To start, I want to thank Refuel with Chocolate Milk for sponsoring me for this race weekend. Not only did I enjoy meeting my team mates (Skinny Runner, Runners Rambles, Hungry Runner Girl, Run Like a Mother Ladies, Run Eat Repeat) but working with Refuel was so effortless. I’ve been chugging chocolate milk after workouts for recovery for the past year, so it was a perfect fit to work with Refuel and to endorse a product I believe in.
Did I tell you the race started at 5:30 pm? This means no early wake up calls or struggles to get out that first dump of the day. It does mean, however, that while you have all day to make sure you clean the pipes, you also have all day to obsess about the race.
I got my Team Refuel outfit all laid out:
Skirt: Mums Noir Running Skirt from Running Skirts
Shirt: Sweetest Tee Running Shirt from Skirt Sports
Arm Warmers: Pearl Izumi Thermal Lite Arm Warmers from REI.com
Capris: Reflective WorkItOut Knicker from Athleta
I really like the way Refuel did the outfits. I was asked to select what I wanted to wear and they put their logo on it. Win-win!
We then spent the rest of the day looking for pancakes. That’s what I wanted for a bigger meal before the race. There was only one option:
I was a bit scared I would regret this grand slam. I only ate the eggs and about half of the pancakes. I knew the sausage would haunt me the whole run, so I left those itty bitty wieners on the plate.
During breakfast the couple beside us asked why the hell I was taking pictures of my food. I told them that I was a famous food writer and they could have my autograph if they wanted. We got to talking. Five minutes into the conversation I had one of those TMI moments. You know me, I am not a prude, but I am selective about when I bring TMI to the conversation. You have to know when your audience can handle it. The dude I was talking to told me he had had gastric bypass a few months ago and he was still only having one bowel movement a week. Yes, he told me that. Maybe that is why I didn’t finish my food.
I got to corral #4 as it was getting dark. It was a madhouse, pretty typical for the start of a Rock and Roll race. I kind of liked the crowd because everyone’s body warmth and bad breath kept me toasty. I used my cheetah Walgreen’s blanket as a skirt until I had to give up my down coat.
Race started promptly and I was off and running by 5:32 p.m. I usually start slower, but I was so ready to get going I blasted out of the gate. I felt like I was flying for the first few miles, and I think there were all around 8 min/miles. I had very little congestion in my corral. It was not crowded, I had plenty of room. I later learned this was not the case for the later corrals, but mine was great. I had my music pumping and I was taking in the lights and energy along the Strip. It was invigorating to be running at night in a city that I had never seen from this perspective. You have to admit this is SUPER WAY AMAZING COOL:
I hit the 5K at 25 minutes. I cruised along, feeling great. No aches or pains. I silently praised Matt (Handled with Care Massage) who does my active release therapy. I think he saved me for this race. And, hopefully for many races to come.
I got to the 10K at 50 minutes. Almost halfway, I was still feeling good. I had a vanilla Power Bar gel (my favorite for both taste, texture and consistency. They are so runny, they go down easy). I saw a dude running in front of me with a huge load in his tights. I don’t me a “load” as in male prowess. I mean “load” as in EWWWW!!!
At about mile 8, as we headed back up the Strip, my insides started revolting a bit. This distracted me and I slowed. I looked everywhere for a porta potty and guess what? There were NONE. At least none that I could see. Even at the aid stations I could not find one. I clenched and hoped for the best. Then in full disclosure because that’s what I do, I crapped my pants just a tad. Dammit.
I hit the 10 mile around 1:22. I knew I was in the home stretch. I started to feel fatigued and realized that I was kind of under trained for this one. Due to injury, I’d only been doing 15-20 miles per week, with my longest run at 10 miles. I haven’t done speed work in ages. No duh I was fading.
I crossed the finish in 1:49:28.
Overall: 2,237/ 33,123 · Division: 93/3,600 · Gender: 584/21,051.
I was okay with that. I was still in the top 2% for my division and gender. Not my best showing and a few minutes off my PR of 1:46. But, I’ll take it.
Once I crossed the finish it was a cluster f%ck of people. I ran for 13 miles then, BAM, I was at a standstill with a million others. My stomach immediately started cramping. I pushed through, grabbed some water and my medal (which I’m glad I got because I heard they actually ran out of them for the runners who came in later. Are you KIDDING me??), skipped the food and made it to a porta potty. I was feeling pretty crappy and starting to get really cold. It was windy.
I found my team mates and Refuel gave me a big bottle of chocolate milk. I tried to get a few sips down. I started to really freeze and bid my team mates goodbye. Erika and I headed into Mandalay Bay for some warm tea and to find a cab. I knew the shuttles would be a nightmare.
(Runners Rambles, me, Hungry Runner Girl, Skinny Runner)
This is my mad, hard core face. I’ll take you down.
This is when the fun began.
We waited in the cab line for 90 minutes. I was FREEZING and not feeling well. I didn’t have any food, but don’t think I could have eaten anyway. I just wanted to get back to my hotel for a warm shower and my post-race ritual of putting my feet up, calming my stomach and getting warm. I hid out in some corner while Erika stood in line. We finally got to the front of the line. Lots of people were not doing well: shivering, sick. We saw several stretchers come into the lobby. I heard stories of people passing out. One guy approached us upset and sick saying he couldn’t find the shuttle and had no money. He was so ill and so cold he was almost incoherent. We invited him into our cab. We also invited in a mom and her daughter who were also not doing so hot.
I thought once we were in the cab, we’d be good to go. Nope. 20 minutes after getting in, we were still in the driveway of Mandalay Bay. Nothing was moving. The Strip was still closed. The meter read $15 and we’d barely gone a few feet. The guy we brought in was sick and I knew if he threw up I would have a panic attack (I have this vomit phobia thing). Erika and I decided to get out of the cab (my idea – not a good one), go back inside for a drink and try the cab line again after the Strip opened.
This is me in the bar. I am wrapped in several mylars I borrowed from people in the bar, freezing my ass off. My knees are actually pulled up into my chest, but you can’t really tell. Erika thought I looked legless. And, a bit peakid, sickly.
An hour later the cab line was twice as long. SHIT. People were much worse off by this point. We walked through the lobby to see a girl in a stretcher and another girl puking into a trash can. People were laying around everywhere. Total refugee zone.
We decided to go next door to the Four Seasons to see if things were any better. It was like walking into first class from coach. Serene, warm, calm. The guy handling the taxis told us we’d be second in line for a cab. He said, “Go sit down by the fire. I will come get you. Would you like some water?”
We waited for about an hour, until midnight. By this time I had been done racing for 4.5 hours. Then WE GOT A CAB and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.
Back at the Venetian, we stopped for dinner. I tried to get down some soup, but couldn’t eat. I just felt so sick. I blame it on the poor conditions post race because I’ve never felt this bad this long after a race. We had plans of going out for a nice dinner and doing some gambling, but at 1:30 a.m. and an early flight to catch, all we could do was go to bed.
Here’s what sucks. I thought the race itself was a blast. I was already planning on coming back to run it again with Ken. But the post race situation was so crappy, I don’t know that I can revisit this one unless there are some big changes. I noticed the race took a huge hit on their Facebook page yesterday.
I still will end on a positive note. Race weekend was a blast. You can read about it HERE, HERE and HERE. I got to meet so many bloggers who I’d never met in person. I’ve decided that running bloggers are an exceptionally nice breed (I like to think it’s because we run and that makes us better people. Thereby proving that running makes everything better). I won $200. I spent time with good friends. I laughed so much I almost peed myself several times, just like the guy next to me on the plane. I learned about someone’s pooping habits in Denny’s. I got to run on the Strip at night in Vegas. And, I have a great story to tell my grandchildren about the time I was stranded after a race and almost died (it’s important to embellish).
Moral of the story: Stay at the Four Seasons.