11.16.18

Two days back home and already it feels like our time in Vegas is a distant memory. I’ve been cooking and baking like crazy and getting ready to really return to real life when I go back to work on Monday.

Before I left, I picked up the copy of Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow that I had been waiting to borrow from the library. It was too big to bring with me and I didn’t really get to take a good look at it until we got back. Since I started reading it on Wednesday afternoon, I’ve made all of the following recipes:

  1. Miso Fast Greens
  2. Green Goddess Tahini
  3. Green Envy Rice Bowl
  4. Beet Blueberry Molasses Superhero Muffins
  5. Can’t Beet Me Smoothie
  6. Quick Pickle Red Onions
  7. Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  8. Sweet Potato Chickpea Cakes
  9. Wild Rice Pancakes

As promised, all have been super nourishing and relatively quick. I only have the book for another week, but I’ve stocked up on many of the repeat ingredients and I’m excited to explore more of the recipes. I’ll just have to decide whether to buy my own copy or get in line at the library again.

With all this looking forward, I’d almost forgotten that I hadn’t written a recap of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon that took place last Sunday. Yikes!

If you’ve been around lately, you may have read the recap I wrote from last year’s race or if we know each other in person, I may have even told you the story face to face. It’s full of sadness, fear, heartbreak, loss, reunion, but rest assured, it all worked out in the end. šŸ¤£

2018 was my second time completing this race. Unfortunately, due to injury, Kevin wasn’t able to participate this year. Initially, he had downgraded his race from the half to the 10k, but on the day of the race, he wasn’t up to taking part at all That said, he did do a little running all over town of his own.

I mentioned the other day that I met up with a friend I hadn’t really seen in years just before the race got underway. It was a chance thing, but after the fact, it feels like it was meant to be. We talked about meeting up in our corral, but decided to meet closer and make our way to the corral together. From that point on, we were inseparable for the remainder of the race.

Things had changed in the pre-race organization this year. Instead of entering off the street and close to the start lines, athletes were expected to enter through the race festival, several blocks away from the start line. According to my friends who started earlier, it was a crazy shit show. We were in the yellow group, the last of the three waves and by the time we were getting into the corrals, the organizers had either figured out what they were doing or given up on trying to do it as they’d initially insisted. We just walked up and entered then headed towards the front, easy as pie.

We waited for some time while groups were sent off and it was finally our turn around 5:40pm. One of the things I love about this race is the timing of it. I find it nice to be starting late in the day and to be doing most of the run after dark. Courtney agreed saying that she found it much more familiar since she primarily trains in the evening after work. I should do more of that because the timing suits me just fine.

By the time we took off, it was dark already and we were ready to go. The course begins just north of New York New York Hotel and continues south way past the end of The Strip, past the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, down where the desert is so dark it seemingly eats up whatever light you try to shine into it.

After a couple of kilometres of heading south, runners make a complete turnaround to come back up The Strip from bottom to top, into Old Vegas with another turnaround at Fremont Street. The finish line is in front of The Mirage.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is just one of two times during the year when The Strip is closed to vehicle traffic. (The other time is on New Year’s Eve.) Another of the highlights of the event is the scenic view runners get of all the traditional Vegas landmarks.

It was just past the Aria sign when we spotted Kevin on the side of the course waving and cheering us on. I’ve shown up to cheer on a number of friends during and at the end of races they’ve run, but I’ve never had someone cheering for me before. And you know what? It was pretty damn meaningful. I immediately felt my spirits rise and it put a big smile on my face. Courtney and I hammer it up a little for him and then we carried on. It was a really nice bonus and it made me really happy that I’d made the effort when I have gone to cheer on friends and strangers alike.

There is no exaggerating how straight the course is and there is no exaggerating how flat it is either. Some might think that would be lacking in challenge or even boring, but the lights and the action make up for it. Between all the bands, the run through weddings (which I completely missed for the second year in a row!) and the spectators offering anything and everything, there is a lot going on if you like a little distraction to get you through your run.

The race is well planned and provides PLENTY of aid stations cycling between water, Gatorade and Science in Sport energy gels (which are surprisingly good).

Neither Courtney nor I was particularly concerned with PRing this event, we were just there to get the experience and have a good time. Frankly, I don’t think it would have been possible to do more of that. We’d run into each other at a Canucks game last year, but aside from that, we hadn’t seen each other in years. Turns out 21.1km is a great distance to catch up on everything and to get reacquainted.

The finish line was pretty well organized and we were overloaded with drinks (water, Gatorade, beer) and snacks (bananas, pretzels, Pringles) and medals. Once we were out of the fray, we reunited with our beaus, enjoyed the festivities and then carried on with our nights.

Here’s a look at all the hardware we walked away with. (You get the remix metal if you complete the challenge of completing two races on any race weekend.)

We talked to a lot of runners the day of the races and in the days after and there were plenty of gripes about various shortcomings. All in all, I don’t feel like there was anything too bothersome, but it was interesting that one complaint that kept coming up over and over was that since Ironman has acquired Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, there’s been a notable push to make the RnR events more competitive. According to longtime attendees, this is taking the spirit out of the events and people are beginning to contemplate going elsewhere. We haven’t been attending RnR marathons long enough to make a true comparison, but we are definitely more interested in a fun atmosphere over an increasingly competitive one.

Lucky for us, we have Orca Running nearby and we love them. And they had their own acquisition announcement earlier today.

Here’s my recap from the 5k race which took place the night before the marathon, half marathon and 10k.

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