So, I’m sure anyone who actually reads this thing (thank you for that!) knows that last Sunday I participated in the Rock N’Roll “Strip at Night” half marathon in Las Vegas. I am happy to say that it was a blast!
I apologize in advance for the length & vanity of this post. Feel free to scroll on by if you aren’t interested- or just have zero desire to see so many unflattering pics of me :)
The first corral was set to take off at 4:30pm- so when my mom & I woke up at 7am (damn time change!) we had a looong day ahead of us. We didn’t really do much except watch TV in bed & go for an early lunch at Todd English P.U.B. in our hotel. We were both sort of at a loss to what we should eat, but we figured- we don’t strictly watch what we eat before long training runs, so might as well just do what we think is best. I had a Caesar Salad & a side of Macaroni and cheese and my mom had a Roast Beef sandwich. Both were delicious!
Our hotel was one of the “race hotels”, so they provided transportation the mile or so to the starting line at Mandalay Bay. At around 3pm, my mom & I headed downstairs to load the runner’s bus. Due to an insane amount of traffic it took us about a half hour to reach the start line. Once we got there, we immediately got into the bathroom line which was absurd and that took up all of our time until 10 minutes before the race was set to start!
My mom is a super fast runner, so she was placed in corral #4. I on the other hand- was placed into corral #25, which was SUPER far back from the start line (there were 35 corrals in total). I began walking back but upon doing so, I realized that this race was not even slightly strict about corral entrace. I noticed a bunch of “20-something” numbers in corrals number 10 & 11 so I said screw it and joined in there instead of walking all the way back to 25 and delaying my start by at least 30 minutes. I’m SO glad I did, because I was able to keep up with just about everyone I started with.
From corral 10, I started about 20-25 minutes after the “official” start time. The course started off going south down Las Vegas Blvd. We ran by the famous “welcome to Vegas sign” and then made a loop to start going north up Las Vegas Blvd. By the time we past the starting line, about 1 3/4 miles into the race- I noticed that my corral hadn’t even started yet. I am so happy that I made the decision to start early!
Once you are going north on Las Vegas Blvd it’s pretty much a straight shot down the strip until about halfway through mile 6. At this point, you make a turn and run about 3 miles through a residential area. Up until this point the lighting was great & the crowd was super vibrant. I sort of forgot I was even running a race! Once we made the turn off the strip though the lighting wasn’t as great & there weren’t many spectators. Right about mile 9, we turned onto Freemont Street, which I guess is considered “Old Vegas” and the lighting was great from there on out.
The Freemont Street area is probably about three quarters of a mile and then you are dumped back onto the Strip for the last 3 and a half miles to the finish. I was feeling great up until about mile 10 when my IT band near my right hip started absolutely throbbing. I tried to run through it, but having had this issue before I sort of knew that the rest of the race was going to be rough.
The last three miles were spent between a hobble and a limped run. It wasn’t very fun! I think in the photo below I am either laughing at myself for being stupid enough to sign up for this race in the first place and/or promising myself that this is my last race ever. Isn’t that how it always goes with a race this long? (Just me?!) Either way, it’s STRUGGLE CITY.
The tricky part about this race is that since it is a straight shot, you can see the finish line for about two and a half miles before you get to it! Talk about MAJOR tease.
Although I didn’t do my best time (not only did my leg crap out around mile 10 but I stopped for a few “photo ops” along the way- can’t wait to get those back!), I did make it to the finish & collected my medal, hallelujah!
What I didn’t realize until I finished is that I had about a 2 mile walk back to my hotel room. Holy smokes, did that SUCK!
But alas, it’s over now and looking back it was a really fun race! I had done this half back in 2010 before it was done at night- and I have to say I think the nighttime atmosphere of the strip being lit up & the (mostly drunk!) spectators made the race about 10x more enjoyable. Since it is pretty flat and has participants of all different fitness levels, I think I would for sure recommend this to anyone who is considering running a half. The course is pretty great & you can’t beat a finish celebration in the best party city in the US!