Running the Rock n Roll Vegas… The Sweet, The Savory, and The Bitter

Okay, I just returned to the Bay Area from Las Vegas.  I was out there for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. Here is my weekend recap.

The Sweet (the running fashion):

Since this was my first night time run… in the desert… in winter… I needed new running gear to be prepared for the cold night.  And in my complete Lululemon obsession, I ended up wearing the following items:

  • Brisk Run Headband: I love this because it kept my head and ears warm from the elements.  Since it’s a headband it also allowed me to wear my hair in a pony tail.  The design I got is also reversible and matches the pants I got.
  • Run: Turn Around Tight: I LOVE these pants.  They are made of Lululemon’s Running Luon or Rulu as they call it.  It is a super soft and comfortable 4-way stretch.  I can’t tell you how comfortable these pants are to run in.
  • Brisk Run Gloves: So these are just awesome.  I am an iPhone junkie. Yes, at times, even when I’m running… to change a song or adjust my Nike Plus. These gloves have little pads on the thumb and pointer fingers that work with touch screen phones such as the iPhone.
  • Run: Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve: I actually bought this several months ago and it’s been a great staple piece.  I have worn it on brisk San Francisco mornings out for runs.  I ended up wearing it over another Lulu run tank and then under the Rock n Roll race tech tee.

In all my Lulu gear I felt light and dry (because of the wicking fabrics) and most importantly, warm. I didn’t feel cold until the very end when I stopped running.  By that time, I was handed a heat sheet and went into the Hotel (which is a whole other fiasco).  Thanks Lululemon… your run gear is very SWEET!

The Savory (the food):

Okay, I admit, the last couple weeks I have been eating a lot more than I have been training.  So my race time wasn’t exactly fast or anything, but I really did enjoy the food.

Since the run was in the evening on Sunday, it was important we eat a very good brunch.  I am not sure this was the healthiest, but it sure had lots of calories for fuel! I didn’t need much else before the race other than an apple and some energy gel.

So for our pre-race brunch was at the Hash House a Go Go. This restaurant was featured on the Vegas episode of Man v. Food awhile back. I got the Fried Chicken Eggs Benedict featured on the show.

We also got a plate sized Blueberry Pecan Flapjack to share at the table… so freaking good!

After the race, my sister and I were so tired we retreated back to our hotel and ate at our hotel’s open 24 hours a day cafe. Nothing memorable.  The following day we met back up with our race group and really celebrated with food.  In case you didn’t already know, I love cheeseburgers.  And luckily some of the people in our run group are from Vegas and brought us to Bachi Burger off strip.  It was so worth it!  I got the Miyagi-san Grass Fed Wagyu Burger (Chili Mayo, Fried Egg, Furikake, Caramelized Bacon, Crispy Onion Rings).

The Bitter (the race):

I want to start off by saying, I am not a fast runner by any means.  I tend to walk run the longer races. And my goal for this particular race was to just finish because of a slight hip injury and lack of training.

I don’t know where to start… so I will just write it like how I told my friends today… it was a HOT MESS…. and a total CLUSTER F**K.  I had noticed quite a bit of oddities as I was at the start line, during the race, at the finish line, and the post race madness will forever stand out in my mind.  But honestly it wasn’t until I read other participants complaints on Facebook that I realized that there was something amiss pretty much the entire race. I am not going to reiterate and complain about things that didn’t happen to me.

As a slower runner and sometimes walker, I know I will be getting to hydration stations later than most.  I know that I will get water at the tables toward the end of the station, but at some of the water stations in the last couple miles were nearly empty.  I think I only got Cytomax (electrolyte drink) once the entire time.  I don’t remember this being the case during my Rock n Roll San Jose experience.

Post-race Mandalay Bay… I can really only describe this as a war zone.  Lets just say the hall way was so packed with people and there were people going down (if not already down) all over the place.  There was a woman who was getting medical attention from some medics in the hall.  I don’t usually see this happening so I took note.  Then a few minutes and maybe feet later, the woman walking behind me told her companion that she needed to stop and rest.  Since my sister was behind this woman, I looked back to make sure my sister was still behind me.  The woman was keeled over a high planter with her head in her arms. Eek!  Then a few minutes (and inches), I observed a man laying on the floor curling into a fetal position.  I really have never seen a sight like this. As we made our way through the crowd to meet up with other friend, I notice people sitting, curled up in all sorts of corners of the hallway (nooks, between planters… anywhere they could). Our friends had found a spot near the Starbucks about halfway through the long Mandalay corridor. By the time we got there, we had been pushed out of the way by Medics (I think) asking everyone to move so people farther down the hall could get medical attention.  At this point I thought we would be sitting next to the Starbucks for quite a while.  To make this LONG story short, the security guard let us out the service hall that took us straight to the back parking garage and taxi line.  After waiting a long while for a taxi we were on our way back to our hotel (which was on the other side of a still closed Strip).

So by the time I got back to the hotel, I was sick. It’s not going to sound glamorous, but I went straight to my room to throw up.  Sigh.  Later I found out that I was MANY people who threw up (some in that Mandalay hallway), some were sick til the next day.  I didn’t even think to attribute my sickness to tainted water at the hydration stations until I read some of the other runners talking about how they became ill.

I really thought I could be concise in telling my observations, but clearly there was a lot to tell.  And I don’t want to sound totally negative about this race.  I have a lot of memories in Vegas and I did have a nice time thinking of all my good memories on the strip… including countless New Years Eve Celebrations & my 21st Birthday… It was very nice to run the strip at night, but it was just not what I expected.  I probably will not sign up for this race again in the future.

Sorry Rock n Roll… this one was bad.  I absolutely loved running San Jose and have signed up for two more Rock n Rolls in 2012.  Let’s hope the 2012 events are more like the San Jose run than the Vegas one.

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