I thought it only appropriate that on this 1 year anniversary of running my very first half marathon, that I finally get the race report written. Better late than never, right?
Last fall, on a whim, I entered a blog contest for a race entry over on Enjoying The Course. I didn’t give it much thought until…I won. Then the dilemma was half marathon or 5K. The thought of a half marathon was petrifying to me, but also kind of exciting. I was coming off of an injury (quad strain) but decided to go for it anyway. Eeeeekkkk.
I highly second guessed myself when I went over to the Run Laughlin website to register and saw the course map. Huge hill, right out of the gate.
I took a deep breath and hit register before I could talk myself out of it. Set about making a training plan and got busy.
Training went relatively smoothly, each week taking my long run 1 mile further than the week prior. Bryan ran my last long run with me (10 miles) for moral support and I was so proud of myself when it was done! On to the race!
My Mom flew in to be part of my support crew, so I picked her up from the airport earlier the day before the race and then as soon as Bryan got off work and Jacey out of swim, we hit the road to Laughlin. Laughlin is about 2-2.5 hours from my house in Las Vegas and a pretty boring drive. We had never been to Laughlin, so we weren’t sure what to expect.
As soon as we arrived in Laughlin, we headed over to the expo to pick up my race packet at the Colorado Belle Hotel. The expo was just eh, but the swag was good. The tech shirt was great quality and instead of just a plastic bag, we even got a drawstring backpack/gear bag. All the volunteers were chipper and helpful. I met the race director and asked about the course again. I was a little worried about the initial hill and the trail portion. I was told the trail portion was double track and hard packed (I later came to find out it was not, my one beef with the actual course). After I had everything in hand, we went next door to The Edgewater Hotel where our reservations were. Both hotels were offering great race rates, so we just flipped a coin on where to stay. Upon checking in, I got a cute little gift bag that the race director’s wife put together, very nice touch. Since it was getting late, I showered, double checked my gear and went to bed.
Flat Lacey was ready, not sure I was!
I didn’t sleep very well, I am sure it was because of nerves, so I was awake early. I grabbed a small breakfast, got dressed and headed down to the race start area across the street from the hotel. I met up with two friends from Facebook, Jessie and Emily. We chatted, took pictures and Emily gave me a great pep talk. Both Jessie and Emily had ran half marathons before, I was the only newbie of the group and felt like I was going to puke all morning.
Finally it was time to head to the starting line and once I got down there, I was fine. All nerves just vanished and were replaced by a smile. Funny how that happens.
The course was brutal, I am not going to lie. The temps were chilly and then perfect, but the wind. OMG. A good chunk of the uphill part you were running into 20-30mph winds. I wanted to die. The downhills were fantastic and the trail portion tried to kill me. It was not hard packed at all. It was soft and sandy. I survived though and was rewarded by the gorgeous views going over the dam into Arizona. The course support was great, snacks and cheerful volunteers always make the experience better.
I had trained to be able to come in around a 3:15 half but my training was not adequate for the course. I had been watching my finish time on my watch and as I got closer to the finish line, I was aiming for under 3:30. As I came into view of the race clock, I started to move, literally as fast as my feet would carry me at that point.
Crossing the finish line was a flood of emotions. I’m not a huge crier, but I cried. This was one of my single greatest accomplishments for my own personal endeavors.
And I even have the bling to prove it! :)
Afterwards, we went over to the after party area where they had music, snacks and free beer for runners. I grabbed some snacks, passed on the beer (blech) and finally said goodbye to Emily. One last stop at In-N-Out before heading out of town and saying goodbye to #thatdamhill .
All in all, it was a great (but hard) race. My only complaint was the inaccuracies on the surface of the trail area but for an inaugural race, the support and organization was superb! I can’t wait to run my next half marathon.
Yes, I said it!