On Eagles Wings…..

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Las Vegas Half Marathon

The morning started very early.  Due to the 6AM race time start, and pre-race jitters I was up and awake at 3AM.   Luckily even though I was in Las Vegas I actually got to bed early the night before and felt like I had plenty of sleep.   After all the usual pre-race rituals we made our way down from our hotel to the start line in front of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.  The sun had not even started to rise yet but due to all of the hotel’s lights on the Las Vegas Strip, it was like the sun was out.  Due to my predicted finish time for the race I was placed in the Red Corral so that I would be closer to the start line and not have to fight all of the 16,000 runners for the first couple miles of the race.  After having to hop over a fence I found my way to the Red Corral and looked to see what pace groups were also in this corral.  My plan was to stick with one of the full marathon pace groups until the half marathon turn point so that I would not go out too fast, and also be at a good steady pace.  I found the 8 minute per mile pace group since that was the pace that I was shooting for.  I met the two pace group leaders and some of the other runners that were running with the pace group.  While I was talking with one of the pace group leaders he re-lit the idea in my head that if I felt good at the half marathon turn point to not turn and simply do the full marathon.  “You have already done three marathons.  Stay with the pace group and keep going.”  You have to love it how peer pressure is something that we never grow out of.  I had no doubt in my mind that I could complete the full marathon.  I know that it would not be at a 8 minute per mile pace, but I think I could have had a better time than my last marathon.  So that idea was once again in my head.  Before the actual start of the race they put on a fireworks display that woke up people that were not at the race, plus the Blue Man Group played the National Anthem.  It was a very unique and festive start to a race.  As the gun for the start sounded the sun was beginning to rise behind us and light up the sky.  Running down the strip was a very fun experience.  I have walked down the entire strip a couple of times before but it was fun seeing it from this vantage point.  The course took us all the way down the strip and into North or old Las Vegas.  People were on the pedestrian bridges cheering as we went past and it was like a guided tour as went past all the casinos and hotels.   Our pace group leaders kept us at a good 8 minute pace and the race course was not too congested.  Plus running in a new place kept the race interesting.  As we got closer to Freemont Street, where the half marathon turn point was suppose to be, the idea to keep going and do the full crept back into the front of my mind.  “You can do the full.  But the goal is to get a personal best time in the half marathon today.”  It was basically like one of those cartoon scenes where an angel is on one shoulder and a devil is on the other.  Just in my case it was insane runner telling me to do the full marathon, and not so insane runner keeping me focused on my goal. Believe it or not sanity prevailed.  I thanked my pace group leaders and said good bye as I made the turn to continue on the half marathon course.  The second half of the course was not as scenic as the first half.  They took us back off the strip and basically though the back way on our way to the finish line.  It would have been great if we could of stayed on the strip the entire race.  There were strong head winds for most of the final miles of the race, plus it was moving some nasty dust that stung the eyes.  But were running in a desert climate so I should have expected that.   All the dust in my eyes made me also realize that I need to train myself to run with sunglasses on.  I guess that is a new goal to work on.  Once I saw the 12 mile sign I pushed it as hard as I could for the last mile.  As I crossed the finish line I pointed towards the sky,  which seems to be my standard finish “thanks” at the end of a big race.  I felt good.  Was breathing heavy due to sprinting the last mile, or at least as much of if as I could, and I was happy with my time.  My time was 1:46:40 and an average pace of 8:09 minute per mile.  Plus I was 55 out of 322 in age group.  That time is 4:36 minutes better than my last half marathon and I also shaved 21 seconds per mile off my pace.  With a little help from above the improvement and personal record times continue. 

December 13, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. this is a great post!!! i hadn\’t been on here in a while and now i regret it. very inspiring. i like your description of the strip. very cool. 🙂

    Comment by Unknown | December 16, 2006 | Reply

  2. forgot to sign my name on my last post!

    Comment by Unknown | December 16, 2006 | Reply

  3. This was a GREAT article!  When was this race?  I\’ve been trying to talk my wife into traveling to a neat place and using my runnign hobby as a vactaion also.

    Comment by Blyfinn | January 1, 2007 | Reply

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