I was passing walkers every which way. There was no walking on the right and passing on the left in play here. (Is this a rule or do I just think it should be because it makes sense?)
I was passing walkers two or three wide in the middle of the road. The first mile I ran pretty quick, faster than I should have. But what choice was I left with when I was ducking, dodging, diving and dipping to get around these people?
But the lights on the strip, and the atmosphere of the race in those first few miles were more than enough to make up for it.
It was nothing short of amazing. New York, New York looked awesome and was one of the first major hotels I remember running in awe past. I can’t imagine ever doing the run during the day; it wouldn’t even come close to being as awesome.
If we are being honest, numerous half-marathoners were holding down the fort in the marathon lane for no real good reason. At the beginning of the race this really didn’t matter, but on the back route when you had 3:20 marathoners dodging 10:30 – milers running in their lane - that could ruin a person’s night right there.
All was good in the race, for me, until about Mile 5 or so. From Mile 5-8 we left the strip and headed to the not-so-nice parts. It was boring and we basically ran a bunch of random zigzags down residential streets. I started to fade around Mile 7 or 8, succumbing to the boredom. At that point I picked another girl out of the crowd of runners ahead and just tried to stay with her. We played some back-and-forth games but I was able to keep up with her until back on the strip. Mission accomplished.
Around Mile 8 I saw the Stratosphere and thanked baby Jesus, or whoever is up there, that we were going back to the strip.
At this point I was expecting the race to be exciting and pick up where I had left it when I turned off the strip. But it never got back to that awesome place for me. The water stops didn’t have enough water prepared so they were pouring it as we ran up and people were stopped and waiting. I chose to pass instead of join that mess. But eventually I broke down and needed some water so I quickly ran to a table and was about to grab my water and take off when a lady gave me a forearm to the back.
Seriously. Who does that?
Another random thing I noticed along the route, spectators giving out bottles of water. But they didn’t have a bunch of water, just one bottle in their hand. Often a generic brand. I found it very odd, and somewhat unsanitary.
After reading articles about the race I learned that people were getting sick from the water – so perhaps that is why people were handing out bottled water? Weird.
So on I ran. It was in the last three miles that I really started to hurt. The outsides of my feet were aching, which has never happened before. I wasn’t feeling so hot but I knew I had to push on.
I decided that I would attempt to dedicate my last three miles to people; maybe this would inspire me to run faster.
Well, I don’t really think it worked, but I dedicated Mile 11 to my mother and grandfather who had passed away, because they had never run a half-marathon, nor would they ever have the chance.
Mile 12 was for my grandma, because of her diabetes and previous lifestyle choices – being a smoker nearly her entire life, she would also never get to experience the feeling and accomplishment of running a half marathon.
And the last, most special mile, was for Derek. For coming with me to Vegas for the race, for spectating both half-marathons and for never complaining about it. He’s a pretty amazing fella.
The last 0.1 was the best of the whole race. Tons of people were out high-fiving, which I love. They were cheering you on, even if they didn’t know you. The atmosphere was amazing. At the very end you make a turn that looks like afterwards it’s a straightaway to the finish. It’s a lie. It turned again and I felt my sprint slow down. But then I thought about Derek waiting for me at the finish, and I thought about all the people on the strip cheering relentlessly, so I pushed on.
I found that I couldn’t breathe through my nose, so I had to keep my mouth open like a fool. I focussed on trying to breathe and run at the same time, while also searching for D on the sidelines. This is no easy task, it’s like trying to walk, chew gum and talk all at the same time.
Just before the finish I saw D cheering me on and we high-fived. It was a high-five instead of a picture as he said he had to choose one or the other, I was happy with his choice.
And so I sprinted through the finish amidst the throng of runners sprinting in at the end with me.
I felt amazing. I ran the half in 2:06:10 and managed to cut 7 minutes from my first race. Not too shabby.
(Yes I was one of the fortunate folks that got a metal before they ran out).
Luckily race organizers set up a family meeting area with letters on posts in the parking lot so finding D-money in a sea of people was no problem.
Because of the cold we decided to head back to our hotel right away so we could shower and eat before it got too late.
We headed back into the Mandalay Bay so I could use a real washroom and we caught the tram back to the Excalibur. From there we had to switch over at the MGM and catch the other monorail to Harrah’s and walk the remainder to the Mirage. Overall not a terrible trek to the hotel. For us anyways.
It was at this point that the night took a turn for the worst for many.
While waiting inside the Mandalay Bay it got rather crowded and people were passing out. The tram was far too packed and too slow to accommodate all the people.
Race organizers were offering shuttle service to hotels but no one knew where to find the shuttle. I had registered to take the shuttle but I couldn’t find it either – perhaps it was only slated to start running after the entire race was complete.
Either way, we weren’t affected because we left early enough, but I can’t help but feel terrible for all those people who may have had a good night ruined because of it.
So, moral of the story, I really enjoyed the race. But of course I think there are some issues that need to be fixed for next year. Like making sure people can get to their corrals so they don’t budge into mine. Making sure there is enough water for all participants and that it’s ready at all times. Perhaps a change of the course once it veers off the strip to stop the snooze-fest. And most importantly, have ripe bananas!
I would recommend this to anyone who hasn’t been to Vegas or to anyone looking for something different.
Overall: 7,462 out of 33,281
F25-F29 Division: 525 out of 3,195
Gender: 3,069 out of 21,134