(Go to Part 2)
When I left off, I mentioned that my wake-up call for Sunday morning was set for 4am. Why so early? Well, MGM Grand wouldn’t confirm until that morning whether or not I could have a late check-out so I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time just in case I had to pack up and check-out before leaving for the race. Luckily when I called down to the front desk they said I could extend my check-0ut to noon instead of 11am. I did a slight bit of packing anyway, then got ready for the race and headed out around 5:15am. It was crazy how quiet it was outside with no cars at all on The Strip.
I walked the one mile from MGM Grand down to Mandalay Bay, stopped by the port-a-potty (the lines actually weren’t too bad), grabbed a bottle of water, then headed to my corral. For once I didn’t leave it until the last minute to jump in. Now, I guess I’ll have to let you in on my dirty little secret. As you know, when I registered I was planning to run and I got assigned to corral 7. I know I should have moved back with the walkers, but I really, really didn’t want to wait 45 minutes to cross the start line, especially seeing as how I wouldn’t have that much time after the race to get back to the hotel and check-out. So I went ahead and stayed with corral 7. (Actually, it might have been 8… I can never tell whether you’re supposed to line up in front of or behind the big number signs.)
Here I am waiting in the corral with my lovely bright orange throwaway fleece still on. I was definitely glad to have it (and my earwarmers and gloves) because it was cold!
I read afterwards that Celine Dion sang the National Anthem, but from where I was I completely missed it. However, I did get to enjoy the fireworks that went on for a good 15 minutes or so as we all shuffled up to the start line.
I also read that there were showgirls and tigers at the start line, but I missed seeing them too. One thing that was definitely impossible to miss though were the huge screens everywhere along the course. The race was being broadcast live on the local news and a lot of the casinos were playing the broadcast up on their screens. You’ll see it as a recurring theme in my photos just because I thought it was really neat to be able to see the race as I was participating in it. I loved how much support there was from the casinos for the race. I guess with The Strip being closed down and taken over by runners for the morning, there’s no way to avoid being part of the excitement of the event.
The gun went off at 6:15 and it took about 15 minutes before I finally crossed the start line. It was very awkward at first because everyone else took off running, and there I was strolling along by myself past all the spectators. Not that I was actually walking slow. I probably started off at a 14/15 minute pace, but it sure felt slow. To try and alleviate the awkwardness, I took off my throwaway fleece just to give me something to do. Now that the sun was coming out and I was moving, it wasn’t quite as cold. Although in reality I probably could have kept the fleece with me the entire race and not been too warm either.
Anyway, after a few minutes I was glad to see three women walking not too far ahead of me so I hurried to catch up to them. We chatted for a bit but eventually I pulled away because I wanted to go at a slightly faster pace. By now more waves of runners were out on the course and I didn’t mind walking along on my own. I just stuck to the edge of the road as close to the curb as I could to try and stay out of the way. The whole course was very flat with no real noticable camber (unlike in San Jose) which was good.
The course started off heading south, then there was a u-turn within the first mile.
Right around the mile 1 point we passed the airport.
Shortly after that was the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. There were a couple girls who had stopped to take photos and were nice enough to take mine too.
Then I noticed some people going around the fence for photos, so I did that too.
Now we’re heading back up the fun part of The Strip past all the casinos.
There were tons of spectators out during the first part of the race, lining the streets and up on the bridges.
I was about 2 1/2 miles in when the leader of the half marathon went past on his way back to the finish line with about 1 mile to go.
Lots more photos of the casinos we went past…
And a couple “official” photos…
This sign at The Venetian says Team Members: We’re Proud of You – See You at the Finish Line.”
I love the look of the Wynn and Encore hotels.
This water station just after mile 4 was staffed by “Wynn Racing” volunteers.
My fueling plan for the race was to have either a GU gel or Chomps every three miles (about every 45 minutes). With the cool weather I didn’t take water at every stop, but I did want water to wash down the fuel. It was a little scary to come across this station around mile 6 and see the empty tables.
Thank goodness there was still water and Cytomax available across the street. That continued to be the theme through the rest of the race, where at first it looked like they ran out of drinks, but there was always more a little further down.
Then we headed into a more strip mall-ish part of The Strip. (I was tempted to write the seedier part of The Strip, but it really wasn’t that bad, at least not at 9am in the morning.)
Well, I think that’s enough for now. If you’ve stuck with me through this far, then this final photo of the post is very appropriate. Stay tuned for part 4!
(Go to Part 4)