As most people will be aware I won an awesome package with CEP for the Rock n Roll marathon weekend at Las Vegas. See full blog about the whole journey HERE.
After deciding to run the marathon as part of my prize, I explored what there was on offer for the whole weekend. After running Rock n Roll Liverpool I am aware of the awesome medals available at these events. See more about Liverpool HERE.
I decided I would take part in the 5k on the Saturday evening which would not only be a great event in its own right, but mean I would receive a “remix medal”. As always I got my kit ready the night before and put it to one side, ensuring I had everything I needed. As you will see reading my main blog about this experience, I had a very busy few days leading up to this event. Needless to say I wasn’t after a personal best.
To be honest I have not done any speed work, or 5k for over a year, I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought to myself something around 20 minutes would be nice, of course really wanting sub 20, but I thought I would just run and see how it goes. I’m used to early morning running, so after a full day out in Vegas I was not well prepared for a race starting at 18:00 hours.
After the 5k event the Goo Goo Dolls had a 75 minute set planned, but the stage was already up and running with live bands when I arrived. I had planned with Kirsty for her to come and meet me at the end with the kids. There was a VIP area advertised so we were looking forward to taking advantage of this.
A few observations about the start of this event. Bag drop was quick and easy, and there were public toilets with no queue at any time. There was a great party atmosphere right from the start, and you could tell it was going to be a great night. The only issue for me was that it was really dark, and directions were poor. I could not see signs for the bag drop, so had to walk around to find it. It was also hard to find the start line and people were walking around aimlessly to find it. A few simple improvements in organisation and communication at the start would make a difference to the overall experience.
I was really pleased to bump into Phil at the start who I had been talking to on Instagram and following his journey this year. Phil joined the Hall of Fame, which is fantastic. The Rock n Roll marathon series has amazing medals, and the more you do the more you get. The Hall of Fame is for people who take part in every event over the year, that’s 15 events. If you want to know more about any of the series or compare then Phil is your man with experience of them all. Phil I would appreciate it if you could post your top tips about the series as a comment on this blog.
I started at the front with Phil. I must admit I was more nervous than I am for a marathon. Marathons are hard work testing your endurance, I can deal with that and it doesn’t matter about time. With a 5k that is all about max effort. Although I’ve got nothing to prove there is always that temptation to push as hard as possible. I’d like to think I am fast, but these days I’m more into distance than speed. So after having fun on the start line that’s what I did, as the starting gun went off I put my foot down alongside those around me.
A couple of issues with this approach. Firstly, I have not done speed work for a long time so can’t physically run as fast as my head tells me I can. Secondly, I have been carrying a cough/cold since before Berlin. I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong, maybe it’s my body telling me to slow down, but I haven’t been at full fitness for some time. Finally, I hadn’t prepared for the run, having eaten lots of fatty foods, and drunk lots of alcohol in the days proceeding.
I knew I was going too fast, but thought I could hold on. I looked at my watch and we were going 5:30 min miles. Almost immediately I realised this was not going to last. It was warm and humid, and I hadn’t drunk water for maybe an hour. A combination of this and all of the above, my throat became dry, and I felt so dehydrated. The Pace didn’t feel good so I took the sensible approach and slowed down. I then went slower than I had hoped for. Did I go off too fast, maybe. Did I care, no not really, I just wanted to get the race finished.
A note on the course. I knew this wouldn’t be on the strip, but it was a little boring, it was an out and back route, in the dark, with a few speakers and lights, but mostly it was dark and quiet. There was one water station after about 2 miles, and this was needed and I felt better after drinking, so then sped up a little. When approaching the finish the atmosphere was really good, especially with the live stage in the background.
The official results are out and I finished in 21:56, not too bad really considering I took things easy. Although, putting things in perspective this is slower than I would need to get close to a sub 3 marathon, so have a lot of work to do to get in this shape again. As expected the medal was amazing. It may not have been the most exciting of routes, but it’s an awesome finish line, and let’s not forget its Vegas Baby.
After the event it was time for the concert. I grabbed my bag and got changed in the toilets, this was quick and painless. There was a can of free beer available, with a bit of a queue. I would have got food but the one van wasn’t big enough to cope with the demand and after standing in a queue for 15 minutes and it not moving I gave up.
Kirsty had taken the kids in the monorail to meet me. This was apparently very hard work, and more expensive than she thought. A tip for anyone thinking of doing this, grab a taxi. It’s not really that expensive to take a taxi and towards the end of the trip we were taking a few. For the ease it’s worth it.
When I met Kirsty everyone was in tears. Apparently you could only bring the dedicated bag into the concert so they would not let her in after the terrible journey she had. I was annoyed about this as when I met her they had someone with a huge pram coming in, with a basket, and other people with handbags, so it was a pointless exercise them being so stubborn. They wouldn’t budge, even after I emptied the bag in front of them (jobsworth). To settle the dispute I put this bag and everything else inside my “dedicated bag” and this was ok (really). Often issues with an event revolves around individuals which is beyond the organisers control. Unfortunately this individual had a women with two young children in tears rather than try and support, whilst bending the rules for other people.
After the hectic journey and Benjamin’s excitement to go to a concert, by the time it started both kids were fast asleep. The concert was awesome, but the VIP area was a joke. It was a fenced area, not even in front of the stage, that’s it. It turns out that usually the concert would be on the Sunday night, but many changes had happened because of the recent shooting (#vegasstrong). Usually the VIP area would be part of the main event and so this one in the 5k was an extra and not really thought through. Don’t get me wrong the event and concert were great, but the changes that were appropriate actions from the organisers probably contributed to some of the issues.
Would I go to Vegas again, hell yeah. Would I do the 5k again, of course I would, if I’m going all that way I’m going to make the most of it.
One last thing all. I’ve been nominated for the Running Awards 2018, for my blog. If you like my blog please vote for me, it’s quick and easy, just follow this link HERE and vote for “pick up the Pace Paul”. Thank you.