I went out to run the Revel Mt. Charleston Half Marathon for the finish to become the 41st state that I've run a half marathon in.
I flew out to Vegas from IAH Friday morning.
After checking my work e-mails and going to get my packet from the Race Expo, I ventured out to Boulder City and Searchlight to get away and off the beaten path for a little while.
Back in the Vegas area, I didn't budget my time well enough to get to a specific museum that I had hoped to see, but did stop in the Pinball Hall of Fame and played five or six of the different pinball machines.
Pretty neat. I took a picture and posted it on my Dad's Facebook page. I've heard story after story about his pinball-playing exploits when he was young in our hometown of Tyrone, Pennsylvania.
I thought about going to the New Mexico at UNLV baseball game at 6 p.m., but by 5:15 I was hungry.
So I drove up I-15 and checked into my hotel, which I switched from my original Marriott property the day before to save about $25, and then went and had a lighter fare dinner.
Up Saturday morning at 3: 45 a.m. Pacific time and out of the hotel no later than 4:30 a.m., I was on a bus that took us to the half marathon starting line and got us there by 5:45 a.m.-ish.
While I waited, I put one of my two garbage bags on over me to keep the cool breeze from bothering me too bad. (It could have been worse and I heard that the marathoners had experienced snow in the first four miles 3,000 more feet up the mountain.) A gentleman came up and indicated that the two of us might have been the only ones that had one of them at the time.
As we chit-chatted, I learned he was from Many, Louisiana and then he indicated that he had seen me somewhere before. We dialed into the fact that we had both run this year's Mardi Gras Madness 5K in Lake Charles that started their Mardi Gras parade.
I just learned his name was Jack Adair and he won his 65-69 age group yesterday in 1:35:19 and was 56th overall.
They started walking people to the start line and I leisurely took my time as I was there simply to check off a state. It was my fourth half in five weeks, but my fitness was nowhere it needed to be to try and really, really push.
In fact, I didn't even hear the gun go off. So I started my watch when I crossed the start line and off I went.
My strategy was to run nice, easy and as controlled as possible for as long as I could.
Mile 1 - 9:31.44
Mile 2 - 9:53.91
Mile 3 - 10:10.04
Mile 4 - 10:18.55
At this point, I almost got discouraged because I thought the 11's were going to come pretty quickly. I didn't expect to break 2:10, but I had hoped to be in the 2:10s.
Mile 5 - 10:15.09
Mile 6 - 10:26.38
Mile 7 - 10:18.41
Mile 8 - 10:24.36
Mile 9 - 10:01.66 (Flat)
Mile 10 - 10:21.55 (Flat)
Mile 11 - 11:09.30 (Very slight incline)
Mile 12 - 10:54.10 (Overpass)
Mile 13 - 10:45.66 (Slight downhill)
Last .1 - 57.08
As I started to see the split times increase as the miles went on, I worried that I was going to crash sooner than I had expected. However, that wasn't proven to be the case.
I made it to the end of the downhill in pretty decent shape, but the downhill takes a little bit out of not only from just the quads but also your overall body.
You would think it might be easier on you, but you're still working the entire body for the same distance.
Was kind of surprised that mile 9 came in at 10:01 and even though mile 10 was 10:21, I had started to walk a little in this mile.
Mile 11, I felt completely fatigued and walked three times, at least.
I think just knowing that I only had two miles to go is how I kept the last two miles under 11 minutes to allow me to finish in 2:15:27.53.
Well, that and not wanting to get passed by the winner of the marathon, who turned out to be 31-year-old Gary Krugger as he won in 2:33:16.
All in all, I think the event went well.
Jack (above) said that he did their Revel Rockies race (I think) and they had busses that didn't show up to take more than a couple of thousand half marathoners to the start line. He said he got there early - hence the trash bag! - and was one of only about 100 that did the half marathon - he said - that day.
Aid stations were well-worked. The only thing they could have done different on most of them was to set them up beyond the mile marker. That way, you could run to the split, then stop and get fluid.
The roads were very, very well-patrolled by the Nevada Highway Patrol - as the lead law enforcemen agency - as you can imagine with all of the activity that takes place in a location like Las Vegas.
There were a few unhappy people the closer you got the finish line venue. One leaned over from his front seat through an open window to share his displeasure. We're both lucky that I had run by a little bit before I hollered back and told him what I thought.
The finish line setup was pretty strong by event production standards.
The race announcer was more "rah-rah" and, in fact, they should have had two - one to recognize individuals and where they were from and another to be overly energetic.
Hearing that they were calling names and places, I came in with the "Hook 'Em Horns" sign as it was my first time for that state and the announcer said something about Oklahoma.
Again, after I crossed, I remarked rather unkindly. A woman close by heard it, got what I meant and laughed.
They had the traditional post-race food fare - bagels, bananas, water, pizza and then ... bam! ... pieces of Marie Callendar pies! Pumpkin for me, please.
The marathon drew folks - looking for the benefits from a 5,000-foot elevation drop -- looking to qualify for Boston and by my calculations, the event was a success.
Male finishers numbered 331. 121 qualified with their current age and another 10 who were in the last single age of their age group and benefitted from the additional time of the year that they would run Boston made it 39.6% for qualifiers.
The women had 279 finishers with 121 total qualifiers (117/4) for a 43.4%.
I have nine states to go to get to all 50 in half marathoners. California, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii. I think I can make these happen before the end of next summer if all goes well.
Hope you'll stick around for the ride!