December 10, 2006
So I had a love/hate relationship with the Las Vegas Marathon this weekend!
The start was amazing: Blue Man Group performed the national anthem, we got a HUGE firework display, 16K runners. The first few miles we went down the strip, by the Bellagio fountains “dancing” at full force, and through a festive Fremont Street! We even had a tailwind for the the first 6 miles…so if the crowds of spectators, showgirls, runners dressed as Elvis, and live bands weren’t enough to keep you going, the wind literally pushed you!! There was even a “run through” wedding chapel where several couples got married during the race. Of course, nothing topped the shirts our spectators Natalie, Balyint, and Ali wore, which read: “Pace yourself in Vegas…for the RUN and the FUN!”
The wind picked up after the first hill around mile 10 and didn’t stop until 14! Hats were flying off people’s heads, water cups were spilling at the stations, mile marker signs blew off completely…kind of crazy, just really heavy wind against the direction we were running. You’d be pushing really hard almost as if battling a hill, but different because it was just a constant strain against your whole body…you had to “zone out” to fight it. Thank God for my playlist…Kanye, Gwen, and the Boss helped me do exactly that!
We got more harsh wind from miles 21-25, but that was the least of our worries at that point. Remember the missing mile markers? Well, people were asking the volunteers at water stations how far along we were (since we had no clue) and somehow it got mixed up. At mile 23, they told us 24. At 24, of course, they told us we were at 25. Then we saw the “real” 25 (an actual mile marker and official time clock) a full mile later…needless to say, everyone was really pissed off. This one dude in my pack was trying to be Mr. Positive and was all, “come on guys, we can do it!” He got a few grumbles, lots of eye rolls, and one “f*ck off”.
For those of you who know Jen Cox, I’ve gotta throw some props her way. The conditions on the course had to be especially overwhelming for someone doing their first 26.2 and she was awesome! She even smiled and blew kisses down her finshing stretch…FOXY!!
Anywhoo, I ended up with a 4:00:55, which was straight up disappointing. Marathon running can be a very unforgiving sport. You commit to a pretty intense training for 18 weeks and have one shot to make it happen. Bad race? Unless you want to be victim to an overuse injury, you have to wait several months to compete again. Not like high school when you can just redeem yourself in next week’s meet…!
Pity party aside, Vegas was the “smartest” race I’ve ever run in terms of my own mental toughness and strategy. I ran negative splits, which can be risky but felt awesome…Runners World said “empowering” and although I laughed at that word in the article, I now agree!