I had already signed up for Savannah and planned for it to be my last half for the year. Then my mom casually mentioned that her favorite band was going to be headlining some half marathon, and hey, didn’t I like to run?
I mean. I was basically training for this when I was training for Savannah. I did do one two-mile run during the week between but nothing extra. I had zero expectations especially given how not-great my pace was in Savannah.
There was concern that the run was going to be canceled altogether because of the Las Vegas shooting which happened a month prior to the event. Mandalay Bay was supposed to be the start of the race, and the Las Vegas Village is where the Goo Goo Dolls were supposed to play. Eventually, they changed the start and finish locations and moved the Goo Goo Dolls concert to Saturday instead of Sunday. It was really the best outcome to still allow the race to continue.
The neatest part of Las Vegas is that it’s one of two (I think?) events the whole year that shuts down the strip. The start was at the New York-New York hotel. We ran past Mandalay and I think just outside the city limits. At mile two, which was also a turn around to head back to the strip, the first band was actually a string trio who played a memorial song in honor of the shooting victims. It was very somber but lovely.
On the way back to the strip, several people stopped to take photos with the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, myself included. They didn’t turn out great, but it was still neat.
I don’t think I mentioned it, but Savannah had a ton of support stations. They were really concerned about the heat and health of the runners. I’m sure Las Vegas was also concerned, but I’m also sure that because the run was at night that they didn’t feel the need was as great. I spent several miles looking for a medical station because I was chafing. And listen. I totally understand that the time limit was very important in this race because they have to be able to reopen the strip ASAP. But even still, I would be approaching support stations and it was clear that they had already started packing up. There were a lot of people still behind me! It was slightly discouraging even when I thought I was pacing okay.
Running the strip is so cool. It’s so bright and colorful, and there are a ton of spectators so that no matter what mile you’re on someone is cheering you on.
The worst part of this race was after the finish. You cross the finish line at the Mirage, then you get your medal. Then you have to walk another mile to leave the area! My parents and cousin were waiting for me at the finish, and there was no way for me to easily meet them. They had the whole finisher area gated. I had to walk (read: limp) to the Bellagio and then walk back to the Mirage. I was so ticked off. It seems like I don’t like walking after a run. It’s not that! I completely understand the importance of walking after a run! But we still had to walk a mile and a half back to our hotel!
As we were walking back to the hotel, I asked my cousin if she had my finish time since she was tracking my life results. When I realized my time was faster than the week before, I started crying. I was so happy!