I’m not a gambler by any means but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything else to do in Las Vegas. There’s good food, lot’s of beer, shows and of course running. Las Vegas is by far one of the best places to run especially when the Strip is shut down for one night of the year just for the annual @runrocknroll #RnRLasVegas half marathon.
This last weekend, a bunch of friends and I decided we’d do something outrageous and take on a self-imposed #Dirt2Strip challenge. You see, running the RnRLV has been a tradition for quite a while now. This would be my 5th year running it in a row. But before I get too deep into Las Vegas, let’s start from the beginning of this #Dirt2Strip challenge.
The weekend started off with a flight down to Ontario to meet up with Brian and Richard. While Richard was busy working, we strolled around locally and met up with beloved friends Andrea, Michael, Linzie and Laurie. Chilling with coffee and Cranberry Bliss Bars was delightful. I wish we could do this weekly. We would then spend Friday evening just hanging, playing video games, eating pizza, drinking beer (Carb loading FTW!), you know, the usual Friday night stuff.
On a more serious tip, if you all didn’t know, the entire State has been on fire. Seriously, from Nor Cal to So Cal, it seems like everywhere you turn, there’s a wildfire burning and causing damage. Be safe out there, people!
There was a fire in Griffith Park which caused a direct effect on the trail race. We weren’t sure if our race was going to be cancelled or not. We got an email from the race director that the race was still on and we were all relieved that we didn’t have to run 13.1 miles out on the streets of Ontario, Burbank or wherever we were going to be.
We had a very early wake up call on Saturday morning to toe the line of our first race of the weekend - The Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon. We caught an early Lyft ride and set out to the park. With ample parking and real bathrooms (yasss), we met up with other’s who were also taking on this #Dirt2Strip challenge.
If you know me, you’ve likely not seen many running pics of us out on any gnarly trails so I admit that I was a bit out of my element on this one. I was prepared, don’t get me wrong, but maybe not prepared for all of the hiking we had to do. You see, this course is a beast with what felt like a million feet of elevation. There were huge hills (I’m calling them mountains) to climb and we would hike up those and run the flats and downhills. I had my trusty gopro to capture the views we were seeing from the tops of those mountains. They were stunning.
We anticipated taking 3 hours to complete this race which allowed us ample time to get to he airport and not have to rush. Although the course was fairly short (there were fires all over the place which caused havoc for the race director / organization) it was still a freakin’ blast and didn’t detract from the race experience at all. We retreated back to our vehicles and cleaned up just a bit and then headed to the Burbank Airport to catch a flight to Vegas. We said our goodbye’s to Carlee’s husband Ryan and I was truly sad that he wasn’t going to Las Vegas with us.
You know the flight to LV was short when 5 minutes after the flight attendants gave you your drinks, they tell you to “chug, chug, chug!” We landed and made the smart choice to head straight to the Race Expo. We’ve gotten so accustomed to picking up our race packets that we were in and out of the expo in no time. After stopping at the PRO Compression booth, we got a ride back to our hotels to clean up and post our #FlatRunner photos for Race #2 of the Day: The #RnRLasVegas 5k.
Oh and before I move on, be sure to check your shirt sizes prior to leaving the expo. I received a women’s small instead of a men’s shirt. I guess when you’ve been up since 3 in the morning and are crunched for time for another race in a couple hours, you forget things like that.
There was a #werunsocial meetup prior to the 5k that evening and it’s always fun to see BRF (Best Running Friends) that you haven’t seen in about a year. Catching up and snapping all the photos is so much fun.
We jumped into our corral and started the 5k. This isn’t the most scenic 5k you’ll run but it’s part of a weekend of races so you just kinda “do it.” We run as a group (which is a major theme of the weekend) and converse about what we’re going to eat / drink after the race. #priorities
We made our way back down to the Linq Promenade and sat down for Mexican food and beer. Since it was a long day, we called it a somewhat early night and crashed knowing that tomorrow’s race would be long.
After waking up ridiculously early when you know the race isn’t until 430pm that day, it’s all worth it when your breakfast from Hash House A Go Go comes to your table. #thisishowwedo We then hit up the outlet mall for a shopping distraction when we knew darn well we should be off of our feet. Again, #priorities.
Since the Race started earlier than the 5k the night before, the meetup began early as well at 215pm at the Bellagio Fountains. Because a bunch of PRO Compression ambassadors and enthusiasts love running Vegas, you know that the turnout for the meetup and the wearing of the unofficial race sock would be epic. This year, the awesome choice of sock was the pink and black stripe which stood out beautifully.
So much happens in such little time during these weekends and time flies by so fast. You hardly get to take pics with people you follow on social because there are just so many people there. We made our way over to the start area after checking our bags and then we were let out to the corrals by color / wave. We were in the first wave and had to walk quite a ways (which was puzzling how things were laid out logistically) to get to the start line. Anyway, we committed to run at a party pace because that’s what we do when we run Vegas. This race is never about time. You’ll see why in a minute.
Our group was double digits strong at the start and we nearly managed to keep it that way for the entire race. We only lost a few of our peeps along the way. The course was changed up a bit from last year, which was a good change btw, and it wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t run past the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign. What I did notice though was the lack of port-o-potties along the course. Now, normally I’m pretty good about not having to go while I’m out not the race course but somehow having to pee just came outta nowhere. Since there are a million and one people running this race and only 1 port-o-potty sprinkled on the course at a time, you can imagine how long the line was for that 1 stall.
We finally found a bunch of them lined up in a row after almost 6 miles of running. Whew! I’d say that made for a very uncomfortable 4 miles or so. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always say it - running on the Las Vegas is a very unique and exciting experience. The energy is unmatched. They only close the Strip down a couple times a year and this is one of them. I am very lucky to get to do this. After turning around near Downtown Las Vegas, we made our way back down the strip and we still had a core group intact. This is actually pretty tough to do.
We, of course, hit up our now traditional beer / liquor stop at around mile 12. We stopped, not our Garmin’s of course, to buy corona’s while a few strong crew members took shots of Fireball. Hot! As we were exiting the bar, we ran into Brianne and Steve, a couple of the original starting line crew. We ran / walked / jogged the last mile of the race with beers in our hands and crossed the finish line feeling very fine. Cheers!
And with that, the 3rd and final race of our EPIC #Dirt2Strip adventure was complete. We absolutely love getting together to do this and mixing it up with additional races prior to coming to Las Vegas has always made the weekend something to look forward to all year long. Until the next one. Peace.