A couple of weeks back, a tall, wily Texan talked me into signing up for my second ever half marathon. The Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon, to be precise. (Ugh. Warning: There is a super large and incredibly annoying pop up ad for Transformers currently dominating the LVRNR site. Just skip it.)
There were a couple of things that made this particular half marathon attractive. For starters, I’ve always wanted to do a Rock N Roll half. I hear they’re well organized, have great swag and are a lot of fun.
Second, thanks to my travel-planner-for-life’s work schedule, XFE was already going to be in Vegas at the same time. So he could actually come out and support me. Although, who am I kidding? It’s Vegas! Who’s going to leave the craps table to go watch a bunch of sadistic idiots huff their way through 13.1 miles? Also: I already know that running is not a spectator sport and I would never ask anyone to stand by the side of the road trying to find me out of a bazillion other people for 2.3 seconds of pained recognition. Then there’s the whole cluster-mess at the end of the race in which it is virtually impossible to find your loved ones. So, no, I don’t really expect XFE to come out and support me. And if he’s on a hot streak at the tables, he better not leave. Just meet me at the nearest buffet and pay for my very large meal. (side rant: Vegas is also the desert and as such, it gets pretty cold there. Really, really cold. Another reason why people aren’t going to go outside to watch crazy people run.)
Third, the above mentioned wily Texan has a real pistol for a wife and this is going to be her first half marathon. And I really don’t want to miss out on that. Plus, since she’s kinda new to running, I should be able to smoke her, right? Actually, probably not: she’s all official and stuff, with an actual trainer. I ran 7 miles yesterday and 6 today and almost died on both of them. If this is the sign of things to come (hey, I’ve got 7 more weeks to prepare, get off my tail.), personal humiliation is assured.
Fourth, redemption for this debacle, which, while a pretty awful experience, is also one of the races I’m most proud of because despite the miserable conditions I (a) finished, and (b) did not stop to walk even once the whole damn race. Even though I really, really wanted to. But since I didn’t see a single medic the whole 13 miles, I figured no one would pick me up if I collapsed in a loser heap. Ergo: keep running. How’s that for a training plan?
Fifth, two of my favorite running bloggers (ok, the only two I read) are both going to be doing the LV marathon! Yes, I will be spending a lot of my marathon trying to stalk this crazy Texan and this California speed demon. What I’ll do if I see them, I don’t know. But I’m sure it will involve embarrassing myself.
But what really sealed the deal was this awesome article I found online. It’s got some of the most excellent quotes I’ve ever run across in my news reading career. I’m totally jealous of the interviewing skills of this reporter. What questions could he possibly have asked to elicit such pumped up responses?
“Instantaneously, this becomes the largest night race in the world. This is gonna be a gargantuan race,” he said. “This will have a bucket-list effect around the world. It becomes a must-do race.”
A bucket-list effect around the world? A must-do race? Holy sore Achilles, sign me up! And where is my bucket list? Why the heck wasn’t this on it? Ah, that’s right. Because NO race is on my bucket list. Other crap like, swimming in a pool of chocolate mousse, or taking off to Paris for a romantic trip at the last minute — these are things that are on my bucket list. Nevertheless:
“The dynamic of the race has changed,” said Adam Zocks, vice president and general manager of the race. “Our whole directive (when Competitor took over) was to make this a city-wide event, and we’ve done that very quickly. It’s tremendously exciting for us. This was the way to take it to the next level.”
Hmm, my definition of “taking it to the next level” is having hot male models piggyback us all across the finish line, but ok, dude. I get it, we have different definitions of “tremendously exciting.”
But the guy who really sells this whole LV race is none other than the mayor himself:
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was on hand and typically bombastic about how the race — nearly on its deathbed four years ago — reinvented itself.
“Look what happened to it. It blossomed into maybe the greatest running event in the history of the world,” said Goodman, who said he wasn’t surprised by the event’s progress.
“Nothing surprises me ever in Las Vegas. It’s a can-do place, and with the right ideas, the cream always rises to the top. And that’s what it’s done here.”
That’s right! I’m participating in one of (ok, maybe one of….the jury is still out) the “greatest running event in the history of the world!” And like cream, I’m going to rise to the top, baby! Or….limp painfully across the finish line, silently begging my lungs not to jump out of my mouth. Here’s another good quote:
“This will be a better experience for the runners, the race of a lifetime on the Strip, and it’s better for the spectators — it’s a show with a cast of 35,000.”
Hey, wait a minute, if I’m in a show, I better be getting PAID. I’d even consider payment in the form of chocolate mousse. Or, since the race is being put on by Zappos, how about some shoes? Lots and lots of shoes! And I don’t care what time you hold this thing, it’s still boring as hell to watch a loved one run for over 2 hours. No way to make that interesting, sorry. Unless, again, and I hate to keep bringing it up, but unless you incorporate some male model Sherpa-ing, schnoresville.