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So this is long... the actual race part starts a couple paragraphs down...<br><br><span style="font-family:Calibri;"><span style="font-size:medium;"><b>Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Report</b></span></span><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">The quest for a half marathon began at the beginning of 2007. I decided I wanted to do one, and promptly signed up for one in the summer. I didn’t train well, and ended up not doing it. I even told a friend of mine (our very own witchypoo) that I just didn’t think I had long distances in me. She wisely told me essentially “you never know.”</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">When I told her of a group I had found to train for a fall half marathon in Colorado, she encouraged me, so I paid my money and signed up. I trained all summer, meeting my group every Saturday for a long run, which was just what I needed to do those new distances. With each milestone I passed (7 miles, 8 miles, 10+ miles) I was pretty damn amazed… So as we completed our last long run of about 12 miles, I was excited. I knew I could do the half coming up in October.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">The very next day, I got injured doing a group strength training workout. My back was injured and I was out for almost 5 weeks. I ran at first through the early part of it, hoping I’d still be able to do the October half marathon. No such luck. I was disappointed, but by then I was on the healing track and decided there was no reason to mope around about it, and I began looking for a half marathon later in the year that I could complete, assuming my back cooperated.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">We love Vegas. We love to play poker. So when I discovered that Vegas had a half on December 2nd, I was set. We planned the trip with some friends, and I gave it a few more weeks for my back to heal before I signed up officially. I started testing my fitness to see how much I had lost while I was out. There was about a week and a half of no exercise, and then some elliptical and swimming, and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I ran.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Calibri;"><span style="font-size:medium;">I did a 75 minute run the last weekend of October, to see if I was going to be able to train for Vegas. It went ok. So it was on. I did a 90 minute run the following weekend with one of my running group friends, then a 105 minute run with my group, and finally a 2:05 run two weeks before the Vegas half. I felt good and was confident I could do it, and that my training was actually sufficient for once!</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">Of the friends that went to Vegas with us, the wife decided to do the half as well. So I had a cohort in crime. So Saturday came and we went to Vegas. My husband and I went to the Expo to pick up the race packets for our friend and myself. We browsed around a little, and got some cool commemorative stuff, but I was too superstitious to wear/use any of it before the race the next morning.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">Sunday dawned early. The race was set to start at 6:07 am. We took a cab around 4:30 to get to the start line at the Mandalay Bay. We were nervous. We got there, and it was cold. I had stressed about what to wear, and had multiple layers on. We hung out in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center until we decided we’d better get outside. I ditched my long pants at the last minute and chose to run in just my capri tights.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">I have never really been a part of a big mass starting race. It was crazy. There were about 20,000 half marathoners, and about 10,000 full marathoners, all jammed into this one area. We moved out there in one big river or people, and we couldn’t find any pace signs to line up next to, so we just joined the masses. A few minutes before race start time, an Elvis impersonator sang the National Anthem, which always gives me that weird tummy feeling and makes me feel a tad teary. Then as they started us, and the mass began moving towards the start line, he sang other Elvis songs while they shot off fireworks above us. Very cool.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">So by the time we got to the start line, we had started to jog a bit. My friend was going at a faster pace than I, so we split up. I made myself go slow, but it was so tempting to get swept up in the excitement of all the runners! So I slowed it down and kept my pace even, because I know that is the secret to a good race for me.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">As I settled in, I realized I was keeping an exact pace with another gal to my right. We ran a long for about five minutes before we introduced ourselves and decided to run together. It was the first half marathon for both of us. We stopped at mile 1 to use the porta potties, and as we chatted, she told me that she was there all by herself, and that she was running for her friend who had died about two months ago. She also shared with me that she had been on the reality show Hell’s Kitchen. I’ve never seen that, so I had no idea who she was. But her name was Heather West, and it turns out that she won the show, and her friend who had died was Rachel, also from the show. I found this all out later when I googled her. So I had a fun little brush with celebrity while I was running!</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Calibri;"><span style="font-size:medium;">We ran along together, occasionally chatting, but mostly just listening to our tunes and keeping each other company. We’d point out the funny costumes to each other, and both stopped our music to listen to the Blue Man Group as we passed them on the Strip. Running down the middle of the Strip is a bit surreal. Everything is SO huge. It kept us nice and distracted for about the first 4 miles. Then we passed the Stratosphere and began our loop to turn around and head back along the road behind the Strip. At mile 6, Heather wanted to stop at the porta potty, and I said sure. It was much better running with someone, so I was ok with stopping.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">The full marathoners peeled off before mile 6, and from that point on there was only one porta potty at each stop! So there were long lines. We easily waited 15 minutes in line for the porta potty. But we chatted with folks and watched the big group of running Elvises go by, pushing a baby stroller with a juke box on it, and drinking beer. Seriously.</span> <span style="font-family:Wingdings;"><span style="font-family:Wingdings;">J</span></span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">After Heather used the porta potty, I decided I didn’t need to go, and I was getting cold, so we took off again. We ran along, mostly in silence, but chatting off and on. We got to about mile 9, and we began the countdown. However, Heather was really struggling. She told me she hadn’t really trained, and it was starting to show. She was limping pretty badly as we ran along. I asked her if she wanted to walk, or if she needed to stop, but she pushed on. She was, after all, running for her deceased friend.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">So we slowed down, and I stayed with her while we went along. I felt strong (relatively speaking), but I decided to stay with her. You don’t run next to someone for 9 miles and then leave them when the going gets tough. So, we kept going, and people kept asking her if she needed help, telling her she was getting closer. When we saw the mile 12 marker, we both cheered at the thought of only one more mile. She was limping badly, and I was (still am) worried about how injured she would be. But on we went. We got to the mile 13 marker and could see the finish line. We were both so glad to see it, and I had a brief teary moment where I was kind of overwhelmed by what I’d just done. So we picked up the pace and crossed strong in about 2:54. Much slower than I had planned, but if you take out the 15 minutes of potty breaks, it was actually about right on target for this 12 min/mile runner.</span></span><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">We crossed the line and the nice volunteers at the end gave us water, those shiny blankets, and our finishers medals. I hugged Heather and found someone to take her to the medical tent. She clearly needed it. We parted ways after thanking each other for the race, and I’m so glad I got a chance to run with her. She was driven by her desire to honor her friend, and she really gutted it out those last four miles. I would have quit if I were in that kind of pain.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">So I wandered around, trying to figure out where to meet my friend and our husbands. And then, like a beacon from the sky, I see my husband coming towards me. I was so thrilled to see him!</span> <span style="font-family:Wingdings;"><span style="font-family:Wingdings;">J</span></span> <span style="font-family:Calibri;">So I kind of hobbled off to sit down and stretch out a little bit. My friend ran her first half in 2:06 on quite a bit less training than I, and while that is kind of disappointing for me, I am seriously thrilled for her! She has the racing bug now, so we’ll probably do other races together (at least start them together!).</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">We got back to the hotel, and we decided to shower, eat, and nap, in that order.</span> <span style="font-family:Wingdings;"><span style="font-family:Wingdings;">J</span></span> <span style="font-family:Calibri;">I was pretty achy that day, with my knees and hips hurting the most. I think part of the problem was that this whole race was on pavement and I did all of my training on gravel/dirt trails. Lesson learned there, I guess. But the next morning, I woke up fine. My legs may have been a little bit tired, still, but they felt good. No pain, no achiness!</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">So I guess my first half marathon was a success. My finish time wasn’t really what I’d hoped for, but considering the circumstances, I think I did well and more importantly, did the right thing by sticking with my race friend. She told me she would have never kept going if I hadn’t been there, so I’m pretty sure it was the thing to do.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">I’m already planning to do another half. I like my fitness level right now, and I don’t want to lose it. Maybe one after the first of the year, or this spring, but probably one in the fall of 2008 for sure. And it’s highly likely that I’ll do Vegas again.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">The other amazing thing to me is that I really did it. I mean, had you told me five years ago that I’d run a half marathon, I’d have laughed in your face. I had just finished my first 5K race and it was hard and it was all I could do to run 3 miles a few times a week. I’m still this chubby runner who runs mostly to keep herself from ballooning up, but I’ve really become addicted to the high of finishing a run. And to the camaraderie of the running community. My online friends have been so encouraging, and followed my little journey. One of them even called and left me a big “WOOOOHOOO!” voice mail after I texted her that I’d finished.</span> <span style="font-family:Wingdings;"><span style="font-family:Wingdings;">J</span></span> <span style="font-family:Calibri;">You gotta love friends like that!</span></span>
 

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Sounds like a great first race to me! Congratulations on sticking with your training, getting through injury, and helping a fellow runner!
 

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Way to go - congrats on your first half!<br><br>
FWIW - you're a better person than I. I'm a selfish racer, my friendships pause when the gun sounds and resume after the finish line...
 

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YAY! Congrats Courtney! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/banana.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banana"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/banana.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banana"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/banana.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banana">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wav.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wav"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wav.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wav"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wav.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wav"><br><br>
Congrats with your half marathon <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> 15 minutes for the porta potty?? you need to learn to hold it at races <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"> You are supposed to go 100 times BEFORE the race starts. That is so incredible that you ran your first race and then also made such a great connection with the other runner.
 

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Good job!<br><br>
I know we've never met.. but you are such a great person for staying with that girl. Most of us probably would have run on without her.<br><br>
You are an inspiration.<br><br>
signed, another chubby runner who is planning to do her first half this spring. (hopefully)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> And I didn't even use the damn porta potty for the long wait. I did go 100 times before the race, at least that is what is felt like! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">
 

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wyrillco, congratulations on a terrific race. I find it awesome that you stuck with your chance running partner for the whole race like that.<br><br>
Sometimes, time well raced isn't as important compared to time well spent. My Philly HM was like that for me in November when I ran with a couple of my KR buds, and it sounds like your LV HM was like that for you with someone you had never ever met before. Job well done <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_salut.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="salute">
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Tricia, you are going to kick ass. Which one are you doing?<br><br>
I kind of took the whole "it's all about the journey" theory for the race. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> Next time I'll PR for sure!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Aw, no tears!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"><br><br>
I just got the nicest email from my brother telling me this:<br><span style="font-family:Arial;"><span style="color:#000080;">One last thing, done EVER think of yourself as “still this chubby runner.” You are just a runner, and one tough bitch. You have the heart and drive to complete tasks and conquer goals that 99% of the population wouldn’t even attempt. It doesn’t matter whether you’re short, tall, fat or skinny, all that matters is the effort you are showing, and you do an amazing job of that.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;"><span style="color:#000080;">Talk about tears!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"></span></span>
 

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<b>wyrillco-</b> great report and a great race! Thats a huge accomplishment to go through what you did( injury and training wise ) , then stick with a fellow runner who was having issues. Huge kudos out to you. As one of those KR folks that <b>Moon</b> ran with in Philly, its a huge morale boost to have somebody with you out on a run when you arent at a 100%.<br><br>
Oh and as a fellow chubby runner, isnt it cool to say you finished a HM?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yep <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> Although I have noticed some of the chub going away, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br>
Becca, I may do the Other Half next fall with Witchy, and possibly one in January. Not sure yet... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> But there will be another!
 

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Wow, great report! I'm not sure what is more impressive, that you did it, that you stayed with the other lady and got her through it, or the e-mail from your brother.<br><br>
I'm really impressed and inspired! Great job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, he later told me I was tougher than woodpecker lips, whatever that means <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">
 

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OMG! Freakin' hilarious!!<br><br><b>wyrillco</b>, huge congratulations to you! You did an amazing job! I'm so glad I read your RR. You must be one amazing woman to meet a stranger during your race and stick with her through your entire run to help her finish. That says loads about you and your character. I've also glimpsed that you <i>are</i> one tough cookie, you just don't give up. Train, get injured, miss your HM, train, finally race. You are a determined woman. Congratulations again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wow, thank you! What a nice thing to say!<br><br>
And if you ever get a chance to do this race, it's filled with the Elvis type stuff. It was super fun just to watch the people around you!
 

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Congrats on a superb report and an absolutely wonderful race.<br><br>
When we start a race, when we line up with the 20,000 others in Las Vegas, or the 40 in a small village run, we are all nervous, and have little expectation of winning. In fact in a race like Vegas, no more than half a dozen runners have expectations of crossing the line first - What you achieved is what we all strive for - YOU WON! - You finished your race with your head held high - You are no chubby runner - You are a Half Marathon Finisher - That makes you a winner in my book.<br><br>
Roll on the next one <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 
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