I have to be honest. I did a terrible job taking pictures of anything in Vegas that would make for a good blog post. Instead of splitting up my visit from the race, I'm just going to make one long Vegas post.
After making my way to San Francisco Airport (More on my trip to San Fran: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) and waiting in the longest security line ever (really TSA, get your act together), I was finally on my way to Vegas! I took Virgin (seriously, the best airline I've ever flown on) the hour and a half trip over the mountains. It's always cool to see different parts of the country from way up - my flights to and from New York never have mountains!
Of course, there were slot machines at the airport!
After waiting in line and checking in, I finally made it to my room at the Bellagio. I sat down to rest for a little while I waited for my friend Casey to get to the hotel. The problem with my trip to Las Vegas is that I knew I would be really pressed for time. I arrived Friday afternoon, the wedding was Saturday, and the race was Sunday night. This didn't give me much time to do many of the typical Las Vegas things like seeing a show, gambling, or anything else.
Casey got to the room around 4:00, and I knew we would have to motor to get to the race expo before it closed at 6:00. Bellagio was about 2 miles from the Convention Center, so we decided to take the monorail. I made poor Casey run (literally) to make it in time, but we did! After picking up my number and shirt, I made my way to the Sparkle Athletic booth for my #WeRunSocial shirt, and then to Sparkly Soul for a new headband.
Why didn't I take any pictures of anything else? I don't know. I think I was so hangry that all I could focus on was food. Casey and I met up with my mom and our family friends Pam and Ken to grab dinner. We went to Off the Strip at the LINQ, and then headed back to the room to wait for Ryan to get there.
I gambled and struck it rich. We got back to the room around 1:00 and went to sleep, since I had to be at the bridal suite by 9:30 for hair and makeup.
The wedding went great! The makeup artist made me look and feel awesome, and everything went off without a hitch. Except, with all of the photo taking, I had zero time to eat. I ended up partying way too hard (on an empty stomach), and you can guess the end result there.
Casey and Ryan both left on Sunday, even though I was staying till Monday afternoon. Before Casey left, he got me some Gatorade and crackers. I'm not kidding when I tell you that I was sick. Very sick. And I spent most of the day beating myself up while I felt pretty sure that I wasn't going to be running. The good thing is that since my wave wasn't starting till 5:00, I had till around 3:45 before I had to leave the hotel to make my way down to the starting area. Unfortunately, this meant I would miss the #WeRunSocial meetup at 3:30. After having some room service chicken fingers (for $25...), I made the decision to just see how it felt while I ran, but I figured that my 2:20 goal wasn't going to happen.
When I booked the Bellagio, I did it because I knew that it was about .2 miles from the finish line. But, I also knew that it was around 2 miles from the starting area. I was miserable on the walk over, mostly due to the stairs that I had to keep climbing to cross the street. Before I knew it, we were lining up!
There were so. many. people. I think the estimates were more than 40,000 runners were out there on Sunday. I figured this would be a good thing for me, since it would keep me from going out too fast. While I typically run with a FuelBelt for water, for Vegas I decided to go with just my Flip Belt. I planned to take my gel at mile 7, and figured that as long as I didn't stop to puke on the course, that it would be a successful race.
To be honest with you, I still don't know how this race went as well as it did. I felt like I was going to die beforehand, due to a big mixture of my hangover, dehydration (I hadn't had much water from the moment I arrived in San Francisco), tired legs (22 miles of San Francisco hills), and just a mental feeling of dread. And yet, as soon as I started running, I felt great. Really great.
The course was pretty easy (map courtesy of Steff) - we started near the airport, ran on the Strip, went through downtown Las Vegas, and turned back around to finish near the Bellagio. Running on the Las Vegas Strip was amazing - I was getting high fives from anyone who would stick their hand out, I was smiling, I was loving the playlist I made, and I wasn't feeling like hell. I stuck with my original plan to stop at every water stop, and I made sure to have more than one cup of water or Gatorade.
If you look at the map, around mile 7.5 we hit this random secluded area. There were no crowds, no lights, and very few things to focus on. This was around the part where I started to feel a little dumpy, but that was more of a mental thing than a physical thing. I guess there was only so much of the Strip/Downtown that could work for the half marathon, but the area right before the Fremont Street Experience is miserable.
I had my Garmin on the actual clock setting, so I couldn't see how far/fast I had run. Each mile, I took note of my splits. By the time I got to mile 10, I realized that my 2:20 goal was very much doable, as long as I didn't bonk. I tried to pick up the pace, but the desert air was really starting to get to me. I'm used to running in 70-90% humidity all year round, so running in 0% humidity made my mouth extremely dry. I took a few more cups of water at the next few water stops, and pushed it as hard as I could to finish in...2:18:57!
When I first signed up for the Rock n Roll Vegas Half, I thought it would be a good place to try for a PR. Then I got injured in May, and I couldn't run much until the middle of August. So while I always want to PR, I couldn't be happier with how this race went! I beat my goal, didn't go out too fast, and unlike the Marine Corps Half, I didn't bonk and have to walk.
My decision to stay at the Bellagio was a great one. After getting my medal (it spins! And glows!), all I wanted to do was sit down and change my clothes. I still had vouchers to the Bellagio buffet, so I treated myself to a post race meal (spoiler alert: it was a huge letdown), and then took a shower before passing out before 10:00. So much for partying in Las Vegas, huh?
I'm Jenn! Welcome to my adventures through life! Feel free to check out my About section or follow me on social media!