Six ladies in their 30s head to Vegas — two with young children at home, one pregnant, three running a half marathon, one running a 10k, and three on east coast time. AND they still managed to viva Las Vegas, baby! Well, sort of.
The trip to Vegas with the girls a couple of weekends ago was a lot of fun. I packed a lot into our short time there, including two races — a 5k and a half marathon — and a Sin City activity that some of the girls would prefer stay in Vegas…
What doesn’t stay in Vegas: I crossed state number 11 off my list and got a PR on my half marathon. Pretty excited about that!
Day 1: Saturday
I touched down in Sin City on a Saturday morning. I was with my friend, Roman. It was just the two of us for day 1. The rest of the ladies would be arriving on Sunday.
Our first stop was the hotel: Westin Las Vegas. They let us check in super early, which was awesome. Afterward, we caught a cab to the expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center to pick up my race stuff.
While waiting for a cab, I ran into Chris Heuisler, Westin’s National Run Concierge. I first met Chris last January in New Orleans, when I did the Rock n Roll New Orleans Half. Westin has a partnership with the Rock n Roll Marathon Series, which expands on their RunWESTIN program. Part of Chris’ job is to travel to Rock n Roll races and serve as an on-site expert, providing participants with training tips, race logistics, etc. Oh, and also he gets to dress up as Elvis. Sounds like a sweet deal. He and his brother are also running in all 50 states (full marathons), and recently completed state #23 — Georgia. We caught up briefly until the cab arrived. More about RunWestin here.
The expo was like all other Rock n Rock expos — big, crowded and filled with tons of vendors.
I picked my two bibs — one for the 5k later that evening, and one for the half marathon Sunday evening.
We heard Lyft was partnering with Rock n Roll for the weekend, so Roman went to their booth to see if they were offering any cool deals. They were! By downloading the app right there at the booth, we received one $20 ride, and five $10 rides — so basically $70 off Lyft rides for the weekend. Not too shabby. We also scored sexy pink headbands.
Next stop was lunch. We called a Lyft and went to a breakfast and lunch joint called Eat. We were really excited about it because, well… how can you not get excited about a place called Eat? Roman and I both ordered chicken sandwiches and shared some cinnamon biscuits. The biscuits were a little too sweet for our liking, but the sandwiches were good. We thought the menu was a bit limited. They apparently have a wider selection on the weekdays. Womp. Womp.
We had a few hours to kill before I had to be at the race, so we went to the New York New York Hotel to pick up our tickets for Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. We got tix for the 9:30 p.m. show that night.
Did you know there’s a roller coaster at the NY NY Hotel?? Well, there is — just outside of it. After getting our Cirque tickets, we waited in line to ride the roller coaster (ride admission was $14). And it was pretty awesome. Way faster than you would expect, considering it’s part of a hotel and casino. Sadly, I couldn’t take any photos. Cell phones and cameras were not allowed.
Afterward, Roman played some Roulette. I’m not much of a gambler, so I wandered around a bit and watched.
One the walk back, we spotted a couple of hotties. Roman got some photos with the hotties.
It was the highlight of her day.
Second best part of her day: the nap she took when we got back to the hotel.
While she napped, I did the Rock n Roll 5k, which started at the SLS Las Vegas, which I took a Lyft to get to.
It was my first night race, and it was awesome. The only concern I had was tripping over or running into someone because it was so dark. The darkness was mainly in the beginning, for the first .5 miles, and at the end, for the last mile.
I finished the 3.1 miles in 27:48, and ran a 8:57 pace. I’m happy with my time. This was actually my first timed 5k, so I don’t have anything to compare it to.
After the race, I went back to the hotel to wake Roman up and wash up for the show. We were running a little late, so we had to do dinner afterward.
Have you ever seen Zumanity? It’s a bit different from other Cirque shows — less acrobatic and more dance-focused. Also, it’s very sexual and contains a lot nudity and vulgar language. Roman and I were a little unsure about it at first, but it actually turned out to be pretty good. I liked it a lot, and would recommend it if you’re able to keep an open mind. Also, it helps to go in with low exceptions, which is what I did. Haha.
We were starving at the end of the show, and grabbed burgers at some restaurant nearby. And then, because we didn’t want to be lame old ladies, we went to a couple of bars afterward.
I think we got back to the hotel around 1ish, and completely passed out. I think 1ish is good (4 a.m. east coast time!!). I’m proud of us for not being lame.
Day 2: Sunday
We woke up around 9 a.m. Our plan for the first part of the day was to head to the Stratosphere Casino and Hotel to check out the view and the rides (yep, more rides!) before the rest of our group arrived. The other four girls were scheduled to get in between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Two of them would be running the half marathon with me, and one of the others would be running the 10k.
The Stratosphere has an amazing view of Las Vegas from their observatory deck, and three thrill rides: Insanity, Big Shot, and SkyJump. More about them here.
After taking in the views, Roman and I went on Insanity and the Big Shot.
Insanity basically spun us around really fast on the side of the outdoor observatory deck. Looking down was awesome because you saw the entire city.
Big Shot blasted us 160 ft. into the air and then dropped us down. There were three rounds of this, and the first was definitely intense.
Sorry, couldn’t take any photos. But check out videos of the rides here.
We had lunch at the Stratosphere (just sandwiches), and then Roman played a little roulette before we headed back to the hotel.
When we got back to the Westin, I changed into running clothes, pinned my bib on, and then went to the Cosmopolitan, where the other ladies — Rohelia, Cameo, Nely, and Norma — were staying. The Cosmo is one of the newer hotels on the strip, and is gorgeous and super chic.
The race: Strip at Night
Rohelia, Norma and I made our way to the race area at Mandolay Bay around 2:30. The race wasn’t scheduled to start until 4:30, but we went early because of road closures and because the other girls needed to pick up their bibs.
Also, we wanted to check out the pre-race party and concert, which featured Kid Rock. There were tons of people there — runners and family and friends of runners. It was pretty cool.
Rohelia and I made our way to the start line a little before 4:30. Norma was doing the 10k, which started in a different area.
Cameo, the pregnant chica (also doing the half), was still en route… there was so much traffic, her cab driver was having a tough time getting her to the race!
Our corral ended up crossing the start line about 30 minutes after start time, which is typical for Rock n Roll races.
The scenery for the half/full marathon was definitely more exciting than it was for the 5k the night before — more lights and more of the Las Vegas strip. I saw more people running in costumes than usual — a lot of Elvis-clad participants!
The course was pretty much flat the entire way, but a little uneven in some areas, which normally wouldn’t be a huge deal, but since it was dark, I had to make a more conscious effort not to trip over the bumps and cracks.
The weather was cool to start — around 40s, perfect for running, in my opinion. But then a few miles in, it started to rain and get super windy — the wind was insane.
The rain was a steady drizzle, not a downpour or anything, so that was good. But it was steady nearly the entire time.
I think it the rain actually made me run faster. Well, that and maybe the flat course. Ha.
My legs were feeling it toward the end though — just tired and ready to stop. Also, my knee started hurting a bit around mile 8. I continued to push through the pain though; I only paused at two water breaks.
Since I knew the course was flat, I had already planned on trying to PR the race, which meant as few stops/pauses as possible.
As I headed toward the finish line, I passed by Chris Heuisler, dressed as Elvis, giving high-fives out to runners, making their way to the end. I gave him a big high-five and sprinted to the finish.
When I crossed the line and looked up at the clock, I actually did PR — beating my time in the Frederick Half Marathon, which was my FIRST half marathon. Finally!
My first feeling was excitement — like seriously, finally!
My second feeling was “damn, I’m cold.” The temperature had dropped and the winds were still going strong.
My third feeling was “man, my knee hurts.”
After getting my medals — one for the half and another for completing the Remix Challenge for doing both the 5k and half (I received the 5k medal Saturday night) — I walked back to the hotel to get ready for dinner and a night of craziness with the ladies.
OK. So the craziness.
It really wasn’t that crazy of a night.
We had dinner at Tacos and Tequila — delicious! I expected no less from owner Richard Sandoval. If you’re from the DC-area, he’s the dude behind Masa 14, El Centro DF, Toro Toro… some good stuff.
And then after dinner, we ended up going to Sapphire. The strip club. The overly pricey strip club… that apparently was only featuring female strippers that Sunday evening. But the ladies wanted to go anyway. We managed to get deal on the cover charge (instead of $45, we paid $20 each) because we participated in the marathon.
We stayed for about an hour.
During that hour, we watched some pretty awful strippers. I don’t know if it was because it was Sunday or what, but many just did not seem very enthusiastic at the pole. Maybe they ran the marathon, and were too tired to really get into it? Ha.
Afterward, we headed to the Chandelier bar at the Cosmo, where the ladies were staying.
I didn’t stay out too much longer. It was getting late and I was exhausted from the day.
I don’t event remember what time I got back to my hotel.
But I did sleep well that night!
I checked out of the Westin the next morning.
Before heading to the airport, I had brunch at Hash House a Go Go at the Lux Hotel and Casino.
What did I order? Obviously one that’s a favorite of Man v. Food host Adam Richman’s: the sage fried chicken benedict — which consists of fried chicken with biscuit, tomato, spinach, bacon, mozzarella, chipotle creme, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes.
The first three bites were amazing.
And then I got full.
I managed to polish off about a third of it before giving up. It’s a lot of food! And heavy, too. But I have no regrets. I ran a half marathon less than 24 hours before, so it’s all good. 🙂
Overall, the trip to Vegas was pretty great. I had some awesome company and returned home with three medals and a PR.
Name: Rock n Roll Las Half Marathon (Strip at Night)
Date: November, 15, 2015 Cost: Part of Rock n Roll Tour Pass ($199/3) = $66.33
Race day weather: Cold, windy and rainy, low 40s
Race start time: 4:30 p.m. PT
Course description: Flat and fast, running along the Las Vegas strip.
Race organization: Well-organized Finish time: 2:18:29
Hotel: $380 (but split with Roman, so $190)
Food and drinks: about $125
Cabs: about $25
Total = $644