Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon 2012 – Video and Review by Coach Steve Mackel
I went to the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Full and Half Marathon to see if they could fix they issues they had last year. The reviews from last year were pretty harsh. At the same time, I wanted to run the strip at night and it was a good excuse to go to Vegas.
I love Vegas but only for about 48 hours max. I don’t go to Vegas to prepare for a marathon. Let’s face it, I’m not going to win the race but I may win on the tables. That means late nights and buffets, not very conducive to get ready to run a marathon.
So I went to have fun and hang out with some fun people, runners. It was a whirlwind weekend. I flew in Saturday evening, got to the hotel, went to the expo, picked up my packet, stopped at some booths, then hit the town. It started with dinner and drinks. Then a bunch of us met for a few games of Beer Pong. From there it was off to the craps table, and so on. I ended up rolling in around 5 AM, but no sweat, my race didn’t start until 3 in the afternoon.
Afternoon races present the need for their own special strategy, if you care that much. Mine was get some sleep. But that messes up your eating schedule. After a breakfast that I would taste the first 6 miles of the race, I went back to the room and got one more hour of sleep.
I got my gear together and headed over to the marathon starting line. The starting area was clean with lots of porta potties, no lines but only around 3200 ran the marathon and they were prepared for 9 times as many half marathoners. We lined up in our corral and soon we were off.
It was warm, about 72 degrees and windy at 3 PM. In fact, I usually sweat quite a bit but the dry wind was drying the sweat off me before it was soaking through my running clothes. The spectators we great along the first 5 miles of the route. They consisted of half marathoners, family, friends and the Vegas crowd.
The runners were fun and fast because of the 4:30 cut-off. We cruised towards Downtown with the wind at our backs. The one thing I did wrong, but I knew it, was try a bunch of new things like different socks, no insoles in my shoes and Island Boost Gels that I had never used before. I did this so I could review these products in race conditions. Reviews to come.
From the start, my stomach wasn’t happy with me and I figured I had to be dehydrated after the previous night. I stopped at every water station drinking water and Gartoade. There was plenty of both.
By mile 9 I need a port potty and I might have been the first person to use the one I picked out and that is nice. So far so good, but now we turned into the the wind and dirt was blowing in our face.
Next we were winding through the back side of Downtown LV. I wanted to stop in the California Casino and play one hand of Blackjack for my video but I knew cameras were not allowed so I pressed on. We ran through a tunnel then headed towards the outskirts of the city.
Miles 10 through 21 were not exciting but the out and back course allowed us to see the leaders and fellow runners, so we could cheer each other on. It also gave me an idea of where I was going. These 11 miles had some good bands, the aid station were working well and I could see where I was going because now it was dark.
When I got to mile 21 it was another bathroom break. No problems but 1/2 mile later I would witness one runner puking on on another runner. What a bummer and it was the first time I have ever seen that before. I ran up the the guy that got puked one and put him in the video. If you are going to puke, please pull off the road.
The course was pretty flat and seemed fast. We were almost in Downtown so I knew the way home.
Mile 22 was the best part of the marathon. We reached the Fremont Experience right in front of the Plaza. We made a right and ran right down the middle of it. The lights were crazy, the music was loud and the spectators enthusiastic. I was pumped and it was easy to run those blocks. When we came out and made a right back onto the street, we merged with the half marathoners. It felt good but soon we would make another right and get into the slummy part of Downtown while the half marathoners were running on Las Vegas Blvd.
Mile 23 and 24 were difficult miles. No crowds, weak lighting and slow. I walked, ran and decided to save something for the last mile.
Around the Stratosphere we merged back with the half marathoners and there was a lot of encouragement from the half marathoners.
Quickly the marathon lane got very narrow. It was difficult to pass and spectators were spilling into our lane. I was struggling but the crowd’s excitement helped push me the last mile. When I could see the finish line the loud music motivated me to keep running. Moments later I was crossing the finish line.
I think about 35,000 run in this race. I understand the need for a secure area once we finish but I think they could improve this area. I finished at 7:30 and it was cooling down. If it colder night I would have been in trouble. Space Blankets do not keep me warm and it was a super long walk to get out of the secure area. Luckily I packed warm clothes so I went straight to the checked bag area to put them on. They had chocolate milk, Jamba Juice smoothies, water, bagels and bars. It was plentiful but I wanted to get warm and my stomach was not feeling like too much except water after the race. I am not a big medal person but the medal was really cool.
In the end, I really liked the course and they had great support. The marathon is probably cooler than the half because it is a small field which makes it easier for the volunteers to take care of us. But next time, I will run the half because Vegas took a toll on me. I came to Vegas to have fun and that’s exactly what I had. So, I’ll figure out how to get warm right after I finish and have another great time. As usual Rock ‘n’ Roll races delivered.
Below is the data from my Garmin. I was able to keep my Heart Rate low so it was a good training race.
Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Head Coach Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs