Monday, December 5, 2011

Not a Happy Ending

I am getting ready to board my flight for Denver where it is 3 degrees. I cannot wait to get into my car with no heat.

I’ll have a full race report later, but for now….

  • Running on the Strip, by the lights of fantastic Vegas, was pretty spectacular
  • My race felt good, my body felt good. I could feel my lack of training do to injury. My longest run had been 10 miles and that’s about when I started getting fatigued.
  • Final finish time = 1:49, 3 minutes off my PR. This is better than I expected.
  • Everything was as close to perfect as could be until the end of the race. Let me start by saying, I love the Rock ‘n Roll series and I think the Competitor Group does an amazing  job, overall. However, there were big problems in Vegas when the race ended. Being at night and chilly, the finishing runners got very cold very fast. There was complete mania at Mandalay Bay while 44,000 people tried to find their ways back to their hotels on the Strip, which was still closed. No one could find the shuttles. People were sick, passing out, shivering. Lots of stretchers, wheel chairs, people getting sick. The cab line was several hours long and once you got into a cab, you were at a standstill. Our tab was $15 before we even got out the driveway of the hotel. I finished the race at 7:20 p.m. We got back to the Venetian at 12:30 a.m. – cold, hungry, stinky. That part was not fun and was incredibly poorly planned. Hopefully others had a better experience than I did, but it didn’t appear that way. I felt that paying $165 for this race should entitle you to be able to have the services in place, post-race, to get you to where you need to go.

I’m functioning on 3 hours of sleep, which means I’m not functioning at all.

Ever had a nightmarish experience in a race due to poor planning by the powers that be?

Off for some coffee,

SUAR

58 comments:

  1. From what I heard about the DC Hot Choc race... I think you will get flooded with people that feel your pain. Sum it up some folks are saying to RAM Racing and Ghirardelli DON'T COME BACK.

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  2. A lot of people are complaining online about the organization of the race, but I didn't know it was so bad after the event! Good greif, what a freaking bummer. Getting around Vegas suck anytime, but after a marathon we all need a little TLC!

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  3. @Illana, I was at the Hot Chocolate race and it was a absolute mess. THE worst race experience I have ever had. I haven't heard about all of the RNR Vegas details but if it was even a fraction of what it was like in DC, I feel bad for those racers too!

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  4. AMEN, AGREED on all points about the race.

    dude, you nearly PRd on a broken leg and no training. killer.

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  5. I waited for HOURS after the race to hear from a friend...she finally texted me at 11pm and said she just got to her hotel and it was a nightmare...so I suspect most were in the same boat. She said she didn't even enjoy the lights of the strip because way too many people to even see them. I'm glad I didn't go now. Hope you had a good time other than afterwards...and welcome to 10 degree high today - bleh!

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  6. We were at nearby hotel so that part wasn't too bad. However, the race itself was so crowded and there were so many walkers in the middle of everything that I never found my stride and spent so much time bobbing, weaving and bouncing up and down curbs that I'm really hurting today and did not meet my expected goal. Definitely not a great race experience...very disappointing for the cost of the race as well as the travel.

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  7. RnR races are becoming craptacular. I've run Va. Bch, New Orleans and San Diego and over the years, they just get worst. At San Diego last june, you couldn't get parking to get to the shuttle, the port a pots were at least 50 people deep, the bands along the course sucked and afterwards, there wasn't a band or a single person who knew were the shuttle buses were to get back to the parking area. The split was confusing - people running the full couldn't hear the guy mumbling to turn left and ended up off course and the other way around. Such a great idea and it seems they've ruined it.

    I heard horrible things about the hot chocolate race - how can you ruin hot chocolate?

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  8. I was there last night too...I ran the full and the biggest problem I saw was the congestion on the strip...there were so many more 1/2 runners then fulls and no one was staying in their designated sections...lots of weaving and energy spent trying to jocky for a spot. Also, I did note the congestion at the finish; instead of being able to have a cool down walk, you just came to a scretching hault once crossing the finish line...no wonder so many were passing out...

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  9. I, too, was one of the unfortunates who ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in the DC area on Saturday. Not even one aspect of this race was acceptable, and after deleting comments from their FB page from angry runners and issuing an "apology" that pointed the blame to everyone but themselves and addressed only about half of the issues, I would recommend avoiding RAM Racing events. (By the way, the course was so bad/narrow/horribly planned for the number of runners that I saw at least five people trip on or over pylons and fall. I have never seen that at a race before.)

    Great job on your time, by the way! Sounds like a good race other than the shuttle issue.

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  10. I'm also from DC and heard nightmare stories from my running friends yesterday about the Hot Chocolate Race. Unbelievable. I heard part of the route was on the shoulder of 295??!!

    I also recently heard that RnR is taking over the National Half and Full Marathon, which is kind of concerning me--I did that Half a few years ago and LOVED it. It was well organized and a great race. I hope it stays that way.

    Anyway, Beth, congratulations and I hope you are treating yourself to some spa time today!

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  11. Agreed. That was crazy and SO SO cold once we finished running. Congrats on your amazing PR and seriously, you skirt is my all time favorite. I need it. Hopefully you get a nap!

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  12. Ugh, bummer. Of anywhere, the Vegas race should be a fun experience.

    I ran RNR San Jose & while it was reasonably well organized & didn't have any of those problems thankfully, I still felt like it was kind of a rip-off -- $95 for a boring, ugly course & mostly terrible bands that you couldn't hear anyway. RNR races are not high on my list of experiences to repeat.

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  13. Ran the RnR SA full this year and became injured on the course. We finished but because we were "slower runners" (at that point) we got handed a bag of fritos. No oranges, no chocolate milk, no bananas, no water. Fritos. WTH?
    The RnR fb pages are being blown up because of the LV race and it's problems. I'm glad you finished and your alive!!

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  14. I was wondering about how everyone was going to get to the start, I didn't even think about after the race. I always have a car in Vegas so I don't think in terms of taxi's, I think in terms of parking garages and back roads. Mandalay Bay is hard enough to park in during a "normal" day, let alone when it is the center of a major event.

    When I was in Vegas a few weeks ago seeing all of the signs that the strip was going to be closed on 12/4, I thought about how I would negotiate the probable mess. Not that any of this matters at this point, but I would think the easiest thing would be to stay in a hotel within walking distance of the race. Of course that might not be possible so in that case I would stay off of the strip like I always do and drive on Frank Sinatra which runs parallel between I15 and behind the West side of the strip. Possibly park in Monte Carlo and walk. After hearing how bad this was, I'd probably avoid the area altogether and come in from the East side on Audrie street and park in Paris and walk to and from the start which can be done mostly inside between Mandalay and the Bellagio.

    I absolutely plan on doing this run in the future, so all of this is good to know for future planning.

    Dana Roueche

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  15. Such a bummer when a poorly planned post-race negates any happiness over the event.

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  16. i can't believe you functioned that well on 3 hrs! thats impressive.

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  17. 3 hours of sleep = NOT a functional person in m world...this happened to me on Saturday night and I had a loooong 12+ hour work day on Sunday. NOT fun :(

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  18. First, congrats on a great race...you have this amazing ability to rebound from injury really quickly!

    Second..I go back to my theory on why small races are better...

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  19. Congrats on the PR - and so sorry about the stinky ending!!

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  20. SheRox Philly 2009. Nightmare.

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  21. Bummer!

    Your pre pictures were so great that I just figured the race would be too...that sucks.

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  22. Congrats on a strong race but BOOOOOO to a crappy, not happy, ending. That blows. What the f is wrong with them - that needs to be remedied.

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  23. After reading several hundred comments on the RnR Las Vegas Facebook page, I was blown away by how universally negative all of the comments were. I think I read only 2 out of 200-300 that were even partly positive. I have changed my mind about wanting to run this race, I think I'll wait a few years to see if they can sort out the mass disorganization that seemed to happen. With all of the great running events out there, there is just no need to be involved with something that has so many problems.

    Dana Roueche

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  24. That sounds terrible! I was hoping to do RNR Las Vegas next year but now I'll reconsider.

    I just did the DC Hot Chocolate 15K and it was RUINED by poor planning by RAM racing. Terrible race that was completely overcrowded, had crappy "premium" jackets, started late, and even had the 5K runners run the course backwards! I will never do another RAM race, ever.

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  25. Sorry you had a hard time at the end of the race, that is so many people for them to plan for logistically. Glad you did well in the race even though you weren't able to train as much as you would have liked.

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  26. UGH. That sounds terrible. I had a similar thing happen to me at Disney. I have heard that the RNR races are kind of like that though from another blogger.

    I hope your car wasn't TOO cold when you got there.

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  27. I ran the Dallas White Rock Marathon, yesterday, and I must say the service and organization was incredible. There was nothing they could do about the steady downpour we ran through, but everything else was fantastic.

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  28. oh MAN ALIVE! that sucks, usually competitor has their shit together with race organization!

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  29. So happy about your time! Nothing better than results beyond the baseline hope. Congrats, but holy cow, what a clusterf*ck at the end!

    This will cheer you up: Read "Carrying My Poop". A total SUAR topic. http://www.doyourtime.com/2011/12/carrying-my-poop.html

    Take care and thanks for providing me with many a laugh when I needed it.

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  30. First: Congrats on your fast finish!
    Second: I hope you have a safe and comfortable trip home!

    Third:
    I spent (too) many hours this fall being bummed that I couldn't run Vegas. Then I saw reports of the pre-gaming going on (drinking in the streets on a race day? seriously?) and all of a sudden it dawned on me what a catastrophe the race could be. I am SO sorry to hear it turned out that way. Honestly, I'd rather still be jealous (from a good race report) because I could always plan to run next year. But cold, crowds, and chaos... I wouldn't wish that on anyone!

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  31. What I can't get past is that you paid $165 for a half marathon??? RnR must thing that their poop doesn't stink.

    I ran a half marathon around home yesterday for free. ;)

    Post race was great. Hugs from kids and a nice warm shower immediately after the "race".

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  32. Insane. I personally am not a big RNR series fan. However, I have only ran Chicago and 2012 will only be their 3rd year so "maybe" I am too harsh. Here it is really hectic, and really $$ for an okay race....So much about RNR is the name and the bands. I hear the bands sporadically for maybe 20 seconds each and I never go to the post race concert. I knew Vegas would be a train wreck as soon as they said "night" and "shutting down the stip". I was hoping it would be better than I thought since I knew so many people who were heading out there to run. Great job on your run, even with the injuries! I am sending wishes for a speedy recovery!

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  33. Holy keeee-rap! I hope to God there weren't any first time racers who have written off racing for good because of that. What a disaster!

    Congrats on maintaining a great pace despite the chaos. And to think I was feeling sad I couldn't be there!

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  34. crappy experience ... well at least it put hair on your chest ... I mean hair on your legs ... I mean ... oh never mind.

    hang in there

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  35. Hot Chocolate WAS nuts! You have to wonder if some of these folks are just cramming in as many runners as they can get away with, even if it means overwhelming their resources, just to make some extra money. It can't be the volume alone that makes it crazy, though, because Marine Corps has 30,000 runners, and it's executed beautifully (of course, it IS the Marines). *sigh*

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  36. From all the reports of chaos, glad to hear you at least had a good race. But five hours to get back to the hotel...WT?? I think I would have walked, I am allergic to sitting in traffic and paying to sit it traffic, what a nightmare! Unreal and sad. Hope you are home and warm by now giving Lucky a big hug.

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  37. I just did a tri where there were not enough lifeguards in the water for the swim -- and because the water was so cold there were some bad panic attacks -- the course was poorly marked, and aid stations ran out of water. I personally had a good experience aside from having to yell at the (very nice and helpful) police officers to ask which way to go! This was a first time event for the race organizers though and I give them credit for doing a better job the next day for the half and full. -- Angela

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  38. Congrats on the almost PR - that's still pretty dang solid after being injured and taking all that time off. You've got a new PR in the bag, next time you feel like racing 13.1. That really sucks about the crazy congestion and waiting around so long after the race without food. Ooof!

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  39. RNR San Antonio 2008.

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  40. I am so glad that your actual RUN went well. Vegas is always a nightmare to get around, so I cannot imagine what those hours after the race were like for you.

    *big imaginary hugs for you because you did it*

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  41. gosh it bums me out to hear about the finish, only because so many folks were looking forward to this race

    glad the rest was a lot of fun

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  42. congratulations on your PR! yea...the Moster Dash 2010 in Mpls was changed from loop to point a to point b with shuttle buses to bring runners back to point a but only 2 buses and about ...5,000 runners! finish line by the lake in Oct in MN made for a very cold wait.

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  43. well I did not run this race
    but reading this and also what SR wrote on her blog makes me mad
    you are soooo right, if you pay the big $$ for a race you should get proper services at all times during and after the race. I read they ran out of water and medals...that is CRAZY and having so many people getting sick like that is unacceptable. this would not make me want to do this race in the future. safe travels home!

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  44. Congrats on the race first, you were booking it when I saw you. oh my goodness it took you that long. I am sooo sorry to hear that ugh :( :( i missed this whole part of the race I am sorry it was absolutely insane :(

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  45. The lack of organization was frightening. And the cab right after... nightmare! So awesome to have met you :)

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  46. I was there, too. Not my best race and I was ok with that since I was going into the race without expectations. I did get elbowed enough to get bruises on my arms, and not because faster people were trying to get by, it was just that crowded in spots. Getting stuck in a sea of people while trying to leave was a nightmare. We saw people pass out. Yikes. I feel bad for the newbies who have never run a half marathon before and had to have a crappy post run experience. I was bummed to miss the post race reception at XS, it was a blast last year. By the time we made it to our hotel that party was long over.

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  47. Now I've read two ends of the spectrum - the first race report I read last night said they were done around 7:15 and back to MGM by 7:45 ish - just barely dodging "the crowds".

    This experience? Sounds awful. Looks like there were two very poorly planned races this weekend! Although 44,000 in Vegas totally trumps 20,000 in DC. ;)

    Congrats on the finish!

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  48. Congrats on your race but sorry about the dynamics. I've heard quite a few negatives about the event overall because of the crowds and also that they plan to expand the field next year even more....

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  49. My Vegas experience was pretty disappointing. I was in a much later corral so I had so much crowding almost the entire race that I couldn't get in any sort of rythm. I had food poisioning or something since Saturday morning and didn't eat anything substantial the whole weekend, so I didn't have a good feeling from the start, but I still thought I'd be on tap for a big PR because I've done so well in my shorter distance races of late.

    My time was actually worse - by 7 minutes then my previous 2 halfs, they only had nasty fire hydrant water left by the time I passed the stations and the finish line fare was pretty scarce. (At least I got the correct medal and a space blanket.)

    I didn't see much of the Mandalay fiasco because I walked up the ramp to the front doors and didn't go through the convention center, but I did see that crazy taxi line. Thank goodness I stayed at the Luxor for those nights as I just had to walk through the shops to get back. (The Venetian was pretty awesome on Friday though.)

    I finally got a room service pizza at like 1 am. There was huge lines at all the restaurants and I was by myself and so tired, I wasn't going to wait. Overall it was a very exhausting weekend and I will not be back, especially if they increase the field to 60,000 as they've indicated.

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  50. Way to run on that minimal training and nearly PR. You are AWESOME!!

    Sadly, many races have become about making money and little else. The only answer is to stay far away from the big, popular events and seek out smaller, perhaps more low key races.

    The marketing people know what people go for, blindly: rock and roll, chocolate, cool looking swag, Women's blah blah races. Avoid those types of things and your chance of getting in a race sans the big price tag and crowded course is better.

    I ran Marine Corps Marathon this year and probably won't again. No real problems there, just way too crowded for my tastes. Bobbing and weaving for 26 miles is WAY too taxing.

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  51. I DID have a nightmare finish area at a race .... that would be this one!! I was one of those that collapsed inside Mandalay Bay. Thank goodness a med volunteer got to me ASAP. It was pure chaos! I never even thought about people getting to hotels and how long that took. I stayed at Excalibur so I got lucky with a short-ish indoor walk to my room. The taxi line sounds like a nightmare! LOVED the course (aside from the thick crowd which kept me over a minute slower than my desired per mile pace) ... just didn't love the finish line mess and all that went with it.

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  52. I must be part of the small percentage because I had the time of my life in Vegas! I went into the race knowing that I'd be there with 44,000 other people and their 2-deep spectators, averaging near 150,000 people all crammed in to a little space at Mandalay Bay (which is quite huge)! It still didn't ruin my experience. Yeah, it was cold before and after the race, the roads were crowded, and so on, but it just added to my race experience.

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  53. UGH sounds like it was not well planned out at the end. You did have a great finish, with no training. Good job:)

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  54. I heard about this race. Glad you enjoyed the run but sad for all the runners who got sick or worse.... Safe journeys and focus on all the fabulous people you hung with. It was great watching all my favorite bloggers together. :) Come to Chicago's R&R. It was really great!

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