I DID IT!!!!
It was a long weekend full of events made even longer by the fact that I had just arrived home from a Disney World vacation. On Friday I returned home, unpacked what I needed for Saturday night and placed it into an overnight bag. Saturday consisted of running to the sporting goods store to purchase some Clif Shot Bloks (my running fuel of choice that doesn’t make my stomach cramp up) and look for a long sleeve ‘winter’ running shirt. Found both, left the store, fueled the car, and headed over to the Expo.
The expo was a madhouse! Brooks was there, Zappos.com (and the Delivering Happiness bus) was there, countless clothing and food vendors… insanity! I felt like I didn’t get to do anything because the lines were too long and I — being somewhat like my father — had no patience to wait in them as cool or as free as the item may be. Opted to get my Team Challenge race bib, the rest of the race registration paperwork, and skedaddle down to the Tropicana to check in then relax for a few hours. It took me almost 40 minutes to drive from one end of the Strip to the other — and I was even taking the side streets! Which is why a teammate and I opted for the room because the traffic would be just as, if not more, messy on race morning.
[SIDE NOTE: The Trop’s remodel is absolutely gorgeous! It reminds me of the Conch Republic & Key West with the rattan and bright colors. Although I didn’t spend time in the casino, I liked how bright it was compared to what it was like a year ago. Top the aesthetics off with a genuinely nice staff, and it’s a winner for those on a budget. The owners did a great job breathing new life into a Las Vegas classic!]
Off to the Pasta party and awards ceremony at 6 p.m. The emcee was a guy from The Weather Channel, and there were a plethora of inspirational people talking about their life with Crohn’s or colitis, or how these diseases have touched their lives. Even Mike McCready from Pearl Jam was there as a spokesperson! That was one seriously cool night. The food was great, the company was fantastic, and I was proud to be one of the ~ 1000 participants who raised over $3.7 million for the CCFA. I’m so glad I decided to do this to help out my family members and friends who have to live with these diseases every day.
Went to bed at 10:30. Had to be awake & meet the team by 5:45 a.m.!
Morning I got up & dressed. Since mornings are definitely not my thing, I was running a bit late and still had to check out of the hotel. Tossed my things in the car and walked down to the start line at Mandalay Bay with Karen. The weather was a bit chilly, but not obnoxiously cold. Met the team, took some pictures, got warmed up, and then it was race time. I was in corral 29 of 32, which meant that I’d be waiting a while. In fact, I didn’t get to the start line until 40 minutes after the shotgun start!
I started off the race a bit too fast: Looked at my Garmin after running the first 3 miles and realized I was running a 12 minute mile pace, which for me is way too fast! I’d be out of juice by mile 6! So I slowed it down to my 13 minute miles and paced myself. Run 2-3 minutes, walk 30 seconds, repeat. Keep an eye on my heart rate and breathing so that I don’t give myself an asthma attack. Since I didn’t carry any water with me, I took water or Cytomax at every station offered.
Next time I’ll be halving the Cytomax and just concentrating on water and pacing the Shot Bloks. My stomach was none too happy with me the rest of the day for the Cytomax.
I completed the course in 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 19 seconds, under my goal of 3 hours. In the course of the 4 months of training, I also lost 2 pants sizes. So, I’m happy! All in all, I raised $1440 for Crohn’s and colitis research. I’m still $60 from my $1500 goal and have until January 17th to raise that money! The 13.1 miles I ran that day are nothing to what people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or even IBD have to endure on a daily basis.
There was a time four months ago that I could barely run a mile. Now that I’ve conquered my first half marathon, I’m left questioning:
Which half-marathon next? Red Rock or Six Tunnels followed by the OC Half Marathon?
I have the running bug and I have it bad!