Rock 'N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Recap

First race post Chicago was a little less than a success. I guess that's me being hard on myself, but I wasn't very happy with the way this race went for me. The Las Vegas Rock N' Roll half marathon was quite an exciting event though and I have to give it the credit it's due for being a bucket list race.

My parents came with me for the weekend. My dad signed up for the race, and my mom really enjoys gambling (penny slots, folks). We left at 6 on Saturday morning to drive out there. It was a quick drive and we arrived and checked into the Mirage around 10:30. Peter and Kim were both staying at the Mirage, which was awesome! Shortly after we arrive, Peter met up with us and took my dad and I over to the expo. My mom disappeared shortly after and I never saw her until dinner.

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This expo was, by far, one of the best expos I'd ever been too. Chicago was equally as large, but the vendors at RNR Las Vegas were better, in my opinion. Everyone's offering deals during expos, so I walked out with a lot of goodies - a tub of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (if you have questions on this product, please ask me. I swear by my daily dose and love it), R8 from Roll Recovery (this thing never goes on sale, but they were offering sales at this expo only), and some new Momentum Jewelry bands. I also grabbed some discounted Picky Bars because those are hard to find. Overall a successful few hours at the expo. Meb was also there signing bibs, but the line to meet him was very long. I opted to stare at him awkwardly from afar and I think his security team thought I was nuts.

Peter and I went to the Outlets afterward to see if I could scoop up some new, last season Lunar Glides for Boston training. I didn't see any color I liked, but Peter landed a nice black singlet to wear in the race the next day. By this time I was pooped, so we went back to the hotel to rest before dinner.

We carb loaded Saturday at Piero's, this fancy smancy Italian place my parents love coming to when they go to Vegas. I didn't know you could pay $32 for a bowl of spaghetti, but anything can happen in Vegas right? I've also never had such delicious Italian food, so I'll give it some credit for being really damn good spaghetti.

Peter and I woke up early on Sunday to go out to Seven Magic Mountains to get some photos and see it. We also wanted to be tired enough to take a nap, so the 5:30am wake up call was just peachy. After we got back, I went to breakfast with my parents. The weird part of this race is figuring out how to eat appropriately before you race at 4:30pm. You don't want to be full, but you don't want to starve. I opted for a huge bowl of oatmeal with banana, nuts, and dried cranberries and I shared some fresh fruit with my dad. He had decided not to run the race. He hadn't trained or run much the last few weeks and it would've been miserable, so I think he made the right choice.

Rock N' Roll Las Vegas

After breakfast, there wasn't much else to do but wait. I went back to the room while my parents gambled and watched countless episodes of Law and Order SVU in between multiple naps that just left me super groggy. Finally it was time to get ready. I took my electrolyte pills, ate my apple, and got all of my stuff together to meet Peter, Kim, and Mary. Then I couldn't stop pooing. It was insane, like 3-4 times before I left the hotel. This would've been all well and good if it was a morning race, but since it was a night race and I knew I still had oatmeal and fruit in my belly, I wasn't sure when/if it was going to let me race. I decided I just had to leave and hoped the cinnamon raisin bagel Peter had waiting for me would stop some of this. We met up with Kim and Mary and jumped in a taxi down to Mandalay Bay and the starting line.

Rock N' Roll Las Vegas

We got there just after 3:30, so I ended up missing out on the We Run Social/Pro Compression photo op. Snoop Dogg was on stage already and we all made our way to the Porto potties. We hung out there for a while before moving to our corrals. I ran into Ivie and AJ, fellow Pro Compression ambassadors, on our way through. Then once we were in the corral, we ran into Allie and Edgar. It was nice to see so many familiar faces. Kim and I stayed together and found a spot near the front of our corral to wait. We couldn't believe how warm it was. It was about 75° at the start. Much warmer than last year and we were a little worried. I had the 1:30 pace band on, but my new coach told me to be careful of going out too fast. I was going to take the first 3 miles to ease into a pace and spend the next 10 miles chasing people down. The gun went off and Kim and I wished each other good luck.

Rock N' Roll Las Vegas
Rock N' Roll Las Vegas

As soon as we took off, I knew this wasn't going to be fun. I got a sharp pain in my left side a quarter mile in. I focused on my breathing and slowed down a bit, but it got worse. Like someone was stabbing me and my muscles were trying to fold in on each other. We start out going South on the strip for a little less than a mile before turning around to go North. Just after the turn around, I pulled off to catch my breath and try to open my diaphragm. Sometimes cramping like that is caused because you're breathing from your lungs and not fully opening your diaphragm. It causes your breath to be short and your muscles to tense and cramp. Well, that's what my chiropractor told me :) 

I started running again and then stopped. I saw Kim run by, so I ran up to her and we ran for a few seconds together and I had to stop again. Finally I just told myself to enjoy this, so I became content with 8 minute pace and was looking for the water station. I was dehydrated and needed electrolytes to help. Around mile 3, I finally felt better, so I picked up the pace and started chasing people down. I finally ran into Kim again around mile 5. I told her I wanted to run the race with her, so we held on to each other for about 3 miles. Just after a water station near mile 8, I lost her. I was actually feeling good st this point and was doing a 7:00 pace, so I kept going. I knew she wasn't far behind me and would catch up if she could. 

We were now running through a neighborhood that added a few miles to the course before jumping back on the strip. Once we made our way back on the strip, there was a little over 3 miles left to go. I could see the Stratosphere and kept telling myself to get there. Once I was there I knew I'd see the finish. I hit mile 11, and my legs started to die. Hard. I haven't hit the wall in a half marathon in a very long time, but it happened. This was a combination of the weather, lack of hydration, and depletion of my glucose levels. I should've grabbed a gel at mile 6 given that I hadn't eaten much during the day, but I passed it up. It was so hard to keep going. I was hoping Kim would show up and give me a boost so we could finish together, but she didn't come through. I kept getting passed by all the people I'd just chased down. I just wanted it to be over. I finally saw the finish line and the crossing was very lackluster and disappointing because I felt terrible.

I walked for a bit and turned around to look for Kim. The same thing happened to her. The warm weather was no joke and we both felt terrible. We waited for Mary and Peter to come through. Mary had an awesome race, but Peter had a similar experience to Kim and myself. We made our way through the extra long finish shoot to the medals. Rock N' Roll gives out big medals based on how many races you've done (2+ gets you an extra one), so we grabbed those for Peter, Kim and Mary before making the walk back to the Mirage.

Rock N' Roll Las Vegas

All in all, the race is a unique experience. I didn't have fun because I felt terrible a majority of the time. I've also had a tough time recovering this past week. It feels like I ran a full marathon instead of a half. This is most definitely related to my nutrition falling off since Chicago, but I'm going to bring it back together for the next two weeks leading up to the Laughlin half. We'll see how I do that with the Thanksgiving festivities!

Have you ever raced RNR Vegas? 

Have you ever raced at night?

J