To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas: Expo & Concerts

You know how I like to find positives in everything? I WILL do it again. If you've been online at all you've probably already heard of the nightmare that was the Las Vegas Rock'n'Roll Marathon/Half. I imagine it would be hard to find a 100% positive review actually, disappointing. However, I don't want to ever think back on a race and have only bad memories, and with this one I really don't. I had a blast! Although there was so much wrong with the execution, I am so glad I was there for it! I learned A LOT during this run. What to do. What not to do (ahem, RnR race directors). How the human body works and how it can just stop working without your permission. And how people ARE good and willing to come to the aid of a complete stranger. *I AM happy I don't tend to repeat races. BIG improvements need to happen before next year!

Friday morning, upon arriving in Las Vegas, we quickly dropped our bags in our room and caught the monorail down to the expo. I like to get to expos early to avoid crowds, make sure I get the proper sized race shirt and have fresh merchandise selection. I was pretty restrained, only buying myself the pin version of the medal and a visor. In the vendor area I picked up some CEP compression sleeves that I ended up wearing most of the weekend while walking the Strip. We loaded up on free stuff and samples, then made our way over to hear Kara Goucher speak ... knowing I'd be able to see Katye there for sure! As far as expos go, I enjoyed it, but since we were trying to do this trip on a budget I didn't really buy much - just a cute Run Vegas shirt. We noticed the crowd really picking up, so we left and went to Margaritaville for dinner. Yummy! **I would like to note that we were REALLY well behaved, avoiding alcohol for the most part and always getting waters with our food!

My Prefontaine inspired finish
The night before we were at Mandalay Bay to see Cirque, which is when I started getting concerned about how crowded that area would be on race day when the runners and people seeing the show would inevitably mix. Although we went to Cirque and then the drag show at the club, we never got drunk. Good girls! Oh, we had the All Day All You Can Eat Buffet pass for Excalibur, so we hit that up for our dinner. We loaded up on pasta, salad, pizza, mashed potatoes(for me!) and some desserts. It was actually a pretty good dinner!

Lights from our goody bags!
Even though we went to bed at 2am I naturally woke up around 7am and decided to hit the shower and get us moving toward a hearty breakfast. I felt responsible for Jessica since this was her first ever race and wanted her body as prepared as possible. We went to the breakfast buffet again and were joined by tons of other runners. I loaded up on scrambled eggs, a pancake, biscuit and tots. Plus more water, and a little dose of caffeine. We had taken bananas from the buffet the day before which was a good idea because they were out that morning. Those were saved for a pre-race snack during the concert. Our plan for the day was to just hang out in our room. We lounged about watching TV, setting out our clothes, and looking at our "GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS" cards. Seriously, they offer them up and down the sidewalk, if you go - just grab a handful, they are hysterical! TV sucked, so it was a couple hours of listening to the MJ Cirque show, singing and dancing while getting dressed.

I was so sure my flexible moves would get me into the cast of the MJ Cirque show?!?

We left early to get to Mandalay Bay so we could find gear check and see the pre-race concerts. I did get to meet up with a fellow runner that has helped give me advice in the past. With him living in Michigan, we figured we may never get to actually meet and run together. Once we realized we were staying in the same hotel I started stalking him. I spotted him at the breakfast buffet, but it was on the way to the race that we formally met. He's really tall. **He ran the marathon with a couple broken toes. Ouch!**

I was hoping signage would have improved for race day, but it didn't. Thank goodness we deliberately staked out the area on Saturday because it was just like walking blindly through a casino hoping to follow other runners to the right place. Bad form, RnR/Mandalay Bay! Gear check was very easy (this was my first time ever doing that)! Sadly the volunteer didn't know how to direct us to the start area and the map sucked. We hit the bathrooms and then found our way out to the Casey Abrams concert. I liked him, fun kid! We were REALLY close, so we were going deaf and didn't last through all of Cheap Trick. I heard the ONE song of theirs I knew and felt satisfied. We decided to check out of that early and head back in to get warm and use a real bathroom a few more times. Then we took a power nap. Okay, not really. We did think about it though.

Cheap Trick

Casey Abrams
Soon it was time to join the solid wall of people and go to our corrals. Since these are my Vegas posts, and it is my blog, I am not censoring. This was the beginning of the RnR Vegas cluster fuck! I wanted to make sure Jessica knew where to go in that sea of people. I think really my only worry was just about her having a good time and not regretting signing up for this as her first race. She said good bye to me at Corral 17 and went on her way to 39. We were a couple of the people that actually followed the rules of corral placement. I inadvertently was in the very back of 16 because that's where they shoved me. I couldn't even fit into 17. Trying to be honorable, I stayed at the very back of that corral. I guess it didn't matter because nobody followed the rule. It felt like there were a lot of newbies that didn't understand race etiquette perhaps? And since it was such a cluster fuck, if there were people enforcing corrals I never saw it. In Seattle and at Disney races they were very strict about checking bibs, but sadly not here.

Enjoying the pre-race concert ... and the last teeny bit of warmth.
It wasn't long and I realized I was about to start. There was a Blues Brothers cover band playing on a stage that was really entertaining. I sang and danced along - even though I was all alone. Before I knew it I was at the start line with very little fanfare, and beginning my 13.1 mile journey!

*I didn't mean to make this two posts, but this went long .... so next up I'll share my story of the race ... in photos!*


  1. Oh yes, the GIRLS cards clicking up and down the strip.

    Looks like you were having such a fun time!!

  2. Your flexy moves butt picture is SLAYING me.

  3. Very nice. All around. Looking forward to part two.

  4. That Run Vegas shirt is amazing and I'm super jealous. There had better be a ton of awesome stuff for the NOLA race. That's what I'm saving my pennies for.

  5. @Abby - I picked up that shirt from the vendor that sells the bamboo shirts. You know the one - they are at all the expos!

  6. Really? It looked like a Brooks one. I must look into them.


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