When we left off, we were on our way out for dinner, at 11:30pm Saturday night, because I totally fell asleep after the 5K. We went to Yardhouse by the Linq and had super yummy club sandwiches with sweet potato fries. Yum!! It was super windy that night and soooo cold. I was praying that it wouldn’t be that windy on race day, I remember hearing that last year was so windy during the race.
After getting a decent nights sleep, we just went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, they had a buffet, but we like to just eat ala carte so we ordered omelets with hashbrowns and toast. It was a decent pre-race meal.
We then just went back to the room, watched a little TV and chilled out until it was time to get ready to run. I know you aren’t supposed to do anything new on race day, but I did eat 1/2 a Sprinkles cupcake before getting ready. Crazy but Sean was like we need to get some extra calories and the actual cake is a carb, right? 😉
We got ready, we were a bit later than I was hoping and headed out for the monorail. When we got there, we were met by a rude surprise Burnt Toast Moment #1, there was a huge line of people waiting to get on to the monorail. Sean went up ahead to see what the issue was and found that all the trains were super full and they were literally only letting like 5 people on at a time. I wasn’t in the mood to be late for the race, we were already a little later than I like to be anyways so we made the decision to run to the start instead. Off we went, weaving in and out of people as we ran down the strip to the start area. I don’t do well in situations like this, I like to have everything done in an orderly fashion, i.e. being at the start area in plenty of time so there is no rushing to do anything.
I was running at what I felt was an easy pace, but I kept losing Sean so that was putting a bit of stress on me too, as I kept looking back for him as we got separated by the crowds of people. We finally made it to the end of the strip, only to see that we needed to go a bit further to get to the start village to check my bag. We made it inside and to the bag check area with literally 4 minutes to spare. There was a guy calling out Gear Check closes in 4 minutes as I was trying to get my track pants & sweatshirt into the bag and grab my GoMacro bar.
After my experience earlier this year of not using the facilities before the race, I knew I couldn’t hold it for long, it was cold out 🙂 so we decided to wait for the port-a-potties in the start village. I wasn’t too happy at this point at all because I was super stressed, nervous & cold. We finally made it to the front of the line, did our business and then headed out to the corrals, at this point it is almost 4:20p and the race is to start at 4:30p. When we got out of the village area, it became obvious that we were still not close to the start. I saw corral 45 and just about burst into tears since we were supposed to start in corral 13 & to make matters worse the race info stated that there was a strict 5 hour marathon cut-off. I was super worried that we wouldn’t make it time so off we went again. Fortunately we made it to the correct corral by 4:25p or so in time to hear the National Anthem and take a few photos. It was at this time when Sean, who if he hadn’t run with me, would have been in corral 2 said something to the effect that by the time I get to the start he was practically finished, LOL. Welcome to the world of the middle of the pack :).
We finally made it to the start and took off. This is when Burnt Toast Moment #2 happens…but first a tiny backstory… I used to have an awesome Amphipod pouch for my cell phone that slipped on to my Nathon fuel belt, or easily into my shorts/capris with little to no bulk and I lost it earlier this year. When I went to purchase another one I couldn’t find another one like it at REI so I got a different one, that clips on instead. Well I don’t like this pouch at all, it doesn’t work for me except if I put it in my sports bra, which can cause horrible chafing (this was the worst it ever has been – it took 2 weeks to heal), but I like to run with my phone so I’ve been sucking it up until I could find another pouch that fits my iPhone 6. Now back to the race, on Saturday during the 5K I clipped the phone case to my spibelt and ran with it like that, no bouncing so I did the same thing again for this race. But this time, it was bouncing all over the place and driving me absolutely crazy, probably because I forgot that on Saturday I tied my long sleeve shirt around my waist which helped to prevent the bounce. I kept trying to get it to stop bouncing while running around people and trying to keep up with Sean.
Finally I was like forget it and I just put it in my sports bra only to have my headphones die immediately (seriously?). Since we were barely 2 miles into a 26 mile race, that was like the end of the world, especially after all the other craziness. I think, no I know, at one point I was like I don’t even want to run this, to which Sean said, can you at least be a little positive? so I shut up and tried to enjoy running on the strip. By this point it was dark and all the casinos were lit up, which was really pretty.
We were going at a good pace and I was trying not to look at my watch so I asked Sean where were at and it was around 6 miles. I was already tired and I must have thought at least a hundred times, maybe I should just turn off and only run the half, but I knew that I had to do it so I just asked Sean to slow down a bit when we got to mile 8 or so because I wasn’t going to be able to maintain that pace. We kept going down the strip and then into a little bit of a residential area before we marathoners split off from the half marathoners. It was at this point that it got colder. We went thru the Fremont Street Experience which was super cool, I’ve never been there before, lots of lights and there were people flying over us on zip lines, that was interesting. Lots of people cheering, then we left there and went out, I don’t know where, but there wasn’t a whole lot going on in the next 10 miles or so.
Around mile 10 there was a little uphill and I had to walk it because my calf was a little tight. Well that’s the start of a few more burnt toast moments. At mile 11, my right leg completely cramped up. The calf issues were causing my shin muscle to pull – and I was already cramping in that area. This caused me to have to walk a bit. I’d try to run but my leg was literally giving out on me, it was a horrible feeling. We walked a lot more between miles 11 – 16 than I would have liked. Also during that time period, I refilled my 20 oz camelback bottle 2 times and went to the bathroom 2 times as well.
Right around mile 16 we took a 2nd bathroom break and got our bottles filled and I took a selfie that I posted to instagram where I was practically in tears because I was soooo afraid we wouldn’t make it due to the time cut-off and in a lot of pain too. I think it was around this time that Sean gave me 2 advil as well – I very rarely ever take medicine for pain so I almost refused but I’m pretty sure he insisted. I think it did help because not too long after this point I was able to try to run.
So from mile 16 on, we ran to each mile marker where we walked for about a minute before running to the next mile marker. At some point we ran back thru the Fremont Street Experience and I missed the mile marker so I think we ran about 2 miles that time, after which took a quick break and we ran the rest of the race in (almost 4 miles). I was so worried about the time, but once we got to the strip, I saw that there were still half marathon walkers that we were passing so I felt a little better. I figured if there were still half marathoners out there they weren’t going to kick us off the course. This is the first time I’ve run a race with such a short time limit, although, I don’t think it was as strictly enforced like I thought it was, it still made it stressful when my race didn’t go as well as I thought it would.
It was probably around mile 22 or so that my head phones died but really I think what happened was that my phone was almost dead and I didn’t realize it until we had finished and I saw that my nike+ app hadn’t captured the entire race.
I checked my Garmin and it looks like from around mile 22.5 thru the end, we ran without walking, it wasn’t fast but we did manage to finish strong. Our last mile was even sub 10 mins which at that point, I’m shocked at.
Sean and I smiled for lots of photographers and then when we were about a 1/2 mile from the finish, he asked me if I would be ok with holding hands when we crossed the finish line. Of course!! So as we approached the finish line we joined hands and finished the race at the exact same time. It was pretty amazing because when we checked later, we hit every single timing mark at the same time!
There are no words for how happy I was to be finished with this race. This was my 4th marathon and of the 4, it was probably the one I was least excited about. I think I told Sean a number of times, I was way more excited for him to run NYC then I as to run this race. I didn’t have the best of training cycles, it started to feel like work vs fun. I didn’t run more than 18 miles twice vs the 22 – 24 that I’ve done in the past. There were a lot of reasons why I was excited for it to be done.
I am signed up for 2 marathons for next year already and there were times during this race that I was like, what was I thinking, I’m signed up for 2 more of these! lol But I’ll take what I learned here and use it to help me for the next one.
Overall, as a race, Rock n’Roll does do a good job. The aid stations were well stocked, they had port-a-potties at each station. They had a lot of food/beverage available at the finish, including bottles of water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, bananas, pretzels & power bars. Apparently they were also handing out beer at the finish, but since we don’t drink, that didn’t really interest us so much. They also handed out the space blanket wraps.
The medals were nice too (although, I like the 5K medal almost as much if not more than the marathon one – lol). And since we did the 5k on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday we got the extra Remix medal. They had a tent after the finish where you could collect them.
Most of the issues I had with the race were not related to the race itself, they were more my own personal issues. The only real cons I saw with the race were that it takes a lot longer to get to the start than anticipated, definitely allow enough time to get there. Don’t rely on the monorail unless you leave way early. The other thing was that once the marathon left the half marathoners, it’s pretty desolate out there, we felt like we went to Utah or something it seemed so out in the middle of nowhere.
The best part of the race, running the whole way with Sean :). Running on the strip was pretty cool too, seeing the lights and then being able to watch the fountains at the Bellagio after the race.
Oh and then there was the post race Sprinkles Ice Cream 😉 that was awesome!! And totally made all the burnt toast moments better, lol.
Now to start planning for my next race ;)…