Friday, January 27, 2012

Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Report

This is a long overdue race report. I wrote most of it on the plane ride home and finished the rest of it this week. The pictures you are seeing I did not take. I lost all the pics from my Vegas trip. Sometimes technology is a pain. I found these pics on the Internet. This is when technology is awesome. Enjoy the report.

Sunday night, December 4th, 2011, I ran, jogged, and walked the Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll half marathon. It was the first time ever that the Strip was shut down, at night, for a race. That really drew a crowd. Last year the race had about 22,000 athletes, this year about 44,000. I had never been in an event of this size.

The marathon started at 4pm and the half marathon at 5:30pm. My friend, Sue Hardy, came from Illinois to hang with me for the weekend and cheer me on. We headed down t the Mandalyn Bay Parking lot for the pre-race entertainment, which was Cheap Trick. After we hung out for awhile I headed to my corral.

I was in corral 39, second to last. The race started at 5:30 and I crossed the start line at about 6:12. While we were waiting they had The Blues Brothers singing and entertaining us. That was a fun way to pass the time. The energy heading out on the race was amazing. I was in my Team Challenge gear, so there was a lot of support from the crowd.

It was neat to be running by all the familiar sights of Vegas at night under the bright lights. My plan was to start out a little bit slower and then to pick up the pace later in the race. You never really know what's going to happen until race day. I did about a 17 minute mile for the first 3 miles. I was all ready to keep going at that pace when at mile 4 1/2 my hip had decided it wanted none of this. I had some problems with my hip Saturday morning, but had iced it, stretched on Saturday and all day leading up to the race.

I was still able to slog (slow jog) it to about mile 7ish (not sure exactly) and had to start walking more than running. My goal was to finish in 3:30. At 3:30 I was at approximately mile 9 1/2-10. I was very upset that I hadn't reached my goal, but I new I would finish. Quitting is not in my vocabulary.

During races I wear a jersey that says, "I may have Crohn's, but I refuse to let Crohn's have me." It's really encouraging when people respond to it and it's even cooler when God sends someone to encourage me right at the moment I need it most.

I was approximately at mile 8, on the dark, backstreets of Old Vegas (Where bums were cheering us on) when thought of me not finishing were starting to creep in. I was trying everything to be positive, but nothing was helping. Even though I knew I wouldn't quit the thoughts were there. All of the sudden I hear from behind, "You're awesome" and someone patted me on the back.

I burst into tears because at that moment I didn't feel awesome. I felt like someone who had let herself down. I felt like I had no business being out there. I felt defeated, but then this guy comes out of nowhere and was my cheerleader until we got back to the strip. He was with his friend who had diabetes and despit foot issues was walking the race. My cheerleader's name was Will and I will always remember him.

At this point I had about a 5k left to run (3.1 miles). I was telling my body to push and give it my all, but temps had dropped, it started raining, and my legs froze up even with running tights on. This was the biggest wall I had ever hit. My mind said go, but my body said no. I was really pissed at this point.

My mind went to the dark side at this point. there were very few spectators out, aid stations were being broken down and the bands were already gone and like I said, it had started raining and the wind had picked up.

When I looked into the distance I could see a Team Challenge coach running towards me. He had on Energizer Bunny ears. The Team Challenge coaches run up and down the course helping their athletes, but what's cool is they help all Team Challenge athletes. I had about 2 miles to go and welcomed the sight of a TC coach no matter who they were coaching.

It took me only a few seconds to realize who it was. It was my coach, Brad, from Teach Challenge Illinois Napa. He helped me finish in Napa and now was able to help me finish in Las Vegas. He walked with me for a mile and then headed out to make sure his other athletes had made it in. It was fun to catch up with him and keep my mind off of the pain I was in. Again, this was God sending someone along to help me when I needed it most. He is so Awesome. The picture below is of me with Coach Brad in Napa after the race.

At another point in the race, I have no idea when, a lady came up from behind and said, "You're doing great. Keep it up." She then handed me a bracelet and headed off. I put it on and read it later in the race. It said, "MBFC fit chicks show up to their lives. I have courage. I am strong. I got this." WOW!! Again, totally a God thing. Her encouragement came when I needed it and then when I read it later it was perfect timing.

So with a mile to go I ran and walked until I could see the finish line. Then I mustered up all I could and sprinted to the finish line passing about 10 people on the way in. I was not about to walk across the finish line. One thing that kept me going is I would get my medal when I finished. I fought hard for that medal.

I crossed the finish line and went straight to a medic because I wanted to go to the medical tent and get warmed up, ice my hip, and get something to eat. Before I went to the tent I asked her where my medal was, to which she replied, "They're out, but don't worry they are going to mail you one." I burst into tears and said, "I need my medal." She brought me a marathon medal and placed it around my neck. She said I could have it until I received the other one. I took it off my neck, thanks her, but told her I didn't thing it was fair to the people that actually completed the marathon if I wore it.

Sue joined me in the medical tent until I was able to get going again. We started the long walk back to our hotel, which I think was another mile/mile and a half. As we were walking back I was really upset that I didn't have my medal. Everyone that did the race was wearing them. Everyone was congratulating each other. People would look at me and not say anything, so a couple times I told people, "I finished they ran out of medals." haha. I was bummed I couldn't advertise my accomplishment, but knew it my heart what I had overcome to finish that race and that was enough for me. I would eventually get my medal.

Sue was kind enough to stand in line and get food for me. As she did that I kept hobbling back to our room. I ate and then soaked in the tub. My thoughts turned to my life, my health, and my race. I gave myself a reality check. I WILL NOT do another ace this overweight again. I'm proud I finished, don't get me wrong, but I am not proud of ho, over the last year and 2 months I had let myself go. I promised myself then and there that things would be different in 2012. I looked out the windo at the Vegas Strip and told it I would be back next year to kick it's butt and that is what I am going to do.

I've dealt with bad health, a big move, and most recently some depression, but not it is time to move forward.

I have a good friend named Andy Shetter. In the past when I've been complaining or stuck in a hard place. He told me to:

Andy, I'm ready to SUCK IT UP, do what I need to do, and hit my goals this year.

Stay Tuned, my friends.


Last week I received my 1/2 Marathon Medal in the mail. Isn't it beautiful. It even glows in the dark.