Friday, December 9, 2011

2011 Las Vegas Marathon - No bug juice! - Marathon #6

Date:  12/4/11
Race:  2011 Las Vegas Marathon
Distance:  26.2 miles
Time: 3 hours 33 minutes (a PR by 9 minutes) - 8:09 pace per the race; my Garmin Watch had me at 26.45 miles / 8:05 pace

Race start time:  Marathon  - 4 PM (run in the evening so that runners could run down the strip in the dark to see lights); half marathon 5:30 PM
Participants:  44,000 (6,000 marathoners, 38,000 half marathoners)
Weather:  low 50s at start of Marathon, low 40s at the end.  Perfect.
Course:  Marathoners - first 13 miles off the strip, last 13 miles on the strip, merging with the half marathoners during mile 14
  • Course was sold as flat and fast but the first 13 miles had some long, gradual hills as well as a few large hills (over the highways). My Garmin watch showed 442 feet of elevation gain.  Overall most of the race was flat, but certainly not all of it.
  • 2 powerbar gels prior to the race (45 and 15 minutes before the race), 5 gels during the race (3 in the first 10 miles, a 4th during mile 15, the 5th during mile 19.  All gels without caffeine.
  • 1 banana at mile 15
  • 1/3 of a bottle of Gatorade during miles 15 and 16
  • No other electrolytes ingested during the race.  Cytomax was the electrolyte beverage served on the course, which is not a Vegan beverage, so I didn't drink it on the course.  Feel like I would have done even better if I could have had more electrolyte drink.  At the expo, when I asked if Cytomax was vegan, a guy working the booth said "almost, but technically no, as there is a little juice from a bug in the drink".  No bug juice for me!!!
Race goal:  sub 3:40
  • Prior to the race, I felt like I was in shape to run in the low 3:30s if I had a great race, but also knew that the race would slow down after the first half marathon due to the large number of half marathon runners
  • I had a great first half marathon, running a 1:40 (7:38 per mile pace).  I felt great and felt like I could hold a sub 8 minute per mile pace for a while longer, but when we merged with the half marathon runners, it was complete mayhem!  They had cones up asking the marathon runners to stay to the left and the half marathoners to the right, but nobody was following the signs and many of the half marathoners I came up on were walking or running much slower.  I had to work hard to run 8:15-8:30 minute miles for miles 15  - the end of the race.  I was OK with it, although I know I could have been faster if not so crowded.  Many of the marathon runners were getting frustrated, even bumping into me/throwing elbows.  Not worth getting worked up, if you ask me.  I enjoyed the rest of the race, knowing that I was going to PR.  Maybe next time I can break 3:30.
  • The mayhem continued after the race, where 44,000 people merged together in the Mandalay Bay hotel to big up bags and get back to their hotels.  At the same time, a show let out at the hotel, so it was so packed that people were stuffed together like a Tokyo subway.  I got lucky to catch the tram to Excalibur, where I took a cab back to Vdara where we were staying.  The tram was so crowded that I felt like I was going to pass out.  Luckily I didn't, but many runners got sick at the hotel and the paramedics had to attend to a lot of people.  Also heard that a lot of runners got sick on the course from drinking the water on the course, which is rumored to have come from fire hydrants.
Mile 1 - 7:52
Mile 2 - 7:42 (uphill)
Mile 3- 7:34
Mile 4 - 7:18 (downhill)
Mile 5 - 7:38 (long, noticeable, gradual uphill)
Mile 6 - 7:35
Mile 7 - 7:25
Mile 8 - 7:37
Mile 9 - 7:53 (big uphill up a bridge over the highway)
Mile 10 - 7:42 (uphill)
Mile 11 - 7:47
Mile 12 - 7:47
Mile 13 - 7:38 (getting close to the strip)
Mile 14 - 7:46
Mile 15 - 8:23 (mayhem, couldn't run faster than 8:15 without having to work hard to pass people, not worth going to war.  Picked up Gatorade, banana, and 2 gels from Marlene)
Mile 16 - 8:20
Mile 17 - 8:14 (trying to tuck myself behind other faster runners)
Mile 18 - 8:18
Mile 19 - 8:30 (frequently ran on the sidewalks during miles 18-22 to avoid the crowds, but then the spectators wouldn't move!  Was also tough for me to go up and down curbs, as my ankle was still bothering me from spraining it during the NYC Marathon a month ago.  After the race, it was very swollen)
Mile 20 - 8:11
Mile 21 - 8:50
Mile 22 - 8:46
Mile 23 - 8:52 (feeling the gradual uphill during the last 3-4 miles, trying to stay under 9:00 per mile.  At the time, I couldn't figure out why it was harder for me to run a faster pace.  Now I understand why - my  Garmin file shows a long, gradual uphill from miles 20-26)
Mile 24 - 8:51
Mile 25 - 8:51
Mile 26 - 8:47
Last 0.45 - 8:03 (ran sub 7:00 for the last quarter mile and was passing everybody.  I saw the 3:33:02 clock in the distance and wanted to record a 3:33, so I pushed at the end)

Average heart rate 166

Click here for my Garmin File

Overall:  Very happy with my time given that it was my second marathon in less than a month and despite the crowded conditions.  I figured out that I enjoy running in the sun more than in the dark.
Here is a link to my brightroom finishing video and pictures.  Take a look at how crowded the finish was for the half marathoners (on the left).  I decided not to buy this video and the pictures in protest of them not having a camera set up for the marathoners as well as because they don't have a picture of me crossing the finish line (they had 16,000 lost and found pictures to look through - I looked through a bunch but found it too frustrating to look).  I finish at 3:33:49 on the video, in a black shirt with a white bib all the way on the right side of the screen (I run right through the finish line without raising my arms).

Brightroom Finishing Video and Pictures

Very cool medal!!!!!  I like that there were different medals for the marathoners vs the half marathoners (although I heard that they ran out of medals!!)

2011 Las Vegas Marathon Finisher Certificate

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