After Cher, we didn't end up getting back to the hotel until AFTER 11pm! Wayyy past my bedtime, so I took a melatonin (my savour during traveling/racing weekends to make sure I still get a decent nights sleep) and woke up around 7:30. We decided to rent a car for the day to go check out the scenery and save our legs/feet for the 5k!
We went to Panera first, where I like to stock-up on bagels (at a place that I know) and began the carbo-loading. I normally take in extra carbs/proteins/less veggies 1.5 days before the start of the race and load up on electrolytes/ Gatorade/ water the entire WEEK before a race. After we were full of deliciousness, we drove to see the Hoover Dam (my Gram had NEVER seen it before!). The weather on Saturday was perfect- 70 degrees with hardly a cloud in the sky.
After Hoover Dam, we stopped by Ethel M. Chocolates to pick up some treats to take home (splurged on a coin chocolate they were handing out) and checked out their Cactus Botanical Garden.
We stopped by Chipotle to get a later lunch (I love their chicken burrito bowls before races) and headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit before leaving for the 5k at 4pm (it starts at 6:30).
Note: If you plan on running the 5k, either plan to take an Uber or stay at a hotel at the beginning of the Monorail. We stayed at the Excalibur and got on at the first stop for the Monorail and every stop the monorail made after ours, NO ONE else could get on because it was so full. Definitely a bonus to stay on the end of the strip. We arrived at the start line with a little over 40 minutes left (perfect timing) and I headed to my corral #7 when there was 30 minutes prior to the 6pm start.
The 5k had A LOT of congestion and the hassle getting there really put a damper on the race, but once you got out a 1/2 mile it was MUCH better. I took it really easy (~10:00+ per mile) for the first 2 miles of the race then alternated every 0.10 with 8:10-8:15 strides and ~10:00+ easy pace. I finished with a 9:40 overall pace and it felt pretty good to pass a lot of runners when I was doing my strides! It was also a great way to get used to the race atmosphere and practice holding back my pace. We also stayed for a few of the Goo Goo Dolls songs- they were pretty good (but not as good as I expected for a live performance...).
Overall 5k recommendation: Do it if you want a safe place to do a shake-out-run. Don't do it if you aren't ready to deal with the crowds and hassle of traveling to and from the race venue.
Also CONGRATS to my Gram for doing her first 5k!! She totally ROCKED it! Super proud : )