The KarmaStriders and PTC-er BrotherpPaul ended his 09' race calender today with the Las Vegas Rock and Roll marathon, half distance. The trip started off of the WRONG foot as, after running through the Phila Int'l airport like OJ in the old rent a car commercial, I missed my 7 am flight by a mere 3 minutes. UGH. But it's right there, I can see the plane ! No dice.
So a swift direct flight became a 3.5 hr longer flight w/ a stopover in Houston. Oh well.
Next, I was rudely welcomed by 40 + degree weather w/ and an airport filled with Rodeo and Nascar attendees. Oh, and a few runners. Pretty funny mix, actually. Maybe it'll warm up tomorrow. NOT, Ok, maybe sat. NOT. Race day ??? Pahleeease.
Sheri Makranski a dear friend since 1978 had joined our MS KarmaStriders and grown herself a little Team to help us to spread our wings to sin city. They were all ready to go, some better trained than others.
Sheri was kind enough to take me for a little 20 minute ez jog the day before race day at Red Rock Canyon national park. All I can say is WOW. Touching nature at an absolutely breathtaking natural 13.1 mile hilly slice of nature, This tiny little part of my weekend, is worthy of and will get it's own review.
Either way, after a very good expo filled with some familiar exhibitors, and quite a few new to this east coast regular attendee, I soon after, found myself at a pre-race meal with a fresh new to me group of Striders who were in our corner to help stop MS. New found friends was instantly the vibe of the night as we ordered for all and shared all foods and all doled out most of the anxieties and excitement that a big race induces. Runners with us for the race included;
-Kassi Hita belz
-Lindsay Hanson Alford
It was a rejuvenating experience supporting a first time half marathoner. Picking up her first bib, hearing her fuss and try to time out when to get to her corral, selecting just the right gear to wear all while wondering about the weather on race day. Laying out her nutrition, and figuring when we would be where along the course to tell friends and supporters. It was a big flashback and a good reminder of the thrill that had captured us all early in our endurance days. I highly recommend it.
** Expo side note ** After speaking with exhibitor and LA marathon director, Peter Abraham, I am confident that the LA marathon is back on track and will deliver a rewarding experience in 2010. I have opted not to enter the LA marathon in years past due mostly to less than flattering race reports. They look to be headed in the right direction w/ new point to point course and solid passionate leadership. I hope to get the MS KarmaStriders out there this year. we shall see.
For reg + info on LAmarathon, goto :
After some good sleep race day eve, up an at 'em 4am . 6:15 start time, That's not a typo, 6:15. UGH.
Coffee on, oatmeal a cookin' shower, dress, dog out, off we go. The only really messed up and TOTALLY frustrating part of the day was traffic to, and parking en route. The city really didn't seem to have a CLUE. Excuse me, this is VEGAS, convention freaking central. we ended up parking approx 2 miles from the start at Mandalay Bay, and with only 15-20 mins till the start. (NOTE, Leave yourself time to park etc. this almost always seems to be an issue.)
Well the trot to the start will just have to be our warm up. That's exactly what it was, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Finally in our corral '14' of 26ish, surrounded by quite a colorful variety of characters. I think we sah at least 200 Elvis Presley's of all genders, shapes and sizes. a multitude of superheroes, and just wacky fun bunch of runners. 27,500+ runners in all. We finally crossed the starting line at a clock time 27 mins.
Talk about a FLAT assed course. It makes Philly Distance Run look like hill repeats. The course was pretty much a simple up and back of the :Las Vegas strip. The full marathon looked to be forced and routed behind a handful of casino's but I cannot comment first hand. Maybe another day. The half course was a great way to see the LV strip for the first time. This was also the comment by my first-timer friend, who has lived here in LV for 12 years now.
The course only felt crowded a very few times and was very well staffed w/ volunteers, water and Cytomax. It seemed that they were running out of liquids at the last few water stops. I think I only heard 1 person other than myself thank a volunteer, and was again frustrated by the number of 'Headphone' wearing runners who oddly lose their ability to COMMUNICATE while passing, especially in a crowd. (OK I won't go off on this just now)
After the initial antsy first two miles, we we're abt 90 sec/ mile ahead of her expected pace. Fine, that's to be expected, we settle in and soon, I started to find a good groove and remembered my goal, to end 09' on a strong note. Ok, I'll see you at the finish Sheri, gotta run. Well all was on track when 2+ miles later, I hear, from right behind me, "Paul, my friends should be up here at mile 8 on the right." HOLY COW, I was striding better than lately, and Sheri was staying with me. WAY TO GO Sheri.
Hey there's Lindsey and Kassi, Let's catch em'. "Look at hose Tushes" Niice. They were in their own mental place, a few friendly words, and back to the business at hand. Around mile 9 I actually had a little visit from mr. pendulum doubt and had to slip into my quick turnover, count the steps, let it pass mode. Fine, IT WILL PASS. just then Sheri was noticing some pain in her right knee. We thought about our 'foot plant' staying nice and easy, counted steps together and her challenge too soon passed. -Mind over matter.
Look there's Allen looking surprisingly strong for the night that he had had previously. Hopefully, he'll grace us with his story in his own words. What's that saying, ? 'What happens in Vegas, must be told on My Tri Training blogs.'
Low and behold as we sighted mile 11, all of the junk was behind us, smiles attacked her/our face and she entered her personal no man's land as her training had only taken her to 11 miles. Out pops her personal trainer who has helped her through the last 6 months to achieve her milestone of 13.1. She was trained and ready and truly earned this day.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I tend to have a bit of a finishing kick. Off I went for about a mile press to finish in the chute through the grounds of Mandalay Bay and a pretty strong crowd. BTW, the crowd support was actually strong and steady throughout the day.
BONUS: A cascading sea of Cranberry nut FORZE bars,, Now that's a treat after a solid run. :)
STILL COLD. WHAT ? C'mon man.
Of f to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to meet a bunch of supporters and friends, we finished off the day with drinks and good food and massages all around. A nice wrap up to an even nicer all around weekend and season ending race for the MS KarmaStriders.
All in all I give the Las Vegas R+R marathon / half distance a thumbs up.
Thank you to all of our new Las Vegas friends for embracing our cause and for making sure that my introduction to Sin City was nurturing and without incarceration.
Reg for the MS KarmaStriders is up and filling. Tp learn more, go to;
Make your world a better place.
Paul N. Goldstone
'I run to stop MS'