Unlike the 5k the night before, we were not able to walk to this race start from our hotel. The marathon and half marathon both started at the South end of the Las Vegas Strip. We had a quick walk to the monorail ( which unlike at Disney, you have to purchase a ticket to ride. We ended up purchasing a three day pass but didn't end up using it all the other days because we found it was more convenient to just walk to where we needed to be). As we were on the monorail, I remembered that I forgot to put the "marathon cream" on the back of my knees like I had wanted to. I had been having some pain in that area and my sister bought this cream at the expo that she said worked for her. We rode the monorail all the way to the end ( which was the MGM resort), got off and still had to walk about 3 miles to the start line.
There were 48 corrals, and it filled up 2 roads! The marathon and half marathon started in the same place and were inter mixed in the corrals. We placed ourselves in the correct corrals although there was no one monitoring it. This was evident when I was at mile 2 and I was passing folks who had bib numbers in the 30's and 40's!
The first corral started at 4:30 pm and a few minutes later our corrals started. I can't believe how dark it got just in the few minutes that we waited to start. The first mile was actually behind the Las Vegas Strip and then mile 2 was when we turned on to the strip. We passed the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, which we both neglected to take a picture of. Running down the strip and seeing all the lights and especially the lights, tall buildings, and Statue of Liberty from the New York, New York, resort gave me a feeling as though I was really running through New York City! I figured after this race, I don't have a need to run a NYC race now!
From what I can remember, we were running on the strip till about mile 6. We passed the famous "Gold and Silver Pawn Shop" from the show Pawn Stars. I don't know who it was but I actually saw a person sitting inside. You would think they would be out cheering for the runners! We passed multiple wedding chapels ( I wish I would have started counting them). Although I didn't witness any runners getting married, I did witness a runner stopping in front of the Elvis Chapel to propose to another runner.
Mile 7 was in a residential area and then mile 8 was in front of Freemont street. That is where they were giving out GU and where the split off was. Half marathoners went left and marathoners went right. After the left hand turn, the half marathoners were back on the strip again until we reached the finish line. I ended up crossing the finish line at 2:20. I was actually pleased with this time seeing as this was my time when I first ran 13.1 miles in 2013. My goal for that year was to try to improve that time but as you know, I ended up being injured for 7 months so my previous half marathons were not ran for time. I may not have improved, but at least I'm back where I started!
I had my Garmin set for intervals but did not follow it. Actually I never looked at my pace or time ( except once at mile ten). I was worried about having some pain behind my knee, but that never happened. Since I had to be cautious on the 5K route the night before, I was worried about these road conditions but they ended up being fine. Traffic was blocked off during this race so we had the entire road to run on. The only nuisance would be those reflectors on the road that actually did not even reflect. Also, at one point in the residential areas there was a "bike lane" painted on the road and I started to run on that but there were metal pieces sticking up. I have no idea what they were suppose to be for seeing as though there was nothing reflective on them. I almost tripped over the first one. ~M
Now on to the FULL Marathon....When I first signed up for this race I was really excited. I had never ran a fall marathon and was excited to see how my training in the summer would reflect my race in the fall. With cooler temps and a flat course, I was hopeful for a PR. But ever since MCM I have been having IT band issues and haven't gotten any long runs in. When I was at the Expo in Vegas I purchased this marathon cream that was suppose to help with soreness on the area. I don't if it was a quick fix or if it was just in my head but I thought it really helped with the pain. It was almost like a Biofreeze that smelled good. After I put it on my leg I was freezing. It almost felt like a numbing cream. No wonder why I wasn't in any pain after I put it on! I used it that night several times as well as the next morning. I wish I would've put it on right before I left to the start but time got away from me and I was busy doing other things.
I was in corral 8 and when I started it was still daylight but not for long. I told myself I was going to be conservative since my leg had been bothering me. I kept thinking to myself I should've ran the half instead. They had the fun part up and back on the strip. While we have to venture out into the desert. After we branched off at mile 9 we ran under the Freemont street dome. That was the most fun of the Full Marathon. There were many spectators along this stretch. After that, it just got really quite for a long time. There were a few bands along the way and a lighted arch you ran through, but nothing too exciting. During this time I became very cold and it was a bit windy. I kept thinking I was going to warm up while I was running but it was the complete opposite. I would sweat and then the sweat just made me cold. I was so glad to have chosen the short sleeve and arm sleeves opposed to the tank top I almost wore. I probably could've went with a long sleeve since I never rolled my arm sleeves down once.
After hitting the half way mark I knew I was going slower than normal and knew I would have to pick it up a little the second half to make the time I wanted to. My leg was still bothering me a bit but I told myself I was going to feel it going slow or fast so lets pick it up. They say there comes a time in a marathon that it becomes mental over physical and I was hoping this was the time. The only other fun part was running back through the Freemont dome at mile 21. Shortly after that we were back on the strip for the home stretch. I kept thinking to myself regardless of my time I am going to finish strong and always know it could've been a lot worse. I don't regret anything that I have done during this marathon, except for not wearing a long sleeve shirt and gloves instead.
After a cold but strong finish for each of us.
I am grateful for the experience, but I wouldn't do the full marathon again. It was way too cold and no matter what corral you start, you run most of it in the dark. Lighting mostly came from street lights or the lights on the cop cars that were almost blinding. Either way, you definitely had to watch your footing at times. If you want to take part in this race weekend I would suggest the half, or the half of the half. This was a good experience once but I don't think either one of us would do it again. As far as RnR Races go, VA Beach will always be our favorite! ~L
Have you ever run a race that you didn't quite know how to dress for?