Race Report: RockNRoll Las Vegas Half 2014

Short Version: SO not my day with almost everything conspiring against me. Still ended up 9th for women and 86th overall with a 1:25:02. Had an INCREDIBLE vacation with my family (more on that in a separate post).

Results from Vegas

Long Version:

I didn’t even get out of Burlington before the fuck-ups began. I boarded my original flight at 6 am on Saturday morning and spent 4 hours trying to get out of Burlington, including getting towed back to the gate and swapping airlines entirely. The real fun began somewhere over Detroit, however, where we circled the airport for over 40 minutes and landed at 11:46. My flight for Vegas left Detroit at 12:02. From Terminal C. I landed at A. Thankfully I’d worn my Converse and sprinted (I mean all out sprinted) for C26, making it with seconds to spare. The door closed behind me and I scrambled to my seat and climbed over my poor seatmates with sweat dripping off of me.

When I arrived in Vegas, my family was already there waiting. We picked up our rental car (a souped up Camero, bucket list item for my Dad) and headed to the Expo. Pickup was really smooth, which is just about the last thing that was smooth for the next 24 hours. After waiting 60 minutes to check in at Bally’s, it was time to race to our show for the evening so I didn’t get a run in.

All things considered (time change, moderate altitude, sprinting in Converse), I felt pretty good when I woke up on Sunday. I was a little achy from travel but my legs felt good enough. We kicked around for most of the morning and I just enjoyed the time with my family. At about 2:30, my sister and I headed off for the start line and the shitshow began. On the monorail, I started to feel sick to my stomach. Not nervous sick, but sick-sick. I hoped it would clear once we got outside again but no dice. When we got towards the start area, they diverted us into the Start Festival. As much as I like Macklemore (and hearing Thrift Shop live was pretty great), I just wanted to find a place to lay down by the Start. After some near tears halted by a great Competitor Group volunteer, I found the Start Line. When we got there, however, there were almost no CG employees and certainly no one who knew where elites were supposed to go or where we were supposed to use the bathroom. There was nowhere to pee and nowhere to warm up. Now in full tears, I found a photographer who let me use the media bathroom and a kind start line volunteer who promised that if I ran down the median, he’d let me back in. I did manage to get a few minutes of warmup in but no striders and no decrease in stomach pain.

As we got loaded in the Start Line, it was utter chaos. 2 hour half marathoners were standing on the line with the elites. Some over eager guy ripped my shoe off my foot. We were told we had 5 minutes til the start. 90 seconds later, the gun sounded. I sprinted off the line and still got knocked around and started to fumble with my Garmin to try to get splits.

Start of RnR

From Meb’s Twitter (thanks Meb!). Pretty sure this is right after aforementioned dude ripped my shoe off.

My original plan was to click in with the 1:20 pace group (6:08 pace) and hide behind them in the wind for the first few miles of the race. This plan quickly evaporated when they cranked through the first mile in 5:40 pace. Not for me, in even the best scenario. To make it worse, my stomach was not calming down. By 2 miles in, I was already counting miles and running splits. I settled for just trying to find a comfortable pace and kept my eyes on the people ahead of me. When my stomach felt stable, I pushed. When it started to threaten disaster, I backed off. As I went by my family around 4, I knew things were grim because my sister didn’t even tell me what place I was.

At about mile 6, the woman who was second in the marathon came back to me and we ran together until the race split off at 9. I was actually feeling okay around here and made a big move forward at 10 to pass the woman who was in 9th. This wouldn’t last however, and I spent the last 3 miles just praying I could find a porto-potty in time. Even as I saw the clock clicking towards 1:25, I couldn’t sprint for fear that my stomach would give up entirely.

Since my Garmin didn’t start, I don’t have much in the way of splits but the timing mats have the following:

5K: 19:47 (6:22)

10K: 39:42 (6:23)

10 M: 1:04:20 (6:26)

Last 5K: 20:42 (6:39, dear god)

Obviously I would have preferred to go into my down period on a high note, but it is what it is. Even if my pre-race prep had been perfect, my stomach was clearly not up for the task (my Dad got sick on Sunday night and my mom on Monday, so we had something kicking around) and every day just isn’t going to be a banner day. I also got to have a great time in Las Vegas with my family and decompress after what’s been a long fall of school, training and coaching.

So what’s next?

Two weeks of down time, doing whatever I want for exercise then figuring out what’s next! During down time, I’ll be looking back (and posting) about what I thought worked well this cycle and what needs improvement and also figuring out what the next year will look like for me. I fricken hate vague blogging, but I’m not ready to float the ideas totally publicly. Suffice to say that the things I’m thinking about are big enough (to me) that I want to make sure all my i’s are dotted before it becomes public knowledge.

Despite the snafu’s, I do want to thank the Competitor Group for comping my entry to Las Vegas. While I wouldn’t recommend Las Vegas for a PR race because of the afternoon start and general chaos of a big-city race, I would recommend it for the experience. Running on the Strip after dark is just an insane experience and one you can’t replicate anywhere else. If RnR Las Vegas is on your bucket list, there are some specials this week that make CG races (a little) more affordable; at $99, this race can form the beginning of a great reason to go to Vegas in November.

Who else raced this weekend? Anyone running Philly this coming weekend? Have you run a RockNRoll race before? Experience?

3 thoughts on “Race Report: RockNRoll Las Vegas Half 2014

  1. Ryan

    That’s too bad the race didn’t go the way you wanted, though it sounds like you were able to move on and enjoy the rest of your trip. I am not sure how I’d handle running a half that late in the day. I know the local 3.5 mile Workforce Team Challenge used to drive me nuts – 6:30pm race time allows too much time to think/worry about eating and drinking. I routinely would run longer as late or later with no issue, but replace the word “run” with “race” and it is a whole different ball game mentally. Like you said, I’d consider running Las Vegas for the experience, but definitely not as a time goal race.
    RockNRoll races seem pretty polarizing – lots of people love them, lots seem to think they are the worst thing going in the running world. I have not run a RockNRoll race yet, but my wife ran the RockNRoll Philly Half a couple of years ago. She said it was great, the only race she said was better organized was the Hartford Marathon.

    Reply
    1. runnerunderpressure

      My view on the RockNRoll series has changed over the years. I was angry/frustrated with them when they temporarily canceled elite support but think they’ve done a good job of rectifying those relationships. I will say that their organization on race day sometimes frustrates me but one has to remember the audience. Most people running RockNRoll (Vegas or otherwise) are there for the experience, not because they need a perfect race day. RockNRoll does a great job of making the half marathon and marathon more approachable and I think that’s one of their biggest “plus sides.”

      Reply
  2. foxrunsfast

    Yikes – I am totally impressed with your ability to still turn in a solid race given all the snafus you ran into! I would have been beside myself with the mess of the elite start plus stomach issues. Bleh!! Kudos to you for pushing as hard as that stomach would allow and not giving up. While not what you wanted, that’s still a fantastic time! 🙂 Looking forward to hearing what’s next for you – as well as how you are spending your much-deserved down time!

    Reply

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