earlier the start time the better. That is my long way of saying YES, but with a caveat that I think I would select a different race for the morning. There are just so many options that I want to keep them open and try something new. SA2LV, Disney2LV… what’s next year? (something)2LV
Who is joining me next year at doubling down for Las Vegas?
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