Well, I didn't get a chance to see the tears at the finish, but I did get a bird's eye view of miles 1.8 and 7.6. Running the loop at Red Rock is not for the faint of heart; racing is even tougher. This isn't your standard road half, but it's not a trail run either. It climbs over 1,000 feet in the first five miles while you pound the asphalt. It's not conducive to PRs but what a rush to run it, especially at night. The scenery is breathtaking and we were treated to a tiny cresent moon. Aside from a tree branch that looked like a scary baby arm, it was pretty awesome.
But first, let's take a selfie.
So what did I learn? Lots.
I take this sh*t seriously. Maybe too seriously.
So many of the runners seemed relaxed at my water station. Granted, it was 1.8 miles into the race (and the real climb had not yet begun), but I was surprised to see so many happy, smiling faces. Huh? Game faces, people! You should be suffering! Or not. Maybe they were actually having...fun? Running is supposed to be fun? Fun is PRing....right?
It was interesting to see others' race strategies, too. There were the obvious front-of-the-pack kids, motoring up the hill without stopping. But then there were groups of people, clearly running together, holding back to make sure everyone stayed in the pack. They were actually...laughing. I don't laugh while running. And then there were the groups of people who were there for the experience; you could tell they didn't care about their time, but run/walking the event was the real thrill. It seemed as though they were more in it for the adventure, less for the clock. And many, many, many folks walked through the water station. Few sloshed water around their mouth opening and let the rest drip down their chin (my preferred method).
Maybe it's time to rethink my strategy. Because more than half of these people really looked like they were having a good time.
Note to self: chill out.
Second note: ...after Chicago.
I would last two, perhaps three hours tops, on "Naked and Afraid"
And I'm not talking about tapping out; I'm talking about dying.
The weather here in Vegas took a serious turn on Friday, vanquishing our 100-degree temps with cool breezes in the span of twenty-four hours. The tiny hurricane from Friday night thankfully disappeared by Saturday, but those frigid temps stayed put. Clad in my thermal running pants, three shirts, Marmot jacket, gloves, an ear wrap, AND a ski hat, I shivered uncontrollably once the sun set at 6:30.
The offensive temperature?
I recognize that as a desert dweller, my blood has thinned to the point that I can barely tolerate the frozen food section at the grocery store. But this was just sad. And as I told Brian of my suffering later that night, he commented, "You sunburn easily too, so you would struggle in a warm climate as well. I believe this drops your Primitive Survival Rating to...negative 1.2."
All of those meta-physical life-changing transformations that runners go through happen silently
While I started on mile 1.8, my group dropped me off to continue water distribution at "the Wall" once the last runner had passed. This meant we had to drive by all of the runners on the course, either making their way up to the Overlook Ascent or charging down it. While I run, there are so many thoughts going through my head. Aside from just general posture and technique concerns, my mind will wander to bigger, grander, and most thoughtful topics. Running is truly transformative. You never finish a race the same person you started as.
But from the outside? It just looks like a lot of running. And suffering, I'll be honest. All of the participants silently climbed, nary a peep. I didn't know who was calculating splits or their monthly budget, who was deciding whether to push harder or leave their job. I had no idea who was contemplating fartleks or starting a family. It all looks the same from the outside.
And I was tired just watching them.
Volunteering is fun; try is some time!
Good friends make great volunteers. As Ryan aptly stated, "Kimbo brought the treats, Sallee brought the beats." (Ryan enjoys nicknames). There was some booty-shaking in between runners (I was really just trying to stay warm), pretzel sticks (MY FAVORITE!) and Rice Krispie treats, and lots of laughs. It wasn't your typical Saturday night in Vegas, but it certainly was a memorable one.