Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rock N Roll Vegas Has Been ROCKED!

Matty and I after the race!
Every single step down Las Vegas Blvd was agonizing pain for 13.1 miles. Every single step was worth it! Running the strip at night was everything you would think it would be. Sunday night I was one of 44,000 runners taking part in the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon. There were showgirl runners, Elvis runners, crazy costumes, normally dressed runners and I even saw a naked runner! This is Vegas, go big or go home! I really couldn’t think of a cooler course nearly the entire race was on the strip and it was at night so all the lights were lit and there were hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the course cheering the runners and more importantly handing out beer! My favorite part was in the last few miles seeing the fountains of the Bellagio while running.

Running a half marathon is a battle on it’s own but with an injury well that’s an epic battle. I’ve been battling a hip injury since this summer and it’s still not close to being healed. Countless times I wanted to stop as my body was killing me but I just kept telling myself that most with an injury wouldn’t have even tried. I set goals for the race and changed them three times and just focused on running my race at the best of my ability. I was a lot slower than my personal best, but I ran the entire race and I finished.

I did my research on this race before hand and boy did it pay off. I learned that the best place to stay was closest to Mandalay Bay so I was at the Luxor. I also learned the day to go to the expo was on Friday, which I did. Two MASSIVE pay offs as the crowds were out of control. Hey there are 44,000 runners and then add in their families and friends and you have a lot of people trying to move. At the expo I was able to meet two of my running hero’s Olympic medalist, author and New York Marathon winner Meb Kef and Olympic hopeful Kara Goucher. It was pretty awesome to meet Kara because like me she recently battled a hip injury. We compared stories and she encouraged me that although difficult my plan to take at least 6 weeks off will make all the difference in the world.

OK so now the part you’re all waiting for the negativity on the race as many of you have asked me about it. Let’s just say the race was awesome but they were not properly prepared to handle 44,000 runners plus their spectators. The finish line was a logistics mess. The planning wasn’t done very well but this race jumped 120% from last year and it was the first time it was held at night so a lot of this has to be expected. We knew that it was going to take time to get from place to place. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out given the size so you need to plan for that and seems most did not. The day before the race we walked over to Mandalay and checked out the grounds to get an idea where everything was. And then race day we gave ourselves 2 hours to get from the room to the check in to the start line. People who complained didn’t think and didn’t plan, plain and simple. The things I think that were done poorly where the finishers photos they were all along the finishers gate right in the middle of where people were walking, they needed to be pushed to the side. The Marathon and ½ Marathon were poorly separated by cones so there was a ton of crossing paths. The corrals needed to be policed better ensuring people are in their corral. Water stations were poorly done. When they stacked the cups they didn’t fill them as the stacked, they stacked, then filled as needed and couldn’t keep up, there were 3 times I reached for water and got an empty cup. Medical was also a fail. It was cold once you were done running and cramping almost immediately. The medics on the course were scarce but at the finish line I saw none and that is the most important place to have them. Last but not least they ran out of medals for the slower runners. How do you run out of medals? You know the exact number of participants yet they didn’t have enough. And lastly runners forgot their etiquette and the inexperience runners showed up as well. Runners remember or learn your etiquette. Meaning if you’re a slower runner or walker you need to get in the BACK of the corrals and not the top. Also runners you know you’re not supposed to run more than 2 deep but there were some going 4 or deeper. There were rumors of runners taking multiple medals and of volunteers doing that too. Again etiquette, why would you take a more than one medal? Why do you need more than one? And why would you want one if you didn’t run a race? Same goes for the race shirts the same problem was reported. Again a lot of this could have been prevented with better policing of the race volunteers, crew and etiquette. Everyone submits a size of shirt when registering for a race, come packet pick up, if its too big or small, too bad you take what you requested and then at the finish line see if you can exchange. The last complaint I heard was the lack of food and restaurants at the end of the race. Again, use your head people on the number here. Very few places to eat yet thousand of people, plan to wait or have a power bar and banana in your room or plan to wait in line. Now my only disappointment is hearing that they want to increase the race by another 15,000 next year and I think that’s a bad idea. If it’s increased I will not be back but if they keep the cap at 44 or lower I will come back this was a super fun race, I got to run the strip and I had an awesome time in Vegas! Now, its time to rest, 6 weeks and I’ll be back, can’t wait to run with you then!