I took a weekend trip to Las Vegas to run another 1/2 marathon. While both my running partners bailed on me, I was still excited to see my good friend Nate and run one more race before Christmas.
I had trained, but I always still feeling a bit nervous. On my 8 mile run the Saturday after Thanksgiving and threw up around mile 5, but felt better after that and I killed my 11 mile training run so all was well...right?
The first night I got to catch up with Nate and help set up Shawn's Christmas tree and watch National Lampoons Christmas. A holiday must. Saturday I met up with this crazy crew at the expo, picked up my packet and started carb loading. Saturday night my awesome father treated me to a little daddy daughter dinner. It was fun and something I wish we did more of. I honestly can't remember the last time I went to dinner with just my dad.
Sunday morning quickly came and I was out the door by 4am. We were running up and down the strip which means that had to shut it down to traffic and since every major downtown street crosses the strip you can just image how fun parking was. I ended up parking far away and ran to the start line as my "warm up." Oh, did I mention IT WAS FREEZING. Like 32 degrees and dark. Met up with the girls and waited inside the hotel until the race started. Walked outside, jumped in a corral and were off. Most of the crew ran ahead as Tori and I found our pace. Ok, I found her pace and decided I would keep up for as long as I could and fall back when I started to feel tired. I usually run an 10:50/mile and we were running around 10:00/mile.
Lots of people dressed as Elvis and quite a few bride & grooms were going through the run through wedding chapel outside of the Paris hotel. Tori was a great running partner. She kept me going, distracted, and knew when I needed to just listen to my music and run.
The sun finally came out and while I warmed up, I never did get hot. Around mile 10 I was spent. Tori ran ahead and I slowed WAY down, but was still running. I think I must have looked pretty tired because as I got closer to the finish line, more and more people were lining the streets and I got quite a few "you're almost there, keep going, good job." I'll take any encouragement I can get. Even the sympathy cheer.
I crossed mile marker 12 and was on the home stretch. I like to really take in the last mile of my run and be in the moment so I took out my headphones and thought about all my training, how a year ago I could not even run 1 mile and how I was doing it again. I listen to the people cheering on the sides and even had a few sweet encounters with other runners encouraging everyone around them.
I finished with a new personal record! 2:15.09 which killed my last time of 2:30. I felt so great. I caught up with Tori (on the left) and Jen (my awesome friend from TMO that brought all of her fun friends along) and was feeling the running high.
Shuffled through the food, water, and pictures while looking for my dad. Found him at our meeting place and was glad he was there. It meant a lot to have him there cheering me on at the end. Support from friends and family have helped me mentally get through a lot of my hard runs. Knowing someone is there waiting for you at the end makes all the difference.
If I thought parking was bad for the runners, I can only image how bad it was for the spectators. Nate and Shawn never quite made it to the strip, but we met up after for breakfast. All I wanted was a diet coke, eggs and bacon. Oh, and speaking of parking the craziest thing happened with my dad and I. Who knows how many millions of parking spaces there are in Vegas between all of the hotels but we managed to somehow park at the exact same hotel, exact same level, exact same back corner. What are the chances. I mean really.
After breakfast I quickly showered, packed and headed to the airport to catch my afternoon flight. It would have been nice to hit up a massage after the race, but come on. I had a concert to get to that night. :) Oh...just wait for my concert update. I hope I can remember them all.
Who knows, 2010 just might be the year I run a full marathon.