2014 Running Review

This has been an interesting year, running wise.  I started off the year marathon training for my big race of the year, the Maratona di Roma, after being off for almost 2 months attempted to start running straight after having been a Galloway runner for over 3 years.  This year I struggled a bit to keep myself motivated to run and felt for a while like running was a job instead of my passion when I got so caught up with the numbers.  Once I remembered why I was out there and why I love to run, it all fell back into place.  In the end, the only person who cares about the times is me and I’ll get there, but I’ve decided that it will be at my own pace.

That being said, I had an extremely eventful year.  Breaking it down…
 

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16 individual races + 2 Ragnar Trail Relays & volunteered at the Rock n’ Roll AZ expo and marathon start line

1 – 5K  (PR: 26:46)
3 – 10Ks including one trail (PR: 54:01 – my athlinks shows 51:25 but I’m not counting that since the course was .4 miles short)
1 – 15K (PR: 1:25:07)
1 – 10 miler (PR: 1:35:06)
1  – Sprint Duathlon New Event so it was an automatic PR (1:22:59)
6 – Half Marathons (PR: 1:57:29)
2 – Marathons (No new PR)

All of these races + training equated to 1,085 miles for the year & I still have one more run today. I finally hit another goal of 1,000 miles for the year!

I started the year with a three time goals, run sub 30 in an official 5K race, sub 2 in the half marathon and sub 4 in the marathon.  I finished the year with PRs in all distances except the marathon.

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Outside of going to Rome, I had decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to stay for the most part within driving distance for my races this year.  One of my big 2014 goals, not related to running, was to make a huge dent in paying off my debt.  I’m happy to say that I will be debt free within 2 months!! This goal made it so that I had to be a bit more conscious of my race selection.

Which means, of those 18 events that I did broke down as follows:

11 in the Phoenix area
2 in Las Vegas (New Race State for 2014)
3 in California (San Diego, San Francisco & Ventura)
1 in Zion, UT (New Race State for 2014)
1 in Rome, Italy (New Race Country for 2014)

The best part of my running year was all the amazing people that I met.  I am incredibly blessed and so happy to have these amazing people in my life.  Without social media, Instagram & Facebook especially, I would have never met the fellow runners that I am able to call my friends and in the end that means so much more than any medal, t-shirt or race.  Thank you to all of you who have been following my adventures this year – I’m so happy to have you as a part of my life.  I’m look forward to some amazing things in 2015!!

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What was the best part of your 2014 running year?

Esprit de She Race Series

Disclosure: I am a Esprit de She Ambassador however all thoughts and opinions are mine.

I am so excited to announce that I have been asked to be an Esprit de She Ambassador for 2105!!  I was an ambassador for this year as well and I have participated in 3 of their events in the last 18 months.  I’ve run the 10k twice and did my first duathlon with them this year.

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Esprit de She is one of the LifeTime Fitness race series and is a women’s only race.  In the Phoenix area, we are very fortunate to have 2 events. A duathlon/triathlon in May & then a Happy Hour 5K/10K in October.

There are other races around the country in 7 other states so you don’t have to live in Phoenix to participate.

Some of the perks of participating in an esprit de she event:
Women’s only race
Women’s specific Tanks & Tees
Post race Bubbly Bar
In the past at the post race event there has been treats, mini manicures, chair massage, DJ, flower station, photo stations.
Finisher medals for duathlon & triathlon events

If you have ever wanted to try a duathlon or triathlon I totally recommend this series as it is women’s only, they do a great session with the USAT to give an overview of the rules. I know I had no idea about drafting on the bike or that you can’t take your helmet off until you get to transition.

Join me this year in trying something new and sign up for an Esprit de She event!

Use the following links to sign up
NATION WIDE
http://bit.ly/NATIONALBA

ARIZONA
Tempe Tri: http://bit.ly/TEMPETRI
Tempe Du: http://bit.ly/TEMPEDU
Mesa Run: http://bit.ly/MESARUN
Please use code: EDS019 to let them know I sent you.

And if you sign up before December 31 you’ll get an awesome bonus of a Moxie Cycling Color Block Tee ($55 value) in a really pretty teal color.

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Hope to see you there!!

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Phoenix

Two weeks ago, I ran my last race for 2014, The Hot Chocolate 15k, here in Phoenix or technically Scottsdale :).  I debated a lot about even running this race mostly because while it does provide a lot of nice swag, it is an expensive race for the fact that it is a 5k & a 15k.  Also, I ran this race 2 years ago and I did not enjoy the course.  Fortunately they have made some course adjustments and this year things were a lot better course wise.

I finally signed up the Monday before the race.  I saw that the Run Eat Tweet AZ group was doing a meet-up and I love meeting my social media friends so I bit the bullet and signed up.  Really, twist my arm, a race, bling, chocolate? Even though, chocolate isn’t my fav dessert, it’s still yummy from time to time.

The expo was held at Salt River Fields, by the main baseball field where the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies play for spring training.  It’s a really nice place, there is lots of parking and space for the expo.  They had the expo open Friday afternoon and then all day Saturday, because it’s about a 30 min drive from my house, I decided to go to the expo after work on Friday so I didn’t have to worry about it on Sat.

Hot Chocolate 15k, Race Expo, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona
Walking into the Expo

It was very well organized, you go and pick up your bib and they just pick a bib number and then print out a barcode with your name, corral letter and city on it.  After that you go pick up your swag/goodie bag.  The Hot Chocolate race does have a very nice goodie bag, this year they did a zip up sweatshirt, with pink accents for the ladies and green for the men.  I went up to try it on before picking up my bag, just in case, but I had picked the right size, so while they allow exchanges, I fortunately didn’t have to deal with that.  In addition to the sweatshirt, they gave us a cute little pink bag to put it all in and to use for the gear check the next day.

Hot Chocolate 15k, Road Race, Race Swag, Goodie Bag, race bib, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona

After picking everything up, I took a look around the expo, they had a number of booths, although I really didn’t need anything so I only stopped by the Eat Good Food booth to get some sweet potato chips & a coupon and to try the new Larabar granola, which is really good.  As I was leaving I had to stop by the Hot Chocolate sample station where they had hot chocolate and chocolate covered marshmallows – YUM!! They also had a really nice area with merchandise with race logo, name on it.

Hot Chocolate 15k, race expo, salt river fields, phoenix, scottsdale, arizona Hot Chocolate 15k, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona, Race ExpoIMG_1060

Jumping ahead to race day, as I said earlier, the race location is about 30 minutes from my house.  They said that there would be road closures starting at 7am so I wanted to make sure I got there in plenty of time.  I like to have lots of time to allow for anything that might happen and to not have to stress before the race, as we saw before the RnR Vegas Marathon, rushing around before the start totally stresses me out.  This time around however, I got there crazy early, so early that I just hung out in the car for about 30 mins before venturing over to the start area.

Hot Chocolate 15k, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona
Starting Line Area
Hot Chocolate 15k, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona
Starting line village, sun up, moon up 🙂
Hot Chocolate 15k, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona, Gear Check
Fun photo ops next to gear check

The 5k started at 7:30a and the 15k and 8:15a and I got there around 6:45a I believe so that was a big gap.  The nice thing was that I got their early enough that there weren’t any lines for the port-a-potties, lol.  They had a very organized gear check, so after using the facilities one more time around 7:45a I dropped off my bag and headed over to the start line.  I was in Corral G, the 2nd corral for the 15k.  Unfortunately, I got mixed up and ended up in the third corral, they had signs with the letters on them and I thought that I needed to enter at the back of the corral, but instead I ended up in the H corral instead.  Which wouldn’t be a huge issue, except that they had 10 minutes between waves so I ended up having to wait an extra 20 mins to get started.

Hot Chocolate 15k, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona
The obligatory pre-race photo
Hot Chocolate 15k, Start Line, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona
The start line is up there somewhere – LOL

By the time we started, the sun was up and while it was still chilly, for us ;), it was a great day for a run.  It had been rainy, cloudy the day before and the following days as well.  My last run a few days prior wasn’t great so I wasn’t sure how the race was going to go.  I wore my Newton Distance U’s which I like better than my Fate’s so no calf pain today.  I actually had decided before the race that I was just going to enjoy the race and whatever happened, happened.  There was absolutely no pressure to run any specific time and while I wanted to PR the distance, I wasn’t going to stress about it.

They had a few treat stations during the race, as you ran thru, there were four treat stations, strawberry marshmallows, chocolate chips, chocolate marshmallows & tootsie rolls.  I wasn’t brave enough to try any of that, I’m pretty particular about what I eat when I’m running, but it was a nice thought.

This year the race course didn’t have nearly as many out and backs, but the one that they did have was several miles long, I saw my “insta”friend, @cavecreeknic when I was on this stretch.  It was so great to finally meet her after being instagram friends for a while.  I was just cruising along and it was about mile 6 I decided that my goal for this race was just to run the whole thing.  If you have been following along on my journey, you may remember that I was a Galloway runner for years and the habit is hard to break.

Hot Chocolate 15k, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona
Me & @cavecreeknic after the race 🙂 We’ve done a ton of the same races but this is the first time we met in person 🙂

Side note: I fully embraced the Galloway method and I think it’s a great way to run, I have an issue with my low back/hamstring that makes Galloway more painful due to the start & stop, so I have been working on running straight as much as I can.  I would recommend the Galloway method to anyone, especially if you are just starting out.

It was about mile 7 that this girl wearing yellow shorts passed me and I just kept her in my sights for the rest of the race while I ran my own race.  About mile 8.7 I ended up passing her, I thought she looked familiar, and I wanted to be like, come on girl, you’ve got it, but it really was all I could do to keep going myself.  I kept telling myself one step at a time.  Afterwards at the Run, Eat, Tweet AZ meet-up I found out why she looked so familiar, it was @issamosely!!

In the end, I was so super proud of myself, not for the 10 min PR I achieved in this race distance, but more because I didn’t once stop and walk, I ran the entire race.  It probably sounds silly, but it was such a huge achievement for me especially after having a not so great marathon experience and if nothing else, it gave me the confidence to know that I can do it!

I finished strong and felt a little sick afterwards, but walked it off, got my awesome medal and 2 bottles of water before heading over to get my Hot Chocolate bowl of goodness :).  While I was heading that way, another instagram friend, @jenniferlynn612, said Hi!  It was really cool finally meeting all the people I’ve been following.

Hot Chocolate 15k, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona, Race Medal
The super awesome medal

So now back to the Hot Chocolate bowl of goodness, since I’m not a huge huge fan of chocolate I thought it was a good sized bowl.  They gave us a reusable bowl that had a cup of hot cocoa, one of the sections had hot dipping chocolate in it and then there was a small banana, a mini rice krispie treat, pretzels and a few other snack items.  It was a nice little treat.

Hot Chocolate 15k, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona, chocolate treats
The post race treats 🙂

After getting my chocolate bowl, I headed over to the stage area to meet up with the rest of the Run, Eat, Tweet AZ group, I had posted my outfit the night before and was wearing my Lululemon plaid skirt so everyone recognized me – LOL. We chatted for a while, took some photos and talked a little about the next meet-up.  I know I said it before, but it was really nice to meet in person the people that I’ve been interacting with via instagram the last few months.  The power of social media :).  I also got to meet the amazing @cavecreeknic who I’ve been following for a while.

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#RunEatTweetAZ Selfie!!
Photo courtesy of @bananabuzzbomb instagram

 

Hot Chocolate 15k, Salt River Fields, Ram Racing, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona, runeattweetaz
#RunEatTweetAZ meet up…
Photo courtesy of @runeattweetaz instagram

Thinking back on it, outside of my little corral snafu I can’t think of anything about this race that I didn’t enjoy.  I ran for me, for fun, with no pressure to achieve any goals and I was very consistent in my splits – ranging from 8:44(last mile) to 9:22 for an average pace of 9:07.  Now if only I could maintain that for another 17 miles and I’ll have close to a sub 4 marathon.  I know it will come, but on my time.

Hot Chocolate has races around the country and I’d totally recommend running one, but I’d also recommend signing up early to get the best price :).  They have some of the best race swag, sweatshirts, reusable bags, chocolate treats and one of the best things in racing, free race photos!!

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Arizona Road Racers: Thanksgiving Classic 10 Mile

Last year I was taking a break from running after the NYC Marathon so I volunteered at the LifeTime Thanksgiving Day Turkey Run in downtown Phoenix.  This year I was just off a marathon and our huge event at work, but Thanksgiving was Sean’s birthday and I knew we would be running at least a little bit so when I found the Arizona Road Racers, Thanksgiving Classic had a 10 miler, I was like that’s it.  Let’s sign up!

So we were in, we didn’t sign up until the week of the race so I think I paid something like $40 to do the race, I can’t remember exactly.  It was in Peoria at the Peoria Sports Complex, which isn’t too far from my house and not too far from the NYC in AZ race I did earlier in the month.

Arizona Road Racers, Thanksgiving Classic, 10 miler, road race, start, finish line

They were expecting about 2,500 people.  There were 461 people in the 10 mile and 1,079 in the 5k and then there was a 1 mile race too. We had to get our packets the morning of the race so I told Sean we needed to get there a bit early.  The 10 mile was starting at 8:00am and registration opened at 6:30am.  I think we got there around 7:00a.  We parked over by the start & finish line and then walked around the complex to find the registration area.  We got our bibs, blue for 10 mile, white for 5k and a black cotton t-shirt that actually is pretty nice.  I got a small and it fits pretty good considering.

Arizona Road Racers, Thanksgiving Classic, 10 miler, road race

We went back to the car after getting our packets to stay warm and just chill for a bit before heading to the start.  Of course I had to use the bathroom before hand and when we got back over to the bathrooms, which were real bathrooms for a change 🙂 but there was a huge line for the women’s rest room, big surprise there, lol.  By that point there was only 15 minutes before the race started so I stayed positive while waiting and we ended up making it to the start line just as they were doing the national anthem.

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Sean asked me if we were going to run together and I told him he could go and run on his own. I was still semi sore from the marathon and a weekend in heels and I had decided I was just going to see what happened.

Once we were off, I yet again had an issue with that stupid pouch and my spi belt.  I really need to figure something out so I can run without having to deal with the bouncing.  I also grabbed the wrong headphones and needless to say I didn’t have any music the whole way either.

My legs were really heavy and I managed to run until mile 4 or so and then I walked a little.  We were on the Greenway on the pathways for the New River Trail System.  It’s a pretty nice area to run in and very close to where I did the NYC in AZ race.  My calves were pretty tight and this was really just for fun so I was just run/walking and enjoying it.

This was a bit of an out and back course, and I think I saw people on the other side until about mile 6.5 when I saw the last person.  I walked a lot during mile 7 and then I ran the rest of the way in.  I knew Sean was quite a bit ahead of me and I kept thinking, maybe he’ll come back after I finished and finish with me, and at mile 9ish, I saw him and we were able to run the last mile together.

Arizona Road Racers, Thanksgiving Classic, 10 miler, road race

That was the best part of the race!!  And amazingly, I was able to run that last mile in 8:37 – crazy!  Oh and I almost forgot because I haven’t run a lot of 10 mile races, this was only my 2nd one, I think, but I did PR it by about 10 mins so that was exciting too :).

Arizona Road Racers, Thanksgiving Classic, 10 miler, road race Arizona Road Racers, Thanksgiving Classic, 10 miler, road race

After we finished the race, we took some photos, as per usual, and then headed over to the area where we got our bibs, they had bottles of water, bananas, apples, chips & granola bars.  They handed out pies for the top 3 in each age group so as we enjoyed the sun and chilled before heading home, we listened to them announce the winners for the 5K and then eventually the 10 miler.

Arizona Road Racers, Thanksgiving Classic, 10 miler, road race
Post Race Treats

The nice thing about doing the races in Peoria is that there is a lot of parking, so you don’t have to really worry about that.  The trail paths are nice, it’s not just flat canal, there are some ups and downs, albeit not drastic.   This was my first race with the Arizona Road Racers and I think they did a good job.  My only complaint would be that I’m not a huge fan of the out and back on these trail paths because it can get a little congested, but all in all I enjoyed this race.

It’s nice to do the smaller races from time to time. And it was a perfect way to celebrate Sean’s Birthday and start our Thanksgiving!

Run the Strip at Night RnR Las Vegas Marathon

When we left off, we were on our way out for dinner, at 11:30pm Saturday night, because I totally fell asleep after the 5K.  We went to Yardhouse by the Linq and had super yummy club sandwiches with sweet potato fries. Yum!! It was super windy that night and soooo cold.  I was praying that it wouldn’t be that windy on race day, I remember hearing that last year was so windy during the race.

Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race, Club Sandwich, Sweet Potato Fries, Yardhouse

After getting a decent nights sleep, we just went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, they had a buffet, but we like to just eat ala carte so we ordered omelets with hashbrowns and toast.  It was a decent pre-race meal.

We then just went back to the room, watched a little TV and chilled out until it was time to get ready to run. I know you aren’t supposed to do anything new on race day, but I did eat 1/2 a Sprinkles cupcake before getting ready.  Crazy but Sean was like we need to get some extra calories and the actual cake is a carb, right? 😉

We got ready, we were a bit later than I was hoping and headed out for the monorail.  When we got there, we were met by a rude surprise Burnt Toast Moment #1, there was a huge line of people waiting to get on to the monorail.  Sean went up ahead to see what the issue was and found that all the trains were super full and they were literally only letting like 5 people on at a time.  I wasn’t in the mood to be late for the race, we were already a little later than I like to be anyways so we made the decision to run to the start instead.  Off we went, weaving in and out of people as we ran down the strip to the start area.  I don’t do well in situations like this, I like to have everything done in an orderly fashion, i.e. being at the start area in plenty of time so there is no rushing to do anything.

I was running at what I felt was an easy pace, but I kept losing Sean so that was putting a bit of stress on me too, as I kept looking back for him as we got separated by the crowds of people.  We finally made it to the end of the strip, only to see that we needed to go a bit further to get to the start village to check my bag.  We made it inside and to the bag check area with literally 4 minutes to spare.  There was a guy calling out Gear Check closes in 4 minutes as I was trying to get my track pants & sweatshirt into the bag and grab my GoMacro bar.

Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race
A little stressed 😉

After my experience earlier this year of not using the facilities before the race, I knew I couldn’t hold it for long, it was cold out 🙂 so we decided to wait for the port-a-potties in the start village.  I wasn’t too happy at this point at all because I was super stressed, nervous & cold.  We finally made it to the front of the line, did our business and then headed out to the corrals, at this point it is almost 4:20p and the race is to start at 4:30p.  When we got out of the village area, it became obvious that we were still not close to the start.  I saw corral 45 and just about burst into tears since we were supposed to start in corral 13 & to make matters worse the race info stated that there was a strict 5 hour marathon cut-off.  I was super worried that we wouldn’t make it time so off we went again.  Fortunately we made it to the correct corral by 4:25p or so in time to hear the National Anthem and take a few photos.  It was at this time when Sean, who if he hadn’t run with me, would have been in corral 2 said something to the effect that by the time I get to the start he was practically finished, LOL. Welcome to the world of the middle of the pack :).

IMG_0166 Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race

We finally made it to the start and took off.  This is when Burnt Toast Moment #2 happens…but first a tiny backstory… I used to have an awesome Amphipod pouch for my cell phone that slipped on to my Nathon fuel belt, or easily into my shorts/capris with little to no bulk and I lost it earlier this year.  When I went to purchase another one I couldn’t find another one like it at REI so I got a different one, that clips on instead.  Well I don’t like this pouch at all, it doesn’t work for me except if I put it in my sports bra, which can cause horrible chafing (this was the worst it ever has been – it took 2 weeks to heal), but I like to run with my phone so I’ve been sucking it up until I could find another pouch that fits my iPhone 6.  Now back to the race, on Saturday during the 5K I clipped the phone case to my spibelt and ran with it like that, no bouncing so I did the same thing again for this race.  But this time, it was bouncing all over the place and driving me absolutely crazy, probably because I forgot that on Saturday I tied my long sleeve shirt around my waist which helped to prevent the bounce.  I kept trying to get it to stop bouncing while running around people and trying to keep up with Sean.

Finally I was like forget it and I just put it in my sports bra only to have my headphones die immediately (seriously?).  Since we were barely 2 miles into a 26 mile race, that was like the end of the world, especially after all the other craziness.  I think, no I know, at one point I was like I don’t even want to run this, to which Sean said, can you at least be a little positive? so I shut up and tried to enjoy running on the strip.  By this point it was dark and all the casinos were lit up, which was really pretty.

We were going at a good pace and I was trying not to look at my watch so I asked Sean where were at and it was around 6 miles.  I was already tired and I must have thought at least a hundred times, maybe I should just turn off and only run the half, but I knew that I had to do it so I just asked Sean to slow down a bit when we got to mile 8 or so because I wasn’t going to be able to maintain that pace.  We kept going down the strip and then into a little bit of a residential area before we marathoners split off from the half marathoners.  It was at this point that it got colder.  We went thru the Fremont Street Experience which was super cool, I’ve never been there before, lots of lights and there were people flying over us on zip lines, that was interesting.  Lots of people cheering, then we left there and went out, I don’t know where, but there wasn’t a whole lot going on in the next 10 miles or so.

Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race, Freemont Street Experience Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race, Freemont Street Experience

Around mile 10 there was a little uphill and I had to walk it because my calf was a little tight.  Well that’s the start of a few more burnt toast moments.  At mile 11, my right leg completely cramped up.  The calf issues were causing my shin muscle to pull – and I was already cramping in that area.  This caused me to have to walk a bit. I’d try to run but my leg was literally giving out on me, it was a horrible feeling.  We walked a lot more between miles 11 – 16 than I would have liked.  Also during that time period, I refilled my 20 oz camelback bottle 2 times and went to the bathroom 2 times as well.

Right around mile 16 we took a 2nd bathroom break and got our bottles filled and I took a selfie that I posted to instagram where I was practically in tears because I was soooo afraid we wouldn’t make it due to the time cut-off and in a lot of pain too.  I think it was around this time that Sean gave me 2 advil as well – I very rarely ever take medicine for pain so I almost refused but I’m pretty sure he insisted.  I think it did help because not too long after this point I was able to try to run.

Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race
In Pain, Ready to be done!!
Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race
Social Media break

So from mile 16 on, we ran to each mile marker where we walked for about a minute before running to the next mile marker.  At some point we ran back thru the Fremont Street Experience and I missed the mile marker so I think we ran about 2 miles that time, after which took a quick break and we ran the rest of the race in (almost 4 miles).  I was so worried about the time, but once we got to the strip, I saw that there were still half marathon walkers that we were passing so I felt a little better.  I figured if there were still half marathoners out there they weren’t going to kick us off the course.  This is the first time I’ve run a race with such a short time limit, although, I don’t think it was as strictly enforced like I thought it was, it still made it stressful when my race didn’t go as well as I thought it would.

Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race

It was probably around mile 22 or so that my head phones died but really I think what happened was that my phone was almost dead and I didn’t realize it until we had finished and I saw that my nike+ app hadn’t captured the entire race.

I checked my Garmin and it looks like from around mile 22.5 thru the end, we ran without walking, it wasn’t fast but we did manage to finish strong.  Our last mile was even sub 10 mins which at that point, I’m shocked at.

Sean and I smiled for lots of photographers and then when we were about a 1/2 mile from the finish, he asked me if I would be ok with holding hands when we crossed the finish line.  Of course!! So as we approached the finish line we joined hands and finished the race at the exact same time.  It was pretty amazing because when we checked later, we hit every single timing mark at the same time!

There are no words for how happy I was to be finished with this race.  This was my 4th marathon and of the 4, it was probably the one I was least excited about.  I think I told Sean a number of times, I was way more excited for him to run NYC then I as to run this race.  I didn’t have the best of training cycles, it started to feel like work vs fun.  I didn’t run more than 18 miles twice vs the 22 – 24 that I’ve done in the past. There were a lot of reasons why I was excited for it to be done.

I am signed up for 2 marathons for next year already and there were times during this race that I was like, what was I thinking, I’m signed up for 2 more of these! lol But I’ll take what I learned here and use it to help me for the next one.

Overall, as a race, Rock n’Roll does do a good job.  The aid stations were well stocked, they had port-a-potties at each station. They had a lot of food/beverage available at the finish, including bottles of water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, bananas, pretzels & power bars.  Apparently they were also handing out beer at the finish, but since we don’t drink, that didn’t really interest us so much.  They also handed out the space blanket wraps.

Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race, Bellagio, post race

The medals were nice too (although, I like the 5K medal almost as much if not more than the marathon one – lol).  And since we did the 5k on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday we got the extra Remix medal.  They had a tent after the finish where you could collect them.

RnR Las Vegas, Marathon, MedalRnR Las Vegas, Remix Medal

Most of the issues I had with the race were not related to the race itself, they were more my own personal issues.  The only real cons I saw with the race were that it takes a lot longer to get to the start than anticipated, definitely allow enough time to get there.  Don’t rely on the monorail unless you leave way early.  The other thing was that once the marathon left the half marathoners, it’s pretty desolate out there, we felt like we went to Utah or something it seemed so out in the middle of nowhere.

The best part of the race, running the whole way with Sean :).  Running on the strip was pretty cool too, seeing the lights and then being able to watch the fountains at the Bellagio after the race.

Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race, Bellagio, post race

Oh and then there was the post race Sprinkles Ice Cream 😉 that was awesome!! And totally made all the burnt toast moments better, lol.

Rock n Roll, Marathon, Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nov 16, 2014, Road Race, Sprinkles, Cupcakes, Ice cream

Now to start planning for my next race ;)…

Run the Strip at Night RnR Las Vegas 5k Race Recap

Sean & I headed to Vegas a few weeks ago for the RnR Las Vegas Marathon.  We had Tour Passes and one extra race each so I looked it up to see if we could use the pass for the 5K and when I found out we could, we signed up.

Since Sean is a run streaker – he’s almost at 4 years of running a minimum of 2 miles every day so I knew we were going to run on Saturday regardless so this 5K was a great way to get in a nice & easy shake-out run the day before the marathon.

The 5K was by the SLS Hotel on the other end of the strip from us so we took the monorail from near our hotel down to the race start area.

RnR Las Vegas, 5k, Start line, marathon weekend, race day
Ready to go!! Happy & all smiles 🙂

The monorail was busy, but not too bad and we made it to the start area in about 15 minutes.  Once there we took a little tour of the hotel to get to the actual start.

RnR Las Vegas, 5k, Start line, marathon weekend, race day

We got there about 20 minutes before the race was to start so we hit up the port-a-potties, barely no lines and then took a few photos and headed over to the corrals.  I was in the 2nd corral, but the corrals were too small for all the participants so we waited until corral 1 left and then we crawled thru the barriers to get inside.

RnR Las Vegas, 5k, Start line, marathon weekend, race day RnR Las Vegas, 5k, Start line, marathon weekend, race day

They started the race in the parking lot, which is ok, I guess, except that you hear the announcer say, be extremely careful until you get out of the parking lot because it’s not super smooth. So needless to say that slowed down the first mile quite a bit.  Before the race, Sean & I discussed that we didn’t have to run together – he’s quite a bit faster than I am and very very rarely runs 5Ks so I wanted him to see what he could do :).

Right after the start, there was a cool little light up bubble tunnel – that was kind of a nice touch to kick off the race.  They had colored lights at the end of the race as well.

RnR Las Vegas, 5k, Start line, marathon weekend, race day
Inside the tunnel at the start

We both started in corral 2, but once we were started I didn’t see him again until about 1 mile in when we did a short out and back.   I saw Meb running too in this section.

The course itself wasn’t anything super special in my opinion, we did run on the strip for a little bit, they had the far right lane closed for us so there were a lot of cars driving down, which was good & bad.  Good because a lot of people were cheering for us and bad because there were a lot of cars with exhaust and smokers which makes it hard to breathe.  But all in all it was a decent race and considering I rarely run 5ks, I managed to not only officially PR but run negative splits as well!  So another goal checked off my list :).

RnR Las Vegas, 5k, Start line, marathon weekend, race day RnR Las Vegas, 5k, Start line, marathon weekend, race day

Sean was waiting for me when I finished the race and Meb had finished just a minute before me so there was a lot of people taking photos with him, etc.  Sean said he had hi-fived him at the finish and then got a cool photo of him finishing.

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I got my medal, a bottle of water, a banana and some pretzels.  I thought the medals were awesome!! They are super cool, unique and really incorporate some interesting elements that showcase where the race was being held.

RnR Las Vegas, 5K Medal

Afterwards, we took a few photos and then decided to head back to the hotel.  We were debating on staying for the concert, Cromeo was playing, but we finished relatively quickly, I heard them announcing corral 8 just as I was finishing the race so we had at least a 1/2 hour or so before the race and I just wanted to relax before the marathon then next day.

RnR Las Vegas, 5k, Start line, marathon weekend, race day

So back to the monorail we went, we were able to see some of the runners that were still finishing up from the train.  That was pretty cool – it reminded me a bit of Chicago when I was racing from spot to spot to find & cheer Sean on :).

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I ended up falling asleep pretty early and then woke up around 11:30pm starving, we never ate dinner – yikes!! So off we went for dinner and then more rest.  Less than 24 hours until my 4th marathon!