We found a nice italian place again for lunch and I ordered myself some ravioli and salad to go with the copious amounts of water I'd been drinking.
Lunch was delicious and I think just the perfect thing for before my race. We carried on with our shopping but ended up having to walk back to the hotel since the Strip was now closed off and traffic on the back roads was crazy.
I had tried on my costume again in the morning and was feeling much better about it. I guess maybe what was missing was Las Vegas itself because I now thought it looked great. Except for the belt buckle. It was throwing me off so I ditched it and just added some additional sequins to my water belt in it's place before hopping into the shower.
I can't say I've ever put quite that amount of effort into my appearance for a race but I think it was worth it. I even tried to pouf my bangs to make them look a bit more Elvis-y, ha ha. May I present Elvis...
Perhaps still a bit super-hero-y instead of pure Elvis, but I was excited to dress up and figured if I ever wanted to wear a funny costume for a race, Vegas would be the place to do it! And I couldn't resist trying an Elvis-y pose too...
We met up with Solana and headed off to the race! It was pretty exciting getting down to all of the action. After last year's crowding problems they switched the start village to a big lot right beside the strip and while it was busy, we had no troubles finding our way around.
While we waited we took a few more photos...
There was lots of fun energy in the crowd and so many fun costumes. Everything from full Elvis costumes with wigs and everything to bananas to brides and grooms (for the on-course run-through chapel) and a whole bunch of stuff in between. Super fun. Solana, K and I parted ways and headed off to our corrals to wait for the start.
The waves were released every couple minutes and everything moved really smoothly I thought. As we got closer to our gun I was getting so excited. This was it! RnR Las Vegas! Finally! I toed the line, the gun went off and BOOM!
The wind hit us...HARD! ha ha. The wind was CRAZY right at the very start. There was sand flying in our faces, my cape was flapping like crazy and it was a tough slog right from the beginning. Kinda felt like running up a big hill even though the course was pancake flat. We ran south for a short bit before turning around and thankfully we got a bit of reprieve at the turnaround. It was still really windy from all directions, but I could finally focus and find my rhythm.
Right away I could tell I was going to be hot. Whether it was my cape or just the temperature, I was sweaty and hot right away. I was only a couple km in and I was already feeling kind of discouraged. Crazy winds, super hot, maybe this wouldn't be such an awesome race after all. Boo. I had to get rid of the negative thoughts and just then we reached the first wave of bright lights on the strip and that helped me focus and relax. Who cares if I PR'd tonight, I was here to run the Strip at night and I wanted to have fun doing it. I knew my husband would be watching from one particular bridge so I scanned the people but didn't see him. It's okay I still smiled at them all like crazy (turns out he did see me after all so that's good!)
After a few km's we were in the heart of the strip and the crowds were great. There were people lining the course and the high-fives were everywhere. I felt like a total rock start because everyone was cheering and wanting to high-five or give knuckles as you ran by. Awesome. I was trying to run fast but trying to enjoy my time on the course too. There were lots of "Go Elvis Go!" hollers as I ran by so I guess the costume was okay after all. :o)
I tried to take pictures on the course but with the darkness they just weren't turning out...
I decided I'd just forget about trying to take pictures and just run my little heart out instead. At around 7 or 8km we made the turn off of the strip. Up until then I had been feeling great. I found my rhythm and despite the winds was able to keep to a pace I was happy with. It probably wouldn't be a PR but I thought I could finish very close to it. When we turned off the strip we headed down some back roads that would take us to Fremont Street so I put my head down and focused on getting through this part as strong as possible. But, by the time we passed the Fremont part (very cool with all the lights again!) and turned around the winds had picked up in a big way!
I haven't actually analyzed my splits yet but I'm pretty sure my average pace slowed down a lot after this point. I had been feeling so good but that damn wind was really taking it out of me. It was so strong that when you picked up your foot to step it would blow into your other leg before you could set it down again. Crazy. When it was behind you it was awesome because it was like running downhill, but coming at you from the front or side just totally sucked. It also didn't help that while I could see the Stratosphere hotel and it seemed so close, it took forever to actually get there. Damn those long Las Vegas street blocks!
We finally made it back onto the Strip proper and I knew we were getting close to the end. I was still trying hard to keep up my pace but I watched my PR time come and go. I ended up skipping my last couple walk breaks because I just wanted to finish. I kept my head down at this point and just tried to keep picking people of as I carried on. But I was tired and my feet were really sore. I tied my laces a bit too tight on one foot and I had such a sore bruise-y feeling spot on my right foot - ouch!
Despite missing a new best time I was still super excited and proud to cross the finish line. Especially during a night race that finish line seemed so bright and shiny as we approached. I glanced down and saw that I had finished in 2:15 so if that's my time on a race that didn't go awesome then I'm pretty happy with that!
After the finish line we all moved along and started collecting our goodies. I was pretty happy to receive my medal (it glows in the dark!) and the mylar blanket felt heavenly and cozy since I got cold pretty fast. Then came the chocolate milk, Gatorade, fruit, Snickers Marathon bars, smoothies...probably my only big complaint about these Rock n Roll events is that they don't give you a goodie bag to help carry all your treats!
It wasn't too long before I met up with my husband and we hustled back to the hotel (well as fast as my sore, aching feet could hustle!) Of course I couldn't resist a few pictures along the way home...
So there you have it! I came, I saw, I ran the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Half Marathon...dressed as Elvis. It wasn't a PR but definitely one of the most fun events I have done so far.