19 December 2009

LV Marathon 2009

No. It has not taken me two weeks to run the half marathon. Something ought to be said about running a race after one holiday and while planning for another. I mean there are only so many hours in a day.

The event was great. Everything was organized. There were several vendors at the expo. The necessary information was presented clearly and easily. My race was just okay. I was one of those people who drove to the venue, instead of getting a ride. I arrived later than I wanted and almost missed meeting my running mate, Cassie. She just happened to be in Vegas on business that weekend. And decided at the last minute to run with me. Cassie already runs, so for her it was a question of if she wanted to exercise that day or not. Bless her little running heart.

Like I said, I was late. And Cassie does not run with her phone. And there were 27,000+ people registered. Still - at one intersection in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, we found each other. I thought that was a fortuitous sign of things to come. We then bobbed, weaved and scurried to our corral. That was the mistake that set the tone.

I signed up to be in Corral 22, based on my projected finished time. I'm slow but not so slow that I should be at the end of the marathon line. Unfortunately, that's where we were. Corrals 23+ were empty. Sure some people filed in behind us, but we were not where we should have been. Actually, we were. The people around us weren't and they screwed us from the start. The race started at 6:15 and we didn't cross the start until 6:58. One can lose a lot of steam in 43 minutes. Even worse, the start wasn't much of a start. A lot of those corral jumpers were walkers, So us runners trying to get going had to do a lot of weaving. I'm not a fan of weaving. It wastes energy and part of me is always worried about twisting something during a zig or a zag.

And of course the nerves started talking to me. I questioned my training. I questioned my hydration. I questioned my decision to run a race so close to Nike. I questioned my legs. I basically waited until the start to think about any and every regret I could have at the finish. Folks, that's just not smart.

Cassie and I saw the street sweeper a little more than a mile behind us. Disheartening? Indeed. We plugged along though, finding Kate & David at 3 miles and taking a potty break before Cassie pulled ahead at mile 4-ish.

The race was otherwise uneventful . The course for the half marathon was flat, and ended about where it started. I got to see CityCenter and other new businesses that have popped up on The Strip. I didn't think Vegas in December could be colder than San Francisco in October, but one lives and one learns. My hands were numb were the first few miles. Fortunately there were gloves all over the ground for my convenience. I made it a point to walk for almost a mile, to make sure my injured leg was going to make it without any serious problems. Kate & David were there again at mile 11, and Kate ran with me, even when I needed to walk.

I finished strong, but not as fast as I wanted. My leg did bother me, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it was after Nike. Aside from being lonely at the finish line (not a familiar face to be found), the race was a success. I proved t myself I could do it again and I set a new goal: to become faster. I also decided to take four weeks off from running to focus on leg strength and IT band healing. i plan to run the Oakland half in March. And I want to be faster and leaner than ever.

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