Yes, you are seeing that right! 1000 ft. uphill in the first 9 miles, then a screaming 1000 ft. descent in the last 4. It was the toughest race I've ever run. Even tougher than my hilly marathon. That's serious!
We got into Vegas on Friday afternoon and settled into our fancy-schmancy room at the Red Rock Casino Hotel and Spa. This place was nicer than any hotel room we have ever stayed in. Not that we've stayed in that many fancy hotels but the bathroom had leather walls for goodness sakes! And a TV by the tub! I felt a bit like Elly May Clampett taking pictures of anything shiny. "Garsh, y'all!" This West Virginia hillbilly is definitely easily impressed but I really think anyone would've been impressed with this place. And we got a super discounted rate since this was the host hotel for this particular race.
Anywho, the boys and I enjoyed relaxing at the hotel room while Thai Guy and his Dad tracked down a couple of MMA gyms hoping to meet Randy Couture and Wanderlei Silva. He came back with a couple t-shirts but no luck meeting the fighters. Seemed happy enough just to check out their gyms, though. We took the boys to IHOP for some pancake carb-loading and got back to the hotel with just enough time to hit the slot machines with my mother-in-law before bed. She gave us both $20 and I'm happy to say that I got up $6 and quit! That's right. I quit as soon as I get up at all. I'm really not much of a gambler. That $26 paid for our food the next day! :) I'm also very proud to announce that I GOT CARDED! Hilarious! Totally made my night.
On to the race- race morning I was feeling just a little nervous about my lack of water and proper nutrition in the week leading up to the race. I brushed it off and decided to just do my best. No real time goals. I wanted to PR but knew it would be a lofty goal on this course.
At the start. Cold and excited.Because there was no parking at the start, we made our way to the front of the hotel to catch a shuttle up to the race start. It was a bit cool but I knew the temp would be perfect once we started running. We didn't stand around too long before we were called over to the starting line and after a couple quick announcements, we were off!
The first mile was weird because we started on a paved road and turned off onto a dirt road, went out about 1/3 of a mile and turned around, came back and continued on the original paved road. Very strange and scary. I watched my feet the whole time while hopping around loose rocks. I'd be a terrible trail runner. I was sure that I was going to turn my ankle. Thank goodness I made it back without injuring myself. The next 4 miles were uneventful. Uphill. And you can tell which miles had the steeper hills from my pace. I never train hills and I was regretting it.
Miles 6-8 I was thinking, "Ugh, where do the hills end?!" The website had said 8 miles uphill and I specifically remember looking at my Garmin, still going uphill, at 8.5 miles. Good thing Thai Guy is so good at hills because the only thing keeping me going was the fact that I didn't want to get separated from him. He was truckin' up those hills and I was just trying to keep up with him. Then, finally, the downhills! I love running downhill. Aaahhhh! Felt so good. And fast!
Miles 11-13.1 (actually 13.2)
Mile 11 had a little uphill in the middle of it but not too bad. And the final two miles I just went for it! I ran as fast as my legs would go and leaned into the downhills. I ended up leaving Thai Guy those downhill miles because his knees aren't quite as forgiving as mine. Those last couple of miles made the whole race worth it to me. I felt great! I passed all kinds of people and I really made up for some of those really slow uphill miles which made me feel a bit better about my overall pace. I finished at 2:05:02 on the Garmin and 2:05:01, official chip time. Not even close to a PR but infinitely more satisfying than my PR half.
Thai Guy finished at 2:05:30, so he wasn't far behind. We got a quick bite to eat at the finish line and hopped back on the shuttle to get back to the hotel and relieve grandma and grandpa from their babysitting duties. I took this pic of the vista while we were waiting for the shuttle.
It was a beautiful run but I definitely didn't take enough time to appreciate the scenery. Most of the time, I was just trying not to die. Ha ha!
Firstborn took these pics of us with our medals after we got back to the hotel.
We are serious runners. Don't let this pic fool you.
And the medal. Cool, eh?
Oh, I almost forgot about the mini-meltdown. It was a strange thing for me. I was so excited to have finished the race strong and I was talking to the hubby about it right after the race as we were eating our post-race pancakes and I just got incredibly emotional. Not happy emotional, like sad because I spend so much time second guessing myself and beating myself up in my day to day life. I am generally a happy person but I do doubt myself on almost a daily basis. And that's really sad. I don't like that part of me. Anyway, in this moment, I felt sorry that I had wasted so much time being my own worst enemy. Something about being physically exhausted really brings emotions to the surface, you know? Finishing this tough race proved to me that I can do it! I proved to myself that I don't quit when things get tough. It's like I had forgotten that girl existed and this race helped me to remember her. It was a bitter-sweet moment. Looking back on it now, I'd say I was just really proud of what I had accomplished. Isn't that what racing is all about? Reminding us what we're made of?