What Happens in Las Vegas…

The full title of this post should be ‘What Happens in Las Vegas Doesn’t Really Have to Stay in Las Vegas if It’s Not Particularly Scandalous’ — here’s one last post about my trip.
Free Stuff
This was a great weekend for the collection of Free Stuff. I have no time for bits of paper and flyers (both at the race expo and the book fairs I’ve been to, I always wonder what the appeal is of collecting vast reams of printed matter that booths are handing out; some people will pick up anything), but I do like useful items. Namely, things I can eat. Among all the free samples, I also wound up with two bananas to bring home, which amazingly made it all the way back in my carry-on without getting banged up.
I was also rather enamored with the hotel pens (small, sleek, but with a nice heft and good ballpoint), and when we were at the Team Challenge pasta dinner, I helped myself to one that was on the table for filling out raffle tickets. My roommate, Amy, took a picture first of a friend holding up the tickets he was buying (‘Here’s Adam, doing good.’) and then of me with the pen (‘Here’s Anna, stealing things.’). When we were packing our bags before driving out to Lake Mead, I had to make note of an address, which caused me to exclaim, ‘Oh no, I have nothing to write with, because I stole all the pens!’
Food
Being a vegetarian in Las Vegas isn’t the most awesome thing. There was a Whole Foods a short bus trip away, but whenever I would have had the time to go there, I was totally exhausted (and usually starving). More than anything else, I was disgusted by the price of eating out in Vegas. It was awful, and most of the food really wasn’t worth it. I did enjoy a good veggie burger the first night, and I had some nachos the night after the race which were delicious. I think my favorite thing was the breakfast buffet, despite its ridiculous price. Both times I went, I had a pastry, yogurt with fruit, and scrambled eggs, which doesn’t sound like all that much, but it was enough both times to keep me full well into the afternoon. I’m looking into how to get a breakfast buffet installed here at the house.
The Race
So, how’d the race go? Overall, I’m very pleased. After I injured myself in September, I was worried about whether I’d even be able to run 13.1 miles by December. I kept my training light — two short runs (3-5 miles) plus one long run per week. The result was that I continued to recover even as I started running again, and I didn’t injure myself at this race. After looking at my pattern of having great training runs and miserable races, I realized I’d been overtraining, and taking it easier this time definitely worked out for the best.
Because I couldn’t work on speed for the past few months, I let go of any time goals I had had (namely, getting a sub-2:00 half-marathon this year), which allowed me to enjoy the race without pressure. My finishing time was 2:16:30, which isn’t the fastest I’ve ever run the distance (on my own), but it is a personal record for a race (see: history of miserable races). And in my mind, there were two races: the first eleven miles, which were great, and the last two, which were a slog. I had zero pain, which was a fantastic and new race experience, but I just hit the wall, and my muscles couldn’t move me along any faster. I was fueling with Gu gels and drinking plenty, so I don’t know what happened.
But those first eleven miles are much more important, in my mind. I felt good, and I enjoyed myself. The course was along the strip and very flat, which was nice. I didn’t enjoy the bands along the route (this was part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll series) — not because of the bands themselves, but because they were so loud that it made running past them quite uncomfortable. But the banks of Team Challenge supporters were awesome. Every time they saw a runner in an orange singlet, they went wild, which was definitely a boost. I saw Andrea, our new region manager, twice (out and back) during the race, and she even ran with me for a short time after mile nine, right when I needed a good distraction from how many miles were still left.
So, in short, I had a great time at the race, and I loved the Team Challenge experience. They run another half in Napa during the summer, and I have no idea how I’d manage the fund-raising again, but I’m sure tempted to try…

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One Response to What Happens in Las Vegas…

  1. Marisa says:

    Yay! Congratulations on a great race :-)

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