I woke up at 4 am to prepare for the marathon. I wanted to shower, try to remain calm and meet my group to board their shuttle.
I urinated a few times. I had nervous energy.
And, I had hydrated for the previous few days. Although, I was bummed to discover that the Bellagio did not have G2 or Gatorade. They only offered Powerade. I am not a fan of Powerade. I purchased Vitamin Water, hoping, that I would like it.
We walked over to the Flamingo to meet the group. We saw several drunk people, gamblers and homeless people. One guy told me that he liked my camera. I was holding my water bottle.
The air was energized with the possibility of a great day inspite of the debauchery we encountered. When we entered the Flamingo, I watched this drunk chick take off her heels and weave up the stairs. She looked confused and in need of her hotel room.
I used the Flamingo bathroom three times. Like I said, I was nervous. I would pee and then three minutes later want to go again.
The shuttle was late and nowhere in sight. We still had time to get to the start line, but taking a cab, at that point, was not in the cards for me. The fact that it was suggested sort of annoyed me. I thought that the shuttle was a definite confirmed thing. Anxiously, we waited, took a photo and considered our options.
Then, it appeared. We asked the guy to get us as close to the start as he could. There was still some activity on the Strip, but mostly, it was empty. My friend, Brett, remarked that this was a first--being sober at 5 am, in Vegas. And, since it was him, that was true. I think it probably was the first time he was in bed by 9 pm in Vegas.
We leave the shuttle and again, I use the bathroom. The porta potty was clean and I apparently was the first person to use it. I had to unwrap toilet paper.
We walk to the start line. I look around and there are so many people.
At this point, we still have a substansial amount of time to think about the race. We walk to the designated meet post race spot and hang out. I go the bathroom again and again and again. Shari, Brett and Pete were all laughing at me, but I was so nervous.
I hug Shari and the two Canadians and walk to my corral. I was in the 14th wave and surrounded by running Elvis's. There was a gigantic group of them in my corral and they were unwilling to separate.
The race began at 7. I began my journey at 7:18. I heard that it took them an hour to get everyone over the start line. There were so many people.
Mile one went by fast. I felt great. I wasn't weaving in front of people, but by mile 3, I knew that I needed to slow down. Somehow, I was finding difficulty in achieving that. I just wanted to go.
The Strip was filled with spectators. Shari and I talked about meeting at mile 4, mile 9, mile 12, mile 19, 22 and of course, the finish. At mile 4, I saw her amongst the mass of people. I didn't see my sign, but I yelled a greeting to her.
About mile 5, this guy asked me what time I had. I think he thought I had a garmin on. I didn't. I still haven't bought one. I did have a pace band on which helped. From this point, I ran the next 12 miles with Dave from the East Coast. He and his family were moving to Connecticut from Seattle and decided to stop in Vegas to run a marathon. He was in the Navy and had lost 45 lbs. in the last year.
I enjoyed running with him, but our conversation was mostly me asking questions and him answering. He had this toughness about him. He was determined to finish in around 4 hours. He noticed other runners that were marathon maniacs or in the navy. Very respectful and polite.
During these miles, the pace was good. I noticed that we slowed down some between 14-16. I was starting to feel it. I also needed to urinate. I wanted to hold off since I knew that I would lose my running mate and some of my motivation.
At mile 17, I had to go. I couldn't avoid it any longer. I saw a porta potty and stopped, bid Dave adieu/good luck and stopped.
I felt better, but wasn't looking forward to the mile 9 miles. I turned my ipod on to my shuffle mix and restarted.
The first 1/2 of the race was up and down the Strip, full of spectator support and sights. The minute we veered off to continue the marathon, we encountered a bridge. It doesn't seem like much but up until that point, there were no hills. And, as we crossed the mile 13 marker, I could see the 25 in the opposite direction. I knew that I would remeet the hill at the end of my journey.
Plus, the amount of spectators decreased. The area, in general, was industrial and a little demoralizing for me. At mile 23 (I thought), I was ready to be finished. I saw all of these people around me stopping to walk and so I stopped. I thought it was okay since others did. I know that I could have kept going, but I stopped for a few minutes and restarted. I noticed the mile marker and saw that I was approaching mile 23, not 24. That sucked. It sucked badly. I don't know how I got ahead of myself, but I did.
Shari met me at mile 19 with gatorade. I was so grateful when I saw her. And, I drank the gatorade. The course offered water or cytomax. I knew, right away, that I did not like the cytomax.
At mile 25, I felt like I found my legs again. I was determined to finish strong inspite of the cramps in both of my calves. I refused to acknowledge it. I had to finish.
I ran the bridge, passing people that had stopped. I felt good, again.
The Strip welcomed us with a chorus of--You're almost there. I picked up my pace and searched for the finish line. I kept thinking--where is it? Why haven't I crossed it yet?
Then, there it was and it felt amazing to cross it. I received my medal and walked through the runner's only area. I picked up a banana and some water.
I felt fantastic! I had shaved 53 minutes off of my last marathon. Granted, I injured myself during the Denver Marathon. The last 12 miles were miserable and although I finished, it was not a strong showing.
I think from this experience, I learned that I can do it and that I intend to do it again. I need to figure out my nutrition during the marathon so that I do not break down midway through it. Cramps, salt loss, and being somewhat delusional during miles 21-26 lead me to believe that I can improve and want the chance to do it.
And, this time around, I could walk after the race. I wasn't dying from being stiff/sore. I could continue on with enjoying the Vegas adventure. Yes, I definite felt like a runner after this marathon....