Tag Archives: RockNRoll

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?

Product Review: Salted Watermelon Gu

As it is for most runners, my relationship with energy gels is complicated. They aren’t the most palatable of foods but their convenience and power-per-packaging can’t be beat for long runs and workouts. When I first started running long distance, I used GU Just Plain because I was afraid of all of the other flavors. Over time, I branched out (is that the right word) to Vanilla. I had rough runs with Strawberry Banana and Orange and vowed to avoid the fruit flavors for life. More recently, I’ve been a Mocha Clif Shot kind of girl but when I was visiting my local Fleet Feet recently, spotted a bright green packet behind the counter that promised Salted Watermelon GU. I spent much of my childhood with the nickname of Watermelon so I have a special kinship with the fruit and am a sucker for all things watermelon flavored. I recently tried Salted Caramel and although I liked it, I wasn’t sold enough to replace the Mocha Clif Shot. Now, however, the Salted Watermelon has taken center stage and will be my gel of choice for Albany and Vegas this fall.

Test packets

Test packets

I did two test runs with the Salted Watermelon and was delighted on both. The flavor is subtle (it smells stronger than it tastes) and the hint of salt is actually refreshing in the middle of a run. One of my long runs was a 98% humidity day along the ocean and even warm, the Salted Watermelon was delicious. One of my complaints about GU flavors (and all energy gel flavors) in the past is that there is just too much flavor and it sits in your mouth for miles after the gel. Perhaps GU has improved across the board, but I am happy to report than I was neither tasting nor burping watermelon 30 minutes later.

Grade: A

As I was ordering my supply for the marathon today, I noticed another new flavor: Root Beer. Added 8 of those to my cart for future testing!

What flavors do you love? What flavors will you never ever try again? Favorite energy gel company?

Race News: RocknRoll Las Vegas Half

A fabulous race finish

A fabulous race finish

I’m actually supposed to be in Vegas this weekend with these fabulous ladies to celebrate Emily’s (far right) bachelorette but due to some unexpected curveballs from life, I had to cancel and miss what is sure to be an epic weekend. Boas and tiaras are a guarantee.

The last time Emmy and I raced in Vegas

Struggling with pace bands the last time we raced in Vegas

Emmy and I have been to Vegas for a race before, the inaugural RockNRoll Las Vegas race in 2009 when we both ran the full. It remains my most painful marathon (3:15) and although I can’t find the race picture from mile 20, I know I gave the camera a middle finger. I’m hoping for a better outcome this November when I race the RockNRoll Las Vegas half marathon. It’s 4 weeks after my full and I’m hopeful that I can go under 1:20 and vie for the win. I’m also excited to race under the lights. When I did Vegas the first time, the race started at 5:30 am and Emmy and I shared a cab to the race start with a group of people coming in for the night. One of them offered us a cigarette, evidently a little confused about what a marathon was.

Race shirt from the first time around

Race shirt from the first time around

I’m equally as excited for the rest of the weekend because my family is coming with me! My parents have never been and one of my dad’s bucket list items is to drive down the Strip in a convertible. Suzanne will also be racing the half and aiming to PR.

The last big family adventure

The last big family adventure

Thanks are due to the Competitor Group for inviting me out for this race. CG has had a rough 18 months with elite athletes but responded to criticism (and I personally had plenty of it) of their decision to cut elite athlete support with a retooled elite athlete program that both rewards our hard work and protects their bottom line. I applaud them for being willing to admit a mistake, take a boatload of criticism and reinstate support for elites and emerging elites.

vegas signAnyone else running in Vegas in November? What’s your favorite thing to do in Las Vegas?

A Week for the Dogs

First, thank you for all of your entries to the Stunt Runner giveaway! Here are two more adorable entries:

Precious Entry

Jamie’s young running buddy Precious

Laurel from Joyrunner's running buddy Samson

Laurel from Joyrunner’s running buddy Samson

The winner of the givaway is Lexa and her running momma Shelby. As you can see below, Lexa has lots of hardware from her momma’s exploits over the last year. Shelby is a seriously busy runner; she ran 10 half marathons last year and finished her first Boston this spring in just over 4 hours. Impressive lady!

Lexa Stunt Puppy

Shelby's Half Marathons over the last year. Impressive!!

Shelby’s Half Marathons over the last year. Impressive!!

Watson is excited to use his Stunt Runner leash this weekend as he and Will will be doing their first 5K together at the Doggie 5K this weekend. Their performance will be almost completely dependent on the weather, how many trees need marking and any particularly attractive squirrels along the course. I can’t wait to take pictures and be cheer squad for my two favorite boys.

How far do you travel for races? Have you done a doggie run?