I signed up for the Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas Marathon back when registration first opened. It was the same price for the full and the half, since I ran the marathon last year and Competitor really messed up with last year’s race. I really wanted to do the full, but when it came down to it, with working a full-time job, coaching on the side, a number of busy weekends full of family commitments and games I had to coach, and time spent with Maeby, I didn’t have time to train and I didn’t make time for it. It wasn’t a priority for me.
That being said, I had already signed up and the flights and hotel were booked, so on Friday, off I went to Vegas. Up until the morning of the race, I debated whether I’d do the full or the half. Ultimately, I realized how incredibly dumb it would be for me to run the full without training. To be honest, I thought I’d be able to do it, but I knew I would be in a lot of pain, didn’t want to get injured and was genuinely concerned I’d have a heart attack…and since I didn’t feel like the Las Vegas Strip would be an ideal place to collapse/experience any of the above, I chose to do the half.
I got to the start area around 4:00 p.m. The half was supposed to begin by 4:30, and after waiting in line to use the bathroom, I got to a corral just in time for the first wave of runners to start. I ended up in corral 15; since I had chosen to do the half, I just had to hop into any corral since my seeding had initially been set up for the full marathon.
Overall, the race was great. We don’t need to talk about how difficult it was running against the wind more often than experiencing a tailwind. That was tough, and obviously made maintaining any sort of normal pace that much more difficult. Instead, I think it is worth mentioning that there was more than enough water (and no stations had run out of water and been abandoned like last year, when I experienced this at mile 20), there was way more course support than last year (both with volunteers and spectators), and it really was a lot of fun. A very special shout out goes to the police officer around mile 7.35, who was blowing his whistle and cheering everyone on. I felt good pretty much the entire time, even though my splits were slower and slower as the race went on. But honestly? I don’t really care. I ran faster than I did in Providence back in August and I managed to run the whole thing. The human body never ceases to amaze me.
The finish line was full of water, Snickers Marathon Bars, tons of apples, chocolate milk, Gatorade, bagels, and pretzels. Oh, and there were also mini smoothies from Jamba Juice.
My only complaints?
I didn’t see medical staff until around mile 7. Around mile 4, I started to experience serious chub rub since I had chosen to skip the capris and wear awful women’s shorts that I tend to avoid for that very reason. But I figured that’d be worth it since it was around 70 degrees and I didn’t want to overheat with capris, which knowing me, I would have. So that was frustrating. Maybe I missed the medical staff earlier on, but there needs to be an actual tent or some sort of sign. I actually almost completely missed the staff around mile 7, because there was no tent and it was dark so I couldn’t really see their shirts. Again, it’s possible that I completely missed the medical staff earlier in the race, but the signage needs to be better or something if that’s the case.
And then there is this complaint, and this one is big.
There was no family gathering area at the finish. With a race of tens of thousands of runners, this is an absolute must, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. I had planned to meet my mom at a specific letter, but there was no area to meet after. So she went back to the hotel and I borrowed people’s cell phones to try to get in touch with her. And a lot of people I talked to were going through the same thing and were just as frustrated. It took over an hour for me to finally meet up with my mom. So there was that. Again, with a race of this size in a city this size, I cannot understand why Competitor chose not to do this, especially since they have done it at every other one of their races I’ve done (including Providence, which had only a few thousand people).
One of these days, I feel Competitor will get it right. I honestly feel like they were so close this time, with the tremendous improvements compared to last year’s fiasco. But the finish line and its lack of a meetup area was really frustrating.
My night concluded with a really delicious (and huge) slice of pizza and a cinnamon sugar pretzel from New York New York. I’m happy I ran the race, and very pleased with how good I felt. As for my next race? I’m considering Rock ‘n Roll Pasadena in February, but we’ll see. It would be good incentive to keep running through winter though, that’s for sure. And based on the afternoon I spent out there on Monday visiting my brother, it seems like it would offer a beautiful course.