In Which I Finally Start Up My Blogging Again (Yet Again..!)
TL;DR – How Not To Prepare For A Marathon
In August 2016, my dad died a few days before his birthday. I was crushed and spent a lot of time being drunk, and miserable. Having one of those “life’s too short moments” I decided (as you do) to fire up my credit card and book the Rock and Roll marathon in Las Vegas, three months and 5’000 miles away.
Found a decent deal on a hotel, average deal on flights and a poor exchange rate on dollars.
Then before I knew it, it was time to fly. Spent the night at a hotel at Manchester airport to save time the next morning as I was on an early flight. Then in the morning I had a Burger King and the standard holiday beer (at 7:30am.)
I got free upgrade to extra leg room (probably felt sorry for the loser going to Vegas alone) then I was well on my way. Nine hours flew (heh) by and touched down to 27 degree heat. (Along with a 60 minute wait to get through arrivals.)
Check in at the hotel went quick and got chatting to a few people in the queue who had running shirts on. I’ve never seen a hotel so big! My room was clean and bright, but the hotel in general had a bit of a musty smell about it. Ah well.
After a shower I made my way out to have a look at Las Vegas.
The traffic, the people, the sounds, the buildings, it’s all exactly as you see on TV. Loud, noisy, busy. I loved it!
I walked up the main strip for a half hour or so to get my bearings, and by bearings I mean beer. There’s a million different places to drink, all with offers on for different times of the day. And I know, drinking three days before a marathon isn’t a good idea, but I’d be fine if I only had a couple.
Think I managed about six bars that first day. Most of them, because I sat at the bar in each and talked to the staff, gave me a free beer and/or shot. Coupled in with the 8hrs time difference and being awake for almost 20hrs, I was merry.
Went back to my hotel around 6pm local time (2am English time) and decided to have a bit of a nap.
3am and a lot of a nap later, I was utterly confused. Suppose that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas. I’d bought beer for my room from somewhere on the way back the evening before and as my body clock had NO idea what was happening, I opened a bud and looked out over Vegas
I was hungry, I knew that, so as I’d not actually explored the hotel yet I went downstairs. Multiple bars, restaurants and a casino that went further than I could see is what I found. More importantly I found food from a place called Johnny Rockets.
Then went back to bed.
6am, I’m wide awake. Watched some American TV (what with being in America) then had a shower and went out walking and exploring further.
I figured out the bus service and made my way up to the expo to pick up my race pack. Looked around all the stalls and bought a couple of souvenirs but managed to not buy anything major. Lunch, followed by a few bars and a bit of gambling and I was worn out. (Stupid jet lag.)
I needed to sleep even though I knew I should try get into a proper sleep pattern and told myself I’d nap for an hour at most.
Woke up at sunset.
I’d had an easy night after waking up, went and found a bit of live music then was back before midnight. Still woke up at 5am though. Went down to a bar in the hotel and watched a bit of American football that was replaying from when ever American football is played.
Went to Denny’s when it was open for some breakfast and a coffee (free refills, bliss)
Caught the bus to the outlet stores, right on the end of the line. As today was the day before the marathon I told myself that no alcohol would pass my lips and I’d have an early night.
Had a nice relaxing morning, sorted out all my race kit for the next day and then watched a bit of TV. Then got bored. Stood up, looked out of my window and saw this:
Obviously I didn’t go in
Maybe I did
Maybe I had some beer, maybe I had a lot. Maybe I shouldn’t have, the day before I marathon and maybe I’d regret it the next day. Maybe all these things.
All these things
Sunday: Marathon Day
My head hurt. But at least I was awake at a normal time. 9am. The marathon didn’t start until the afternoon, so that your be running along the strip at night. Plenty of time to sober up!
And carb up! Good old Denny’s.
My day was spent making sure I had everything I needed, running belt, energy bars and stuff. Then it was go time. As it’s a Rock and Roll event they put on a gig at the start of the race, and it was Snoop Dogg. Not a fan, but watched a bit of him. Still not a fan.
24 degree heat
Slight jet lag
Doesn’t make for a fun marathon.
Sound goes off and everyone’s running. We go one way for around a mile, going by the Vegas sign, turn around and back up the other side and up the strip. My hotel is right at the start line and am tempted to just run up to bed.
You run all up Las Vegas Blvd until mile 8. I was fine until about mile 6 then the previous few days caught up with me. It was horrible. Mile 7 took about five hours to do, mile 8 took about 12 hours. I wanted to quit. Seriously wanted to quit.
I decided to quit.
I looked for a marshal but found a portaloo first. Went inside and evaluated what I was doing. 9 miles in, no way I’d be able to manage another 17 feeling like this. Drinking the night before, eating loads of rubbish, not getting into a sleep pattern. I needed to quit. Plus, I’d only run about three times since my dad died.
Ah. My dad.
Main reason for signing up to this. Main reason I decided to travel 5’000 miles, alone, to do a marathon. Main reason I needed to MAN THE FUCK UP and get on with it.
Main reason I needed to get out of this portaloo because it chuffing stinks.
Right. Get on with it. Push to mile ten, then you’re in double figures. Mile ten done. Just 5k to go then you’ve finished half the race. Funny route now, winding in and out of loads of roads, up and down and back on short streets.
Aim for mile 15. Bit by bit, run/walk run/walk. Am I actually starting to enjoy this?! Stop for a picture and have a breather
Soon be at mile 20. Huge milestone. Mile 20 passed.
21. 22. 23.
5k til the end, just 5k. Think of the Facebook posts, think of the medal! THINK OF THE POST RUN BEER!
And then. As always. The finish is in sight.
And it’s done, and I’m hurting, and I’m chuffed.
My legs are still hurting and I’m going to make them hurt even more by getting a tattoo. I’ve carried around a design that I sketched in my wallet for around six months and it’s time to get it done.
Very happy with how it turned out. And very happy with the race bling too!
Last full day in Vegas so did a bit of shopping and sightseeing. (Trying to walk the stiffness out of my legs.) Also ate ALL the junk food
And that’s pretty much it. I flew home the next day, back to normality. Loads of amazing memories and I learned incredibly well how not to run a marathon. The course is incredible, running along the strip and plenty of bands playing rock music everywhere. Atmosphere and crowds and music and Vegas!
Bet its even better when you prepare properly.