Monday, November 14, 2016

Rock N Roll Marathon 2016 Race Report-26.2 with a negative split.

I didn't go sub 3:40 last night, but I'm okay with it.   I ran 3:44:40, which technically is a BQ time, but I may not have enough of a cushion to actually gain an entry to the 2018 race. I'm very happy that I executed a true negative split marathon.   Hydration and nutrition were a big factor in this race.

I will do my best to capture last night's events, details, feelings, etc.

Pre-Race (Day of)
Racing in the afternoon has its issues.  I'm a morning person, and the weather would have been much cooler if the race would have started in the morning.  Here's what I ate

Breakfast 6:30am
Everything bagel with a slice of American cheese
Two eggs over medium cooked in cooking spray
(I didn't have any coffee, more on that later)

Snack 9:30am

Lunch 11:00am
A bowl of macaroni with cheese and Spanish rice mixed together

After lunch, I laid down with my daughter for her midday nap and I slept for about 45 minutes and tossed and turned for another 45 minutes.

Snack 2:30pm
Banana  I ate this in the car on the way to the Monorail station on the Las Vegas strip.  My Father in Law was very nice and gave me a ride to and from the Monorail station.  The traffic is always insane on the strip, and even more so when the marathon happens.

Pre-race Gel and an electrolyte capsule  at 3:30pm
My gel had a little bit of caffeine and it woke me up,  I didn't drink my morning coffee because I wanted to save all of the caffeine buzz for the race.

During the day I drank about two liters of water, a beet juice soda, a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper (after my nap) and a few ounces of fruit punch Gatorade.

Before the race, I met up with my friend Jenn( she was running the half) and it was nice to hang out with her, and her other friend Cari, who had flown in from Minnesota.  Cari was also running the marathon.  We made it to the starting line village with just enough time to drop our gear, use the port- a-potties, and to hop into the corrals.
Pre-race photo

My Jenny

The daytime high in Las Vegas was 77 degrees. But, the sun goes down around 4:45pm, and the temperatures dropped into the low 70's. The sun wasn't beating down on us, but I don't ever remember feeling cold or chilly.

We started in corral 4, and I told myself to be patient.    My strategy was to hold back, and run even.
The first mile was congested, then we flipped a u-turn, and started heading up the Las Vegas strip. My calves and feet were a little tight, and honestly, the first hour of the race was  the hardest.  I kept doubting that I would be able to pick up the pace during the later miles. 8:30 pace didn't feel hard, but it didn't feel easy peasy either.  At mile 4 I started eating my energy chews.  Two chews every two miles. I also took three more salt capsules during the race.  The energy chews I used were Honey Stinger Cherry Cola and Pink Lemonade, For the salt tabs I used Gu Roctane Electrolyte capsules.

The wind beneath my wings

I sweat out a lot of salt, and these tablets helped.
I ate one before the race, one at 45 minutes, another
at 1:40, and my last one around 2:45ish
I also made a point to grab a cup of fluid at every single aid station.

During the early miles, my Garmin bounced all over the place. It would appear that I was running 9:30 pace (what?!), and then my Garmin would drop down to 7:25 pace (oh shit, slow down). It messed with my head, but the early miles were fairly even
Mile 1- 9:24 ( This mile was on a slight incline, and it was crowded)
Mile 2- 8:31
Mile 3- 8:31
Mile 4- 8:32
Mile 5- 8:30
Mile 6- 8:35

After the first hour, I decided to start with the caffeinated energy chews. This was the best decision ever!!!  The caffeine woke me up, and I started to feel more confident, as each mile ticked by and they were still pretty even.

Mile 7- 8:28
Mile 8- 8:29
Mile 9- 8:25
Mile 10- 8:25
Mile 11- 8:47
Mile 12- 8:30

Due to construction on one of our major freeways, the RNRLV marathon course was changed,  The competitor group decided to keep the race close to downtown area and close to the strip.  The competitor group got really creative with our marathon course.  There were so many out and backs, and turning loops.  But, I didn't let that bug me, and I did my best to master the 180 degree flip turn while running.

Mile 13-8:21
Mile 14-8:36
Mile 15-8:32

I had created a playlist, that would start out slow, and gradually build, and at mile 15 I was greeted by a song that reminded me of my daughter when she was a baby.  I became very emotional, and it lit a fire under my butt.  And with 11 miles to go, I decided to start picking up the pace.  The course took us through a large parking lot warehouse area.  But, it was done up in black lights, neon lights, and with techno music.  It was pretty neat, but I had to be careful with my footing too.  During this section, I crashed into another runner at a water station.
Mile 16-8:35
Mile 17-8:27
Mile 18-8:08

We begin to start heading back towards the downtown area.  I'm worried that I'm going to crash and burn eventually.
Mile 19-8:06
Mile 20-8:16
Mile 21-8:19
Mile 22-8:25
After a few more out and back sections we are now on the Las Vegas strip, and heading into another parking lot/rave area....

 I start counting down 4 miles 35 minutes to go etc.
Mile 23-8:27
Mile 24-8:33

We head up a slight uphill grade during this mile.... My pace starts to fall, but I'm fighting as hard as I can. Then we end up back on Las Vegas Blvd.  And this is where I start to feel some redemption.  In 2014 I ran/walked the last few miles, with horrible calf cramps.  This year, I was charging down the straightaway to the finish
Mile 25- 8:48
Mile 26- 8:33
.4- 3:29 = 8:10 pace

Garmin/Strava Time  3:44:46 for 26.4 miles

Official Race Stats

FWIW I hit the half way mark at 1:53:01, and I ran the second half in 1:51:39.  I managed to negative split by a little less than 90 seconds.  It was a very satisfying feeling to be running strong towards the end.

Vegas Baby!

I will say that I'm a little bummed for not going sub 3:40. But, I'm not super upset.  This year I am juggling school, work, and family responsibilities in addition to marathon training.   Plus the weather was a factor.   When I got home I was wide awake from all of the caffeine.  In addition to the energy chews, I also had another caffeinated gel at mile 20.  I ended up going to sleep a little after midnight, and today I am exhausted.

Overall I am really happy with how the race went.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Those splits are beautifully even! And the negative split is super impressive! I'm so happy for you! Congrats on a great race :)

  2. Congratulations on the BQ, the negative split, and a strong race! You picked a tough race (warm, night) to run and a tough time in your life (busy!), yet you still hit your goal. Very impressive.

  3. Very impressed with your negative splits and your BQ! Sounds like it was a well executed race strategy. Congrats!

  4. My comments never seem to work w/my Wordpress account, trying something new.
    I am looking forward to hearing how you felt your training plan and coach worked this cycle!