Tag Archives: rock n roll las vegas

Back in Action and Awards

I’m back in action!  A rough run on Saturday had me staving off more until today but thanks to the weather, things got shuffled around a bit.

After fighting a little with both of my ankles over the weekend I reevaluated my schedule and Sunday night decided my legs were feeling well enough to stick with it.  Until I read the week’s weather forecast.  A predicted high of 27 on Thursday.  While I don’t mind running in frigid temperatures, it would be my first genuinely cold run of the season and I didn’t want my final long run before Rock n Roll Arizona to suffer because of it.  Luckily I was able to adjust my training schedule to accommodate winter.  Here’s what the week will end up looking like:

Monday – Strength training
Tuesday – Rest  Shakeout run with 2x 200M strides
Wednesday – Interval Work
Thursday – Long Run (10 Miles)  Rest
Friday – Shakeout Run  Long run (10 miles)
Saturday – Race Pace Run (4 miles+)
Sunday – Heavy lifting

My legs were beaten up after a heavy dose of front rack walking lunges Monday and the shakeout ended up being exactly what I needed.  It was a day earlier than I had planned on running again but a short jog before heading out let me know my ankle would be fine.

I’m happy to be running pain free again and am even happier to have received some cool awards.  They’re awards I earned in 2014 but I waited to share until they all arrived.

My age group award from the Heart of Ghent 10k print with a plaque commemorating my 10k PR.  It was very hard to photograph with my phone!awardsRock n Roll Series Heavy Medals!  Rock Encore and Triple Crown earned for Rock n Rolls in Nashville, Virginia Beach and Las Vegas.  The Triple Crown is HUGE!


What cool awards or medals did you earn in 2014?  How do you decide if you’ve recovered enough to run?

RnR Las Vegas: Part II

RnR Las Vegas was hands down the hardest training run I’ve ever completed.  I’ve run longer, I’ve run harder in more heat, more wind, ice and snow but this was a disaster.  To catch up on what happened before the race began, and quite possibly played a role in my mess of a race, check out RnR Las Vegas Part I here.

I got a solid nine hours of sleep Saturday night but when Race Morning drnr las vegasawned, I knew it hadn’t been enough to make up for Friday night’s lack.  With two nights before a race being the most important, I scrapped my start slow plan before I even climbed out of bed.  I just wanted to run with Meb.  After I got out of bed, I even questioned that.  My legs felt terrible and I could tell I just didn’t have it. The day was sunny and cool, meaning the weather for the race would be great.  I was definitely looking forward to that.  What I wasn’t looking forward to were the nine hours before race time.  My Race Day routine wasn’t possible with the Rock n Roll Las Vegas beginning at 4:30pm and that didn’t help my legs feel any better.

As those nine hours crept by, Mom and I did some shopping at the Grand Canal Shops, ate lunch and suffered through the first half of an atrocious Eagles game.  My hydration and fueling strategies were non-existent but I wasn’t concerned because I didn’t plan on ‘racing’.  Around 3:15, I put an E2 in 16 ounces of Las Vegas tap water and drank it dry just before heading to the Start.  Immediately I knew it was a mistake.  When I travel I typically stick to bottled water. Changing can upset my digestive system and it takes me a day or two to adjust.  I had been doing a good job for this trip until that moment.  The water tasted funny and I knew I’d need to use the restroom before running 13+ miles.  No worries, there would be plenty to use at the starting area.

Getting to those Port-a-Potties was an entirely different issue. The walk should only have taken 25 minutes but with huge crowds and a much further than expected distance to go, it took close to 45. My mom and I had begun the walk together but after realizing how much further I had to go, I took off at a jog, leaving my phone and any chance at Start Line photos behind me while she went to find a place to cheer from.  I continued moving towards the Start for what seemed like forever.  Eventually I did find and use one of the many Port-A-Potties near the back of Corral 48 and just as I entered, Corral 1 was released.  At that moment I stopped to retie my shoes and knew I wasn’t going to make it to my desired Meb Corral between 6 and 7.  I simply put the pedal to the metal and power walked, dodged and excused my way as far forward as I could. During this process my entire plan for the race changed.  There was no way I would be able to catch the 1:45 group starting so far behind them and with my legs feeling pretty crappy already, I just wanted to get in a solid training run.

By the time I made it to the front, I was crossing the RnR Las Vegas Starting Line with Corral 11.  I asked around the crowd and found out it was a 2 hour finish time Corral, less than ideal but it certainly could have been worse.  Mile 1 was full of traffic and about 30 seconds slower than I wanted.  After that things opened up at bit to give me some running room as I passed my cheering Mom at Mile 2.  The next six miles were pretty steady with traffic, making it hard to clock consistent half mile splits but I had some fun chatting with other runners, thanking volunteers and the LVPD and smiling for the race photographers.  I hit 5k in a leisurely 26:03, 10k at a better pace in 51:21 and was feeling pretty good after grabbing some water just before Mile 6.  While that second dose of Las Vegas water didn’t tip my system over the edge, the water stop at Mile 9 spelled the end for me.

As soon as I drank that water, I knew things were going to take a turn for the worse.  It tasted funny, immediately turning my stomach.  I couldn’t find a Port-a-Potty fast enough and when I finally did, it wasn’t pretty.  Officially dehydrated, I took off again to feet that were starting to cramp and a course filled with water that wasn’t going to help much.  Next to go were my glutes and hamstrings.  Never, ever during a run has my posterior chain gotten such a good workout.  Every muscle down the back of my body below my hips was screaming.  My knees and IT bands hurt with every step and I took some walking breaks.  Every mile seemed like to took forever.  I was in more pain than I have ever been in during any run in my life.  I had ceased caring about my long run, training and finish time while I was inside that portable restroom and just wanted to make across the line without any serious injuries.

I struggled through the final 5k to finish 13.27 miles in 1:59.36.  I’ve had bad races before, and I’m sure I’ll have one again, but this was awful. Everything below and including my abs hurt as I picked up my playing card inspired medal, immediately downed an entire bottle of water and grabbed pretzels, chocolate milk, Powerbars and a heat sheet.  My knees hadn’t felt like that in a long, long time.  My posterior chain was sore, aching and altogether upset.  I needed a foot massage and couldn’t get to my compression soon enough.  Unfortunately in the mass of people at the Finish, I missed my mom and we didn’t meet up again until we were both back at our room, which is why I don’t have any finish line photos either.rnr las vegas

In the end, the first eight miles of my RnR Las Vegas long run were very good and the last five were terrible.  It was a big learning experience and looking back, I’m actually glad I had to fight through it.  The ample support on the course, from water stops to Port-a-Potties, was great and the run through the lights was special in spite of being too busy looking at the people around me, trying not to run into them, over them and get in their way to really take in the scenery.  What I did see was pretty cool and the flat course definitely has the potential to be fast. Had I felt better, not been in a panic at the beginning and had fresher legs, I’m sure it would have been a much more enjoyable experience.

Would I run RnR Las Vegas again?  Absolutely.  I have a lot of ground to cover first (42 more states) but I’m not counting it out.  If you have the chance, I recommend giving this race a shot.  Just be sure to worry more about taking in the scenes than the people around you.


Have you run RnR Las Vegas?  Would you?  Why or why not?

Rock n Roll Las Vegas: Part I

Rock n Roll Las Vegas was the hardest training run I have ever completed.  The first 8.something miles were great.  The last 5.something were excruciating. If it hadn’t been a race, I probably would have bailed.  I’ve had bad races before and I’m sure it will happen again, but this one took the cake.  This is a two-part post, the before here and during and after coming next.  Here’s how the worst run I can remember got started.rock n roll las vegas

My plan was to run an easy training run and finish the race around 1:45 with eight miles at long run pace and the last five faster.  When I saw that 2014’s Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi was pacing the 1:45 group, I decided to jump in with them.  How cool would that be?  I printed proof of having raced in that time range, my confirmation sheet, hotel reservations, flight itinerary and packed up.  My Mom was flying from Philadelphia and the plan was the meet up at McCarren airport Friday night.

I had work before my evening flight and got up at my usual Friday morning 5am ET.  I worked, finished packing and made my way to the airport.  I was tired by the time I arrived in Charlotte for the second leg and had big plans for sleeping at least half of the almost five hours it would take to arrive in Las Vegas.  After boarding, I noticed two infants across the aisle from me but hoped they were good little travelers and everyone would be able to get some shut eye.

Nope.  The kids were miserable.  I got maybe four minutes of shut-eye before landing at 10:30 PT.  Staying up late is not something I do often, especially on race weekend.  I waited for Mom to gather her luggage and we cabbed it to the hotel.  Exhausted, I hit the hay around 1am PT after close to 23 straight bright eyed hours.  Seven fitful hours of sleep later, my feet hit the hotel room floor.  I couldn’t sleep anymore because my body was still on East Coast time but I knew not sleeping well two nights before a race can spell disaster.  As I started to move around, I immediately knew this wasn’t going rock n roll las vegasto be a chance to push myself.  I had done a good job of drinking water while flying and wasn’t dehydrated but my legs didn’t feel fresh and I regretted not wearing compression on the way west.

A tasty carb load breakfast where I hoped my grumpy legs would loosen up as I walked around during the day kicked off Saturday morning and we made it to the expo just after the doors opened.  I had proof of running in the 1:45 range to join Meb’s in my hand as Mom and I found the end of a giant but steadily moving line to enter.  I quickly acquired my number from a friendly volunteer who had also come all the way from Virginia Beach.  The gentleman was very nice and we chatted for a moment about the RnR Virginia Beach and how excited we were to be part of the Las Vegas event.  Next stop was t-shirt pick up then I stepped in line to get my Meb Corral sticker.  An orange ‘M’ sticker was applied to my number before we wandered through the crowded expo, snapping a few photos before taking the Las Vegas Monorail back to our hotel.rock n roll las vegas

The rest of Saturday was mostly relaxing.  I knew if I was going to have any success on Sunday I need to get some more sleep and I tried to take a nap but failed miserably.  I try to stick with bottled water when I travel because sometimes strange tap water upsets my system and did an excellent job of drinking plenty of it.  After failed nap time, Mom and I had a better than expected dinner at KGB Burger (definitely check it out if you’re in the mood for a hamburger) then went to Aria to catch Zarkana.  The 90 show flew by.  The performances were fantastic.  Amazing athletes, great music and incredible set designs set the scene for a show I’d love to see again.  After the show we gambled a bit before my exhaustion from Friday caught up and I wanted to get to bed.  I got a solid nine hours of sleep Saturday night but still didn’t feel great heading into Rock n Roll Las Vegas Race Day.

Stay tuned for my Race Day recap in Rock n Roll Las Vegas Part II 🙂


Did you run the Strip at Night this year?  Do you plan on it?

Three Races, Three Different Goals

My two weeks of rest, recovery and relaxing are over.  I head into three races with three different goals over the next few weeks and I’m getting back in gear with a middle mileage, lots of cross training program.  This event centered training cycle kicks off with Rock n Roll Vegas next weekend, the Harbor Lights Half the week after that and the Rehoboth Beach Half Marathon the first Saturday in December.  I’ll tackle each race individually and I’m using this week as a gentle build into more intense workouts in the upcoming months.

I’m not logging many hard, fast miles this week but I will be running 28 total in preparation for Rock n Roll Vegas.  I lifted some heavy-ish weights Monday and got in a round of 400M repeats yesterday to get back in the running groove as I kick off this first week of my three races training cycle.  A 90 minute long run today and more cross training will send me into the weekend where I have a fun, non-race running event coming up.  As part of my two hour pacer duties for the Harbor Lights Half, I’ll be helping with the course preview run Sunday.  A seven mile tour of the beginning and end of the race’s path will help me get the rest of my miles in while having a great time with some fellow Harbor Lights participants.three races

After Sunday’s course preview event, it’s right into Rock n Roll Vegas Race Week.  I’ll do three short, hard runs leading up to two days of mostly rest as I cruise into Race #1.  Race day will be my longest run since Myrtle Beach and I am just fine with that.  I want to get out and take in the scenery while enjoying my short vacation with the first of these three races.  My goal is to run the first eight miles at long run pace then pick up for the next five to average about an eight minute mile, bringing me across the line right around 1:45.  I expect this to be a solid training run even though I haven’t racked up many miles in the past few weeks.  No matter what, it will definitely be a good gauge of where my fitness level is after four weeks of not too tough training.

At Race #2 a week later I’ll be pacing the two hour group in the Harbor Lights Half in Norfolk.  I had a blast pacing at the Rock n Roll in Virginia Beach earlier this year and expect this to be just as much fun.  The pace will be a nice easy one but the miles still count and I’ll shoot for about 30 miles during this training week.  Depending on how I feel after Vegas I might ratchet up my other runs during the week between these two events with the ultimate goal of trying to break 1:37.00 again at Race #3.

Ideally Vegas leaves me feeling good so I can shoot for a new PR in Delaware.  With two weeks to prepare, I should be in good shape to have a chance.  I won’t have to be faster than I was in Myrtle, I’ll just have to run 13.1 miles instead of 13.29.  I could even be a hair slower per mile.  The weather was terrible on this weekend last year so even if my legs feel good I’ll be playing it by ear to decide how hard I really want to run the flat course.  I’d rather save myself to try again at Rock n Roll Arizona in January.

Three races, three different goals.  Race #1:  Get a good long run in.  Race #2:  Have fun, help, root and cheer while racking up some miles.  Race #3:  Potentially a new PR opportunity.


Do you have different race goals?  How do you break up training cycles?

Right Now: Recovery, Booked, Visited

It’s time for the May edition of Right Now!  This is my second post in this category and as promised, I’m covering three new topics.  I’m doing something new for recovery, booked a trip and visited a local art museum.  Here’s how I feel about each of them:booked

Recovery:  One of my 2014 running goals was to get better at recovering from long runs, races and every training session.  In my efforts to accomplish this, I accepted an invitation to the BioSkin ambassador program and received a complimentary pair of Calf Skins.  I’ve used compression capri tights, but never used compression socks during or after I run, and want to give them an honest try before reviewing them.  I’m still in the process of playing with my run/post-run routine and it’s been really hot (100% humidity for last week’s 14 miler!).  I haven’t wanted to run with any extra clothing on due to that, so I’ve used to Skins exclusively for recovery.  When it cools off a bit, I’ll go for a run in them and soon after, fill you in on everything Calf Skin!

Booked:  My trip to Vegas for the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.  I’m excited for the trip and since it’s not a target, PR attempt race, the race’s notoriously huge field shouldn’t bother me.  Hopefully I’ll be able to start from the first or second corral to give me even more running bookedroom on the flat course that wraps up with a run down the Strip while it’s all lit up.  I’ve heard good things (other than the large number of participants) from friends who have participated in the past and the 4:30pm Start Time, though unusual, makes this event special.  Nevada will be the 8th State checked off on my Run 50 States + DC Map, and I’m ready to keep plugging away at the list.

VisitedThe Duck.  This giant rubber duck is not only adorable, it’s world-famous and guaranteed to make you smile.  Stationed in Norfolk for the week, Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck helps celebrate the re-opening of the Chrysler Museum of Art with its second appearance in the United States.  The Chrysler recently underwent a $24 million renovation and since I wanted to see it, the Duck seemed like the perfect reason to head over.  I hadn’t been to the old building, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it was great.  With free admission everyday, the Museum is home to a wide variety of exhibits and beautiful artwork as well as a glass blowing studio where you can let your creative juices flow.


Do you use compression for recovery?  What’s your 2014 destination race?  Does the duck make you smile, too?