Saturday, December 6, 2014

Race #13 of the Season: Rock 'N Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon

On paper, this is my worst stand-alone half-marathon. Let's just get that out of the way first. I hit the 10 mile point about where I would have loved to have finished the race. But as we all know, things don't always go according to plan. Let's see why, shall we?

****

Training had been ... okay leading into the race. The week of, we didn't run as much as we had planned on. We didn't run before we left and then Thursday, the day we got in, we decided to just hike Red Rock Canyon as opposed to run it.

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Friday was a lot of walking, but we did get a nice morning run in on the Strip on Saturday.

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Super-awkward running selfie. Also wearing our Vegas shirts from 2010.

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Paused at a light.

The run taught us that going ... north? on the Strip was fast and we'd need to be careful with our speed so as to not blow up early in the race.

Sunday was strange, with the race being in the afternoon/evening. Completely threw us off our typical "race morning" preparation, but since we had kind of thrown all true goals out the window, we decided to just treat it as an evening training run (of which we had done several because of the time of this race). We grabbed a baguette sandwich lunch and headed down to the start.

The start? Not well-labeled. We knew it was south of Mandalay Bay, but which way to go? Not so clear. We figured it out, but yeah. Signs to gear check? Non-existent. Given the weird weather that day (chilly for Vegas), we just decided to say screw gear check and keep the few extra things with us (me; RunCO pullover, sunglasses, phone ... Brandon pretty much nothing). Therefore, I was able to get photos with my phone during some points of the race/lead-up.

We waited in our corrals for a good long while - there were tens of thousands of runners and 50some corrals.

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Waiting for everything to start, trying to stay warm.

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Just a few corrals away from starting!

We started off with the plan to take the first few miles easy and slowly pick it up. We accomplished this perfectly for the first five or so miles (10:32, 10:03, 10:01, 10:08, 10:00). We didn't have to walk for the first time until about mile 6 ... when Brandon started to fall apart.

5K split: 31:51

He started feeling some weird pain in the ball of his foot; if you look at the official race photos (which I'm not going to post here since, y'know, copyrights), his stride looks off from early on. He vocalized the pain around mile five and it got worse from there.

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If we were going to walk, I was going to get Mr. Pawn Stars fan in front of this place.

10K split: 1:04:38

Things just got worse from there. We had a few miles in the 11s, but by mile eight, Brandon couldn't really run again. He tried stretching his foot out; didn't help. He retied his shoes so they were super loose; didn't really help. I had him lean on me a bit to help support him and get weight off the sore foot; kind of helped.

A kind runner gave him some Advil which maybe kicked in by the end, but it was slow-going until the finish.

10 mi split: 2:01:42

Brandon wanted me to leave. I was feeling great when we were descending pace and I knew I had quite a bit in my legs ... but we had really reconnected thus far over the weekend and I refused to leave him. After all, he stayed with me throughout the disaster that was the run at Harvest Moon, so I just told him I was returning the favor.

Since I had my phone, we called our friend Nic to help Brandon out. She helped give him some great perspective - there will always be other start lines, this wasn't an A race, etc. Besides, if there's a race that's a good one to walk large chunks of it, it's this one. North Las Vegas Blvd. is usually kind of sketchy (up toward the wedding chapels, and Circus Circus, and Fremont) so that was probably the best time to be able to walk it and be safe and see the lights.

Brandon insisted on running a bit more as the race went on (my guess is the Advil kicked in) and we crossed the finish line together, holding hands, in the same time.

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Post-race. Brandon is dead. I am not.

Final Stats:
Time: 2:55:15
Pace: 13:23/mi
Overall Rank: 18930/25243
Gender Rank: 11123/15862
Division Rank: 2175/2902 (F30-34)

I helped Brandon limp back to the hotel - it was pretty bad - where we showered and tried to figure out dinner. Walking anywhere was out of the question thanks to his foot, and driving was going to be tricky due to the Strip being closed down for the race. I offered to go walk someplace and bring back food as I was feeling pretty okay, but we couldn't think of anything we really wanted. So, thanks to some help from the Bellagio concierge, we figured out that we could leave the hotel property by car ... so we just went to In-N-Out and stuffed our faces. It worked.

****

Worst stand-alone half on paper, but a race that I do not regret. Could I have done fairly well if I had left Brandon? Probably ... but who knows? I also know that I would have worried horribly about whether he was doing okay or not. I stayed by my husband's side when he needed me the most, and to me, that's what matters on the day. Nic's right - there will (almost) always be other races.

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