Join me as I travel around the country to fulfill my goal of running a marathon or half marathon in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Race #12: Rock N Roll Las Vegas - December 5 - Las Vegas, NV - 2:29:

Sin City. My goodness, there is just too much to say. Get a cup of coffee, it's a long one: 

I landed in Vegas and met my family at our hotel: Treasure Island. Flying in at night was awesome - Vegas really is just as cool as it seems in the movies.

I quickly learned that the National Finals Rodeo was in town at the same time as the race and I was in heaven. Everywhere I looked there were cowboys and you better believe I ran upstairs to put my boots on :)

I took my parents to the expo where I got my bag, doll-size shirt (you better believe I traded that sucker in for a large), and head lamp (pretty cool freebie!). This was their first race experience and they were overwhelmed. They had absolutely no idea how big the race world is. My mom totally got in the spirit though: 

Then I got to meet up with some of the most beautiful, friendly, and talented runners (who also happen to have some pretty cool blogs). In true blogger fashion we all met up at an ice cream shop - totally Hungry Runner Girl's idea. I blame her for making me and my mom eat this monstrosity of an ice cream :) p.s. - she is just as sweet and beautiful in person as she seems on her blog!

I met wonderful bloggers like Blonde Ponytail, Skinny Runner, Runner's Rambles, Meals and Miles, Vitamin Bee, Running for Trevor, and of course Pain, Pride and Perseverance. There are many more - sorry I didn't get everyone's names!  
So many great runners and bloggers!

SR doing something funny

Glad I found a new blog to read: Vitamin Bee :)

Love this pic with Julia.

My family and I spent the weekend doing a little gambling and shopping (a.k.a. throwing money out the window, but that's apparently okay in Vegas). We also got to see the Cirque du Soleil show Mystere. It.was.freakin.amazing. I'm not kidding when I say my brothers and I had our jaws hit the floor several times, and 19 and 20 year old guys are hard to impress. It is just unbelievable how talented (and strong) those people are!

Before I knew it, it was Sunday afternoon and time to get ready for the race. My brother Nolan was happy to cheer me on from the warmth of the hotel room :) I don't blame him.

It was pretty dang cold and I was a bit worried that I wore a t-shirt and capris when it seemed like everyone was wearing long sleeves. Personally though, I was perfectly happy with my outfit choice. I know I would have been hot and miserable if I wore more clothing. 

The excitement surrounding the race was incredible. Not really sure how it couldn't be - I mean you are running the strip at night! This is a 180 degree change from my Ohio/Indiana race where the only thing to look at was a corn field.

The only photo I took during the race was this blurry one where two women were wearing shirts that said "Cuz Sam" and "Cuz Heidi" - my name is Sam and my mom's name is Heidi. What are the odds of that?! With all those gambling junkies in Vegas I'm sure someone smarter than me could figure out the actual odds, but you get the point. 

I'm not as heated as others about how the race was executed because I thought that overall it was decent, but I will say that the design of the finish line was absolutely outrageous, actually dangerous. The medals and pictures were so close to the finish line that everyone had to immediately come to a complete stop when it got backed up. My leg muscles weren't very happy and I felt like I was going to be sick. Water > Pictures. Just sayin. I'm sure it is ridiculously hard to organize 44,000 runners, but if you're going to charge people $150 to run you should have your sh*t together. Enough said.

You all know that I am the Queen of awful race pictures. (Remember the I'm so pretty picture?) I didn't even realize it was possible, but I think I might have beat it with this one: 
WHAT?! I refuse to believe that is me. That person looks like they are about to eat someone.

The next morning my parents left and I was waiting around for my 10:30 pm flight when I learned that tickets to the American Country Awards were being sold for just $22 to a 5:00 pm show. I'm sorry, WHAT?!? I think I almost cried I was so excited - I didn't even know it was in town! I even treated myself to the lower level $60 ticket, a new dress from Forever 21, and then got my hair did all fancy-like at the mall. Yes, it was a "treat yo' self" kind of day (anybody watch Parks and Rec?).
American Country Awards at the MGM.

The gorgeous Carrie Underwood

It was an awesome show. It was too bad that I didn't  have any of my family or friends with me. I had such a good time though, even if I was by myself.

Then I headed to the airport.
Love the colors/design of this race shirt!

I was about to say adios, Vegas when I discovered this in my coat pocket: 

Noooo!!! $30 down the drain :( Oh, but wait, excuse me Mr. baggage handler man, do you ever gamble? I have a $30 casino voucher that could be yours for only $20. Score.

I don't recommend taking a red eye and then having a morning layover in Atlanta. From 5 am - 6:30 am EST I slept just like this even with Christmas music and vacuums blaring in my ears.
I just realized that 2011 consisted of 7 half marathons, one full marathon, and a few 5k races. I had so much fun, but that number sounds ridiculous. Maybe 2012 is the year I cut back on the number of races and instead focus on improving my time. Regardless, I wouldn't take one minute of 2011 back - it was phenomenal. 


Julia said...

FRIEND!!!!! i loved every single second that i got to spend with you and enjoyed meeting you maybe more than anything else in Vegas. it was seriously such a blast and i love that photo of me and you. definitely stealing it :) SO SO SO wish I had still been in town to hit up the country awards show with you. looks like a blast and i would have loved it! and would have been awesome to spend more time together! you look gorgeous dear friend! so glad you and your fam had a great time. your mom was the sweetest! glad to hear you made it back safely as well :)

theAlmostRunner said...

The picture of you at the concert is smashing! ALMOST cancels out the picture of you crossin' the finish line! : )

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

Love all the pictures, what a fabulous time -- we'll have to have a huge blogger meet up for either the honolulu marathon or the maui marathon next year -- whaddayah say?!

Jen said...

What a great weekend! It sure was packed with fun things and a great race! And you got to meet some of my favorite people!
What a great year you had! Great job!

Britt said...

wow what a weekend! that looks like one intense blogger meet up, wowzers.

congrats on an amazing year with many great races. oh and that pic is fantabulous! i love it!

Becka said...

Looks like a fun weekend!

Courtney said...

great job on the race and how cool that you got to go to the awards show! you look HOT!! love the dress and your hair looks great!

Brandi @ The Vitamin Bee said...

I want to see Mystere so bad!

You look amazing in that dress at the concert! Super freaking cute!

The finish might have been the worst part of the race. Err, minus the fire hydrant water.

It was so good to meet you (and your mom too!)

alisonds said...

SUCH a great post. I love it all. You look like you had so much fun and you look AMAZING in that black dress! I love Cirque de Soleil. We saw Zarkana in New York and were totally blown away! Glad you had such a good time! x

Fruit Fly said...

Okay, girl, I freaking LOVED this race report!! I was there, and I didn't hate it as much as everyone, but I was pretty disappointed in the finish line disaster. I didn't even get a photo option. It was just people shoving through that area and no photogs in sight!

So cool that you went to the awards show. I wanted to see Kristen Chenoweth walking around, but never did. I flew out at 4pm that day, so no awards for me. I don't like Country music, but that still would have been a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Glad you had a great time. You looked sooo freaking cute in your new dress!

Running Moose said...

Sam, that sounds like an awesome trip! I'm jealous I couldn't get out there. My wife is heading out there for a photo conference in Feb-without me, so I miss out on Vegas, again...someone has to watch the kids, I guess :)

I looked back at my races this year a couple weeks ago and thought the same thing: wow! Next year, I am cutting back a lot! My main focus will be training for going long and that includes some speed work as well. I have about 4 races I want to do and I'm also pacing a great friend at Leadville in August.

The Green Girl said...

Glad you had a good time, girl.

Las Vegas was by far my worst race picture ever. You can tell by the expression on my face that I just wanted to puke.