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’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.