Jen and I travelled out to Vegas to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and to run the 1/2 Marathon also. I had never done a Rock and Roll event so I was quite curious what it would be like. I was intrigued by the idea of a night race on the Vegas strip. Also, it was a requirement of my Marathon Bar sponsorship and with the stress fracture, this was the latest one that I could do and fit it in my schedule. Because the race was starting at 5:30pm, it was the equivalent of 8:30 in Michigan. We tried to lay low on race day by eating a big breakfast, watching some football, and taking a nap.
I left the hotel to go meet my Marathon Bar teammates to take a few pre-race pictures. I said goodbye to Jen and headed 2 miles down the Strip to Mandalay Bay. I was able to meet about 10 teammates and discuss where everyone was from and what our goals were for the race. I headed to gear check and dropped my bag off at 4:30. One more stop at the bathroom and out the door I went. I jogged about a mile to start to get loose. Then, I ran into Joe Laframboise and Joe Lasceski from back home and we talked in the corral. With about 15 minutes to go, I had to pee again and the porta johns were not an option. I figured it would go away once the race started. Shows what I know!
After the National Anthem, they counted us down and the race was underway. Much to my surprise, corral 1 consisted of all types of "athletes". Needless to say, I was pissed when the gun went off and I was having to weave around walkers and people who were supposed to be 15 or 20 corrals back. That was my first beef with Competitor on race day. They had no one organizing the corrals so the corral on your bib really didn't matter. As I hit the first mile, I checked and was at 5:43. A little too fast for the 1:20 I had hoped to run. I went through the 5K at 18:17 and my legs were feeling great but the pee issue, had not gone away. I even tried to pee my shorts at mile 2 but couldn't seem to make it happen.
I was shoulder to shoulder with folks through the 10K where I hit a 36:47. I was feeling pretty good still but the temps had dropped and knew on the way back, we would be headed into the wind. I decided this was the spot I was going to grab a drink to last me through the race. As I grabbed a cup of water and was about to raise it, I noticed volunteers pulling water from a trash can. I immediately dropped the cup and was pissed again. Apparently, they filled the cans with water from the fire hydrants, something that Competitor did not have approval to do. I tucked in with one other guy and we ran stride for stride until mile 9. At that point, we got chicked and he decided to go with her. I knew she was going faster than I could with 4 to go so I held back. At mile 10, she apparently was going too fast for him as well as I went by him and tried to get him to hang with me before I pulled away.
I hit mile 10 in 1:00:17. At this point, I allowed the thought of a sub 1:20 to creep in. I remembered Jen telling me that once we were at our hotel, The Flamingo, we had 2 miles to go so I figured that would be where I would start to push. The problem was, my tank was on E! I felt like I had cement shoes on the rest of the way. My legs, which had felt great up until this point, became very heavy. I was stalking a pack of 6 and they weren't getting away from me which I felt was odd. I couldn't believe as much as I had slowed, they had too. At mile 12, I heard my coach yell at me from the median to get up and run with that group. I believe he also said something about using my arms, which he confirmed post race, but I was so focused on reeling in the group in front of me I didn't hear the second part of the instruction. I got to the group and went by them. To my surprise, no one fought back. As poorly as I had run the last 5K, I only got passed by 1 person that I remember.
I crossed the finish line and the clock read 1:20:07. I was disappointed that I let the opportunity to break 1:20:00 slip through my hands but knew that my goal was 1:20 and I had accomplished that. My watch read 1:20:00. Spot on and pretty good considering I was 6 weeks back from a stress fracture in my tibia. As soon as I stopped, my calves cramped and I immediately looked for a couple bananas and some bottled water. I headed inside to grab my checked bag and get some warm clothes on. The temp had dropped from 45 to 38 and with the wind chill, we were below freezing. Winds were up to 12-16mph. I walked into gear check with a kid who discussed his race with me. He went through the 5K at 16:47 and the 10K at 34:40. He said he ran a 33 something the week prior so he was expecting a 1:15 but he blew up.
Post race, I met back up with Joe Laframboise and I waited for my wife and he waited for his girlfriend to finish. I headed to family meeting letter X to meet Jen and she got there about 5 minutes later. I asked how it went and she ran a 2:13:xx. I helped to get her warm stuff on and she immediately started complaining of feeling sick. It was only later we learned of all of the other folks being ill as well.
We headed back to the hotel and hooked up with Coach (Gary Brimmer) for some dinner. He got Jen to take a Dr. Pepper for her stomach and she started to feel better. We had a great time talking with Gary about family and training schedules. After a couple beers, Gary headed to his hotel and we headed up for the night.
All in all, I had a great time with my wife. As for the race, my result was about what I expected pre-race. Competitor Group and the Rock and Roll Series left a lot to be desired. For the $130 per entry we paid, the race left a lot to be desired and I don't have a desire to run another one of their events any time soon.
Time to focus on running a PR in the half in 2012!