We had three lucky winners of the free entries to Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll from Sof Sole: Michelle, Carolyn and Leslie. Their race reports will run over the next three days. Up first is Michelle, who tracked down a babysitter for her three kids for the whole weekend, since her husband had to be Japan.
When I got the notification from Dimity that I won an entry into the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon, I was excited and happy that I’d have another opportunity this year to reach my lofty personal goal: a sub-2 hour finish in the half marathon.
Lofty for me because just a couple of years ago, there was no possible way I could have embarked on such a journey. I used to be a stressed, overweight and unhappy mother of three girls and wife to a surgeon. Now, I’m still that stressed mother of three and wife to a surgeon, but a whole lot healthier and happier.
Back in April of 2009, I tipped the scales at 270 pounds. I was still relatively active, but definitely not running, and obviously my nutrition needed help. I had a moment of clarity and perspective when my mother was diagnosed with a serious illness that year. She has lived an unhealthy and unhappy life for as long as I can remember, and I saw myself on that same road.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I reached my lowest weight ever of 132—Dimity here: yes, she weighs less than half of what she used to, and didn't have Jillian Michaels barking at her to motivate her!—and plan on maintaining in the 130-140 range depending upon what I’m training for (or not training for) at any given time.
During my journey I’ve met some great and supportive friends up here in the frozen tundra of Northern Minnesota and was blessed to have two of them accompany me to the race this past weekend. My friend, Louise is much like Dimity – all legs – and has been my training partner for almost a year now. It’s been a challenge to keep pace with her since I’m a mere 5’3”. (Dimity here again: long legs aren't necessarily a great thing for a runner. My two legs weigh probably as much as you do total, Michelle...just saying.)
My other friend Mary, who has faced serious personal stress this past year, came along for the wild ride. We had a great time dressing up and going out to dinner our first night in town, followed by an afternoon of shopping and later on a performance of “O.” We frequented the spa quite a bit; in fact they knew our names by the end of the weekend. Our post-race Thai massage on Monday morning was amazing. It was a great girls’ weekend that I will cherish for a long time.
My last two half marathons I’ve had issues with starting too far back in the pack and having to navigate through the crowds. I finished my first half last June with a time of 2:16. I was happy and was planning on running another one in October: the Whistlestop Half in Ashland, Wisconsin. I finished in 2:02, and was convinced had I started farther forward, I would have had my time.
When it came to Vegas, I changed my corral to #4, which was a 1:45 predicted finish time. I knew it was ambitious, especially when sharing that revelation with SBS at Starbucks on Sunday morning; she gave me a look of utter shock. In the end, I think it was the perfect place for me start. My first mile was right on pace at 9 minutes per mile, and the following miles were progressively faster. I had a rough patch around miles 8 to 10 when the course narrowed through some seedy neighborhoods in downtown Vegas. However, I was able to pick up the pace again after that point and was going strong when I ran past my dad and his wife who had driven to Vegas to see me run for the first time.
I’m with SBS in thinking the reason both of us missed our sub-2 hour goals was probably due at least in some part to the narrow and disorganized finish line in of all places, the parking lot of Mandalay Bay. I barely crossed the finish and had to come to a complete stop due to overcrowding. I got a text right away from my husband who was in Japan at a medical conference that I had finished at 2:00:56, since he was getting text updates from the race itself.
At first I was devastated, and honestly, I’m still disappointed. Looking at the big picture though, it’s hard to be unhappy for too long.