Sunday, December 4, 2011

Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

There was a lot of drama at the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half this year, and none of it was caused by Kate Gosselin. Ok, the mom of eight may have stirred up some controversy when she was rumored not to have completed the full course, but the real drama was with the Competitor Group, the folks who put on the event. With 44,000 runners and walkers out on The Strip at night, something was bound to go wrong.

Sure enough, the truck load of complaints from participants pretty much short circuited the Competitor Group's Facebook page: over-crowding at the starting corrals, lack of electrolytes, contaminated water which got many violently sick, the now infamous "Merge" where the marathoners met the halfers at the 13.1 mile mark, congestion at that finish line, and running out of medals. Yes, I was affected by some of the above mentioned, but at the end of the night, this race goes down as one of the best racing experience of my short running career. Why? Because I got to be the Best Dude at the run through wedding for my Half Fanatic buddies, Jennifer and Mitchell!

Best race shirts ever!

My non-Disney Goofy Challenge turned into a Goofy Challenge after all, thanks to the Disney-themed wedding gear. Jennifer and Mitchell are both Disney fanatics, so it did not surprise me in the least that my Best Dude shirt had Goofy on it. After completing my trail marathon the day before--mind you, that marathon was my eight marathon in four weeks--I made up my mind early on to take this one easy. I did achieve this goal, but before the race I had to deal with a potentially catastrophic five-alarm fire drill. Because of the crowds, I couldn't get onto the shuttle to get to the wedding corral, so I had to sprint to the bride and groom, dodging tourists and other runner's walking to the start line along the way. Fortunately, I managed to arrive with a few seconds to spare! Had I been tardy, it would not have been the first time. I created an uproar a decade ago when I got lost and showed up to my buddy's wedding 13 minutes late. The problem? It was a 20 minute ceremony! To make matters worse, I was in the wedding party and I was carpooling his 13 and 10 year old siblings. Not good. I did make it to that wedding and the groom and I are still friends! I did not want a repeat of that with Jennifer and Mitchell.

Needless to say, I was relieved to make it to the wedding corral on time. I think the bride and groom were too! With all the hoopla of getting there and the excitement of the race, all the things that went wrong for others didn't really bother me. Yes, I did almost get side swiped by a marathoner as I veered onto their lane to get to the nuptial site at the mile two mark, but I had to get to the far left or else I would have miss the ceremony! I don't think that marathoner was too happy with me crossing over, but I had to get there. Sorry about that, BQ lady! As for the contaminated water, I didn't drink any of it. In fact, when I realized that there were was no Cytomax left on the course, I walked into a liquor store and bought myself a Hawaiin Punch. That kept me energized for a few miles. Then the rain hit. At that point, I was so cold that I started to run just so that I could get out of the cold. I crossed the finish line late enough to avoid the gridlock but early enough to get a medal. Granted, it was the wrong medal, but at least I didn't walk away with a naked neck. Note to self: email Competitor Group to get a half marathon medal.


Gotta get to the chapel on time!
Waiting to hear Jennifer and Mitchell say "I do."
I first met Alma on the plane en route to NOLA. I saw her again in Seattle. Now I see her in Sin City. Woo Hoo!
The newlyweds with their entourage.
Maniacs!
Finally got to meet Half Fanatic Scott from Chicago.
One of my favorite peeps in the Insane Asylum. Tyler Rich!
Endorphin Dude and The Launders! Well, the female is no longer a Launder.

My Sin City Rock 'n' Roll experience was a fun and memorable one. I understand that many people got sick or just flat out had a lousy time, and I am sorry for those folks. However, I had an awesome time. Not only did I get to witness two buddies tie the knot, but I got hang out with a bunch of my running peeps and I scored the best race shirt of the year. I really felt like the Best Dude all around!

I said it before, I'll say it again: BEST. RACE. SHIRT. EVER.

On a final note, at my mile 11, a woman ran up next to me, slowed down, and walked beside me. She was at her mile 24. She said to me, "This is my first marathon. I lost 70 pounds because of you. Thank you, Endorphin Dude." She then sped off. I didn't get a name and for the life of me, I can't remember what she looks like. This woman shocked me. I was absolutely stunned. I couldn't get that moment out of my head. I still can't.

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