This past Sunday, December 5, 2010, I ran the half marathon in Las Vegas. Here’s how my morning went.
* all photos in this post are from my Blackberry and some are blurry due to me being in motion at the time the photo was taken :) *
4:10 am – I woke up. The alarm hadn’t gone off yet, but I was awake.
4:45 am – this is when the alarm was supposed to go off, but apparently something screwy happened and my Blackberry had turned off even though it was connected to the computer at the time.
5:00 am – went down to Starbucks to grab a coffee and then head back up to the hotel room at MGM Grand to eat my Luna bar and banana for breakfast
6:00 am – headed out of the room to start the walk down to Mandalay Bay. We met up with some more runners in the elevator and even more walking through the casino on the way out. Once we were outside, there was a large crowd of runners walking down the middle of Las Vegas Blvd, which was closed for the event.
During the walk to the start, I tried to turn on my Garmin. It wouldn’t turn on. I started frantically pushing buttons, trying to remember how to do a soft re-set. I finally got it to turn on, but it had a message that did not make me happy at all “battery low.” Crap. I was upset. I wanted so badly to do well in this race and the thought of not having the Garmin to verify that I was maintaining the pace I wanted did not make me feel confident. Ryan told me to calm down and turn off the Garmin for now. I did. I kept it off until just before race start.
6:30 am – arrived at the corrals, walked past all of the Southbound corrals and around the corner onto the Northbound side of the blvd where I showed my race number to prove I belonged in this section. I found my way to my corral and settled in. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had port-a-potties right in the corral. Very smart.
6:45 am – start line entertainment included “Cher” singing the national anthem (with some sound glitches, where she couldn’t hear the music and actually only sang the last half of the song).
7:00 am – race start for corral #1. It was a wave start, so each corral started about 90 seconds apart. For the few minutes I was waiting, I was entertained by the Blues Brothers.
7:03:32 am – I crossed the start line
Now that we’re into the race, I will talk in km and miles since I’d have to reference various files to figure out times.
6 km mark – my low back started to hurt – no doubt due to the 6 hours on a plane the previous day where I didn’t get up to walk around until the flight was almost over. Note to self: always get up and walk around on a plane when running a race the next day.
7 km mark – had to take a wee walk break due to the back pain. Decided to take a couple of shot blocks and drink some water slightly early (was planning on doing this at 5 miles/8 km)
10 km mark – had to take another small walk break, but on the plus side, the Garmin was still going strong.
9 mile mark – Ryan was on the side of the course taking photos. I let him know that I was running well but that my back was hurting me since 6km. A nearby runner overheard the conversation and told me to run with him until the half and full split. I was grateful – it was nice to have someone to talk to for a while
10 mile mark – the runner from Chicago was a little too fast for me, so we parted at this point. Very very shortly after, I looked at my Garmin and it went blank. It had finally died at I was on my own for the final 5k.
I took a walk through the next water station and drank some Cytomax. At this point, I saw the 1:52 pace bunny run by. I knew I was doing alright, and thought that maybe I could catch up with me. This thought quickly went away as I was running hard, but not gaining ground. I decided to just keep my pace and do the best I could.
As I approached Mandalay Bay, I was feeling good and was happy that I was very close to the finish. I was passing a few people, which is always a confidence boost. When I crossed the line, the clock time said 1:58:25, but I knew my time was faster and thought it might be a PB (previous best was 1:57:08). After I collected my medal and food and left the secure area, I noticed a sign that stated that race results would be online by 7pm. Boo.. I was hoping to see my time.. and with no Garmin, I had no reference. I spotted the medal engraving booth, so I dropped off my medal, paid my $20 and had them engrave my name and finish time onto the back. These people have the chip time results, so I was able to find out my time about 20 minutes after finishing. As I picked up the medal and looked at the time, I was very happy. A new PB! Yay!
The race was great and well organized. The course was fantastic and I would definitely run it again!
My post-finish self-portrait. (after I took this, another runner offered to make my photo for me, which is my current profile picture on Facebook).
And my finisher certificate