Race morning up bright and early. Amanda talked about just following the crowd, funny not many people stayed at the Venetian. We made our way to the Monorail and found many many runners headed the same way. There was a glowing Sunrise on the horizon, I knew it was going to be a beautiful day. We did not totally follow the route we went the night before, but made our way to Mandalay Bay.
Once there is was BUSY!! Potty stop first, so wonderful to have a lush pre-race pitstop in a Casino. Then we got in the CROWD and walked FOREVER through the Casino. I was getting anxiety, I just wanted to be outside. My height comes in handy, I spotted the Corral signs, we were in #9. I tied my shoes a bit tighter (maybe too tight, more later). Amanda had her phone and took some pictures. I did not have a camera, race belt or water, VERY VERY different for me to be gadget free. I think a lot of people had a hard time finding the start line because they were SCRAMBLING as the horn blew. There was supposedly a Cher impersonator singing the National Anthem but I did not hear anything.
Quick celeb moment on the jumbotron and off we went. There were 4 lanes so the running crowd spread quickly. My Mom gave me one of my Dad's zip front shirts to keep me warm before the race…it was like he was there giving me a BIG HUG before the race.
This race was what I needed to do.. I NEEDED something to look forward to, to help me escape the pain and sorrow of losing my Dad. The Holidays are going to be tough, so traveling to Vegas and helping Amanda meet her Goal seemed to be a good idea. I ran this race for Dad and for Amanda…I realized pretty quickly that I did not run the race for myself.
I warmed up quickly and knew it was time to shed my HUGGY outerlayer. I kissed the sweatshirt and tossed it to the side. "Bye Dad!!" Many people had memory bibs on their backs, and I had created a shirt to honor my Dad…but in the end I wrote "DAD" small on my race bib close to me heart. This was for ME, my struggle, my heartbreak, my challenge.
Amanda and I were talking a lot, I told her that when I stop talking she should worry (more about that later too). At mile 2ish in front of our hotel the Venetian there was a run through Wedding… SUPER COOL!! I thought about Muscle Man and how we will renew our vows in a few years on our 10th Anniversary. Funny as we ran I saw many women dressed as brides but not as many grooms.
Further down the race leaders on the bikes came our way.. Around that time Cynthia introduced herself "I read your blog!" I love love love it when people introduce themselves, we chatted for a minute, I asked her goal and realized we were going slower than she wanted to run.. I said "Don't let us slow you down! Good luck!" Our plan was to run around 10 minute miles and we were hanging about 9:48ish. Amanda and I joked about my "celeb" status, made me feel good, I always wanted to be a celebrity ;)
The running leaders wooshed by on the left, I said "So that is what 0% body fat looks like." Chapels, Pawn Shops, banks, casinos, and the last bar in Vegas, and we hit the turn back. About that time a young guy ran to the side, his goofball buddies handed him a beer can, high fived then ran off grinning from ear to ear.. FUNNY!!
Fremont Street, last time I was here was with my family we traveled to Vegas often for Basketball tournaments. I told Amanda about the nightly lights shows and characters in the Fremont area. To our left was a man clearly struggling and very overdressed (hopefully doing the half) his "Coach" was yelling "Get mentally tough!!" Barking at the poor guy like a drill Sargent. What the?? Not my coaching strategy at all. I hope the guy made it and the coach got a leg cramp... UGH!!
Many people were VERY VERY overdressed for the race. It was in the 60's, short sleeves and tank tops were ideal, but folks were in long sleeves and 2 layers even. While running you can overheat without knowing it, being overdressed is not good. I took off my black arm sleeves and stuffed them in my skirt. I thought about hiding them in bushes near our hotel, I really should have.
The water stations were disorganized, tables nearly empty. Blogger buddy Stacey had told me that they ran out at mile 22 the last 2 years.. At this point Amanda and I were worried about how the race would play out.. We joked about going into a casino to purchase a water or two. A woman in a white feather show girl getup passed to the left…not only was she passing us, BAD FOR MY EGO, but she was getting all the photog attention, BAD FOR MY HEART! LOL!! She zoomed on and we passed many many other strange characters…
Wonder woman, Batman's Robin, dude in M&M pajama pants, the entire cast of Sesame Street, brides, show girls, 3 people in crazy purple & leopard outfits with big hats, a small woman in what looked like a Dorothy costume (more on that later), men and women in cowboy hats and more Elvis's than I could count. We looked very NORMAL :) Looks can be deceiving.. hehehe
I was entertained and really enjoying myself. Then came THE TURN..
Left to finish, have energy and enjoy Vegas.. Right to 13.2 more miles, hardly any time in Vegas and a bleak post race day… Oh how I hoped Amanda would go left…I threw it out there…
- FLASHBACK to PORTLAND mile 12 Amanda was struggling and ready to quit "Amanda get in the car and be done." she didn't, she kept on.. I knew that she would not go left, as much as I wanted to… The first half was for Dad, the second half was for Amanda.. We went right.
We headed to the first overpass, flat huh?? Amanda kept a positive outlook "We are using different muscle groups," all I could think was "I am not in shape for this." The miles passed as I felt my body start to slow. The sun was showing, but overcast enough to keep me cool. The arm sleeves I had stashed in my skirt were driving me crazy so I pulled them out but then had to hold them...UGH!!
The Cheerleaders on the course were such a high light, full of light and positive words. Trick, wave at them and they scream louder :) We talked about running friends, Marlene, T, Jill, Zoe, Janna, Tammy, etc.. Each one of the ladies played a role in getting me through this race. I was feeling OK as Hannah strided by on our left, she looked AWESOME!! A few minutes later we also saw Shawna HERE bright yellow in Brooks gear. I was PUMPED to see someone wave in excitement. Shawna told me after the race that she dedicated mile 19 to my Dad, made me CRY!! We kept on and I had a feeling that Hannah would pass us soon. The Nevada Mountain Range was pretty but nothing compared to Mount Rainier, the mountains were the only point of interest in the industrial, concrete second half.
Mile 16 water stop I tried to take a chomp, but nearly vomited… UMMM not good!! From then on I lived off of water and Cytomax. We picked up the pace a little around mile 18, maybe too fast…My arm pit area was getting chaffed, Amanda spotted an aid tent with Vaseline, problem solved! Hannah passed us looking AMAZING and zoomed to a new PR!! It was great to see her smiling face, we have only really associated online and in passing on race courses.
Heading toward Mandalay Bay and the finish, then the course took us right.. WHAT??? This course is HORRIBLE and plays with your mind, weaving you close to the city, then out, then pretzels to where you cant tell who is in front or behind.. UGH!! It was "Stupid!!" my words not Amanda's, I was pretty grumpy!!
By mile 19 I was DONE!! I was not trained for this and it came back to haunt me. My calves were cramping, foot was on fire, tied my shoe too tight, and mentally I was DRAINED!! I thought about my Dad and hoped he would carry me, instead it just made me feel GUILT..
- GUILT....For spending so much money before the holidays, for leaving my husband and kids for the weekend, for not being there for my Mom if she needed me, for not going to my sister's birthday party, I questioned every decision I had made coming to this race… and it was slowly taking me down. I needed to WALK..
We got passed by a guy in full Elvis costume and a lei (picture to come).. UGH!! He finished just over 4 hours, wow FAST ELVIS. A couple was walking hand in hand together in front of us, Amanda said "Cute," all I could think was "Move off to the side so I don’t have to go around you." Grumpy!! Clearly from a lack of nutrition. I was THIRSTY and was taking in a Cytomax and 2 waters at every station. My belly sloshing from the liquid.
The aid station at mile 22ish was manned by an environmental group, I thought that was a little ironic as the cups littered the street. Made me laugh for a minute. Near them we heard a loud strange chirp of a Kuku Bird in the trees, we heard this same funny noise 3 times along the course, guess the Kuku is a race fan :) (Kuku is a species I made up, LOL) Electric Shawna ran by a few more times on the opposite side, by the last pass I could hardly wave. My shoulders were on FIRE, my foot felt like it was splitting in two and I was very light headed. I told Amanda about my foot and she told me to loosen my laces, GOOD IDEA!! I did and as I stood up I nearly passed out. We walked, jogged, ran our way through the next few BORING miles..
The little lady in the Dorothy costume had been playing leap frog with us the WHOLE RACE!! It was driving me CRAZY! I noticed at mile 25 she was about 150 yards in front of us. We stopped to walk just before the hill. Then Amanda said "We can maybe break 4:30!" It was just what I needed to hear and I switched it back on. I WANTED TO BE DONE AND SIT DOWN!!
What would a race be without a T-Rex Arms photo?? Think this is my signature pose..
With Amanda a half step behind I felt my legs speed up. Dad are you pushing me?? My pain, tiredness and ill feelings disappeared. I got a charge from the streets lined with spectators. It was a LONG Finish shoot, seemed to go forever, but I kept on. I had my music playing and kept my head high. Everything in me wanted to take out the little Dorothy lady, but I knew she was too far. The big clocked tickets to 4:30:XX. I SPRINTED I did not want it to get to 4:31, I looked back and could see Amanda was fading, but we were ALMOST THERE!! Grabbed her hand and crossed the Finish TOGETHER!!We came and did what we set out to do. Finished the Marathon together! We will have this memory and those 26.43 miles for the rest of our lives. Although we live miles apart, the memory will make me smile (and wince a little).
Got my medal, posed for fun photos, grabbed some grub but nothing great and headed out to SIT..
Sitting I felt horrible, I needed to eat so I gobbled down a Banana, some pretzels and gulped an entire bottle of water. We snapped a couple pictures with Amanda's camera, bad bloggers did not take many but we were so drained.. We both did not want to walk/tram/casino/monorail/walk back to the hotel. A Taxi seemed to be the best idea so we went into Mandalay to find a way out…
This concludes the Marathon story :)
THE SECTION BELOW IS MARKED TMI….DO NOT CONTINUE WHILE EATING OR IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH. I could leave this part out, but then I would not be ME.
Not 10 feet into Mandalay I felt it..salty taste in my mouth…and was flushed with heat…I surged forward to the gold garbage can and proceeded to dry heave. Ouch.. Dry heave again.. Yuck.. Then VOMIT and again and again… in front of God and everyone. Amanda stood by my side, I am sure completely grossed out and wondering how she could help. Once I felt settled we started to walk again.
Waited in line at the bathroom the folks with red medals Half finishers looked great, the black medals Marathon were a bit more tired. I splashed water on my face and cleaned my hands. I was delerious and ill. I hoped Amanda could lead because I was not functional. She said "you look pale."
The taxi line at Mandalay was LONG so we went to the tram to Excalibur hoping it would be shorter.. The Tram was packed like sardines.. I could smell everything, the lady sitting to my right had an MGD, the thought of beer made me throw up in my mouth. We wanted to go all the way to Excalibur but when the tram came to the first station at Luxor I NEEDED to get out ASAP! The lady in front of me knew what I was about to do and cleared the way with her arm.
Garabage can #2 defaced, there went my banana and pretzels.. YUCK!! Amanda bless her heart rubbed my back and held back my hair. This lasted for what seemed like FOREVER, there was no way I was getting back on that Tram. I said "I threw up on my medal," Amanda said "It is OK you can wash it." Then we went down a ramp to the LONG LONG LONG taxi line.
I was cold, then hot, then light headed, then just BLAH.. I just wanted to get in a cab. Amanda was fine, chatting with a couple in line from OK. When we FINALLY got a cab the driver was a Mad Man.. He jerked forward, braked hard, not good for a weak tummy.. UGH!! He had no idea how to get around the traffic.
FINALLY back to Venetian but I was not done yet.. Garbage can #3… How I had anything left is beyond me.. All liquid.. GROSS!! These people had no idea why I was wearing a medal cape of puking, we were too far from the race for that.
Up to the room and I wanted to feel better, for me, for Amanda, for Vegas… Then things went South.. Running to the bathroom for another reason.. URGH!!! My body would not hold anything..had to be the Cytomax and being undertrained. Amanda ordered room service as I laid lifeless on the bed..
Is that enough for now?? Sorry for the GROSS details but really the lesson is that when you train for a Marathon you train EVERYTHING.. Your feet, legs, mind, even your stomach.. Without that training it will not be pretty.
Do I regret it?? NO WAY!! I love Amanda and cherish our friendship. I knew she needed someone for this race and I could be there for her in whatever form possible :) This race was TOUGH because it was my first race with my Dad in Heaven, now I know he is ALWAYS with me...
Marathon #5 done!!! Some sweet pictures, a roller coaster of emotions and a vomit covered medal to show for it.. More pictures and Lessons Learned tomorrow..