This was possibly one of my top favorite races of all time! If you haven't run it, you need to. Go sign-up right now and then come say hi because I will be back there this year for the full marathon! The race doesn't start until Sunday afternoon, so you have a lot of time to kill for most of the day. I normally try to do at least one run a week later in the day to be prepared for afternoon races like this one, but it's much easier to do when you're stuck at work at a desk and not surrounded by so many fun things to do in a great city like Vegas! I met my mom (who ran the 10k) in Las Vegas on Friday night (I got in super late that night) and we headed to the Expo first thing Saturday morning. The Expo was everything a runner girl could dream of and more! BUT it's also exhausting! Runners tip- wear comfy shoes and try to make a plan of what you'd like to see before going there, as it's very easy to get "sucked-in" and spend 4-5+ hours seeing it all.
After the Expo, we did some shopping, gambling, and sight-seeing before heading to a fantastic dinner to carbo-load and got to see Cirque Du Soleil's Beatles LOVE which was incredible before turning in a relatively decent hour (10 pm). We tried to sleep-in the best we could on Sunday morning (race day) and had a plan to take a cab to the outlet shops that morning and limited the amount of walking we did by choosing the shops we wanted to visit. During our shopping, my father's girlfriend called to tell me that my Dad was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance because he had slurred speech and was vomiting. It was possibly the most terrifying phone call I have ever had. It wouldn't be until after the race that I learned that he had a stroke and was doing OK (I was able to text with him the next morning). So needless to say, my race-day jitters were entirely focused on his health (which also was a great motivator for me as I was hoping to PR this race).
My mom ventured off to the 10k around 2:30, but I still had over an hour to kill before I needed to head towards the race start for the half, so I created a fun new playlist for my race! This turned out to be a great idea and I highly recommend runners to do that just prior to your race. I was able to walk to the start (we stayed at the Excalibur, which isn't the nicest hotel, but walking to the start line is a FANTASTIC perk and it's only a 1.3 mile walk from the finish- a great way to keep your legs moving and decrease "stiffness") around 3:30pm. I was in the green corral and honestly didn't have to wait a ton before it was time to start lining up! I did make the mistake of not going to the bathroom one more time prior to lining up and that definitely was a bad decision!
Once the race began, the sun was starting to go down and the weather was perfect. I LOVE running with no sun- it's basically the same as running when it's overcast and cooler...perfect conditions. The race had so many great stops and musicians (KISS was my favorite) that the miles really flew by. The course was really flat and there was so much to look at along the strip. The lights were beautiful and it was neat to run through Downtown Las Vegas- it was also really exhilarating leaving the strip to go through downtown because you were almost 'rushing' to get back to it!
I never really felt tired or defeated during the race, but my mind was mentally tired (from worrying about my fathers' health and receiving countless update texts). My watch somehow was around .5 miles farther than what the course markers were and when I finally realized that I still had a mile and half left, instead of a mile. I felt pretty defeated and even stopped for a second. But then I remembered that I was running for my dad and I kicked it into gear for the last bit of the race. I had PR'd my half by over 4 minutes (from my half just a month before this one)! I felt amazing and on top of the world.
After the race, I met my mom and we headed out to find a restaurant close-by to rejuvenate ourselves and enjoy our last night in Vegas. We actually had to buy finishers long-sleeved shirts because it was so chilly out! I would recommend either doing a bag-check or having a friend bring a few light coats if you plan on going out immediately after the race. Also check out that medal- it spins AND glows in the dark!
All around, while the circumstances with my dads' stroke were not planned, I'm really happy that I had my race to blow off some stress and run for him. The race was absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to run the marathon there this year!