I achieved something I never imagined in a million years that I would do. I completed a half marathon on December 5th 2010. The biggest fitness accomplishment of my life. I ran this with my best friend and one of the strongest forces or friendships in my life, Michelle.
The three of us(Michelle, Josie and myself) arrived in Las Vegas at about 10 am Las Vegas time on Saturday December 4th. We got to the hotel(MGM Grand), checked our bags, requested a room facing the strip and hit the strip walking. We ate lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe. I loaded up on carbs…. pasta! It was delicious! After brunch we walked down to the Venetian. As we were walking down the strip to the Venetian it started to hit me that I was going to be running that the next morning. The strip. Wow. It was so surreal. When we picked up our race packages at the Expo was when it hit me hard and I began to stress a bit. This was after all my first half marathon. It dawned on me that this shit just got real. Everything I had trained for was about to be put in motion. I didn’t train as well as I should have and I knew that. I skipped a few of the big runs. Okay, I skipped a lot of the big runs. I skipped a 12K, a 14K, both 16Ks, one 18k and the last 20k. I was not feeling as prepared as I felt after running the first and only 18K I’d ran. I made sure I got most, if not all, of my small runs in. That is probably what got me through it, but I plan to work harder at training for my next half marathon, which I just signed up for. I will be running the Calgary Centaur Subaru 1/2 marathon on May 29th, 2011.
Anyhow, we picked up our stuff, changed corrals, bought gels and headed out to the malls to shop! It was Vegas after all and if we couldn’t start drinking/partying/let loose until after the race we may as well shop our little hearts out. And shop we did! I got a huge chunk of my Christmas shopping done that day. It felt good to get a lot of it out of the way. After shopping we went back to the hotel, cleaned up and went to Emeril’s to dine. It was delicious! I was intending on dessert, but had no room. I filled up on bread(carbs carbs carbs!), appies, and gnocchi. It was such a yummy ‘night before the race’ dinner. After dinner we went back up to our room and crashed hard at 9pm. It was so hard to be in Vegas and not be able to let loose… yet.
The next morning we were up by 4:45am. We got ready, grabbed Starbucks for brekkie and headed down the Strip to Mandalay Bay. I was so anxious and excited, but quiet. It was kind of freaking me out that we were going to be running our first half soon, but at the same time I just wanted to get it started so we could be done with it.
We found our corral, hit the toilets and then waited in the corral until it was start time. Start time came and went. The race started. We were in corral 24 so we had a bit before we would even cross the start line. The race started at 7 am, but we did not cross the start line until about 7:30 am. Then it was running our butts off. We had a starting band at the start line that saw us on our way and then from there we had bands at intervals along the way. I remember them being pretty good and playing music I liked, but could not even tell you what songs I heard. I was on such a natural high. After the first mile or two I said to Michelle, “Let’s do a full marathon. I feel great!” She turned to me and said, “Tell me that again at the finish line.” I agreed. I saw line ups at the port~a~potties and kind of freaked. We stopped at the Run Thru Wedding Chapel and I used the toilets while Michelle took pics of the goings on there. It was our first ten minute stop. It ate at me that we lost 10 mins due to my bathroom break that I more than likely did not need.
We got back into the swing of things easily and I found most of the run went flying by. It was going with ease. We stuck to our 10 and 1s. We stopped and lined up at the Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas sign for another 10 mins to get pics of us under it. That took another ten minutes off our running time and I was getting anxiety about the time ‘wasted’. We took a 5 minute walk break at half way…10k(6.5 miles). We both took a bunch of pics along the way. By 15K(9.32 miles) I was starting to feel it. I still felt okay, but could not wait to be done running. From there it felt like I was running and getting nowhere. You can see all the oversized hotels down the strip and they look so close, but you know they are really so far away. I started to lose it at mile 11. It felt like I was running and running towards Mandalay Bay, but never going to get there… like it was a mirage. I wanted to sit down on the strip and cry. My good knee hurt so bad. It had this insane shooting pain up the side of it. It hurt like I’d never hurt running before. I told Michelle to go on with out me and I could see she was considering it and I felt like I’d lose it. I was about to hyperventilate and cry. Michelle did not and would not leave me. Instead she encouraged me and snapped me out of it. All of a sudden we were running past Caesar’s Palace and I knew we were finally getting somewhere. I knew it wasn’t too much longer now. But it still felt like forever and the pain in my knee never quite let up. I was feeling guilty for holding Michelle back. It was such an internal battle I had going on inside, but I pushed through it all. Finally we got to Mandalay Bay and I got the last bit of energy and we raced to the finish line. Michelle and I crossed the finish line at the exact same time.
Our official chip time was 2 hours 54 minutes and 55 seconds, but we know that we did not run for a 20 full minutes bringing our time down to 2 hours and 35 minutes. I think we rocked it and did great!!
After we crossed the finish line I was tweeting and facebooking. We grabbed snacks and water. Met up with Josie who had volunteered for the marathon. We got our free beer, MGD 64, and watched Bret Michaels rocking out. It was awesome! I was singing along and floating by on this most amazing natural high that I have ever felt in my life. I was so proud of myself and Michelle for making such great time for our first half. We seriously kicked butt. We took pics and then decided to head back to the hotel to clean up, nap, eat and get ready for a night on the town.
I did tell Michelle that I would probably never run a full at the end of the race. I don’t think my knees could handle it. I got to see a school mate from Jr High and High School coming into the finish line doing the full marathon! It was awesome to cross her path in Vegas, albeit briefly and momentarily. I did shout out to her, “Go, Rina, Go!” I also saw a very obese man running in to finish the full marathon and I said to Michelle, “If he can do it, we can do it.” So, who knows… maybe one day we will run a full, but at this point its not in the cards.
It was the most amazing day of my life besides my wedding day and the birth of my kids.