I started this running blog a few years to chronicle my running exploits leading up to the TCSNYC Marathon in 2016. Along the way I picked up some comments and followers from other runners, and I started to follow many back. After a while you feel like you really do know these people. There’s Donna with her goal of running half marathons in all 50 states, Jess and her happy runs (and less than happy runs) and her Star Wars affinity. Kwame has his spotty training regimen, great races and reviews of New York dining spots. Elizabeth who is the closest thing I know to a celebrity on the NYRR scene – her preview of the TCSNYC Marathon is amazing. There’s Cat with her stories of personal and running tests and triumphs, Hollie with her really impressive races and diner reviews. And then there’s Mai of A Girl on a Search for Adventure, one of the most frequent commenters on my posts. I’ve learned about a lot of races and running products through her reviews, not to mention living through her training and grad school stresses.
I’ve always thought it would be cool to meet some of these awesome bloggers in person at one of these races. I know that Jess, Kwame, Cat, Mai and I all ran the New York Marathon together but finding someone in a field of 50,000 runners spread across 3 start villages seemed a little unlikely. Besides I am not sure what the etiquette is – do people think you’re a crazy stalker if you ask them too much about where and when they’re starting? Not to mention giving people the added stress of having to look for you on race day. You’re probably stressed enough already, right? But when I learned that Mai was running the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon again this year I commented to her that I would be there as well. When we determined that we were in adjacent corrals we agreed we’d look for each other.
This was my 3rd Rock N Roll Half Marathon and I’d have to say the most fun. But it is a big race and you have to be ready for that. The start village was a giant party made more so because the people who came to Vegas with you were all allowed in. Those added folks are generally more raucous and fun than people who are about to run 13 or 26 miles. The band was great; there was alcohol and a chill in the air that encouraged people to dance more than they might otherwise. When my corral opened I bade my entourage adieu and started the long march to the start.
Getting into the corrals was a bit of a challenge because everyone had to enter from the back and make their way forward to their spot fighting through the runners who were already where they belonged. I’ve been at races where you could walk outside the corrals and enter at your slot and that was a lot easier. Once I got to my place it was pretty crowded and there wasn’t really an opportunity to circulate and look for people so while I kept scanning the crowd for Mai in her orange tank top I was doubtful Id actually spot her. I also allowed for the possibility that she concluded I was a crazy stalker and she was avoiding me.
We started in waves and headed out down the strip to the airport where we were treated to an airplane seemingly landing right alongside us which for me is always an awesome sight. We headed back into town towards the lights of the strip and I felt like I was keeping up a pretty good clip but I was a little frustrated dodging what seemed like a lot more runners than usual. I don’t know if it was because the half and the full went out at the same time or if a lot of people overestimated their abilities but there were a lot of slower people in front of me and I saw a lot of walkers by mile 3.
The lights of the strip were an awesome backdrop for the run and the crowd was pretty big and possibly the most boisterous of all the ones I’ve seen since many of them had been partying on the strip all day. I passed my own boisterous crew at the Bellagio where we were staying then headed out towards old Las Vegas.
My goal was to finish under 1:50 since it was such a flat course and a cool night, but mile 7 my pace was steadily dropping and I got into my “just finish” mode. According to Map My Run at mile 10 I was at 8:52, 11 was 9:02 and 12 was 9:18. Just past the mile 12 mark I heard someone say “you can run” and I wasn’t sure if they were questioning that my pace qualified as running at that point or encouraging me to pick up the pace. I turned my head and instantly realized what was going on – You Can Run is the name of my boring blog and that was Mai wondering if that was me! I was so excited to see someone I “know” especially at that point when I felt the tank was pretty empty. We ran most of mile 13 together and she pushed me to an 8:42 pace before breaking away at the end. I hoped I hadn’t slowed her down but was grateful for the extra boost.
I finished in 1:54:56 and 15th place in the old man division which was slower but higher than I’d expected. I caught up with Mai in the corral, thanked her for the push and took this picture – she said “oh no I’m so sweaty” but I hope she doesn’t mind that I posted it
So that’s my Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon report. For the few people who read it, I hope to see you out there one of these times as well!