It’s been super windy here in Vegas lately, but I had high hopes that today would be clear and calm. It was clear… but not calm. While the winds weren’t gusting in excess of 60mph today like they have other days this week, they were still plenty strong and provided a good chill over the morning. My legs were covered in goose bumps!
My mom and I spent some time walking around Fremont Street before the race, picking up schwag from various vendors. The weirdest piece of schwag I came home with was an entire box of bran flakes. The coolest was probably a couple different reusable shopping totes, because they’re actually useful. There were mugs, pedometers, pens, etc. And Kentucky Fried Chicken was giving out pink buckets and t-shirts that said “Pink Buckets for the Cure”. Maybe I’m just odd… but I’m having a hard time correlating KFC with an anti-cancer/exercise event.
Before the race we hit the restrooms at the start line, where they had pink porta-potties labeled as “Porta-Janes”. That made me laugh, but I didn’t use one. Maybe they had mirrors or something girly inside!
My mom wasn’t entered as a runner this year, since she’s still recovering from her recent knee surgery. So she hung out with me until about 4 minutes before the runners were supposed to start. Then she moved over to the walker area and I tried to move up in the runner line-up.
Every year I think perhaps I could PR… and then I start running and realize, there is no way a PR will happen at this event. There are just too many people! Usually it takes me about a mile of weaving around people to find a spot, but I didn’t stop weaving around people and passing others until the last 500 yards! I started to realize I was doomed when I looked around me as the final countdown started and realized a lot of people weren’t wearing timing chips. And then when I crossed the start line and the person in front of me immediately stopped, looked around and started to walk. As you keep pushing hard and still come across someone who is further ahead of you sauntering along in jeans and carrying a handbag, you realize that it’s just a different type of event!
After about 2 miles, I started to kind of give up. I admit to suffering sometimes with having the mental toughness to convince myself that I can really kick it in a race. And when I came to the conclusion that a PR was not a possibility at all, I just eased off and ran at a more comfortable pace to the finish line and enjoyed the atmosphere.
There were times when I would turn corners in the race and it was like running smack into a wind wall. And it was a cold wind, brrr….. Other moments it felt relatively calm, but then just when you start enjoying that, the wind came back to beat you down again. I almost lost my hat a couple times!
Around 2.5 miles into the race I was passing a couple of college-aged dudes. One of them said to the other, “Hurry up man!” The other guy said, “I can’t. This is hard and it sucks.” The first guy said, “There’s a chick in pink passing you now!”, obviously referring to me. The second guy said, “There are chicks in pink EVERYWHERE.”
At the finish line I proceeded to the food area, where I was given a reusable shopping tote to fill up with various snacks. I got apples, oranges, bananas, pretzels, chips, Little Debbie snack cakes, yogurt, water, Fuze… lots of stuff. I just loaded up my tote and brought most of it home with me. I love that they encourage people to take one of everything since it gives me the chance to sample some different things. I hate the way people go through the line grabbing 10-15 of each thing. They were also grilling up burgers, but I couldn’t really stomach one of those at 8:40 in the morning.
I headed back toward the finish line to find my mom and she happened to be coming up right then, perfect timing. I yelled out for her, she smiled and then started to run. She didn’t run during the race until that time when she ran across the finish line. She called it her gimpy run, but it was still a run! If I had known she was going to bust out with that at the end, I would have had my video camera ready to go!
We got into the food line for my mom to get some snacks, but there were a lot of people who were butting into the line, causing a huge delay. By the time we got to the front of the line to the food, a lot of it was gone. There were still copious oranges, bananas, and snack mix packets but a lot of the more fun items were gone. And I got into a little bit of an argument with a lady who was cutting in, she claimed she was at the “merge” point of the line. “There wasn’t a “merge” point, just you and a bunch of other people who don’t show the courtesy to wait in line the way they should!”
Another beef… people standing around the finish area smoking. Gross! Not only is it bad enough to be smoking at a race, but at a race that is about raising money to beat a cancer? That’s just really stupid.
But despite my small complaints I just mentioned, I really love this event and I’m so glad my mom drives here to do it with me each year. That makes it so much more special. If I went by myself it wouldn’t be the same.