Half number 6: Viva Las Vegas! The unique thing about Rock N’ Roll Las Vegas is that the race is in the evening. This adds an extra running challenge because my morning race routine was thrown out the window this time. Let’s rewind to the start of the weekend, because not everything that happens in Vegas actually stays there.
Our first night in Vegas, we did all of the Vegas-y things! We got all dressed up and went to see the Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil show.
After the show, I ditched the heels and we started exploring the clubs at the Mandalay Bay hotel where we were staying. We started at a rooftop bar and got a great view of the entire strip. We also got free champagne!
After staying out til about 3am and exploring all over, we got a few hours of sleep before I had to report to my 10am appointment at Starlight Tattoo with my family. We all went under the needle and came home with some sweet, tribal-themed ink. My mom and I got cat tattoos because we are major cat lovers. My stepdad, Jeff, got a Griffin, which is some mythical creature that is half eagle, half lion. It took FOREVER!
Jess and I headed over to the expo to pick up our packets, but didn’t stay too long because I wasn’t feeling great and I wanted to rest up before the Saturday night 5k. Since the 5k was at night in November, it was a bit chilly outside. We suited up in our onesies and stopped by the casino to show them off.
The 5k was super fun and everybody received a light up baton thing. We were off and running pretty fast! I ended up finishing in 30:21.The only hard thing about the 5k is that it is at the opposite end of the strip at the SLS so there was a ton of walking and train riding to get there and back.
After the 5k, we hurried back and saw the “Thunder from Down Under” show. The next day, we slept in and then embarked on Sunday Funday! We walked around, shopped, tried to go to the expo (which wasn’t actually open on Sunday), and got some delicious burgers at a restaurant in the New York New York. Eventually, we got ready for the half (onesies and all) and headed out to the start line festival.
After checking my onesie at gear check, I went to wait in the corral. Then the sun went down and it got a little chilly. Then water started falling out of the sky…running in rain is just so much fun. It was also getting windy. I picked up one of the “space blankets” from the ground and wrapped it around me to stay warm. It continued to get colder and windier…I was still in a tank top and a skirt. I started eyeballing the jackets near the start line that earlier runners had dropped to be picked up for clothing donation. A lady behind me in the corral said, “Just do it!” I figured as long as I returned the jacket to clothing donation, I could borrow it for a couple of hours. I put on an Under Armour pullover from a high school football team. I wore it and was content for the first 7 miles.
At mile 7, I was feeling very warm, and almost too warm. I did a stupid thing and ditched the jacket on the side of the road near a water station where it could be picked up for donation. I felt great for another 3 miles. Mile 10…I don’t like to talk about mile 10. I turned a corner back onto the main strip, and I felt like Dorothy blowing away in Kansas. The wind was blowing so hard that I felt like I was moving faster walking than running. After 3 absolutely miserable miles, I crossed the finish line (2:23:36) and bee-lined for a space blanket and gear check.
I put on a jacket and my onesie. Then I grabbed my remix challenge medal from the heavy medal tent and looked for the easiest way out. We jumped a fence and went into what I think was the Bellagio hotel. We decided we would just pay for a cab to get back. While waiting for a cab back to Mandalay Bay, a hotel employee came over and asked “Who all is going to the Mandalay Bay?” We jumped with joy as a hotel shuttle pulled around to the front of the hotel and drove us back to the Mandalay Bay for FREE! I shivered on the hotel floor for about 30 minutes, then took a shower and went to get some dinner with the family. We turned in around 10pm and took a flight first thing in the morning to get back to Golden, CO for our morning classes on Monday!
While Vegas is a great race destination, it was logistically challenging to run a race on a Sunday night. Transportation is also challenging when the strip is shut down. If you head to Vegas for the Rock N Roll Marathon or Half, make sure to read all about the logistics and allow tons of extra time to get everywhere. We will definitely be going back this year!