Monday, December 5, 2011

A PR is a PR for a Reason

Every time a friend is upset about a race that he or she wanted to PR at, I tell him or her that a PR is a PR for a reason.  It is your BEST time.  Maybe, it is one that you fought hard for or maybe it came easy that time, but nonetheless it is a PR, and these things are not easy to get.  That is why they are PRs.  Sounds sensible right? Hmmm, so why is this so hard for me to accept this morning (and why, if I am being honest did it wake me up at 5 a.m. to check the race stats - I know...hang head in shame here).

So let's see if I can tell you all about Vegas before Aaron needs the computer for work.  Yes we are still in Vegas, but yes he does need to work.  So if you are still in Vegas and want to adopt me for the day, I am free! Anyway, so here we go, this is a looong one, sorry!

After doing nothing right on Saturday to prepare for Vegas, I decided it was best to at least prep smart on Sunday.  I figured I would sleep in - you know so I got up at 6 a.m. and ate a "normal" breakfast for me.  I then lounged around.  I told myself I would not leave the room, but when awesome bloggers want to go to breakfast, how can one say no....

It took all the power in the world to resist this favorite meal of mine:

Aaron got White Chocolate French Toast. My favorite meal in Vegas.

It was not too hard to distract myself from the yummy goodness of White Chocolate French Toast (ok who am I kidding...) as I had great bloggers to spend time with.  I sat and chatted with Monica, Anne, and Meghann.  These ladies were super nice and we spent two hours talking, so much for not leaving the room.  But it was worth it.   Also, Monica's husband came along and him and Aaron hit it off!  Before I knew it, it was time to go back to the room but not before a group photo.

 Yes I am wearing fuzzy pants.  No shame.  Are you jealous? These are the most comfy pants ever!

The rest of the day was filled with nerves, water drinking, and a phone call to the running partner for reassurance.  But then before I knew it, itwas time to meet the ladies to go to the race.  Aaron and I got suited up and went over.
 Team Sparkle power! I was nervous about this skirt, but it was awesome, worked perfectly
Yes his shirt says, I love my crazy bitch! We are thinking of selling them on the site for the men/hubbies/boyfriends.  Girl version to match, something along the lines of "Crazy Bitch" dri-fits. Anyone interested?

So we met the ladies and went over. 

Rosa, Meghann, Anne, and I pre-race

 Vegas has been advertising as being one big party with all your friends.  I sort of brushed this off. But it really was! People were so friendly and fun!  When I lined up in my corral, I stood and chatted with a guy who was spectating and his friends who were running.  They were really sweet and even snapped some shots for me.  At Mile 10, I heard, "Hey Boston!"  It was so nice to see a familiar face.  This actually happened throughout the race.  I saw Jess and her husband multiple times as well as Suar (although I am not sure she knew who I was).  Also, people were supportive throughout.  One girl, with a 1:45 on the back of her shirt, came up to me at Mile 6 and asked my time goal, I said 1:45 and she agreed and said she was not going to make it.  I encouraged her and kept her in sight for a good deal of the race.

Two thumbs up for runner love (thank you super nice spectator who took and texted me this photo)

Well, how was the race, before this post gets any longer?  I am going to be brutally honest.  The race was amazing, but I am a bit disappointed in myself.  But I am not in anyway letting this get me down, I will eventually PR but it makes me start to think...  I ran a hard race. I fought, I stayed out of my head and while I did not go under 1:47,  I pushed, I remained positive, and I looked up and enjoyed the view and had a freakin blast!

The amazing points of this race were the camaraderie and the sights.  It was absolutely out of this world to run along the strip.  I kept telling myself to look up.  To STOP looking at the Garmin (because I could not see it the hell do you keep your Garmin lit up at night?!?).   I have been up and down the strip at night before but running it was incredible.  Plus, I had never gone down to the older part of Vegas which was an experience and pretty neat to see.  I kept thinking National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation.  It also was not too bad that the fountains at the Mirage went off while I was coming back (it was an out and back course).   The sights also included tons of Elvis look-a-likes as well as people with cool wigs and costumes.  Although I have to admit when the Elvis and Santas passed me, it was a bit defeating.

Oh hey Elvis, so nice to meet you! (no I did not stop to take this photo, this was before, I am too Type A I guess, props to those who can stop and enjoy though, you rock)

Also the people of this race were amazing - everyone from the volunteers to the runners.  The volunteers were great at encouraging us, screaming water v. cytochrome (please explain to me what this is, I did not even spell it right) at aid stations and opening my banana at the finish line.  It was pretty much the coolest experience to continually see people you knew during the race.  I saw Jess and her husband, Spencer, twice! They were booking it.  I ran with them for a few, but could not keep up.  They rocked it!

Finally, the mile markers were pretty great. In the beginning, I could not find them but then they were pretty consistent after Mile 3.  It was good to be able to see a clock, because I clearly could not see my Garmin (I had to keep lighting it up but then it would dim).   Also, it helped me keep going and push a little harder.  At the end, Team Challenge had great signs saying "You Are"  "A" "Hero."  Just what I needed, perfect addition.  

As per me and the actual racing part, it seemed to start off well, as it always does.  I tried to keep myself slow to begin with but ultimately probably went out too fast and ended up positive splitting again.  Ooopps love those positive splits (hey, remember the time I negative spilt my first marathon).  Anyway, I felt fairly good until Mile 6.  I did feel a side cramp or two coming on but was able to breathe through them and they were never a problem. YESSSS!!!!  I did feel like my stomach was off though and got really nervous about taking anything.  I ended up having to wait until Mile 7.3 where there was a Gu stop to take something.  Not ideal in anyway.  My body is used to something at Mile 5 and 10 and only taking something at Mile 7.3 showed.   But I could not risk it with my stomach plus my fingers were not working and I knew I would not be able to open up my back pocket reach beyond the Sparkle Skirt and get something while trying to get water at Aid Station.  This resulted in me having to get a Gu at 7.3 at the Aid Station where the lady could not hand out the Gu fast enough (not her fault) and water was not well marked.  I prayed that the little water I got along with a flavor Gu I had never tried would be ok, thankfully it was.  

Here I go out too fast again (big props to Aaron who dashed a mile plus up before the race to catch me!)

So after Mile 6, just as in my last half I did, my legs tired.  The Gu helped but not enough, I started cramping, sign of not enough fluids, which I sensed was happening but without a water belt of some sorts (still working on this), trying to grab water at the Aid Stations just did not cut it.  So I did the best I could.  Many times I almost got into my head.  I am proud to say that I stopped that right then and there.  I would make myself sing with the music, think of my mantra for the race "Kill It," focus on the sights and the buildings (landmarks were an awesome plus to this race), and imagine my husband waiting for me.  The last mile was slow goings, I just wanted to me done.  I felt defeated.  But I pressed on never stopping always remaining positive.  But I have to tell you that last .1 was does that always seem to be so long?!?

Ultimately, I made it.  
Look its me?!? Nope, Aaron stood 1.5 hours on a sprained ankle to get this shot and then someone ran right through it, the nerve! haha, thank you Aaron!

No shiny new PR, but a hell of a medal and a big hug from the husband.  
This thing is for real, heavy and amazing!

And you know what, so what?! Yes, I am sad and disappointed.  But I just ran my heart out after a marathon 5 weeks ago and got to experience the Vegas Strip at Night.  So PR I will see you another time, for now I am going to bask in the fact that I just ran a great race!

How do you deal with not reaching your PR goal?  Would you be interested in a Crazy Bitch shirt?  How do you carry water...I am still working on this one. Oh and how the hell do you keep your Garmin lit?

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