I'm going to start off with a warning: There are lots of pictures in this post! lots!
With that being said, I apologize for being MIA for a few days. Not only was I getting ready for the 13.1 miles, I also had my cousin and her husband (who also ran the half with me) visiting from Texas and we were busy catching up! It was a blast. Now, on to the half marathon...
I survived! YAY!! Truth be told, I trained for over 15 weeks, I was pretty sure I'd finish. What I wasn't sure of, was how I'd finish. And I must say, overall, I am happy with the results. I finished in 2:34:20. I was aiming for 2:30 but that was ambitious, since I never really trained for speed, just endurance. I'm also really happy that I ran the entire time. No stopping, no walking! Slow jogging? You bet ya'!
So, we checked into The Venetian hotel at noon. Shout out to my sister for the family discount and upgraded room with an awesome view of the strip! We had plenty of time to settle in, have a pre-race snack, change our clothes, and try to relax a bit. Getting a room on the strip was a great idea. Huge thanks to Anya from my fb running group for suggesting it ;) The kids and my parents had a warm place to hang out and wait till we were done running, we didn't have to travel far afterwards, and we had a great place to celebrate our accomplishment!!
My sister and Jason drove us as close as we could get to the pre-race area. They were able to park in a business center and walk with us the rest of the way. Big thanks to the security guard for letting us park there, even though we weren't supposed to!
Once inside the pre-race area we took photos, rested, listened to the live band, and used the port-a-potty twice. The lines were crazy long! But, I'm glad we went twice, since we didn't have to stop along the course.
Here I am at my corral ready to go. There ended up being 36 corrals total, so we were towards the back and although the race officially started at 4:30pm, we didn't actually get to the start line until 5:15pm or so. Yup, 45 mins. of walking in a huge group of people towards the start line. It was pretty crazy and crowded! Once we got started, it was already dark. If I do another marathon, I will try to have a closer corral number ;)
I was really looking forward to mile 4 because I knew my family and friends would be there cheering us on. It was awesome hearing them cheer and giving us high fives. Next time, I'd like them at miles 9 or 10 because that's when I started to get tired!! I really could have used the boost then!
Once we passed our family, I felt really pumped! That lasted a few more miles and up until that point, I was right on target for finishing at my goal time of 2 hrs and 30 mins. And then...we got to downtown Vegas. The crowds dwindled, the noise was gone, and the lights were gone. Those were some dark and tough 4 miles. Once we headed back towards the strip and I could see we were getting closer to the end, my mind was ready to push harder, but my legs just couldn't go any faster. No matter what I did, I couldn't speed up my pace. I am so thankful for my cousin and her husband for pushing me to keep going and for giving me tips to so I wouldn't slow down too much.
Crossing that finish line was an amazing feeling. I turned around and asked my cousin, "Did that just happen? Is it done? Can I stop running now?!?" I was pretty chocked up. Crying at the finish line was not something I thought I was going to do, but it's what happened. I'm blaming it on the adrenaline rush ;)