|Never miss a sweet photo op.|
Friday morning, I got to the airport ready for fun! Three of the team met me at the airport and drove me to the host hotel, Mandalay Bay, where our awesome planner had booked us rooms.
Pulling up to the hotel, the Pam (as opposed to Garmin Pam) and Erin D. came running out to greet us. It was the best welcome! Thus began the whirlwind. After hitting the expo to pick up our packets, we got false eyelashes artfully applied in the Spa and went to see The Thunder From Down Under, which is a hilarious show of hunky Australians that's just slightly less cheesy than the Chippendales. We intended to walk back to the hotel and maybe get a drink on the way. Somehow we ended up in Cathouse, dancing our booties off until 2am and then chowing down plates of nachos, sliders and french fries. By about midnight, with the free champagne flowing, I decided that every picture would feature me with my mouth wide open. Thank God Erin (and her wicked sweet camera) is discreet, or we'd be in a heap of trouble!
|All dressed up and somewhere to go|
Back at Mandalay, we showered and changed into comfy clothes and made our way down to the spa where we alternately relaxed in any one of three different temperature whirlpools and slept on the chaises. Oh, and somewhere in there we had room-service bring lunch to us in the spa lounge; Because we're that self-indulgent. It was wonderful.
Alas, race day still loomed ahead and I was ridiculously dehydrated from a night of debauchery followed by a good part of the day spent in the moisture-sucking steam. We had a pasta dinner at another team member's time-share then it was back to the hotel where we turned on the TV just in time to fall into comatose sleep. And then it was race day.
After a glorious ten hours of sleep, I was sitting on the bed in our room scrolling through facebook when I saw on the feed from Run Like a Mother: The Book 'Don't forget we have another mother runner meet-up this morning at 9:30 at the Starbucks in Mandalay Bay around the corner from House of Blues.' Oh-My-Gosh! I had been so disappointed not to meet SBS and Dimity the prior day at the expo that I dressed and rushed down to the 'Bucks in a hurry. I felt like my race weekend was complete after chatting with them for almost an hour, except for that whole running 13 miles thing.
|I knew they were tall, but these mother put my 5'9" bod to shame! It was so awesome to meet them and other mamas who were later featured on the blog for race reports. Yet another link in the chain of connection to other runner mothers!|
My mind would not shut off! I had initially thought that since I got a PR in Walla Walla that I wouldn't really care about my time in Vegas, but as it approached, I thought it would be fun to get just a little bit faster. Pam had already told me that she planned to stick with me, even though she's a lot faster than I am now, but we hadn't been able to run together in so long, it's what she wanted to do. I was so excited to run with her and have the time to catch up. We decided to go sans iPods and I'm really glad we did. There was so much congestion that the people who had iPods, and listened to them loudly, were not able to get over when runners coming from behind announced their presence.
There were a lot of kinks, from woefully understaffed water stations to a congested finish line that made you come to a dead stop all the way to some late finishers who didn't even get a finisher's medal, that will need to be worked out for upcoming years but having a night race that closes the Vegas Strip, has a marathon that converges into the hot mess in mile 14 and has 44,000 participants is bound to have some bumps in the road. Literally.
Zappos and RnR are being very proactive and have been collecting data via particpant surveys since the day after the race. After 13.1 miles of stutter steps, shuffling around other runners and a zig-zag pattern that added two-tenths of a mile, I was just 2 minutes off of my PR, so I'll take it. I honestly almost cried as we were nearing the finish, because it felt like it just kept getting further away, as you had to zig-zag through the parking lot to get to it, but it did finally come.