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"You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back."
- Steve Prefontaine

RACE REPORT: Las Vegas Marathon 12/10/06
DateRaceDistancePaceTotal TimeWeather
12/10/06 Las Vegas Marathon
(Las Vegas, NV)
Photo Album
26.2 mi 10:33/mi 04:35:12 43°F, low humidity, Sunny

This was my second marathon and I picked it because I thought my husband would enjoy Vegas. It's an interesting city, but a little too crowded and glitzy for both of us. However, we're glad we went there at least once to see what it's all about.

We arrived on Saturday December 9th around 11 AM. We picked up the rental car, found the hotel (which was as big as a city block), checked in, and then went to the Marathon Expo.

The Expo was in the hotel's convention center and was where we picked up the race packet and timing chip. It was extremely crowded! There were many vendors there, with everything from hydration gear to running wear. Garmin was there with all of their GPS equipment and it looked like they were doing a good business. Several of the vendors had interesting socks, shirts, hats, so I bought one of each. Marathon Tours was there as well, and I picked up a brochure on the Antartica marathon (which is sold out through 2009) just because it seemed interesting. But I don't know that I want to run a marathon where the local wildlife (polar bears) see me as a food source.

We then went to look for a place to eat. There were several restaurants and shops in the hotel. But I was looking for spaghetti and we found a place with spaghetti and meatballs. We were seated at the perfect table which allowed us to people watch. And there are lots of interesting people in Vegas! I saw two girls wearing identical t-shirts that said "Support Necrophilia...Don't Cremate!" Surely that had to be a joke. The two girls looked like "the girl next door". The only bizarre things about them were their t-shirts.

There were also a lot of scantily clad women in advertisements on cabs and billboards. So if you're uncomfortable with that type of thing, Vegas might not be your ideal vacation spot. It didn't bother me because I think the human body is a wonderful work of art. However, I know that a lot of people in Dallas got into an uproar over Southwest painting up one of their planes with a supermodel in a bikini. And that was much more tasteful than what we saw in Vegas. When did people start getting so sensitive about everything? I don't remember it being that way when I was growing up...

With the restrictions on limiting liquids aboard planes, I didn't bring my sports drink with me, so we found a local Walgreens and stocked up on Propel and some snacks. Trying to drive down the Las Vegas Strip to the Walgreens was an adventure. It's actually easier to walk than drive along the strip. Live and learn!

After we got back to the hotel, we tried some slot machines (where I lost $4) and then decided to call it a night. The hotel obviously wanted people to spend time in the casino or the shops/restaurants because other than pay per view movies, there wasn't much on the regular channels. I couldn't watch my favorite Law and Order, Monk, or House on USA Network. Luckily, I brought a book. I know, I know...we're probably the only people that ever went to Vegas and were in their room by 9 PM. There also wasn't a coffee pot in the room, although there was a Starbucks in the hotel. We also had a gorgeous view out the hotel window. We could see the Las Vegas Strip, the mountains, and the 3 lagoon pools.

The race started at 6 AM and all the marathon literature said to arrive very early. When I looked out our hotel room window at 5 AM, people were already at the start line waiting. We got there about 5:15 AM and waited around in a heated tent. The temperature was around 40 degrees, but it was very windy, so I think the wind chill made it around 30 degrees. I was glad we found the heated tent.

They set off some great fireworks at the race start and the Blue Man Group performed as well. It was actually the most entertaining race I have ever run. I would start to get tired and then would see a runner dressed as a penguin or Elvis or a showgirl in front of me. No matter how tired I was, I just had to laugh. These people were having fun!There was a group of runners dressed as Elvis that ran it in 2:58:00 (see photo album for photo). The photo to the left was of the Grinch and Santa, who actually beat my time by 5 minutes. I don't know how they ran with those boxes around them - it was extremely windy. Check out the race photo album for more info and photos.

As far as the route goes, it had a long gradual ascending hill between miles 10 and 15, but the rest of the course seemed relatively easy to me (either downhill or mostly flat). And the lack of humidity in Vegas and the cool temperatures made for good running weather. The only real hindrance was the wind. It was very windy on race day! However, with so many people running the race, I had lots of wind blocks. It was a very crowded race, but once the half marathoners split off around mile 7, it was much easier to run without having to weave in and out of people. Maybe they'll eventually do a staggered start time for the half/full marathoners.

I would recommend staying an extra day if you plan on doing this marathon. I made the mistake of planning the return flight soon after marathon ended. After the finisher's photos were taken, we had to return the rental car and get to the airport. The hotel checkout time was at 11 AM, so I didn't have time to go back to the hotel and get cleaned up and changed. I ended up changing at the airport. My legs were cramping because I didn't have time to stretch and then we got into a plane for 3 hours. Definitely a whirlwind trip!

I'll definitely run another Colorado marathon, but I'm not so sure about the Vegas Marathon. It was superbly organized and I'm glad I did it once. But I prefer nature runs surrounded by trees, grass, mountains, and wildlife. All the glitter and continual advertising bombardment was a little much. But life's about experiencing different things, and this was definitely an experience!

Lessons Learned:

  • Use Gatorade Endurance Formula or Accelerade instead of Propel. The Propel didn't have enough electrolytes and I started getting bad muscle cramps around mile 15. I used Accelerade in Durango and didn't have this problem.
  • Don't have a hotel checkout time at the same time you're finishing a marathon.
  • Don't jump on a plane for a 3 hour flight right after a marathon.
  • It's better to walk than drive down the Las Vegas Strip.
  • Bring more CarbBoom Energy Gel (although getting on a plane with something in your carryon with Boom in the name is a little tricky).
  • Have more long runs that are 21-22 miles. I always lose my energy and "hit the wall" at mile 19 to 20, which is where most of my long runs ended.