Las Vegas marathon

I arrived in Las Vegas on the Tuesday before the Marathon. I did the Great Santa Claus Run. Actually, I walked it since I was going to running the marathon the next day.
On Saturday I visited the expo at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, and picked up my race packet. I also hooked up with many of my friends from the LVM21 club. I was planned to go to lunch with a couple of them, but they were a little late to arrive. Eventually they showed up, and we headed off to Jack In The Box. After a quick lunch, we headed back to the Excalibur hotel where we were staying. I quickly went through the check in process and got my room key. I rushed back to my car, changed into my Elvis costume, and headed back to the expo and met up with the other Running Elvi (what the Running Elvises call themselves). We were escorted out to the parking lot where the finish line would be, and they got pictures of us. I recognized some of the Running Elvi from last year.
After the photo session, I rushed back to my car, changed back into my normal clothes, and headed off to the LVM21 pasta party. The party was a blast with lots of food, awards, raffles, and even Tegla Letoure an elite runner from Kenya. I left the party about 8:00 and was in bed by about 9pm.
I didn’t sleep well. My alarm clock went off at 3:30. I got up, and started to get ready for the race. I needed to be at the Mandalay Bay Hotel to meet up with the Running Elvi. I had planned to walk from the Excalibur to Mandalay Bay, but ortunately ran into another LVM21 member who told me there was a shuttle. We headed to the shuttle. On our way we met one of the wheelchair athletes. She was in a regular chair pushing her racing chair and trying to go up a ramp. My friend grabbed her racing chair, and I pushed her up the ramp. We rode with her and assisted her as we could until we got over to Mandalay Bay. I headed off to meet the rest of the Running Elvi. It was a lot of fun talking to the many Elvises, some from last year, and many new Elvi.
After a while we were escorted to the starting line. The Elvi were corralled off to the side of the Sub-3 and sub-4 hour corrals. I watched the people over in those corrals warming up, and thinking that maybe I should have been over there instead. It was slightly below 40 degrees, and I was shivering while standing around. There was the various pre-race stuff. The elite women were started about 6am. The rest of us were started about 18 minutes later. As the starting horn was sounded, the people behind the sub-4 hour corral rushed forward. So the running elvi merged in behind the slower people. I started the stopwatch on my Garmin 305 as I crossed the start line. I spent the first few miles working my way through the slower runners. I wanted to run at 8:00 minute/mile pace. But I passed the first mile at close to 9 minutes. I must have run a faster 2nd mile since I passed that mile marker at less than 16 minutes.
I was expecting to see a friend around mile 4 or 5, but passed her around mile 2 or 3. I aso passed by the Blue Man Group around mile 2. Just passed mile 5 was the wedding chapel. The Elvises were going to stop there to be witnesses for the weddings. I ran on by as I was going for time. A couple times I passed the family of one of our club members. They were holding a green inflatible alien. And I would shout A. Leon! I passed by Freemont Street Experience. Last year we ran right through it. That was really cool! This year they routed us around it. Oh well. After that we were on surface streets.
After about one hour, I ate some Jelly Belly Sport Beans. They are difficult to eat while running. I planned to eat more at the two hour and three hour marks, but that never happened. I decided to try some gels next time.
I kept running at a 7:40-7:45 pace, taking a 30-60 second walk break each mile. I was averaging an 8:00 pace. I ran briefly with a friend around mile 11, but then pull ahead. My iPod Shuffle kept me entertained.
The mile markers were much more accurately place this year with the exception od mile marker 11 which was probably placed around 11.15 miles.
Around mile 15 I was thinking only 11 miles to Boston. And around mile 16…only 10 miles to Boston. And again at mile 17 only 9 miles to Boston. It was then I started to slow down very gradually. After another couple miles, I knew I wasn;t going to get my 3:30 Boston Qualifying time. I figured I could still get a 3:30 something time. At mile 20 I passed through a giant fake wall. That was cool. I kept going. Around mile 21, I was looking for the Official Cow Bell for the LVM21 club. But I never saw it. After a little I did see one of the members of the club, but no bell. I did finally find the bell around mile 23.
In the last couple miles, I was running behind the casinos. It seemed to be subtly up hill. But I kept plugging away. I was passing many of the slower half marathoners. The last couple miles went by surprisingly fast. I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 3:36:30.
I got my medal, and went hunting for food. I passed by the first tent, and asked if that was food. They said it was the medical tent. There was another tent, but that turned out to be the massage tent. Eventually I found the food which bananas, and sugar cookies. I think there were orange slices too.
I was expecting a friend at the finish line with a cold pepsi, but I never found her. I learned that she and some other friends were along the finishing chute and were cheering me on. But I never heard them among the hundreds of other people cheering.
I made my way back to my hotel where I eventuall got my cold pepsi. I took a shower, got some clean clothes. Then I made my way back to Mandalay Bay where I hobbled across Las Vegas Blvd to get food at McDonalds.
I missed qualifying for Boston by 5 1/2 minutes. But I had improved my time by 15 minutes in 2 1/2 months since my previous marathon. So I am very happy with my time! :)

Here are pictures from the weekend:

Here is my Garmin 305 data: