The Vegas Marathon was over a week ago and I am just now getting to write the recap. I did not wait this long to write it because I was really busy but rather to calm down after how poorly handled this race was. I was tempted to skip this recap and leave it as one of those “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” things.
Since the Marathon was at night I had all day to get my stuff together so I didn’t need to lay them out like I usually do and just laid them in a pile instead.
I was so busy breaking pre marathon rules that I didn’t even look through my expo bag. I finally did and was pretty happy with the shirt, a simple fitted women’s t (wicking of course), a headlamp which will come in handy for Ragnar Relay and 2 car stickers that say “I rocked 26.2″ or “I rocked 13.1″.
I was completely lost on how to carb load for a night race. So I headed to the breakfast buffet in my hotel and went to town. I had some mashed potatoes, cantaloupe, pancakes, cheese Blintz, eggs and coffee. Probably not the best pre-race meal but I went with it.
I decided to give myself an hour to get to the starting line. These hotels are pretty big and I had spent very little time at Mandalay Bay so I wanted to make sure I didn’t get too lost. I headed in what I thought was the right direction but was still in the hotel and wasn’t seeing how to get outside. I asked other runners nearby and no one seemed to have any idea on how to get to the starting line. I finally found someone who worked at Mandalay who didn’t even know there was a marathon that day. Ummm seriously. I asked a race volunteer who pointed me in the wrong direction. Thanks. I eventually found my way outside and to the giant parking lot where there was a stage with Casey Abrams performing (soon after Cheap Trick performed, I couldn’t see them because I was at the starting line), a couple sponsored tents set up and port-o-potties. It was a surprisingly big area. About 30 mins prior to the race I headed to the starting corrals which were easily marked and I had no problem getting into my corral.
Race started on time and they let each corral go separately so that it was not too crowded on the course. I was super happy about this because I hate to be crowded and I was right in between the 3:30 pace group and the 3:40 pace group.
The first couple miles were really cold. I had on yet another purple throw away long sleeve (why do I have so many purple shirts this year) and gloves to keep me warm. At mile 3 I started to get warm so I tossed the shirt away and at mile 5 I spilled water on my gloves so I tossed those too. At mile 7 I was in a tank top and shorts, the sun had set super early and I was freezing! It was probably in the high 30s or 40s. That was motivation for me to keep moving at the 8ish mile pace I was at. I knew if I slowed down or had to stop that I would be done. I had to keep moving to at least keep warm.
The course overall is flat. There was a hill at mile 7 that I was not too happy with and then a smaller one at mile 12 but there were zero hills once we got back to the strip…which is where the real fun begins. Sarcasm.
(I think it is obvious that I did not know where a single photographer was during this race. Excuse the ugly race photos.)
The first half of the course was pretty boring and by pretty boring I mean super boring. Almost no crowd support, running through some warehouse areas and in the dark but I can deal with that though. Not every course is going to be 100% entertaining and I was having a good race so it didn’t really matter. I was really excited that at the 10K point I was at an 8:11 pace, at 10 miles I was at 8:12 and at the half way point I was at 8:14. Slowing up just a little bit but felt extremely strong. I knew the people cheering on the strip would help me to keep my pace and finish strong. Doing the math in my head I knew I would PR if I kept that pace and would finish at 3:38, my math in my head was wrong and I would have actually finished in 3:36 with that pace (thank you pace calculator).
However, when we merged on to the strip with the half marathoners we came to a stop! It was so crowded you couldn’t move. The 8 min marathoners were supposed to merge with the 11 min half marathoners. Common sense would have told you that right there was a bad idea. I only lost about 30 seconds. Being little has its advantages and I was able to squeeze in and manuever my way around and start running again. However, I did lose my pace a little bit but I wasn’t going to let that bother me. Especially when I was feeling a little like a bad a** when the half marathoners were commenting “how is she not cold?” I was a little cold but had been running a lot longer than them at that point.
The marathoners were supposed to had a lane all to themselves but the half marathoners were in it and they were not moving. Race crews kept shouting for the half marathoners to “move to the right” but they didn’t budge. When the marathoners started shouting it as well that is when fights started to break out. For real. Half marathoners started pushing marthoners out of the way. After multiple marathons and many big marathons I have never experienced that. I was pushed and elbowed many times by half marathoners as well. I think my arms may have been more sore than my legs after that marathon. (I am actually being serious). Half marathoners were little bitches during this race….not all :) I love new runners and race walkers but there is no need to be rude.
By mile 19 I was weaving all over the place trying to keep my pace and not get stuck behind half marathon walkers. I was wasting a ton of energy doing so. I don’t normally get frustrated with other people during a race but there were so many people in my way that I was fighting off huge urges to start punching people. But at 19.5 I was still going strong and running a 8:18 pace. However, at mile 22 it became extremely crowded and I came almost to a complete stop again. I was moving so slow I could have easily walked. Frustration was at an all time high, especially when I looked at how far my face was off. By mile 23 my pace had slowed to 8:40. Not a bad pace but I could run so much faster if it weren’t so crowded.
I ended up running sub 8 for the last 2 miles and finished in 3:49:47, an 8:46 pace. My fastest marathon time this year. I am happy with my time and even more happy because I know that my time would have been a lot faster had I not had to stop multiple times or been slowed down.
The race problems did not stop there. When I crossed the finish line once again I was greeted with crowds. I actually felt bad for the half marathoners because their finish corral was so packed that they couldn’t cross the finish line. I cannot even imagine how upsetting that would be. Oh and only one person handing out medals for 44,000 runners, I am getting a sense that this was slightly under staffed. A couple minutes after crossing the finish line, not 1, not 2, not 3 but 5 people near me all passed out! Not fell over and couldn’t get up but completly knocked out. Everyone starting screaming for a medic but not a single medic nearby. How are there not medics at the finish line of a race?
The registration for this race was $150. I felt ridiculous paying that much but figured it was a big race and should be a lot of fun. For that price I expected all the bells and whistles of a big race such as Boston and Chicago. Instead, for this race, I feel extremely ripped off. I don’t think I will ever run a Rock n’ Roll race again. I feel that this race was extremely disorganized and not safe. I could never recommend one of their races after what I experienced in Vegas. Next time I visit Vegas it will be for the fun not for the run.
The Water Debacle
You may have heard about the problems with the water at this race. Originally my problems with the water were that on the first half of the course I only had water once. I usually grab water at every stop but it was crowded I couldn’t get over to the water or at one water stop there was no water (unacceptable on the first half of a marathon course) or had no one working the water stop (just a table full of cups). I was not happy to see no water or no one working (or I guess volunteering). I was pretty sure I was going to be dehydrated from not getting enough water but was going to try and make up for it on the second half of the course. Little did I know how bad the second half of the course was going to be. Yet again there was a water stop that had ran out of water (more understandable since there were so many runners at that time). I finally got my hands on some water around mile 20, only to get bumped and get most of the water spilled and barely get a sip out of it.
After the marathon I heard many stories about runners being sick and felt bad but figured they were just dehydrated and didn’t get enough water also thought maybe it was there first race and maybe they weren’t prepared. However, the more I read about this situation it wasn’t just a handful of people but hundreds that got sick. Some people even went to the hospital. Most people who got sick were sick for days too.
I was extremely lucky and did not get sick but that could easily be because I didn’t get enough water.
I am not an expert on water so I cannot say that this is what made people sick but it does seem like the likely cause since so many runners got sick.