Monday, December 31, 2007

The Half Report

For those concerned about the long absence since my last post before the half-marathon, I am not dead. Although, I was a little concerned that I wouldn't survive the turbulent plane ride home.

I ran the entire 13.1 miles.

We arrived in Vegas on Saturday, the day before the race. It’s strange to be in Vegas and have to use something called self discipline. We ate at a fabulous little restaurant in the Mandalay Bay, called the “Burger Bar.” A mighty fine $20+ melt-in-your-mouth gourmet kobe beef burger was had. Best burger I’ve ever had. If you haven’t had a kobe beef burger, I encourage you to try one. Heavenly. A bit of beer was had as well (I only have so much self discipline).

We turned in early, but a restless night was ahead for both of us. I didn’t really think I would be “one of those” who gets nervous before a race and can’t sleep the night before. But it hit me a bit and definitely hit my husband.

We got up at 4 am on Sunday morning. A mad dash was made for coffee at the 24 hour Starbucks downstairs (no in-room coffee maker!). It was interesting to see the contrast of those up at that hour in Vegas. Most were going to be running in the race. But others were still “out”. Some were still intoxicated. One poor girl was passed out in a wheelchair and being wheeled somewhere by a security guard.

I stepped outside to see how cold it was. Definitely cold (news report said it was 38 degrees).

We drank our coffee and ate our breakfast. After we figured out what we were going to wear and how to put our bibs and timing chip on, we went downstairs to meet a coworker of mine who would also be running. We waited for some time and she never showed, so we left to try to find a spot at the starting line. Sadly, I knew I’d probably not spot her in the crowd of 12,000 or so racing.

It’s hard to describe the energy of the crowd before we started. I think that may be one of the addictive qualities of races – the positive energy. Everyone there has a similar goal – the accomplishment of something you’ve trained hard for.

The race started at 6:07 am at the Mandalay Bay. Fireworks and Elvis Presley music carried us through our muddle to the starting line (with a crowd like that, it took a good 8 or 9 minutes to cross the starting line) and down the strip. I got a tiny bit teary from the rush of it all. Crowds cheered us on. Tribute bands played here and there. The Blue Man Group performed. Numerous runners were dressed as Elvis. Some runners adorned in veils or other wedding gear, even partook in the run through wedding ceremony.

We ran long past the strip and at some point turned around and headed back to the finish line. I felt really good for the first 8-9 miles. I mean, really good. It was sometime after the 9 mile mark that the run began to require a little more effort. It never got to the point of being uncomfortable, but at some point I did feel like the end would be a nice and really welcome thing.

My husband ran along with me the entire time. He’s a much faster runner than me, so I’m sure I slowed him down tremendously. But he tells me that he’s glad he went slower, that it did get tougher for him as well and running slow probably helped.

We finished in 2:24 (my husband would scold me if I didn’t caveat that with the fact that that includes the potty break I had to take). We shuffled through the very crowded exit area and received our medals.

My macho husband didn’t grasp the importance or necessity of the silver “blanket” they handed every finisher. While I enjoyed the benefits of something between my sweaty clothes and the cool temperatures (that was actually quite a surprise to me how beneficial those space age looking blankets are), my husband soon realized a blanket was necessary if he was going to stay outside any longer.

Coincidentally, we located my friend as she was exiting a port-a-potty! She had also finished the whole race.

We all wobbled away together, naps were had, as was a real night on the town.

It was fun. And I hope you don't mind me tooting my own horn, but I blew the lid off my New Year's resolutions last year.

Now my husband wants to do a marathon. And he doesn't want to wait until October for the Portland one. He wants to do the Eugene marathon in May. And then the Portland one in October. Oh boy. What have I created?


Stefanie said...

Wow. That is truly impressive. I could never do that. I mean I could, easily, really easily, in much shorter time, but I just never would. Ha ha ha. congratulations!!

Jenn said...

Let's find a 5k somewhere between us and do that?

Christine said...

Wow...I'm impressed...I'm back to walking. This old knees!

lildb said...

YAYYYYY you! that's awesome.

I'm so proud of you for quitting, too. you rule the school. :)

lucius said...

just saying hi from a future-portlander here.

Jenn said...

Um, it's FEBRUARY.

You know, just in case you didn't realize that. :))

How are you?