I had no idea what to expect when we signed up for the 2012 Vegas Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. I read all about the debacle of the 2011 race. Runners were dropping like flies and vomiting all along the race course, blaming tainted water served straight from fire hydrants and held in garbage cans. The race had multiple bottlenecks and was overcrowded, resulting in runners getting trampled or not being able to run on the actual course. They ran out of medals, t-shirts, and food. That certainly isn’t the rave review that makes me want to sign up for a race, but I had a feeling the race organizers would be focused on kissing up to the 2012 participants to restore their reputation.
After the NY Marathon dust has settled, I’m finally sitting down to write a little about my NY Marathon experience, the future of my marathon career, and some very exciting news that happened at a race I didn’t run.
Since I got word that I snagged a lottery spot in this year’s NYC Marathon, I’ve been counting down the days til the race. I’ve trained for months, changed my eating and sleeping habits, and scheduled my life around my running. Aside from the physical efforts, I’ve also sunk a big chunk of money into transportation and accommodations for the big day. It’s pretty much all I can talk or think about. Just ask my friends– I’m sure they’re sick of hearing about it. Now Hurricane Sandy is putting a big wrench into the race and many are calling for a complete cancellation.
I knew when Runner’s World announced they’d be hosting an inaugural half marathon event, it was a must-run race. Who better to organize a race than the people that run and write about nearly every other race in the country? This fit perfectly into my NYC Marathon training as a final tune-up race. This was also pretty convenient because the host town of Bethlehem is Matt’s hometown, so we had a place to stay.
We’re just 16 days out from the NYC Marathon! I just got my official race handbook in the mail yesterday. While I’m super excited for race day, I think I’m equally as excited to taper. When I started training for my first marathon last fall, I read every blog and website there was about training schedules and preparing for your race. I came across a lot of articles about tapering, but every one seemed to suggest something different. The basic idea is to start tapering your runs as you get closer to race day, to give your muscles a break and start the marathon with fresh legs. On the one hand, it makes sense. On the other hand, I was quite concerned about how much stamina I’d lose without doing any super long runs for the last few weeks of training. Despite my trepidations, I followed my plan last year and discovered tapering is the best thing ever.
I had a crazy plan while I was reading an issue of Runner’s World on the beach in late summer. There was a feature on a group of runners who had organized a beer run, which involved drinking four beers over the course of a mile. While I was reading it, the wheels started turning. This sounded like something I could plan with my friends. I chatted to Matt about it and we got to work on brainstorming. After looking into it, I learned there are secret beer mile events all over the country. There’s even a website featuring rules to host your own Beer Mile.
Now that my bruises and scrapes are (mostly) healed, it’s finally time to sit down and do my recap of the 2012 McGuire Mud Run. This annual 10k was held at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on September 8. Matt has run it for the past five years, and when he asked me to join his team for this year’s race, I didn’t hesitate. I figured I’d be in solid racing shape since it would be marathon training season, and it would be fun to do a mud race. I knew there were some obstacles, but I had no idea what I was in for.
In late summer, we started to get emails regarding the obstacles. There were 23 to be exact. This is about the time where I started to second guess my decision. I was joining an all-male team and would be scaling walls and climbing hills and crawling under and over various obstacles in the mud. I was pretty concerned I’d slow everyone down, and knew I would be extremely discouraged if I let that happen. So as I usually do with races I’m not really excited about, I avoided thinking of it until race weekend. I packed up old sneakers, cruddy running clothes, a change of clothes for after, and my waterproof camera, and we headed out to the base. The race was surprisingly well-organized. The bus ride over from the parking lot was pretty quick, and bib pick-up was a breeze. There were changing tents with an area for you to leave your post-race clean clothes. We had selected a wave time when we signed up, but since we were there early, we just hopped in with the next group starting. It didn’t feel overly crowded in the starting corral, which was a nice change of pace for most races I do. The website for the event said approximately 2,500 runners participated this year.