Double races: what better way to bid farewell to the old and ring in the New Year? That’s exactly what we did New Year’s Eve of this year with Cadence Double Dash (and thank my friend for the awesome idea!) The last 5K of 2015 was held at 10:30 pm, followed by a break, […]
Double races: what better way to bid farewell to the old and ring in the New Year? That’s exactly what we did New Year’s Eve of this year with Cadence Double Dash (and thank my friend for the awesome idea!) The last 5K of 2015 was held at 10:30 pm, followed by a break, then at 12:15, we ran again to finish the first 5K of 2016.
I arrived early so I volunteered to help with race registration and T Shirts. It was very cold, in the 20’s and windy. I was beginning to think this would be a long night. Once the registrations were complete I went to find my friends huddled under an outdoor portable propane heater and we waited for the first race to start. I was bundled up in several layers, including gloves and an ear warmer, which I never took off. I wore my fuel belt with the blue flashy light for fun and so I would be more visible in the dark.
The first race went fairly well, although me feet were numb from the cold the whole time. The good news is the wind died down just in time for the race. The course was laid out through a new residential development and dark in some places, but well marked and completely barricaded from traffic, which was nice. This was a local feel with a small field of 50 to 60 participants. It was weird running this late at night and I wanted to save some energy for the next race so I didn’t go all out. I ended up finishing in 32:38, which was good enough for 2nd place in my age group. I’ll take it! I hardly ever win age group awards, except in smaller races when there isn’t as much competition.
The waiting period between races was pretty uncomfortable due to the cold, wind picking back up, and wet clothes from sweat, but we did our best to stay warm with hot beverages (I brought tea). The race provided soup, hot chocolate and coffee. They also had set up portable propane heaters to help with staying warm. They had a short awards ceremony followed by countdown to midnight and we had an excellent view of the fireworks on the strip.
The second race, the First 5K of 2016, was a lot of fun as well. It was the same course, only run backward. Although we did shiver a bit while waiting for the second race to start, I was happy that I could at least feel my feet again and happy to report that my plantar faciitis did not bother me a bit. I ran well enough for the first 2 miles, then sort of petered out. I finished in 34:18, 2 minutes slower, but good enough to finish second in my age group again. The funny thing is that the first and third place finishers switched places, but I held a solid second. LOL.
Overall, it was a good time and a great way to begin the new year.
Photo credit: http://cadencenv.com/1566-2/
On Sunday, November 15th, I ran as a pace leader for the Rock and Roll Las Vegas 10K. I live in the Las Vegas area and this year was my 8th time participating in this event (once under previous owner, Divine Racing, and every year but one since Rock and Roll Marathon took over). I have run 2 full marathons for this event in the past, but usually I run the half marathon. I have lead pace groups several times for the half marathon, but this year I signed up to pace the 10K because that is what they needed. My assigned finishing time was 1:10, which means I would need to run an average of 11:16 minutes per mile.
I went to the marathon expo Friday morning and picked up my race packet. I spent a good part of the day working for the pace team booth. We sold T-shirts, handed out pacing bibs, pace bands and helped folks figure out where to find their pace groups come race day. Basically, the idea of a pace group is if a runner wants to finish with a specific time goal for their race, all they would need to do is find the pace group for the time they would like to try to finish, look for the pace leader holding the appropriate sign showing the finishing time, and simply follow them to finish line. The pace leader’s job is to get them there as close as possible to the predicted finishing time, without going too far over or under. This can be more challenging than it sounds!
On to the race…The Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon has been a nighttime event for the past few years. This is one of two times per year that the Las Vegas Strip is shut down to traffic (the other being New Year’s Eve). The event brings in quite the crowd from all over the world, mostly tourists wanting to run on the Strip at night with all it’s glamour. According to The Las Vegas Review Journal, this year about 6,000 people ran the 10K, 28,500 ran the half, and 5,500 ran the full marathon. The 10K began at 4:00 pm in front of SLS Las Vegas (formerly the Sahara Hotel) and the first two miles had runners heading north on Las Vegas Boulevard toward downtown. Runners then made loop around Container Park and then headed up Fremont toward the Fremont Street Experience, back to LV Blvd., then finally the last 3.5 miles headed south to finish in front of the Mirage Hotel (the same finish line as the longer races).
The 10K was scheduled to start at 4:00 pm and I arrived about 20 minutes early to gather my flock. It was still light out and I had no problem parking and finding my corral, #4. The weather was fairly decent at the start, and I was comfortable in a short sleeved T-shirt and capri running pants. There was a live band there and we rocked to the music until it was time to start. It didn’t seem too crowded compared to the half marathons I had done in the past, mainly because the half marathon is much more popular and the longer distance races were starting 30 minutes later and in a different location. I said hello to a fellow pace leader and several of my pace groupers introduced themselves and asked questions.
Eventually, we were off! After the first mile warming up my legs, we settled into a nice, steady slog. I had been assigned to a time goal that was a comfortable pace for me and first 3 to 4 miles felt good. I used the virtual pacer on my Garmin and checked my splits constantly to keep within 30 seconds of the pace. We naturally slowed through the water stops, but picked up the pace slightly after each time till we caught back up. I was beginning to think that we had this in the bag by mile 4. That was until old Mother Nature decided to mix it up a bit.
Somewhere between miles 3 and 4 the wind picked up. I first noticed it when I got a face full of flying garbage from a nearby vacant lot. The gusts got continuously stronger and stronger until my “easy” pace felt more like I was running the wrong way on one of those conveyor walkways at the airport, while simultaneously being pushed backwards. My pace sign nearly went flying into the person’s face next to me. Then it started to rain. The cold, pelting variety. All I could do to was choke up on the stick that held the sign, lean into the turbine, and turn on the steam. The last mile or so was quite entertaining due to the sign blowing all over the place but I refused to ditch it. Speaking of signs, there had been nothing provided by the race indicating any sort of mile markers (or time for that matter) so a lot of people didn’t know where in the hell we were but somehow the Garmin on my wrist said we were only 100 feet behind pace with a half mile to go. I could see the Treasure Island up ahead and knew the finish line was just beyond. I was determined to do my job and get those folks to the finish line on time! I started shouting out encouragement to no one in particular. “Okay, only half a mile left. Let’s get this B.S. over with!” I made eye contact with the woman next to me who had been right there with me the whole race. I shouted, “Let’s go for it” and we took off to the finish line! We finished in 1:10:20 (5K split was 35:30). Only 20 seconds over. That’s not too bad, actually. I’ll take it. Blame the 20 seconds on the rain.
After walking through the finisher’s area, collecting my medal, chocolate milk, banana, water, pretzels and beer I stopped to put on the arm warmers and gloves. It seemed like forever till I could exit the runners area. Eventually, I hopped a fence. I had originally planned on running a few more miles to count this as a long run, but screw it. It was cold and wet. I found some friends spectating and hung out for a few minutes to see some of our other friends as pace leaders in the half marathon pass by and cheer for them. I felt sorry for the half marathoners who still had a long way to go and for once, I was glad I wasn’t running the half. Or the full marathon for that matter. I was happy to bum a dollar off my friend and take the monorail back to my car, take my medal, and go home. Be back for more, Vegas. I’m already registered for next year!
I’m back in the half marathon business!
I just ran the Saints and Sinners Half Marathon on Saturday, September 26, 2015.
This was the first half I have attempted in almost a year and my main goal was just to finish the race without injury, I’m thrilled that I was able to do that! I had no time goal in mind and really didn’t know what to expect. My strategy was to go technology free, with no watch or music and totally just listen to my body and run by feel. To start out, I planned to go out super conservatively and hold back from wanting to go out too fast. This is a common race mistake (something I’ve done on several occasions) and I knew if that happened I would fade before the finish. Further into the race, if I felt good, I planned to pick up the pace at the end and finish strong.
So on to the race! The Saints and Sinners Half Marathon was held in Boulder City, NV and started at Bootleg Canyon Trailhead on a warm 80 degree morning. The race was organized by members of the Mormon church and was staffed with many volunteers, including missionaries. The race had small local feel and a fun theme. Organizers had set up “saints” and “sinners” aid stations, with saintly items such as water and fruit, and sinner type items such as cookies and candy. They invited participants could then decide if they were more “saint” or “sinner” as they made their way through each aid station. I was a saint, in that regard. The first 6.5 miles of the course traveled mostly downhill along The River Mountains Loop Trail, which is a paved bike and pedestrian path. I took it easy in the beginning, as planned, and felt good. I tried to focus on taking in the scenery, enjoying myself and people watching. To go with the saints and sinners theme, several runners had dressed in various costumes of angels, devils, or both at the same time. My favorite pair, however, was a runner I’ll call DJ Dad who was pushing a child in a stroller. The two of them were having a great time, rocking out to tunes blasting from the stroller and rolling along. As for me, I was doing fine. A lot of the other runners passed me, but not all of them. I just let them go thinking I may see them later if they slow down. It was all going according to the plan. The only real uphill section of the course was at about mile 4. I decided to do some walking here for a few minutes to catch my breath and conserve energy for later. The hot, dry, desert heat was my companion. As we crested the hill, a fellow runner pointed out 2 bighorn sheep running down the mountain and passing us in the opposite direction. This was really neat because even as a resident of this area, I had never seen the sheep live “in person.” As the miles slowly ticked away, the temperature was steadily rising, and I really started to feel the effects of the heat. The aid station at mile 5, was a welcome oasis in the desert, equipped with ICE water, which I noticed some of the other runners taking advantage of by drinking and pouring it over their heads. I hoped the race organizers had planned for enough water for those still behind us. I’ve been to other races where they have run out. It was HOT! Luckily, the sun went behind the clouds between mile 5 and 6.5 for a little while, and that seemed to help just a little.
Miles 6.5 to mile 11 covered the Historic Railroad Tunnels trail with amazing views of Lake Mead and the surrounding desert area. The trail consisted of dirt and loose gravel and traveled through 5 railroad tunnels that were once used to carry supplies during the building of the Hoover Dam. There was a group of spectators at the beginning of the tunnels trail at mile 6.5, which gave us a nice boost to morale. However, I was starting to feel hot and tired. So I took a walk break. Or three. The tunnels were cool to run through so I tried to focus on that, but I was feeling it.
Once through the tunnels and back, Mile 11 to 13.1 continued on the paved bike trail down to the finish line at
Boulder Beach, Lake Mead National Recreation Area. This was a rough two miles. By this point, the heat had soared over 90 degrees and I just wanted to be done. My energy tanked and I was reduced to walking a lot more. I noticed that I was passing the same people over and over again. I would pass them, they would pass me, I would pass them and on and on…the finish line seemed so far away. The heat affected me more than I expected, but then, everyone
else seemed to be having the same struggles. I swear it was like march of the dead toward that finish line.
Finally, we did made it. The race organizers had set up “Heaven” and “Heck” finish lines for runners to choose their final destination. I chuckled at the Mormon version of “Hell,” but my path was clear. “Heck” it is. My official finish time was 2:37:37.
I’ve had a lot on my mind the last few weeks, too much in fact. My brain has just been spinning with running running running running like an obsession. One of my running friends commented that I think too much. He said I need to just run by “feel.” Don’t focus on times. Run “naked” without gadgets. Here’s what Runner’s World has to say about it.
Maybe he’s right. Perhaps I’m overthinking and it’s disabling me from doing. I’ve become overwhelmed with details of training, obsessed with reading about running, listening to podcasts about running and dreaming of ultimate running goals. Two weeks ago I sat and stared at a blank computer screen for an hour and I couldn’t even write a blog post because I didn’t know where to start. Last week, I had my head so far in the clouds that I sat in the gym parking lot in my car for an hour and a half before going in and starting my run. What was I doing? Researching on my phone online which marathons I want to complete next year, which training plans to follow, what other big running goals would I be interested in? What would it be like to run the Dopey Challenge, back to back marathons, 50 States, ultra marathons, or even coast to coast across America?
There’s a time and place for dreams but for now I should really get my head out of the clouds and my feet firmly planted on the ground, focusing on taking one step after another, being in the moment and actually enjoying the sport I love so much. There has been too much time spent dreaming and not enough time doing.
Race day approaches…do I take the advice and ditch the Garmin on race day, run by “feel” and trust my body to dictate to me the correct pace? Who knows, I may actually enjoy the race! Or is is necessary to have to look at my wrist every 20 seconds and obsess over my pace not based on effort, but on an arbitrary number on a screen for an arbitrary time goal? I could end up running too fast or too slow for what I’m capable of doing for that day. The idea of running “naked” without the tech quite honestly scares me, which is why I should probably do it.
I started out 8 years ago with marathon training as most beginners would, by using stock training plans found in books or on websites. Over time, I was able to take an hour off my marathon PR due to “getting the mileage in,” and adapting to running in general, then the improvements tapered off. In 2010-2011, I took another giant bite out of my marathon PR, which resulted in another hour off my best time. In order to do that, I had cleaned up my diet and lost 40 pounds. As the pounds slipped away, my running naturally became faster because I wasn’t carrying around all that extra weight.
Since 2011, and despite my best efforts for the last few years, my race times leveled off and have even been slightly worse. In both 2014 and 2015, I suffered from ongoing knee injuries and at one point thought my running days were over. It seemed that every time I got going with a new training plan and started to build mileage over 3 days or 16 miles per week, my knee would hurt. A lot. A few times it got so swollen that I couldn’t even walk without pain. Over and over this would happen and I would have to lay off running for another 2-6 weeks each time. It was frustrating to say the least! In 2014, I begrudgingly switched my registration at Mountains 2 Beach from the full to the half and prayed like hell that I would finish without causing further damage…really just because I had already paid for the trip and there were no refunds. Plus, my friends were going and I still wanted to run! I ran a decent half marathon, considering the circumstances, but I’m still disappointed that I couldn’t run the full. After another month of rest and incorporating strength training into my routine, I ran the Rock and Roll Las Vegas half in November to test the knee. YES! The injury had finally healed!
I couldn’t think of any better way to welcome in the new year, 2015, but with an identical knee injury to the OTHER side! WTF?? Clearly, there was something that needed to change if I was ever to run 26.2 again, let alone several more marathons to qualify for Boston. After several months of another excruciatingly long recovery cycle, running on and off (mostly off) and taking complete rest for 6 weeks, I was finally ready to try again…but this time I had to do it different.
Since the knee injuries started, I had been doing a lot of research on injury prevention. I found a great deal of great info at RunyourBQ and strengthrunning.com. The training philosophy on these sites include runner specific strength training to build a stronger foundation to handle the impacts of running and help prevent injuries. I’m no stranger to strength training, but I haven’t followed a consistent schedule of runner specific strength work and have always had a weak core.
In May, I was finally ready to start training again and started a 20 week, PR Race Plan with my main objective being to run the next Half Marathon, Saints and Sinners Half Marathon, without injuries. Since following the plan for 13 weeks, I can tell I’ve gotten stronger (I basically went from zero miles per week up to about 20 miles per week without injury). It’s been over a year since I was able to run that kind of mileage and I’m thrilled to be back!
No more sidelining for me. I’ll be in the Main Event!
Welcome to the Running Down a BQ Interview Series! We’re kicking off the interviews with a very special guest: accomplished triathlete, amazing coach, Rockin’ Runner, and great friend, Nancy Dickinson! Nancy was instrumental in training me to race triathlon, teaching me how to swim, and helping me overcome a fear of open water! Thanks to her guidance and support, I have finished three triathlons! Nancy has mastered the art of dedication, grit and has a true love of the sport. She doesn’t settle for just doing it. She dominates it!
The Running Down a BQ Interview:
What is your name (or nickname)?
Can you briefly describe your running history?
I only ran for conditioning in HS for other sports. I hated it. Long story short, in 2000, I broke my back. I worked in the water to rehab. I became indignant upon hearing I should never ever run. So I started running. A lot. Just to see….
Age when you ran the BQ (or first one, if more than one)?
Only one I ran was 2012. Year before the bombing with record heat. I was 32.
In which marathon did the magic happen? Date of race?
Phoenix Rock n Roll 2011
What was your finish time compared to the BQ Standard?
I came in over 20 min before my qualifying needs. Not fair, I know.
Can you tell us the story of your BQ race? How did you feel during the race and at crossing the finish line?
I was one of the rare few not chasing Boston. I was chasing understanding and embodying that which is the marathon. I wanted to know how it felt, especially how it hurt, and how to prepare others for it. I had a glorious surprise learning I so easily qualified for it. Then I walked backward downstairs for two weeks.
How many marathons have you run? How many attempts at the marathon did it take for you to BQ?
My qualifier was my first marathon. Don’t tell anyone. #againnotfair
What did your training look like leading up to your BQ race? Did you follow a training plan or running philosophy?
Yes, I followed my coach, Cyndee Platko diligently (trainwithcynee.com). She’s the master at the long course stuff having well over 20 years experience.
How about your diet?
It was perfect. In my fantasies.
Have you run Boston yet? How many times? Which year(s)?
2012. One time’s all I need. List CHECKED baby!!!
If so, what was it like to run the Boston Marathon?
It was unlike any other race I’ve ever been so blessed to participate. The spectators will never leave my heart. Boston is a sporting community. Sport is their blood, no matter WHAT kind. So from the time I was racing- perfect strangers cheering me on for 3 plus hours like I was breaking a world record, to being in pubs watching locals go NUTS over their team…..I was overwhelmed with the passion for performance and American professional sport. SO, so blessed to have been exposed to it, let alone one of the players.
Who or what inspires you to run? Any favorite quotes?
My own quote. F*** Motivation. It’s a testy bitch and rarely shows up. Just get out there and move your legs.
Do you have a running playlist? If so, what’s on it?
Yes. My breath.
What advice can you offer to hopeful first time Boston Qualifiers?
Embrace sooooo much more than the race and performance itself. You’re going up against the best in the world. So you might as well enjoy the history and culture, haha.
What three words would you use to describe what it takes to qualify for the Boston Marathon?
Type. A. Personality.
Do you have a website or blog you would like for me to link to?
Yes!!!!!! Blog page on www.corehore.com
Anything I missed?
Nada, you’re gooooood.
Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your story. You rocked your BQ and I am inspired to take on this challenge!
Join our interview series by leaving a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you qualified for Boston? Join our interview series on Running Down a BQ!
Running Down a BQ is all about chasing the dream of running a Boston Qualifier and of course, running Boston. From those of us who are still striving for the ultimate runner’s dream, and those of us who have been there and are reminiscing of Bostons past, we would all love to hear your amazing story!
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A few have asked, so what do I need to do to qualify for Boston? According to the official Boston Marathon website, here , all I have to do is run another marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes or faster. No biggie.
The reality is that 3:45 has turned out to be an enormous challenge for me. One look at my PRs and Races page will show that the fastest marathon I have ever run was 4:38:38, and that was four years ago! In the past few years, I have struggled with being sidelined by one injury after another and even some weird heart issues. As a side effect of not running and feeling down and out, I have also gained an extra 20 pounds since my glory days. I’ll have to admit, there have been several points during the last year especially where I seriously questioned whether my running days were over.
But, no. I can’t let that happen. I love running too much and getting a BQ is too important to me to let it go without a fight. Now it’s time to focus on my goal and do whatever it takes to make it happen.
The road to Boston is a long one, but look how far I have already come! I have already improved my marathon time from 6:38 to 4:38! I took off two hours! What’s another 52 minutes?
Ready? Let’s DO THIS!
Here is another retro race report I found on my old blog. This time, it was for my first Half Marathon: The Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam. I edited to remove some links that are no longer active. Otherwise, here is the original post. It’s fun to see the excitement I have always had for running. Enjoy…
I’m very excited about finishing my first ½ marathon (13.1 miles) Saturday, March 17th, 2007.
The race was held on St. Patrick’s Day, so of course there was a Leprechaun running with us that we could try to catch. The Leprechaun turned out to be a 62 year old “runner” dressed as a Leprechaun with long lean muscular legs. He was too fast for me!
It was a beautiful day, about 80-85 degrees and the race took place on a historic trail around Lake Mead. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, and did a fine job of keeping be occupied. I did manage to keep an eye on where I was stepping at the same time, however. I was tired by the end, but managed not only to finish in under three hours, but also injury and blister free. I have a cool coffee mug and T-shirt to commemorate. I can’t wait to see the pictures!
I’m in recovery this week; my muscles were a little sore the first three days. I attempted a 2 mile recovery walk/jog on Tuesday, but my right hamstring is still a little sore. I’m taking a few extra days off in order to avoid injury. I’m really itchin’ to go for a run (I’m addicted), but I’ll be a good girl and rest.
The first 32 years of my life was spent as a couch potato. I smoked off and on for 15 years, didn’t give a second thought to my health, and was overweight (my max was about 175 lbs.). I spent years yo-yo dieting and always ended up right back where I started from. In 2006, I finally had an epiphany and made a total lifestyle change, quit smoking for good and started training for 5K and 10K races, built up to a Half Marathon in 2007 and trained for my first Marathon.
I was digging through my old archives and found the race report from my first Marathon: The Las Vegas Marathon, 2007 and thought it would be fun to share it here. This was written right after the race and I am posting here complete and unedited. Enjoy!
As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to run a marathon. It was one of those “things to do once before I die” goals. I had decided to finally do it and before I knew it, training season was over and I found myself on a chilly Sunday morning in December, standing at the start line of the Las Vegas Marathon amidst a sea of 17,000 other runners and walkers waiting to take off down the Las Vegas Strip.
My two friends were with me: Susan and Julie. Both of them I had met on the online Rookie Running team. I’d never met either one of them in person before but we hit it off immediately and soon it was as if I had known them forever. I couldn’t find my local training group, but that was okay. I wanted to start the race with my two friends, and at the back of the pack to avoid being overtaken by thousands of very excited and faster runners behind me. We weren’t in a hurry. This was our first marathon and our main goal was to finish. Besides, Julie had been sick and I was worried we would run out of steam if we took off too fast.
Somewhere up ahead I saw fireworks going off and knew the race had started. We hadn’t moved yet, and wouldn’t for another 15 minutes. I looked around at nervous and excited faces all around me. The feeling started to sink in. Wow! I’m about to run a marathon! Elvis was singing ‘Viva Las Vegas’ over the loudspeakers and I was singing my own words to it and swaying to the music. Then I spotted Elvis in the crowd. And there he was again! And I spotted another one…this time a female Elvis. I smiled at her. I also noticed several other colorful characters. Several couples were dressed in wedding/running attire including a man in white with a wedding veil and tutu, and another man with a tuxedo jacket with shorts and running shoes! His soon-to-be wife was grinning beside him. The masses started shuffling toward their fate. Finally we got to the start line and WE WERE OFF!
Running the strip was cool, even for a local gal like me. It’s not very often, as Julie pointed out, that you get the “whole strip to yourself”. I could tell she was excited. I played tour guide as we ran and was surprised at how much had changed since the last time I had been three. Several historic hotels had been leveled and were being cleared away to make room for the new generation of high rise condos. Julie and I had to keep reminding ourselves to slow down and conserve energy. It was hard to do. We kept a brisk pace at about 11:30 min/mile. It felt comfortable and yet energizing at the same time.
Susan eventually found her own pace and disappeared into the crowd ahead. She was running the ½ marathon. I wasn’t worried about her. We had driven the course the night before and she knew where she was going. I said a silent goodbye to her and wished her luck.
About mile 3, we discovered the Blue Man Group’s “secret location.” I guess it’s hard to stay hidden when you’re painted blue and banging away madly on drums. My pace naturally matched up with the drumming and the cheering of spectators. It was surreal.
We passed the 4 mile mark. There was a group of couples gathering at the “Run-through wedding chapel” waiting for the ceremony to begin. There was a separate line reserved for the Elvi. The volunteers at the water stop were handing out wedding cake to the runners. Only in Vegas!
A majority of the runners turned off where the ½ marathon and marathon split. A part of me wanted to go with them, but a bigger part kept me on the path for the full marathon. At this point I started questioning my level of sanity. Someone had told me once that the ½ marathoners were only ½ crazy. I realized it was too late to turn back and felt a surge of excitement and fear.
The Strip gradually gave way to downtown, and the ambiance changed dramatically. The homeless became spectators for the day as we invaded their territory. They seemed entertained and some of them were cheering and waving at the runners. Fremont Street was quiet except for a small cheering section. It seemed empty without the lighted canopy, the music and crowd of drunken tourists that usually gather at night. I was expecting more, somehow.
Julie and I started adding more walk breaks as the adrenaline started to wear off and the reality began to set in. The topic of conversation became more focused on calculating speed and distance and ETA to the finish line. We were approaching mile 10 and starting to tire.
At mile 10, Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” was being played over a loudspeaker. To the lyrics “Whoa…you’re halfway there,” Julie replied, “no we’re not! This is only mile 10!” They shouldn’t tease us like that! A male runner was apparently unable or unwilling to wait for the next Porta-potty and was relieving himself in his Gatorade cup…right in the middle of the street! I thought I saw Elvis up ahead and wondered if that meant I was dead or just running the Las Vegas Marathon. It was hard not to laugh.
The miles started to blend together and we trudged past several more without incident; running some, walking more and just focused on our goal to keep pushing along. My boss showed up at the halfway mark and that broke up part of the monotony. So did chatting with some of the wedding couples.
Finally, the much anticipated mile 20 was looming into view. The race organizers had set up an archway that looked like a brick wall for the runners to run through—cute. I pictured myself literally running into the wall and leaving a Korie-shaped hole like in the cartoons. Instead, I just ran up and punched it with my fist. “There,” I said. “I hit the wall.” Julie replied, “yeah. You show that wall who’s boss!” A very excited coworker of mine was also there with signs. She said we inspired her to do it next year. That helped boost our spirits a little. I gave her a hug and thanked her for coming.
The last 6.2 miles…well…sucked! They re-opened the streets to traffic and banished us to the sidewalk. We had to stop and wait at traffic lights and no longer had the right of way. People were packing up the water stations and leaving. The entertainment was gone. We had been running and walking for 5 hours and were quite sick and tired of it. Julie was having a bit of trouble breathing and each step was getting more painful for both of us. I could not wait to get it over with already! I could see where the finish line should be up ahead and it seemed elusive and unattainable. Quitting wasn’t an option, so we just kept walking and seemed to get slower and slower. Finally, at about a mile and a half to go, Julie spotted her husband. He had gotten worried and walked back to meet us. He assured us that the finish line was just past the next building and around the corner. It still seemed so far away!
When we finally got there, the finish line was an awesome sight! Our families were there along with Susan and had been waiting for a while. Most of the other people had gone home and the party was over. Julie and I didn’t care. We were just happy to do it and to do it together! We earned our “bling” and will remember this experience always with a smile.
My first marathon is now just a memory locked in cyberspace. It was unique to me, although shared with 17,000 strangers and a few good friends. It was an awesome and humbling experience that I really can’t compare to any other I’ve had. As for running the marathon once before I die…I’m as alive as ever and I can’t wait to do it again! Our official finishing time of 6:38:38 was slower than expected but I’m okay with it. It’s much less important than the fact that WE DID IT!