Sunday, March 11, 2012

What Happens in Vegas...

Two words. "Vegas, baby!"

I got totally hammered this weekend in Las Vegas. But before you get the wrong idea, I'm not talking about binge drinking, pill popping, or staying up all night with Elvis impersonators. No, I am referring to the Red Rock Canyon 1/2 marathon race that I ran this Saturday just outside of Las Vegas in Red Rock National Park.

The course was brutal, at least as far as road races go. The course had about 1,500 ft of elevation gain, including some nasty climbs in the first few miles. The race started out at 3,700 and gradually climbed to over 4,770 by mile 5.

I hadn't planned on running hard. I assumed that it was just going to be a casual local event with a small field -- perfect for a comfortable Saturday morning tempo run. Imagine my surprise when a pack of about 10 runners took off from the gun at sub 6:00 pace.

I let the lead pack go, hoping I would be able to reel some of them in later after the hills and elevation took their toll. And things did take their toll -- on me. Somewhere around mile 5 as I struggled up a nasty hill at 9:00 per mile pace, I started seriously thinking about walking.

Thankfully everyone else seemed to be suffering as well. Finally we reached the turnaround point and finally got some nice downhill running. Somewhere just after mile 10 my mother drove by in her car and waved, giving me just enough of a mental boost to pass the lead woman and her male pacer who I had been slowly reeling in. Luckily my two brothers, Marcus and Erik, were stuck on a slow-moving scenic bus tour and never got a chance to witness just how badly I was suffering.

I ended up finishing 10th overall, and second in my age group. Here are the official results. The times listed on the website appear to be a couple of minutes faster than what I recorded on my Garmin. I think I actually ran 1:35:47, which is about 7:15 pace. Not as fast as I would have liked, but hopefully I can run faster next month at the much flatter Santa Cruz 1/2 marathon -- which will thankfully be at sea level rather than the high desert.

Anyway, here are the Garmin stats:

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