- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
This was my first marathon. I must say it is quite different when you trained early mornings and learned to take layers off as you warmed up, only to get to a night race and feel like you have to layer up. This definitely made it interesting.
The expo was well-managed and smooth to get to (minus the lack of cabs and this was before Uber was ever really a "thing") and navigate through. I was easily able to change my corral at the expo (I had heard there was a hard 5:30 cut-off and was destined to pop up a couple corrals to avoid the dreaded pickup). The day of the event, was a quick walk to the start (you start over by Mandalay Bay, and my husband walked me over from our hotel, the Paris). The directions were pretty simple and my husband was able to be by my side to calm my nerves until I decided to enter the corrals. I was disappointed as Macklemore was the headliner concert, which I really wanted to see, but I was strict about my training and plan and refused to be on my feet more than I needed to before the race, so we only walked around the concert area. I wish it was post-race.
The half and full marathons were corralled together, which I didn't mind but had to remind myself that the other color bibs were not someone to "Race" against as they had half my distance to cover. As the sun started to set, the temperature started to lower, which actually wasn't as bad as I expected (even though it was below freezing when I finished). I think the cold actually helped my muscles.
For each wave they let go at timed intervals (this was perfect spacing!), they would shoot flames up and blast Fall Out Boy's "Light 'Em Up" so everyone got to experience the same start, which I loved. The strip was oddly silent. It was so strange to be running and seeing a ton of spectators and very few of them cheering. It was honestly very disappointing since I feed off the crowd.
The first half of the race was awesome- great views of the strip, nice and flat and even by Container Park, in which their grasshopper statue blew off fireballs. There were groups playing music and drumming on drums as we came closer to Fremont Street. Then, the split- signs to turn this direction for the half and continue on for the marathon. I doubted which one I should take for a split second, but pushed on. Once we left loud and exciting Fremont (the crowd was much better- I even had a tourist running next to me with his video camera haha), it got very quiet. It was almost a beautiful quietness, until it was too much. The course took us out into the "boonies" along dessert roads, past fast food restaurants, and soon, nothing but dunes. I was totally thinking about the last Dateline episodes of people buried in the desert. It was SO quiet (and I ran without music), and I was bored to tears for a lot of it. I had a lot of negative talk in my head since there wasn't anything to focus on, oh, and I barely missed that dreaded pick-up van.
This is the important part- I honestly don't think I would've finished the race had it not been for the FABULOUS, WONDERFUL, CHEERING volunteers manning the aid stations. They were my saving grace- they were the only ones out there in the middle of nowhere to give me the encouragement I lacked.
The volunteers were able to get me to the Stratosphere, where I knew I would make it as it was just "a bit" further. I had made it to the finish line at 5:18 (and some seconds), before the 5:30 cutoff (my main goal). The (i think) race director was there to high-five me and ask how it was and where I was from. He was so excited for me (but I also think overseeing the dismantling of the finish line, which I luckily was able to run under).
I was given a foil blanket and water and in my dazed state was directed to get a picture (which I am SO thankful for), and then was off to find my other half. Overall it was okay. It was painfully boring for the full, but I bet the half is nothing but fun!