Running the Strip with a smile…and now hanging in deep freeze.

Ok, first, before I launch into my account of one of the coolest races I’ve done, I need to tell you what happened to me last night.

First of all, to set the stage, this was the temp when I walked Abby this morning:

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Ok, so last night I get home from work and immediately take Abby out for a walk. It’s freezing cold, there’s snow blowing everywhere and Abby is happy as a clam (in a fur coat). We get back home, I start getting dinner ready and after about 10 minutes I realize that I’m still cold. And in fact, the house seems quite cold. So I go check the thermostat and…CRAP. I run downstairs and…CRAP. Yup, my furnace is dead. I immediately call my neighbour – the one that cleaned up my garage as as surprise during the summer, the one who gave Abby the wonderful gift and the one who probably has the code to everyone’s garage if not house key on my street because he fixes everything – or knows a guy who can fix it. His name is Chuck. And his wife is an angel for sharing him with us all! So, Chuck came over and called his buddy who is a furnace repaiman (see? He always “knows a guy”) and tried to diagnose the problem…

Weds1But they couldn’t. And I now am relying on my fireplace and 3 space heaters (lent to my by Chuck) to get me through until Thursday morning when “his buddy” can come to my place and see what’s going on!

Ok, back to Vegas. Where I can pretend I’m not in a deep freeze with no heat! Ha!  Ok, so this race was one of the Rock N Roll series and was my second one of its kind – I did the San Diego one in 2009. The pretense is that it’s a race filled with music (they advertise that there are numerous live bands all along the course) and that it is one big party. I did NOT have that experience in San Diego during which I wondered numerous times where all the bands were AND, the few bands that were there were still setting up when I ran past. It didn’t ruin the race, it’s just wasn’t what they were advertising. What they did do well was organize a race with tens of thousands of people!

So, originally, for Vegas, Snoop Dog was going to be the headliner of the pre-race concert. He thankfully backed out and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis replaced him. I would have liked to have gone to hear them, but with 45,000 people running, my main concern was making sure I got to my corral and was able to get INTO my corral. So when I saw the concert area and then THOUSANDS of people inside, I just walked past.

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I live the concert through this photo taken by my twitter friend Dale Sandley who ran the marathon and was brave enough to listen to the concert before getting into his corral – thanks for the pic, Dale!

There were a few other twitter peeps I was hoping to meet up with at the concert that I missed – luckily, one of them met up with us briefly after dinner later that night and we got a picture to mark the occasion – Ryan completed the marathon and got himself a PR!! WOOHOO!!

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As I said yesterday, it was a VERY cold day and I had about 75 minutes to wait, in my corral, before the race started. They played music the whole time (I don’t know why they didn’t pipe in the music from the concert though) and I amused myself by watching other runners “dancing” to the music. Seriously, there was one guy who I had to just avoid looking at because I was going to bust out laughing. Remember Elaine’s dancing on Seinfeld? Yeah, it was like that. And he was SERIOUS about it. LOL.

Finally it was time to start the race. There were 40+ corrals and they were letting each corral go every 90 seconds or so. Because I was in corral two, when I crossed the start line, there was just open space all around me and IT. WAS. AWESOME. There was no dodging, jumping, hoping, slamming into runners, it was just like starting my own long run. I could do it at the pace I wanted and I could actually enjoy the scenes around me. Within the first 200m or so was the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and you could quickly hop off course to have your pic taken in front of it by race photogs. But I only realized this AS I was passing by it – otherwise I would be posting that pic below right now!!

My plan all along had been to run easy and enjoy the sights (and I supported that plan by drinking and eating heavily in the days leading up!). And enjoy it I did. It was surreal. So many times when I tell people how much I have traveled for races, the response is, “Oh, running through the cities, what a GREAT way to actually see the city”. But the truth is, I’m normally so focused on the race that I don’t notice a single thing on the course. But Vegas was different. I took it all in. I looked up, around, sideways and even behind me sometimes. And I smiled. I was having so much fun. I looked at my watch only to see my heart rate so that I could slow myself down if I thought it was getting too high because, as I said, this race was for fun, not for time. It was dark outside, the strip was completely lit up, there were spectators all along, cheering people on…it was one of the coolest things ever. And again, I was feeling so good ’cause I was just cruising along comfortably. But then with about 6km to go, I looked at my watched and registered the time, pace…and automatically did math to realize that I was on pace to come just under 1:40 and if I didn’t, it would be just OVER 1:40 which I knew would piss me off. So that’s when my care free running hit a snag. I became hyper aware of every muscle, my feet, my breathing, my heart rate. I was still trying to keep my pace easy, but my brain was FIGHTING me hard. With about 150m left, I looked at my garmin and saw 1:39. I don’t have seconds showing on that view so I didn’t know if it was 1:39:52 or 1:39:12…so I turned on the jets and crossed the line…still not knowing if I had come under 1:40. I quickly whipped out my phone and got a text saying that I had come in at 1:39:36 – WOOHOO!!

I was even smiling when I crossed the line (ok, I wasn’t until I saw the camera and I put on huge grin!)

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Those arm sleeves are long socks with the feet cut off. I thought I’d end up ditching them along the way, but I kept them on and also kept my sock-mitts (you can see me carrying them in my hands across the finish). It was COLD!

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I will say that the number of bands was VERY disappointing along the course (I can remember 4). To me, there should not be a moment of silence along the course of a Rock N Roll race. I should not ever be able to hear the sounds of my feet or breathing. DROWN IT OUT WITH MUSIC PLEASE! Ha! That being said, it was extremely well organized and I had a great race in terms of enjoying myself the whole time (well, slightly less over the last 6km! Ha!) and I placed well.

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Hmmm…so is this my new race prep: drink lots of beer, eat rich food and get little sleep? HAHA. Probably not. What happens in Vegas…only happens in Vegas.

 

Happy Wednesday!

 

2 thoughts on “Running the Strip with a smile…and now hanging in deep freeze.

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