Saturday, December 10, 2011

That's What You Get For Waking Up In Vegas

Never miss a sweet photo op.
Last weekend I ran in the Rock-n-Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon, or as it's been dubbed 'Strip at Night'. After not seeing my running buds from Massachusetts for over a year, we were going to get to run a race together with a few nights of debauchery and sight-seeing thrown in. Oh yeah, and an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

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
After a refreshing three hours of sleep, we were up and dressed and ready to make a world record attempt for the most people running in Santa costumes for the Great Santa Run (a 5k), which ended up being beautiful after a frigid wait at the starting line.

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!
I've not run many night races, and trying to plan all day for what to eat, how much to drink, and how to keep your legs fresh was tricky. Vegas involves a lot of walking, and I'd not yet found anything fun for my kids. A few of us walked to m&m world, then had lunch at the MGM Grand's Grand Buffet before heading back to the Mandalay to start pre-race prep. My outfit laid out, I crawled under the covers with the ridiculous idea that I'd get a little nap.

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.
With my beloved Pam!

Post race we hobbled to the showers and then wandered from Casino to Casino trying to rustle up that dinner we'd been talking about since about mile 3. After walking through three casinos and finding every restaurant either closed or with a three hour wait, we decided to head back to the buffet. We were starving. The post-race food was terrible, in a word, with bananas so green you couldn't even get the peel off. We made a stop at a daquiri vendor and I have to say that it was the best Pina Colada I've ever had. It's a good thing, because after finding the buffet closed, room service with a 3.5 hour wait and no pizza places that would deliver due to the hot mess that was the strip, we finally called it a very hungry night at just past midnight and went to sleep with rumbling bellies. The next moring, we hit the buffet, and we hit it hard, just in time for me to get a massive stomach ache that was barely 'cleared up' before heading to the airport. 

Overall, I had a fabulous time with my girlfriends. I got home Monday night just in time to do a quick session of no-mercy decluttering with my mom, (eight garbage bags of donation from the playroom and random linen closets and drawers, wahoo!), throw up a few Christmas decorations so that my mother would stop hounding me about the fact that my still-up Halloween decorations were giving her 'seasonal confusion', pack again and head off two days later for our family vacation to Aruba; which is where my sweet laptop is perched this moment. More on that (and the epic flight that got us here) coming up!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you had a great time!! Hope you're having a terrific time in Aruba and getting a chance to sleep after last weekend!