The term “Las Vegas” is used very loosely here.
This race was much farther into Henderson, NV than I’d originally expected. I once worked a show that taped around Vegas and the whole crew stayed in Henderson for a month. So, I knew generally the distance from Henderson to Vegas.
Well, the course map kept changing, and it turned out the race was in a National Park in Lake Mead at Boulder Beach. We passed the old hotel I used to call home for a month (shout out to the Fiesta Henderson!) WAY before we were even close to the race.
I hadn’t planned too much about this race ahead of time. (Sometimes races fall through the cracks a bit as I worry about other races.)
On the Greyhound bus on the way to Vegas, I was checking the website and Facebook to get more info on where I needed to go. I found out how super far away it was, and luckily I was not the only one figuring out travel plans semi-last minute. A bunch of people were talking about travel from Vegas, so I commented on a bunch of posts asking to carpool. I thought it might be too late for anyone to read my pleas, but it didn’t hurt to put them out there.
Sure enough, I actually had three different people call or text to offer me rides in the morning! How incredibly sweet, right?
I rode out there with George and Brenda. They were unbelievably cool and super fun, which made the long drive quite enjoyable.
I ended up walking the race with Penny and Jim. They’ve been married for almost 30 years! They were also crazy fun, and Penny was absolutely hilarious. The race itself was pretty quiet. Hills, hills, hills. Desert, desert, desert. Quiet, quiet, quiet. Until, at one point, we came out from underneath an overpass and there were people on top of the overpass cheering. That was pretty cool.
One of the few spectators in the race stood handing out tissues to people. Apparently a bunch of people feel the need to blow their nose during a race, because I hear people talk about it all the time. And as everyone ran or walked past her, they were saying thank you effusively. People were yelling that she was brilliant. She kind of seemed like the hit of the race.
Once we reached the turnaround, there was a water stop for the full marathoners at the top of the hill past our turnaround. We could see water, but couldn’t go get it unless we wanted to climb yet another hill and add more distance.
Hey, half marathoners… You thirsty? Oh, well, up ahead there’s some – psych!
Speaking of drinking stuff, there were different flavors of Gatorade throughout the course. As a walker, this didn’t bother me too much. But, usually you’re supposed to pick one, tell people what it’s going to be, and allow them to train with it so their body is used to it.
As the day wore on and the sun came out, Penny whipped out sunscreen and shared! It was brilliant of her to bring it along for the ride on a hot day through the desert.
Toward the finish, some girls who we’d been leapfrogging with throughout the race started jogging, passed us, then started walking again. Penny started hilariously grumbling about it, said she thought we could catch them. I agreed. I made a run for it as did Penny and Jim. The girls saw us as we were passing them and picked up the pace as well. My hat flew off in the commotion. (I got it after the finish.)
Sure enough, I crossed the finish line before those girls! Team Penny/Jim/Aurora for the win!
Then I jumped in Wendy and Marty’s RV (yes, the Wendy and Marty of my blog fame – okay, way, way more of their own fame. Anyway, the super sweet sweethearts drove me to Arizona so Wendy and I could get our packets for the next day’s race.
As far as the Really Big Free event goes, I don’t have any strong opinions. Some people said there were 10 safety violations. (That’s just a rumor. I haven’t verified anything. Anyone know anything about that?) Some people loved the race. Some people hated it. I had a lovely 13 miles walk with Jim and Penny.
On to Arizona!