Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Race Report: Las Vegas Rock 'n Roll Marathon

Race morning started at 4:45am, and Laura and I were up and at em.  Nerves were in full force, so I was glad that everything was set to go for the morning, and I all I had to concentrate on was forcing food down my throat.  Before too long, the gents, Dan, Ryan, and Luke were at our door ready to head to the start.  My stomach was maaaaaaaad as normal.  We left our hotel and I was perfectly content in my shirt and shorts.  I laughed on the inside at all the wussies out there in pants, jackets, headbands/hats, gloves, etc.  Seriously, it was like 40 degrees out there!
We stayed at the Excalibur so we were right around 1 mile from the race start.  It was pretty crazy/awesome to see all the throngs of runners migrating to Mandalay Bay.  We saw some totally douchy guy strutting around smoking a cigarette thinking he was the coolest thing EVER.  We were all pretty annoyed, so we couldn't help but laugh that he tripped trying to climb over a fence.  Karma is a B.  Some people just look really good bright and early before races, no?  :)

I ditched the boys early on since they were heading for corral 1, and apparently I'm not quite that speedy.  I found the bag drop and met up with Slomohusky!  It was great to finally put a face to his writing and comments.  Unfortunately my stomach was still in freak out mode so our convo was cut short to accommodate yet another port a potty wait for me (I think this puts me at 5 for the morning :/).  And to make matters worse, not only was I in line for the bathroom as the star spangled banner was being played, I was also waiting while the first 2 corrals were released.  Stress meter:  max.

A couple of minutes later it was our turn:  marathon #2 here I come!  Because I spent 97% of my race morning in line for the bathrooms I didn't get much of a warm up in.  As in, I got zero warm up in.  No biggie.  When I first started out, I was a little concerned about how tired my legs seemed to be.  I chalked it up to not getting the warm up in, and after the first mile they did appear to warm up a bit.  The course was packed.  There was a lot of dodging and weaving for the first 4-5 miles.  It was so cool to be running down the strip with thousands and thousands of runners.  I tried to keep an eye out for Luke and Ryan who I knew would be towards the front of the marathon pack on the out and back portion of the strip but didn't get to see them.  Boo!  I was keeping a 9:20-9:30 pace, but it definitely wasn't feeling as effortless as it should have.  
I decided from the race start to run ~9:20 for the first half of the race and then either maintain the pace the second half for a PR or drop the pace for a sub-4 if my legs felt good.  Based on how fatigued my legs felt just 5-6 miles in, I decided to shoot for a PR party!

1. 9:28
2. 9:24
3. 9:20
4. 9:20
5. 9:26
6. 9:20 

I had my music off for the first 9-10 miles just to really take in the experience.  There were a ton of bands along the course, lots of spectators, and plenty of scenery to take in.  Around mile 6-7 my left hip started to throb.  Uh oh.  I've had issues with this hip when doing some aggressive speedwork this summer, and again during my 20 mile long run while training for Vegassssssssss.  Sadly, once this hip pain presents, itself, it doesn't disappear.  At this point I still thought a PR was possible, but the hip pain was also around a 2-3.  Within a couple of miles of the hip pain in the left leg, I had a ton of pain start up in my right knee.  Oy.  Clearly I was compensating my form to try to ease the pain and aggravated something else.  I decided right around the halfway point that a PR was just out of the question for the day, and I was just going to enjoy the race as much as I possibly could!

At the point that the half and full split, I was a little jealous of everyone who was just about done.  I was starting to make my trek out in to no man's land when I heard, "yeahhhhh TEAM GREEN!!!!"  Uh wha????  Laura!  No idea how she saw me, but she had already finished with her crazy fast half and was heading back to our hotel room.  We had discussed her possibly pacing me the last couple of miles if I needed it.  I yelled out to her that I WOULD need her and to try to find me at all possible.  :)  I started counting down to mile 24 from that point on for my company. :p
7. 9:25
8. 9:30
9. 9:31
10. 9:37
11. 9:53
12. 9:48
Once we split off from the half we got to the sucky part of the course.  There were some crazy hills and not much for shade.  Swell.  I just kept running and trying to give myself pep talks along the course.  I was bummed that I felt soooooooo terrible for this race that I had trained hard for, but kept reminding myself how lucky I am that I can run!  I just kept taking in all of my surroundings and kept a smile on my face.  At one point I thought I saw Luke off in the distance (if you saw his race outfit, you'll be able to see why I could pick him out from a mile away).  And he was walking.  Uh..... I yelled out to ask him what the heck he was doing, and realized that he had gotten hurt along the course.  0/2 for us for the day I guess.  I told him I was enjoying a total suckfest as well.  Hey-o!

13. 10:27
14. 10:24
15. 10:13
16. 10:26 

As much as the course sucked, the out and back areas were actually pretty cool for seeing other runners out on the course.  I saw Sam and yelled out to him.  Later I saw Emil as well.  Both of them weren't able to see me waving frantically and screaming their names....not sure how this is possible given my highlighter yellow shirt, but whatevs. :p  Eventually I caught up to Emil and we ran together for awhile.  Nice to meet you Emil!  You know you're a runner/blogger when:  you "meet" someone during a marathon.  :)  

At one point, Natasha Beddingfield's Strip Me came on my iPod and I desperately wished that Jenn was out there working on that $hit $how with me.  I had to listen to it on repeat for a couple of miles, and it helped to pass the time.  

17. 11:10
18. 10:21
19. 10:37
20. 11:31 

I was letting myself walk through water stations to give my hips/knees some reprieve, and because I was running ~10 minute pace otherwise, my legs weren't too fatigued to get going again, which was good.  I was also struggling with my GUs (I know, I need to try something new, because I always have problems, I'll learn eventually).  I kept burping/puking up GU flavored bile.  Sexay, I know.  Ickkkkk.  

It was entertaining assessing how my pain would rotate every half to one mile:
"Oooh left hip hurts the most..... oh wait... congrats left knee.... you're now in the lead.... but look out..... right knee is coming on strong in the back stretch!"

I had to stop a couple of times during the final 10k to try to stretch my hips out.  Not sure how I went from B.A. sub-4 finish to being ok with walkbreaks and all out STOPPING in a race, but whatever. :)  During a water station, a guy stopped to walk with me and asked how I was doing.  Apparently he had been pacing off of me for much of the race and was finally catching up.  We talked running/racing/life for a bit and it was so nice to not be alone in my misery (he was shooting for a 3:45 finish).  He finally had to take another walk break, and my legs had gone slightly numb so I figured I needed to go with it!

The last 4-5 miles were HORRIFIC.  They were just the worst out and back/curvy/unscenic route ever.  Being able to see the Mile 25 sign when you're at Mile 22 should not happen.  Seeing so many people just struggling to put one foot in front of the other really messes with your brain a bit at this point.
21. 12:18 
22. 11:28 
23. 12:53

With about 2 miles to go my savior, Laura, came to join me.  She was exactly what I needed.  She told me how her race went, and how the boys' races seemed to be going.  With about a mile to go, I realized that there was a bitch of a hill standing between me and the end of my race.
Me:  Uh.... does the course go up that?
Laura:  Uh..yeah.  I was hoping you wouldn't notice that.


We made our way there, and I resolved to run up it until my hips felt like they were going to fall off (oh wait, that was mile 7).  She just kept babbling at me to not stop, so we just kept plugging away.  Hill win o' the day.  :)  Just shy of 26 miles I realized that I could come in under 4:30 if I hauled some booty (I had stopped looking at my watch around mile 14 for sanity sake so had no idea what my estimated finish would be).  I picked up the pace and just tried to pick off people.

I saw the finish line and ran as hard as I could counting all the dudes I was chicking in my head in the process. ;)
24. 12:13 
25. 10:39 
26. 11:02 
.39 1:56 (9:10 pace)

It wasn't pretty, but it was done.  Marathon #2.  :)

Sadly, because I suck at math while running, I ran fast enough (under 2 minutes) for the final .2 to put me under 4:30, but failed to remember that I had ran almost .2 extra.  Haha fail.  :)

I finished 26.38 miles in 4:31:53 for a pace of 10:18.

I was really bummed early on to realize that it was simply from the get go:  stomach issues, tired legs, intense pain in my hips and knees, puking up GU, but I was beyond proud of myself for sucking it up and gutting it out.  I have never felt that bad for a race right out of the gate, and many times I thought about quitting because I was afraid I was going to hurt myself by continuing with a different running form.  While a 4:31 is pretty far off from what I wanted to run, it's a damn good time all factors considered, and I really did enjoy about 95% of the race, which is what it's all about.  :)

There will be others, and redemption will taste oh so sweet.  

 Of course I had to take my finisher photo with the green showgirl. She said she liked that we matched. WIN!

Apparently I'm so excited that I'm rocking the Harrison squinty eyed smile.  Oh well. :)

**Oh and all is not lost.  At least I got some great race photos, which is really what running/racing is all about. :p


Heather said...

Sorry you had such a rough race, but good for you for pushing through and finishing! And I definitely like that you match the showgirl!

Shawn said...

Good for you to gut it out. Some of us have not yet done that distance...15 miles is about the farthest I've gone so far. It inspires me to see people go no matter what!!!

Anonymous said...

Like I've already said, I think there is a ton to be said for gutting out a tough race. Especially when you can put a good face on it. And get fun pictures to boot. (Those showgirls were troppers posing with everyone. I look like I'm gonna puke in my showgirl pic - ha.)

And I'd be happy to be a race buddy again, hopefully with more advance planning this time. :) Wanna come run Wineglass this fall? Heh.

Anonymous said...

ohhh I wish I could have been there to belt out some Natasha with you! "I'm only one voice in a million, and you ain't takin' that from meeeee!" congrats rockstar. I've had this exact race and know how much it sucks. Kudos to you for pushing through it. miss you bunches and heaps!! : )

Jamie said...

I'm sorry it wasn't your day but good for you toughing it out and finishing! Congrats on marathon #2!!! And trust me redemption will be oh so sweet :)

I only wish I could take good race pictures and you did it while feeling bad. Another congrats is in order for that ;)

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

Now you know why the half is more popular than the full out here. glad you had fun regardless. it was great to meet ya.

J said...

Aww I am sorry it wasn't your day. I had hip pain during my half starting at mile 3 and it is not fun! be careful and rest that hip/knee so you don't get injured. You may want to do some hip strengthening exercises to get that hip strong. Congrats on your second marathon!

abbi said...

Sounds like a rough day for you but you still completed marathon congrats!!

Dom and Trey said...

Hey marathoner, I'm proud of you! 2 marathons under your belt, that's impressive.

I've only ran one marathon, but what I learned from my experience is that even with all the training you can never predict what happens out there on race day.

But like you said, there will be other races and you will get your revenge! haha! Sweet redemption. Well, I hope you are enjoying your recovery, I can't wait to hear about your next adventure.
P.S. Love the race photos!

John said...

I'm proud of you for sticking with it, chica - it's the hard races that end up meaning the most, even if your finish time isn't what you hoped for. It really shows what you've got inside, which is really what it's all about, no?

Congrats, two-time marathoner!

ilovesteaks said...

Nice to meet you as well! Good job finishing your 2nd marathon given the bad hip. I hope your next one will turn out better.

Maria said...

Great job making it happen even when everything wasn't all lined up, those are the real tests of a runner. Recover well!!

Aron said...

I am so sorry you didn't get to have the race you trained so hard for, its definitely not a fun feeling. You are a tough girl and pushed through to finish on a very bad day and that takes a whole lot of strength!

Sounds like you guys had a great mini-vacation there on top of it, so that sounds like a win to me :)

Anonymous said...

LOL at: "I was hoping you wouldn't notice that." Laura is kind of my hero - in a totally non-stalkerish way.

And look at those last two miles! You really picked it up and kicked some serious ass. I've only run one marathon but I was in absolute AGONY the last 6 miles so I can relate. Way to suck it up!

Lucas said...

You showed up and got another marathon under your belt. Proud of you for sticking it out and finishing, I would have loved to do that too. As you ran by, I could see you were going to finish, no matter how hard it was going. Shows what you're made of, super proud coach here! :)

Glad we got to hang out and have fun, can't wait for the next one!

Ron said...

I was standing on the other side of the finishing shute when you came through. I thought to yell, but what do I yell? JERBEAR!!, was first thought and then thought naw that would be weird. LOL. Way to go! They say that you learn more from the tough races then you do from the super fast ones. Better luck next time and I apologize on behalf of the Vegas running community for the second half of the race course, it must be miserable.

Jen Feeny said...

Do you know why I love you? Because even after what was surely the worst race of your life you manage to laugh at yourself, make me laugh and find a green showgirl to take a picture with. That's my Jeri! LOL! So sorry the race turned out the way it did for you girl, major props to you for sticking with it and not letting it get the best of you.

Anonymous said...

I have been so excited to read your race report, sorry it didn't work out how you wanted but so awesome that you pushed through and finished it! Not nearly on the same level but I had high hopes for a 5k I ran in November and I realized there was no way I was going to go sub 21, ended up in the 24's but was proud of myself for sticking with it so you should be too!!!

jt00ct said...

Great race report Jeri. I am proud of you for fighting through and finishing strong, especially up that last hill. (I knew you had a hill runner inside you somewhere). Way to go!

Anonymous said...

Congrats girl! Proud of you for staying strong and sticking it out when you were hurting! So what's marathon #3 gonna be? ;)

Jules said...

Hey girl, I'm sorry Vegas was not the race you had trained for. Many of us have been there, I believe it's what keeps us coming back :) You have a great attitude, next race will be a different one for ya!

Librarian on the Run said...

Congrats on not only sticking with it (and doing a really good job in spite of all the obstacles), but also not getting married at mile 5 or running off with the showgirl! Hope the hips and knees heal soon so you can get back into your usual groove.

Julie said...

Way to go Jeri! You always have a smile on your face and you are gorgeous even running a marathon! You did great:) I enjoyed your race report and pictures. Maybe next year I will do Vegas too.

Congrats Lady!

Anonymous said...

Girl, the fact that you KEPT going says everything about you as a marathoner - you Will get sweet redemption, and that 4 hr finish :) And hey, if there's anywhere to have a "bad" race, VEGAS is definitely the place ;) Congrats on #2!!!

Glenn Jones said...

Crowded huh? Welcome to a Rock n Roll event.

Way to push through and get it done Jeri! As you're finding out, each marathon is a dfferent beast.

Susan said...

Ah, I finally got around to reading this! Congrats on a finish a tough race! I'm so sad I wasn't there for it...gotta plan another amazing race to run, I suppose. :)

I still think you've got sub-4 in's just waiting to come out!

The Boring Runner said...

Great report. Sometimes races just fall apart at the end. Great that you pushed through it though..

My head ALWAYS goes fuzzy during races and I screw up the math. I've been off by as much as 10 minutes. I finish and am like "what the crap, how did THAT happen!?". HA!

Trying To Heal said...

oh man, every rock n roll race means swirving for miles at the beginning.

i'm glad you were able to finish the race, even if it wasn't in the time you want!

love you!

Badgergirl said...

Sorry to hear about the rough race, but congrats on sticking with it til the end.