Never have the words “your race, your pace” applied more to my running life than they did last Sunday at the Rock N Roll Marathon in Las Vegas. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I originally committed to run my first Marathon (26.2 miles) during this race. However, in the last month or so, my hip started to give me problems and I decided I needed to stick to the half-marathon. Since I had run three prior to last Sunday’s, I felt comfortable with the distance and I knew I could adjust my pace and have time for stretch breaks if needed.
Due to the events of 1 October, the race course was altered. This meant moving the starting line from Las Vegas Village (where Route 91 took place) to The Park further North up The Strip located in front of T-Mobile Arena. I knew it was going to be an emotional race, but the turnout was still shocking. It was PACKED getting into our corrals before the race and the amount of Vegas Strong gear was truly amazing.
Another change from last year? The police presence. Metro was out in full force with a helicopter flying over the course for the entirety of the race and snipers with long-range rifles on top of man-lifts and buildings. A difficult sight considering the reason for their being there, but comforting to know that Vegas doesn’t back down.
Since I originally committed to the full course, my corral was close to the front (#9) and I got to begin my race shortly after the official start. I met a few locals who hadn’t considered racing before 1 October happened. After that, they said there was no way they couldn’t. A beautiful example of our community for sure.
When it was Corral 9’s turn to take off, I knew I had to go slow and easy to start. I knew it was important to see how my hip and knee were going to handle the movement. I also made sure to tell myself it was okay to stop and stretch if I needed. (I have this issue where I always have to endure through the pain, so I have to constantly make an effort to forgive myself.)
The first two miles were emotionally and physically painful. We made our way South, past Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas Village, Rock N Roll’s memorial for the victims and to the Welcome To Las Vegas Sign. At this point we turned around and made our way North up The Strip – making another pass by the emotional block of our city.
Once I hit the two-mile marker, I think my body started to relax. (The night before, I started having lower back spasms that in turn were causing my hip to spasm. Now, looking back, I really think the stress of the race and the security precautions were manifesting physically in my body. I’d been icing, stretching and putting natural Icy Hot (aka Deep Blue) all over my pelvic region the whole day leading up to race time.)
My body relaxing was a very good thing. Seeing all the people who showed up to cheer and support the runners was an even better thing. I knew this wasn’t going to be my best half-marathon, so I decided to just chill out and enjoy it. And let me tell you, I enjoyed the fuck out of it.
It was so fun to see the little kids cheering with their signs, to run up one of the most famous streets in the world and to take it all in without having to worry about beating a time. And of course I cried because I’m turning into an emotional bitch in my old age. Of course.
All was well until the last two miles of the race. My hip was getting sore, but I really, really did not want to give up and walk even though I had already told myself that was okay.
In the end, I powered through and ran the whole damn thing. It’s a proven fact that your brain tries to get you to give up wayyyy before your body does. You have to practice finishing what you start. I say you have to practice it because it doesn’t come easy to everybody. Trust me I know.
I ended up completing the half in 2 hours 29 minutes 48 seconds – yes, the slowest half I’ve ever done and I don’t care because I had a blast and finished what I came there to do.
My family even joined in on it! They completed the 10K and we all agreed that it was such an amazing time! We also all got to attend the weekend headliner performance on Saturday night by the Goo Goo Dolls. The 90s child in me was thrilled. My dad is also a major fan so I think his life was made.
In the week after the race I can honestly say that I miss it and I wish I were running it again today. Although, I think my body is happy that we don’t have another race for a couple of months.
Speaking of…stay tuned for next week’s installment of #marathonmonday. I’ll be discussing my running plans and races for the next year!
Subscribe by email to stay in the loop!