Oh, hi there. I didn’t see you right away since I was a little distracted.
On December 2nd, 2012 I ran my first half-marathon (in Las Vegas!) with this girl right here. Anita has been an amazing running inspiration to me all year long and when she suggested a few months ago that we run 13.1 miles in Las Vegas I jumped all over it. I mean, hellloooo it’s Vegas! And I’d already been preparing for months to increase my mileage for a half I had already signed up for in January, so why not? Vegas could totally de-virginize these legs for my first half-marathon. I knew it was going to be hard, but I was up for the challenge. (That’s what she said.)We arrived in Vegas, settled into our hotels and tried to make a game plan on heading to the expo to pick up our race bags. It was about a mile down from our hotel, we thought walking it was a great way to check out Sin City. And in true redneck fashion, I started with a nice ol’ round of carb loading. Our friends, Sunny & Blake, came along to cheer me on. (Fun fact: The first time I went to Vegas was with Sunny!)Things haven’t changed much. Apparently, we’re still lushes.
The walk down to the expo was….interesting. We managed to make it to the expo with no Mike Tyson tattoos on our face or lost teeth or tigers in our bathroom. (Dammit, now that would have been a story!) But we did manage to snag our gear and check out all the goodies.And then we had to make the trek back up the strip. Which I think may have been more interesting than the way down. Because there was honest to goodness talk about face tattoos (what? they come off in 5 weeks!) and more alcohol consumption (that probably shouldn’t have taken place. oops.) and basically, just a really fun times with some dear friends.
The next morning, Alfred and I were apparently still on Texas time because we woke up at the butt crack of dawn to get some breakfast. It’s so weird to look on the strip and practically no one is out. I could feel the butterflies coming on as I ate my oatmeal and Alfred & I talked about what was happening later that day. I went through the day in a haze – walking here, talking about this, laughing about that. Eating Panda Express and vowing I would be the most gracious person on the race course ever. The full 26.2 marathon began at 3pm and as I was getting ready for my 4:30pm start time I watched them from the window of our room. I then forced Alfred to take pictures of me. Oh, the life of a blogger’s husband, am I right?And then when I couldn’t put it off any longer, I headed out to find Anita and walk to our corral. We got there around 4pm and decided to hit up the porta-potties while we waited. We were both way too antsy to just stand in the corral without anything to focus on.
So we focused on peeing.
We met a really awesome girl who had only ran like 6 miles in the weeks prior thanks to a Roller Derby injury. I wish I would have caught her name, she was really awesome. I mean, roller derby? Bad.Ass.
We were in the 25th corral, I think? I was actually supposed to be in the 34th, but I jumped ahead to start at the same time as Anita even though she had planned on finishing faster than me. I’m glad I did otherwise I would have finished an hour later just because of the wait it took for us to get to the starting line. We didn’t actually begin the run until nearly 5:15pm.
I started out conservatively as I could. One thing I was really nervous about was tiring out too quickly by the end. I felt really great through the first 9 miles. At mile 4ish, I saw the husband who helped pace me for a bit. Props to the brother-in-law who snapped this photo of us. And after that, I was on my own. I had a lot to see, I mean, it’s the Vegas Strip at night. There was something to look at all the time. And because it was a Rock ‘n’ Roll Series every other mile or so there was a band playing so you could hear some music. I had my iPod with me but didn’t cut it on until around mile 7 when we got to more of a residential neighborhood – which we later found out from our cab driver was ‘the bad neighborhood’ and that he would have strapped a stack of ribs to my ass & some beer I would have outrun every one. He was an awesome cab driver. We laughed the entire 15 minute ride. Back to the run.
Prior to this race, my longest distance had been 10 miles. For the majority of the race I felt like this. I was pumped. I mean, I was doing it. I was running 13.1 miles! I wasn’t first, but I wasn’t last and I felt fantastic. I thought about my family, my friends, my support, all of you. I thought about Lillie. About how one day I’d be able to share this experience with her and maybe coerce her into loving it as much as I do. But mostly, I thought about how far I’d come from the beginning of this year when I could barely go one mile without hurting. How I’m bigger than I’ve ever been in my life, but somehow I’m doing more than I ever did when I was a size 7. How I may have had a wonderful support system (I am so grateful for you all) but when it came down to it – I was the one who laced up my shoes for every run. I was the one who researched training schedules. I was the one who put in the miles week after week when sometimes all I wanted to do was sit on my ass and eat Oreos.
I don’t know what it was but I just felt done. It took so much for me to keep pushing, to keep telling myself I was almost done and then when I saw the finish line I just said fuck it. I went for it as fast as I could. (I don’t know what it is, but it seemed like everybody stopped or slowed the hell down at the finish – I mean, what the hell, am I the only one who goes balls to the wall at the end of the race or what?!) My official time was 3:04:27. I had hoped to finish somewhere around the 3 hour mark and I was right on schedule. I didn’t want to push myself too hard and be miserable for the remainder of our days in Vegas. I worked it out just right because the following days I was a little sore, but nothing to write home about. I was actually more sore running the Zoo 10k a month prior and that was half the distance (but twice the hills!) You can see what I was talking about at Mile 12. Fuck you Mile 12. And my Garmin actually had me at 13.19 miles and the race is technically set at 13.1. I think that .09 was me having to swerve around people. It’s amazing how rude people can be in a race. If you’re slow or walking move over (I did) and if you plan on stopping move over. I’m all about people enjoying the time they put into a race and having fun but please be respectful to other people. It’s not much to ask.
A good thing that came out of this run – I apparently am getting much better at jumping shotsDespite it being stupid windy, it was a really great run for me and has left me excited for January where I’m running for The Epilepsy Foundation. Don’t forget if you donate any amount I’ll put your name on my race shirt as a shout-out. All donations are tax-deductible and go to a great cause.
Thanks again to all of you who have commented, called, texted, emailed, thought of me even. You’ve all helped me in this journey in some way and I couldn’t be more grateful. There’s more things that happened in Vegas after the run and I may share in the future, but for now – let’s just say
What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas