Monday, December 22, 2014

LVTC Holiday Half Marathon 2014 Edition

I'm really grateful that I got to scratch that itch over the weekend.  It wasn't my fastest half but, I'm really glad that I showed up to race on Saturday Morning.  This really was a last minute thing...

They had the same shirt from last year, but for a
$40.00 half marathon I'm not complaining

Nothing is more fun to me,than toeing the line and seeing what you are made of, Yes we race against the clock, but I have a ton of fun racing and hopefully out kicking my peers.

Before the race
On Friday morning I got a quick workout in before work.  I ran two miles at tempo pace, with some form drills thrown in (A-Skips and butt kicks).  I was trying to prepare for speed work in the upcoming weeks.  I also did some weight training.  The day before I  received an invitation to a birthday party for my son's BFF.  The party was the same day as the upcoming LVTC Championship series 10K, and the party started at 10am, early but not super early...

I went to the packet pick-up for the Holiday Half Marathon on my lunch break. It was at the local running store that is really close to my work,  I found out that the upcoming 10k starts at 9am and is on the opposite end of town, and even if I hurried home after the race, my son would end up missing about half of the party...

I talked to the president of the track club and I started to think,"maybe I can swing this one".  My husband is pretty patient with me and my running.  But, I would hate for him to feel like I'm taking advantage of him as a babysitter on the weekends, when we have pretty limited time and resources for races compared to before we had children...

That night while I was making dinner, I casually brought up the race, and I surprised at how easily I got the green light...

Signing up for races at the last minute has one huge advantage.... No pre-race freak outs!!!!  It is so hard when I have a big race looming on the calendar for two months, then six weeks, or one month out.  I tend to obsess over performing to my best.  After I tucked the kids into bed, I laid out my clothes for the morning, watched TV, and tried not to stay up too late.

Morning of the race

I woke up at 5am and I made pancakes, bacon, and coffee.  While the breakfast was cooking, I wrote a short blog post.  After breakfast I got dressed and left the house at 7am.  I was trying to remember last year's race, and I remember the course being a doozy...
1100 feet of decent, and 1100 feet of climbing! Yay!!
When I got to the race site, I ran into fellow members of the Las Vegas Track Club,  I only get to see my runner friends a few times a year, so I really enjoyed chit-chatting and catching up.

I was really excited to race, and I was just happy to be there.
Can you tell how excited I am?

My strategy was to hold back during the first two miles, and try not to fly down the downhill section of the race.... 
Mile 1-8:10
Mile 2-8:07

This didn't go quite how I planned.  I brought my phone with me because I really like the Slacker music app.  I paid for the subscription service when I was training for the RNRLV Marathon.   I normally race half's with my ipod nano circa 2010. (same ipod and music since 2010).  During the 3rd mile of the race, I started screwing around with my phone and I lost any signal that I had (Goodbye Slacker Radio)...  Derp... I ended up going with my old play list on my phone (circa 2011), and then later on in the race I tried to pick up a signal again with no luck...  The moral of the story is to leave the phone in your car if you are racing in the boonies.

The 1st place female was way ahead of me and I knew that I wouldn't catch her.  She is way faster, and it is what it is. However, the 2nd place female came right up on me while I was dicking around with my phone.  I'm a competitve jerk, if you pass me during a race you better mean it.  Don't hang on to my shoulder or try to run with me....  I felt like that was happening so I  threw it into another gear to create another gap between us.  This probably wasn't the best idea.

Mile 3-7:03
Mile 4-6:50 

The straight downhill turned into a series of rolling downhill climbs, we were still running down the hill, but you also had to run up a few steep inclines,
This picture is from last year's race, courtesy of the LVTC

Around this time I pulled out my Gatorade energy chews (Blue Crush) and I ate a few.
Mile 5-7:46
Mile 6-7:29

We were heading back down a steep decline, and the 2nd place female passed me like she meant it this time.  I was impressed with her speed going down the hill.  I didn't recognize her as a local runner and I think I underestimated her.     We were nearing the bottom of the trail head and I told myself to be patient, there is still the second half of the race.  I began to head back up the steep decent/rolling downhills in reverse.

Mile 7-7:53
Mile 8-9:48

I had been playing hopscotch with two male runners, and another runner went flying by all three of us. It was James Alejandro.  He is notorious for holding back and killing the second half of races. Around this time I also ate a few more Gatorade chews.  

Mile 9-8:39

I was able to shake the two guys that I was running with, and then I was in no man's land.  The second place female was no longer in my sights. After the rolling climbs were over, we were treated to a straight uphill climb for the next two miles. I didn't event want to look at my Garmin because I knew that  I was slowing down.  Not much you can do at this point- Just endure the pain and try to look forward to the last two miles that are downhill.

Mile 10-9:07
Mile 11-9:25
I look like I'm having the time of my life here (sarcasm)

I was so happy to finally be running back downhill.  I knew there were only two miles left until the finish. My legs were toast, but I wanted to finish hard.

Mile 12-7:38
Mile 13-7:38
        .1-1:05 (7:12 pace)

Official Time 1:46:37
Garmin Time  1:46:38 (13.15 miles)

I'm happy that I ran the tangents pretty close.  I'm also happy that I didn't get picked off during the last 4 miles.

After the race I hung out for a few minutes, but I didn't stick around for the awards.  I had so much fun, but I knew that I had to hurry home.
Me, Toshie (she was right on my heels), Christina  (She got there late, so I got lucky lol)
Debbie, and 1st woman overall Erica S. She smoked that course with a 1:35!!

This morning I went for a short two mile run, to get some of the stiffness out of my legs, I'm not as sore as I thought I would be.  I have to take the next two weeks easy.. I want to give my legs a chance to recover.  Then I have about four weeks of training with some speed work in the mix. My next race is the Big Game 10k.  This race will have some pretty good swag to attract the local runners.  I'm looking forward to racing hard again. :)

Thank you to the LVTC for the photos and for hosting a great event!

As always thanks for reading.


  1. Congratulations on placing third lady!

    That course is no joke. Then again, I don't think I've ever seen you run a particularly easy course. I can't believe the winner ran that in 1:35 - I think your time is incredibly impressive!

    I'm really pleased that you had a positive race experience and you're feeling confident again. Roll on the Big Game 10K - you're going to crush it.

    1. Thank you Jess! I think some folks are surprised at how hilly, the Las Vegas area can be. I'm always stunned by the natural beauty of the mountains.

      The 1st place woman, is a really strong runner who dominates the local scene. And she's really friendly and nice too.

  2. Glad you got to race this one! And good job, too. That's a whole lot of hill for one race.

    1. Thank you! Definetly not a PR course, but the views were incredible.

  3. That elevation profile is brutal. Congratulations on getting 3rd place!

    1. Thank you! That course spanked my butt for sure!