Race Report: Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas…..baby #AvengeTheStrip Part II
The Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas Marathon has been on my #BucketList since 2009 as my goal race for Nevada on my quest for 50 Full Marathons in 50 States. So when the runDisney Avengers Half Marathon weekend was announced on the same day, I figured why not kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
It sounded like a good idea…I mean how hard could it be? Perfectly Goofy Gail had run 9 consecutive Goofy Challenges. I had run 5 consecutive Goofy Challenges. We both had run back to back races and had 17+ full marathons under our belts and 45+ races completed for 2014 already.
WE could totally run the Avengers Half Marathon at 5:30am in California, jump on a plane and then fly to Las Vegas to run the Las Vegas Marathon at 4:30pm. Totally.
The plan was hatched. As a member of Team Chocolate Milk my Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas entry fee was covered. Perfectly Goofy Gail had registered for a Tour Pass. As a Premier Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Holder, I secured my entry for both the Avengers Super Heroes 5K and Avengers Half Marathon. We decided to stay off Disneyland Resort property since we had witnessed (many times) the Disneyland Hotel taxi line post race at check-out time. We chose the Hilton Anaheim a short 14 mile drive to John Wayne Airport. Then we secured our flight, choosing to fly rather than drive the 4-hours because neither one of us could be trusted to stay awake while the other was driving.
Goofy In A Day:
We finished the runDisney Avengers Half Marathon in 2:54:30 – taking our time and trying not to exert ourselves too much fighting the 30+ mph Santa Ana winds. We crossed the line and made a bee-line out of Disneyland Resort to the Hilton were we quickly packed, called for a taxi and got to the airport, not stopping to change out of our not-so-nasty, thank you Santa Ana winds, clothes.
Once through security we chowed down on the best Big Mac Value Meals I have EVER had. Thankfully we didn’t experience any flight delays and made it to Las Vegas in an hour. Then to wait in the normal Las Vegas long lovely taxi line for a short drive to the Mandalay Bay hotel. We chose the Mandalay Bay hotel due to its proximity to runner’s village and the Start Line. When we run in 2015, I would like to look for hotels close to the finish line instead of the start. The Strip is closed during the races and it makes finding a taxi home difficult.
TIP: Remember to not check luggage, pack comfy clothes for travel, ear plugs, an eye mask and maybe a pillow for the plane…just saying.
Knowing we wouldn’t be able to attend the Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas Expo, we paid the fee for same-day bib pick-up. Unfortunately, we also missed out on shopping and Rock’n’Rolls Half of the Half and 5K. What we were NOT prepared for was the WEATHER. As a New Englander, I have cold weather running gear – lots of it. Heck, I could outfit my daughter’s entire cross-country team. However, when I packed for multiple races in multiple days, the Las Vegas weather was not showing temps in the 30’s. We were unprepared for the cold and we had to run a marathon.
Gail and I layered and much as we could. As veteran marathoners, we decided to put it out of our minds and think warm thoughts. This race was going to be “fun dammit” – Gail chanted. Perfectly Goofy Gail was smart enough to have packed gloves. And on mile 2, she spotted, stopped and picked up gloves from the side of the road for me to wear! I loved her for this. I seriously didn’t care if the gloves were covered in Ebola, I was so happy to wear them 26.2 miles.
Although it was freezing cold, it was amazing to run down #TheStripAtNight. Crowds lined both sides of the street cheering. The Vegas lights entertained us as we made our way up The Strip, passing the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, the wedding chapels up Las Vegas Boulevard. The bad part of this course was both the half and full marathoners share the course until the split. The half marathons turned at Freemont Street, while the full marathoners kept going west and then north….out to nowhere and back to civilization. Once the half marathoners turned, the flat, cold, dark course grew challenging. There was no talking. There was no fun. We were in this together, but we were exhausted. I didn’t take many photos during the race – I couldn’t feel my fingers. We kept our heads down and kept to our intervals knowing we needed to beat the sweepers. We crossed the finish elated, but cold and crabby. We downed a True Moo Chocolate Milk, got our photos taken and then straight into the Bellagio for FOOD. There we had the best pot of HOT TEA EVER, a beer, and lots of warm food and sushi !!!!
Cheers to those who attempt to run Goofy in a Day! It is not for the lighthearted. And yup, that means I’m coming back in 2015.
Is the Las Vegas Marathon on your bucket list? Will you #AvengeTheStrip?