Saturday, November 19, 2016

2016 Race #21 - Rock 'n' Roll Vegas

Less than two hours after finishing the Charlotte half marathon, 5 of us were hopping on a plane to make the trek across the country. After getting to Vegas an hour earlier than expected, we checked into the Tropicana, stuffed everyone's luggage into one room and headed to the expo. Most of the group wasn't interested in browsing much at the expo, but I had to go pick up my We Run Social shirt from Sparkle Athletic (on the left) and Beth and I hit up a few other booths before meeting back up with the group to head to our separate hotels.

We unpacked and I finally took my post-race shower while we lounged around before dinner at A Slice of Vegas. After dinner, Beth and I walked up the strip to the Bellagio to catch the fountain show and I ended Saturday with almost 23.5 miles covered.

Sunday saw us "sleeping in" until about 6:30 local time, which was really 9:30 for our east coast minds, so even though it was still early, it felt like we got a ton of sleep! After breakfast, I broke from the group and headed to the Neon Museum and then wandered around the Fremont area and the northern part of the strip before heading back to the hotel for a short nap before meeting the group at 3:00 to go to the race.

Since we were staying at the Tropicana, we were able to walk outside our front door and join the crowd heading north on the strip to the pre-race festivities. Snoop Dogg was the featured artist and put on a good concert for us before the race. With 45,000 runners doing the half and full marathon, we were broken into 3 big groups. The majority of our group were in the second group that was set to start at 5:00pm. By the time we were starting, it was already pretty dark out, so we were able to all the signs along the strip lit up.
The first two miles are an out-and-back heading south on the strip before coming up past Mandalay Bay and the Luxor and parts of that section were really dark. Lots of people had lights on their costumes, but there were a few sections that were really hard to see.
Corey, Beth and I ran together for the race and it hurt from the beginning. Having pushed myself to the 2:08 finish the day before and then sitting on a plane for 4 hours meant that I was really sore. We knew this race wasn't going to be one that we were trying to hit a specific time - we wanted to enjoy the sites and take a lot of pictures and we certainly succeeded at that!
As part of the race, you could register to get married while on the run. We never did see which chapel the runners went to, but we passed a ton of different ones and most of them advertised which stars had gotten married there.
One of my friends had mentioned a fire-breathing praying mantis on the course and I kind of forgot about it until we saw fire shooting up behind a building and when we turned the corner, we saw the giant figure. Unfortunately, he stopped dancing and shooting fire as we got close and since we didn't know how long it would be before he would start up again, we decided to keep going, but this was definitely one of my favorites from the strip.  
Overall, I liked this race. It's certainly a good one to do to see the sites of Vegas and since it's an evening race, it's really easy to do as a second weekend race. I would not recommend this race for anyone who is trying to hit any type of PR - there's just too many people. The course had sections
where we were spread out, but just like the Marine Corps Marathon, for the most part, you had people on all sides. I also really enjoyed everyone's costumes. There were a lot of people dressed like Elvis and tons of outfits that incorporated lights. Beth and I tied some around our waist belts, but they were more of an add-on than an important part of the outfit. I got a lot of shout outs in my Waldo costume and I'm sure there will be many people who have pictures with me hiding in the background, which is really what Waldo is all about! After the race, we grabbed dinner at Cesar's Palace and then headed back to our hotels which was a bit of an adventure since roads were still closed.
Showing off our double-bling

I'm doing another back-to-back half marathon weekend in January, but thankfully these will be closer together in Jackson, MS and Mobile, AL. The drive time between the two races is still a good 3 hours, but I'll have more opportunity to stop and walk around if I need to and I don't plan on pushing myself in my first race, so hopefully I won't be as sore. Now I've got a couple weeks off before my last race of the year at Ragnar Trail Alafia.

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