The Practice Half-Marathon

Last night, I did the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas.  I was due for a 12 mile training run, and so the timing worked out well to do this with just a slight modification to my training schedule for Disney.  Specifically, since I just did 13 miles this week, I’ll now do 3, then 7, then 5 for the next 3 weeks (and four weeks from now, I’ll be doing the half at Disney! Yay!).

Going down the strip at night was awesome.  I loved seeing the Venetian’s winter lights display, and going past the Bellagio’s fountains was pretty cool.  I also liked how Zappos projected encouragement up on the Stratosphere tower.  My first 5K was kind of slow, partly because of the crowd and partly because my first 2 miles are always a struggle.  It takes a long warm-up to get my legs into running mode.  My second 5K (between the 5K and 10K marks) was actually a PR for a 5K pace for me, at 1:00:40 (roughly). 

The race had lots of unique moments.  About a mile in, one of the runners pulled off pull-away pants and shirt and ran naked down the strip, which was kind of hilarious, especially since it was cold outside.  There were lots of Elvises, and part of the run was a “run-through” wedding for couples.  So, there were lots of things to look at during the race.  And generally, I was doing fine until the last couple of miles.  At that point, I kind of had to go into “death march” mode to get through, as I was just plain tired.  Unfortunately, that was also when DH caught up to meet me, so I wasn’t great company for him.  I really appreciated him going 2-3 miles back up the course after his half-marathon to meet up with me, though.  That was pretty spectacular.  Knowing how sore I was and am, I can’t imagine that I would have been able to do the same for him, so I consider it a supreme sign of how much he loves me. 🙂

I managed to build myself up enough to dash the last few yards or so, and then I hugged DH and cried.  And I mean I *cried*, like a wee little girl.  I was so happy to be done, so happy I had managed it…it was an amazing moment.  They were out of medals, but DH lent me his. (They’ll mail medals to the folks that didn’t get them at the finish.)  And then began the slow stumble through the finish chute, grabbing water, cytomax, energy bars, and a banana along the way, as well as a shiny Zappos mylar space blanket to wrap up in (desperately needed, as it was cold and windy, and as soon as I finish a run, my body temperature drops like a stone).  We initially sat down just outside the finish chute so I could stretch and recover a bit, but it started raining, so we toddled into the Mandalay Bay convention area where it was dry and warm.  It was wild how much that convention hall looked like a refugee camp.  People were wrapped in space blankets and sleeping.  Some people were just collapsed wherever they had managed to stop.  Others were stretching.  Everyone was limping around.  There were paramedics dashing from one person to another, checking people out, taking some folks out on stretchers, and responding when someone yelled for help.  Normally, we’re not around for the “back half” of the half-marathon finishers.  The folks finishing at DH’s pace tend to be in decent shape when they get done.  But, this time we were seeing the folks that took 4+ hours.It is often overlooked that keeping your body going aerobically for 4+ hours is tougher than keeping it going for 2 hours, even if the 2 hour activity is tougher.  There are runners who say they could never walk a half-marathon for that reason. 

I had smartly brought my comfy sweater boots to change into; they’re cushy and about a half-size too big, which was perfect for my feet.  I took a good bit of time to stretch, post status updates, and nibble on a banana.  I also wrapped up in my sweater and wrapped my legs in the mylar blanket while I sipped on water and chatted with DH.  DH took really good care of me.  He fetched my bag from bag check (where the boots and sweater were) and checked with me several times to make sure I didn’t need medical help with anything.  I was pretty much fine, though.  My legs and feet were sore, of course, but nothing felt unusual compared to what I was used to from previous long runs. 

Today has been interesting.  I’m sore in a few places I didn’t expect, like my abs and my back.  I also managed to rub a blister on my left underarm, where it rubbed against the seam of my sports bra.  I have a few blisters on my left foot that I’ll be able to treat properly once I get home tonight.  (We’re at McCarran airport right now.)  But, I’m adorned with a medal and the race t-shirt, so I’m in fine spirits.  I’m walking at something like a 30 minute per mile pace now, though. 😉  DH isn’t that much faster, so at least we’re lame together. 🙂  We both have twitchy legs, too.  Sitting still is a bit of a challenge.  My big toe on my left foot feels like I sprained it somehow, but I have no idea how I managed that.

Overall, I’m really glad I got the chance to do a “practice” half-marathon before my real half-marathon at Disney.  I figured out quite a few things to help improve next time.  I need to drink more water in the days before the race than I did.  I also need to eat a bit more before the race than I did this time.  This one was a little strange because it was a night race, so we ate lightly during the day so as to avoid the need to stop during the race.  Disney should be easier in that respect.  I also need to make sure that the shirt I wear doesn’t allow my arm to rub against my sports bra.  Finally, having comfy shoes and warmer clothes available post-race is a must-do. 🙂

1 thought on “The Practice Half-Marathon”

  1. Oh, little one! I’m SO PROUD of you. I didn’t get your DH’s phone message in time, but I was there, right beside you, every step…because, well, my baby girl will always be right beside my heart, no matter how far she runs.

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