Lucky me, I was tagged twice yesterday because apparently I’m just THAT cool.

Emz and Funderson each tagged me to answer a series of questions, so here goes!  Two birds, one stone.

Emz wanted to know:

What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?

DUH!  Wanna see my medal again?

Running goals for 2011?

One thousand miles.  I will end 2010 with over 700 miles, so 1,000 isn’t that much of a stretch.  I would also like to work on speed in the shorter distances and knock a few more minutes off my half-mary PR.

What’s your favorite race?

Hands down — Nashville’s CMM.  It was crazy crowded and hilly, but the course support and spectatorship were awesome, and Nashville is just a great city.

Favorite Holiday Guilty Pleasure?

CHESS SQUARES.  I could single-handedly eat a freakin’ pan of those things if I didn’t control myself.  Do they have a jillion calories?  Yes, they do.  Do I care?  I most certainly do not.  I have them once a year, and I savor every bite!

Most embarassing running moment?

I had to think on this one.  Surprisingly, I couldn’t come up with anything that has happened during a run.  I was like, “Come on, Pam, as much as you embarass yourself, SURELY something has happened while you were wearing running shoes.”  But, nope.  Couldn’t come up with anything.  BUT I did come up with something running RELATED.  I used to attend a step aerobics class, and the instructor and I were training for the Clarksville Half Marathon (this was last year, so it was my first) at the same time.  She ended up moving off for a few months and didn’t run it.  When I bumped into her in town after she moved back, she asked me how it went and what my time was.  When I told her, she laughed at me.  Yep.  Out loud and right in my face.  Looking back on it now, it just makes me wish I’d grabbed her by her cute little blonde pigtails and slammed her face into the pavement a time or two, but then it made me feel about this big.

And Funderson wants to know:

What races do you plan to complete in 2011?

That seems to be the million-dollar question these days!  As I’ve said, I want to work on shorter distances and speed.  There is a Cupid’s Chase 5K in Murray, KY on 2/12 that I’d like to do.  And there’s a Chickasaw Chase 10 miler in the Chickasaw State park on January 8th.  And I will probably repeat the Johnsonville Charge and Race on the Trace 5-milers in January and February.  For my spring half marathon, there are two I haven’t chosen between yet.  They’re both close and relatively inexpensive, so I would do them both, but they are only a week apart.  I will either be doing the Murray Half Marathon or the Andrew Jackson Half Marathon.  I’m leaning more toward the Andrew Jackson.  In the fall, I plan on running the inaugural Rock n Roll St. Louis half marathon.

Notice how there are no more marathons on that schedule?  ONE AND DONE, BABY.

What is your #1 indispensable running accessory?  #2?

Numero uno is definitely my Garmin Forerunner 305.  Second would be my iPod.

Do you send Christmas/Holiday cards?  Why or why not?

I do not.  Because I am lazy.

What do you mostly think about when training?

I’m still pretty new to the sport, so I’m not to the “mindless running” level yet.  A lot of you guys talk about how you just let your mind wander and don’t even realize you’re running.  Yeah.  I’m so not there.  I still have to stay mentally present and concentrate on form, breathing, and pace.

Is your sweetheart supportive of your extracurricular active activities?  How?

As much as he can be, yes.  He always tells me he’s proud of me and never complains about the money that gets sunk into it.  Which is more than I can say for myself.

What’s your proudest moment of 2010?

Here, let me show you again.

And now TAG, you’re it, Bobbi, Bootchez, and Zaneta!

Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon Weekend Recap – The Race!

Okay!  So to pick up where I left off in my last post

I slept like a baby the night before the race.  I had my alarm set for 5:00 to be ready to leave the hotel room at 6:00 to be in my corral at 7:00.  I got up feeling pretty good.  M asked me if I was nervous, and I answered honestly.  No, I was not.  I wasn’t nervous; I wasn’t excited; I wasn’t really anything.  I had a few butterflies when we first got to Vegas, but after that there was really NOTHING.  I knew what had to be done, and I knew what I had to do to accomplish it.  I just had a very calm, matter-of-fact feeling.  Regarding the race, anyways.  I was excited as all get-out just to be in Vegas with friends!

I knew that the strip was going to be closed Sunday morning, so all along I had just been planning on walking to the start line at Mandalay Bay from our hotel, which was about a mile and a half away.  But as we were leaving D asked a taxi driver, “How close can you get us to the start line?”  He told us to hop in, so we did.  A few minutes and $12 later we were THERE.  Like RIGHT there.  He got us closer than I imagined he could.  Since we ended up riding rather than walking we got there earlier than I had planned.  We just hung out on the sidewalk right outside the corrals, people-watching, stretching, and eating my Clif bar breakfast.

Before I knew it, it was 7:00.  Only then did I stand up, strip off my throw-away clothes, and squeeze myself into my corral.  I wish I’d kept them on until I got closer to the start line.  It was another 25 minutes before I actually made it to the start, and I was FREEZING.  It was comfortable with my yoga pants and a sweatshirt on.  Not so much with a tech tee and shorts.

View in front of me from my corral

 I was in corral 16, but I think I actually ended up crossing with 18 because I hopped out of line to make one last stop at the portojohn.  And with that, I was off!

The first half of the race was basically an out-and-back of the strip with a loop at the farthest point.  Within NO time after starting, we were already seeing the wheelchair racers coming

back up the strip toward their finish.  Just a few minutes behind them were the fast cats.  It was cool to get to see them on the course!
I think Vegas has some sort of optical illusion effect to it.  The course is advertised as being flat and fast.  But from the very start, I felt like we were on an ever-so-slight downhill.  It didn’t FEEL like I was running downhill, but it did look like it.  I was thinking, “Ah, crap.  That means I’ll be on a steady uphill grade the entire way back.  The funny thing?  It looked the exact same way on the way back.
I took my phone with me on the course for two reasons.  First of all, I wanted to be able to keep in touch with my husband and friends to let them know where I was and whether or not I was still alive.  Yes, we could have signed them up for runner tracking, but that only tells you so much.  And secondly, I wanted to have a camera with me!  I took several pictures with it, but for most of them I didn’t stop so they ended up blurry and not even worth keeping.  I wish they had turned out better because I saw some cool stuff on the course!  There were lots of interesting characters running.  I saw Tarzan (running barefoot and wearing nothing but a loin cloth, and I think he was within the top 10 half-marathon finshers), Spongebob, Fred Flintstone, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, more Elvises than I could count, and lots of Santas.  Did I get good pictures of any of them?  Of course not.
I took my first walk break somewhere around mile 7-8.  I don’t remember where it was exactly, but it was the first GU station I came to.  I walked through the station long enough to suck down a GU and wash it down.  At that point I was right where I wanted to be.  I was trying to hold between an 11:00 and 11:30 easy pace, and I was doing just that.

How cruel to tease a bunch of marathoners with a bigger-than-life glass of beer!

 And that leads me to a question for you experts out there.  In theory, a flat course would be easier than a hilly one, right?  It just makes sense that that would be the case!  Flat = easy!  So WHY did it feel so taxing?  All of my training is done outside, and very, very little of that is on flat terrain.  I’m usually either going up a hill or coasting down one.  Is it because with a flat course you have to maintain a steady level of exertion without the breaks of a downhill?  I don’t know what the issue was, but by the time I came to the halfway point, some of the muscles in my hips and glutes were on FIRE, and that’s the only thing I could come up with.

When we were nearing the halfway point, back where we started at Mandalay Bay, I seriously wanted to slap some people in the crowd.  There they were at the half/full split and they’re yelling, “You’ve got this!  You’re almost there!”  Ummm…. excuse me, but not all of us are almost there.  Some of us were almost HALFWAY there.  It took a lot of will power at that point to veer right instead of staying straight and finishing with the other 19,000+ half-marathon finishers!  But alas, 5000+ of us made that right-hand turn and pushed on.
I had gotten a text from D telling me that he and M & C were there after the turn waiting for me.  It was nice to see them at that point! 

I slowed down to a walk and M walked with me for a minute, asking me how I was feeling and telling me, “You’ve got this!” and all other sorts of lies to make me feel good.
It was right after the halway point that we came to the first overpass bridge.  Holy moly!  I thought my glutes were on fire before!  I walked again up the rest of that hill, stopped and stepped up onto the sidewalk to stretch for a bit, and then coasted down the other side.   Ahhhhhhhhh…. that felt good.
After that, the scenery changed drastically.  No more big, pretty, elaborate casinos to look at.  No more spectator-lined streets.  There was the occasional band or cheer squad, but for the most part it was just me and the other runners on the back half of the course.  And it was nothing to look at.  The mountains were pretty in the background, but it wasn’t long before we turned and headed into what seemed to be a more industrial part of the city.  Lots of warehouse-type buildings and such.  Once I made it to the back half and I knew I was okay on time, I started walking through all the water stops.  I took my first really significant walk at around mile 18.  It was about there that my knee really started giving me some sass, so I walked a half-mile to appease it.  I honestly didn’t care about the time as long as it was under the 5:30 cutoff.  I was doing all sorts of math in my head:
“If I hit 20 miles at 4 hours that leaves me with an hour and a half to do 6.2 miles.  That’s just a little less than a 15 min/mile.  I can walk the rest of the way in at that pace!  But wait a minute, my Garmin is showing about 0.25 mile longer than the mile markers.  I need to jog on a little longer.”
Haha… yeah.  You can have some pretty strange dialogues with yourself when you run alone for that long.
At mile 22 I decided I’d given it what I had.  I walked it in from there.  I knew if I walked at a 15 min/mile pace I would finish with a few minutes to spare, and that was ALL I cared about!
When I got to mile 26, though, my pride got the best of me.  I couldn’t cross that finish line walking!  I picked it back up to a jog and crossed the finish line at 5:27:08.
I was in a pretty good deal of pain and was physically and mentally exhausted.  I grabbed some Cytomax and water and a Snickers bar and met up with everyone just right outside of the finish area.  After sitting and stretching for a few minutes we headed toward the beer garden and passed a tent where they were engraving people’s medals with their name and chip time.  I thought that sounded like a cool idea, but when I got up there I saw that it was $20 so I passed.  D ended up convincing me it was worth it.  I think his logic went something along the lines of, “Do you know how many $20 bills I just fed to a slot machine and have nothing to show for it?  At least you’ll have something to show for this $20!”  haha  Twisted logic, I know, but it worked.
Am I glad I did it?  Absolutely.
Will I do it again?  I believe my exact words at the finish line were, “Never again!”.  But I’d like to recant.  Instead of saying “Never,” I will say, “Not in the foreseeable future.”
For now, my immediate future holds at least a two-week hiatus from running.  I had my knee at a point that it didn’t hurt–not so much as even a twinge of pain–during the short runs of the last two weeks of taper, but I’m not sure what Sunday undid.  Monday was brutal, but I took today off work too and have mostly sat around alternating ice and heat.  It’s better than yesterday, but that’s not saying much.  If I can get it back to where it’s happy with four and five miles every other day or so, that’s where I will start and I will GRADUALLY build up my base from there.  There are some local half-marathons this spring that I would like to do, so hopefully I’ll be pain-free and PR ready by then!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go look at my medal again.
Here, I’ll show it to you again too.

Overall: 4720 out of 5154 · Division: 376 out of 419 · Gender: 1900 out of 2141

Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon Weekend Recap – The Non-Race Part

Well that’s that!  After months of preparation, in 5:27:08, just like that, *POOF* it’s over.

Where to start, where to start…

We arrived in Vegas about 3:30 Friday afternoon and met up with M and her husband (who beat us there by a few hours) at the hotel.  After tossing around some options, we decided to catch a comedy show that night.  We got what we THOUGHT was a good deal on some tickets–free tickets but a two-drink minimum.

Wanna see what a $13.50 beer looks like?

Yeah.  I really wish I were exaggerating.

But the show was funny and we had a good time!  Right after the show, we headed back to the hotel.  By that point, our friends had been up close to 24 hours, and I’m a perpetual early bird anyway, so we were all ready to call it a night.

We slept in Saturday.  By the time everyone woke and got stirring it was lunch time.  I still can’t say the name of the restaurant without giggling.

Inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

After we stuffed our faces with Mexican food (which I was praying wouldn’t haunt me the next day!), we taxied directly to the Sands Expo & Convention Center for the race expo where we picked up our packets…

Nobody ever accused me of being normal.

… and proceeded to make huge dorks of ourselves.

I spent quite a bit of time at the expo but very little money.  I bought one Sweaty Band to be exact.  I wanted the 26.2 one, but I refused to buy it (or anything else with the word “marathon” on it) before I completed the distance.  I didn’t want to jynx myself.  M’s husband said they need to make one that says “22.5.  I almost made it.”  LOL

I also had an actual gait analysis done at the expo by some Brooks reps.  I’ve had one done before at my dinky little running store, but this was much fancier with computer monitors and software and stuff.  So I waited in line for about half an hour to run barefoot on a treadmill for 20 seconds and be told that I need a neutral shoe–which is exactly what my dinky little running store told me months ago.  haha  But it was cool to see the technology behind it.  And a second opinion is always good, right?  He recommended a couple of Brooks shoes, and I just might keep them in mind next time I buy.  I’ve been using the Mizuno Wave Rider 13s for a while.  I don’t THINK they are a contributor to my knee/ITB issues, but I’m not against trying something else to see what may work better.

After I had kept everyone waiting on me for too long, we left the expo and headed back to the Strip.  We had the cabbie drop us off at The Bellagio.  They had a really pretty Christmas setup in the lobby!

We wandered around and fed the slot machines for a while and then went outside to watch this before heading back to our hotel:

Okay, this will require some audience participation.  Use your imaginations and visualize a really cool video of the Bellagio fountains.  Stupid Blogger isn’t uploading it right.  It’s probably way too big.  (That’s what she said.)

We all ate pizza in on Saturday night.  (Do I hang out with some good sports or what?!)  D hung out with me in the hotel all night.  I insisted he go out, but he wouldn’t hear of it.  M and C caught the Cirque production Le Reve and said it was amazing.  I was planning on making an early night of it, and I succeeded.  I was in bed by 9:30, asleep by 9:31.  Before I knew it, the alarm was going off Sunday morning.  It was go time.


(This post is getting too long, so I’ll do a separate one for just the race!)

After the race was over and I had cleaned up and iced/heated my knee for a while, we headed out for dinner at my all-time favorite place… The Cheesecake Factory.

*wipes drool off the keyboard*

After I had successfully replaced the 2600 calories I had burned earlier that day (Have you ever looked at the nutrition information on their cheesecake?  Don’t.), we walked (limped) from the Forum Shops to Bally’s for Jubilee.  This was my and D’s second viewing, but it was definitely good enough to go back to see a second time!

The show was over by 9:30, but I was pretty spent, and my knee had had about all it could take for the day.  And M and C had an early flight out the next morning, so we made our way back to our hotel.

All told, it was a fabulous trip.  This was our second time in Vegas in a little over two years, and we still haven’t seen and done everything we want!  So much to do, so little time…

Next up… THE RACE!


With all this talk of Vegas lately, I’ve been looking back through the photos from our 2008 trip.  D and I went to Vegas and the Grand Canyon for our first anniversary.  I love reliving these memories, and I’m so ready to make some new ones! 

If this picture doesn’t SCREAM “Vegas!” what does?

I swear, we stood for hours just watching the fountains at the Bellagio.  They were dancing the classical music.  BEAUTIFUL!
Yeah, the picture is a little fuzzy, but so was our vision by this point.
The photo that everyone who has ever been to Vegas has taken.
We live in a city named Paris, so this photo and the next are hanging on our wall at home.
I want to see the real one some day too!
The Strip
No photo ever taken in the history of cameras could possibly do justice to the Grand Canyon.

The Final Countdown

Exactly one week from today, at exactly this time, I will be standing in corral 16 at the start line of my first marathon.

I’m about to lose my gord.

A few thoughts…

  • I seriously think the people at weather.com are intentionally trying to screw with me.  One day it shows an 80% chance of rain, the next day 0%.  Come on, dudes.  Not cool at all.  (Sorry for the false alarm, Amanda!)  They’ve pushed the rain up to Monday now. 
  • I ran my last “long” run yesterday.  It was 9 miles, and it was the worst run I’ve had in a while.  The wind beat the living crap out of me and I just felt really tired.  Not surprising following Thanksgiving, but not a good confidence booster going into the final stretch.
  • Everyone keeps telling me to trust my training.  Well, I missed a lot of my training because of my knee, so that’s really not good advice for me.  If I have to put my trust in that, I’m screwed.  I’m better off putting my trust in my hard-headedness.
  • I’m looking forward to meeting Julie, Amanda, and Mel!
  • My bib number is 16272.  Nothing about that number jumps out at me as being good luck.  627 used to be the first three numbers of my phone number, but that’s all I got.
  • I’m bummed about the post-race concert.  The headliner is Bret Michaels, and I was pretty stoked about seeing him.  But I recently found out that I won’t get to.  He will be on stage from 11:00 am to 12:15 pm, so IF I can finish in 5:15 I MIGHT get to see him walk offstage.
  • This last pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 13s that I bought feel weird.  I can’t place exactly what’s different about them, but something just seems off.  I thought maybe it was just because they weren’t broke in good, but they’ve got about 50 miles on them now.  I’ve run the last couple of weeks of training runs in them (but had to change out of them halfway through my 20-miler last week), but they won’t be coming to Vegas with me.  I’ll be taking my last pair of MWR13s that have about 250 miles on them.  I stick with what I know works.
  • Speaking of sticking with what works, I’ve already scoped out Dominos Pizza locations.  I’ve had my best long runs the morning after chowing down on their Pacific Veggie pizza.  I will be having a private pizza party for one in my hotel room Saturday night while everyone else goes out.  Hey, I might have to turn in early, but I’m not about to ruin everyone else’s fun!  We’ll be in Vegas for Pete’s sake! 
  • I haven’t started packing yet, but I have my list of stuff to pack made out.  I’m terrified I’m gonna forget something important.
  • I’m putting the finishing touches on my playlist this weekend.

So here we go.  Seven days and less than 10 miles are now all that stand between me and the start line.  Ready or not…

Flyin’ Solo

So the MRI confirmed it.  M has a tibial stress fracture and a small meniscal tear.

I swear, I couldn’t be more upset if it were my own leg.  😦

So this first-time marathoner will officially be making her maiden voyage solo.  Guess I’d better be making me one heck of a playlist!!!

My 20-miler was today.  It went pretty well.  My ONLY goal for today was to get in the distance and to keep the knee as happy as possible.  I succeeded at both.  The time was not impressive, but considering all the walking (mostly for the knee’s sake–see goal #2) and the time that I spent coming back by the house for a pit stop and to change shoes (breaking in a new pair), I can’t be too upset about the finish time.  Yes, I include all my stops in my time.  Once I hit that start button with my first step, I don’t hit stop until I’m done.

I did find myself feeling sluggish though.  When I got up into the double digits I was like, “UGH!  Why are my legs so DEAD???  I’ve run these distances before!!!”

Then it hit me.

Until this week, the most I had run in a 7-day period was 30 miles.  It was at about that mark that my knee started acting up and I started cutting out midweek runs.  At the end of 20 miles today, that put my 7-day total for this week at 46 miles.  No freakin’ wonder my legs were like lead!  It was because I messed with my schedule last weekend and ran on Sunday instead of Saturday.  Sunday’s 15, Wednesday’s 5, Thursday’s 6, and Saturday’s 20 added up without me realizing it.  I was just so excited to be able to run at at manageable pain level again that I just RAN and didn’t do the math!  Oh well, it all worked out.

All aboard the taper train!!! 

Here a Gimp, There a Gimp…

Seriously.  WHAT is with this epidemic of injuries???  This is my first year that I’ve really been into running and socializing within the running community… Is it always like this?  Is it all coming to a head now because most everybody is at the peak of their training season in the fall?

I don’t follow just a whole lot of blogs, but a very high percentage of the ones I do read are (or have been) dealing with injuries!

I think Ethan was first with his hip/leg/knee issue.  (He hasn’t posted since about a month before he was supposed to run Chicago.  Does anybody know if he was able to or not?)

Molly was unsure for a while whether or not her hamstring was going to let her complete her marathon.

Julie’s guts started falling out when she ran.

Kate’s leg kept her from toeing the line at Malibu.

Beth had to withdraw from Denver when she suffered a femoral neck stress fracture THE WEEK BEFORE THE RACE when she went “balls out” on a tempo run.

Jen did battle with a bruised tibia as well as an angry IT band during the last few weeks of her training but was ultimately able to rock the MCM.

Tricia has been dealing with her knee issues for some time but gritted her teeth through delirium-inducing pain and completed San Antonio anyway.

Same goes for Chris and his sub-4:00 at the OBM marathon despite his knee pain.

Jamoosh still isn’t fully recovered from foot surgery, and now his knee is “jacked” too.  Yep.  Jacked.  That’s the official diagnosis.

Julie, Sherry, and I have all been babying our knees for the past few weeks.

And now Amanda’s knee hurts too!

I’m sure there are more that I’m just not thinking of right now.

But the one that I am the most upset about…

My Vegas Running Buddy, is sidelined.  She KILLED a 20-miler Sunday but had some knee pain with clicking afterwards.  She rested it a couple of days, but then when she tried to test it out and run again Wednesday the knee pain was far overshadowed by lower leg pain. 

She saw her sports doctor yesterday, and he ordered an MRI for today.  But just from physical examination he suspects a tear in the meniscus and a stress fracture.  ONE of those would be enough to do a person in.  We’re hoping for the best, but right now it’s pretty hard to be optimistic given the circumstances.

Emotional Roller Coaster

I love running.

I hate running.

I’m ready for Vegas.

I’ll never make it to the start line.

After last Saturday’s half marathon, I was feeling great.  The after effects of a new PR, no doubt.  But it didn’t take long for the pain to set in.  I expected it, so I wasn’t too worried about it.  The knee always hurts after a long run.  No surprise there.  In a way I thought it might be a good thing for the sports doc to see me when it’s painful.

So come Monday I went in for the MRI and followed up immediately with the Dr. Sports Dude for the results about an hour later.  The results were the best I could hope for.  Nothing was torn or ruptured or anything.  Nothing structurally wrong with the knee whatsoever.  He diagnosed it as IT band syndrome and gave me a prescription for PT and sent me on my merry way. 

I set up the appointment to begin PT the very next day.  The therapist said that in addition to my tight IT band, my inner quads muscle (the VMO for those familiar) was weak.  The tightness on the outside of the leg combined with the weakness on the inside of the leg is allowing the kneecap to be pulled out of alignment, thus causing my knee pain.  Her plan of action was to stretch the IT band, strengthen the VMO, and do ultrasound therapy on the knee.  And that’s what we’ve done three times this week, plus the at-home stuff she has told me to do on my own.  I’ve been a good little girl all week long.  I rested it (didn’t run a step), did all my stretches and exercises and then some, and have taken probably more anti-inflammatories than I’m supposed to.  And when I was there yesterday, they put Kinesio tape on it to help with my long run today.

My long run.

My 2.27-mile long run.

I’m a pretty tough cookie.  I’m pretty good at tuning out the pain.  But when it feels like your kneecap is being ripped through the skin with every bend of the leg… THAT’s kind of hard to ignore.  By mile 2, I knew that 15 wasn’t going to happen today, so I turned and headed a different direction instead of doing the out-and-back that I had planned.  A quarter of a mile later I was done.  It was unbearable.

So here I sit.  Typing this.  Still in my running clothes because I didn’t even have a chance to break a sweat in them.  Foot propped up on a foot stool because it hurts to sit with my leg bent and my foot on the floor.  An ice pack on my knee trying to dull the pain.  Wondering if I’ll ever see the finish line in Vegas.  Wondering if I’ll ever see the START line in Vegas.  Wondering if noon is too early to start drinking…

Vegas Update

I emailed the race director:

To Whom it May Conern:

I am writing to express my extreme discontent over the decision to change the official finish-time cutoff from 7:00 to 5:30 for the RnR Vegas marathon. I do believe that ranks right up there as one of the cruelest cases of bait-and-switch I have ever witnessed. How many other people besides myself registered under your false claims of a 7:00 finish? Congratulations, RnR. You successfully duped us out of your $145 registration fee. I would not have registered for this race had you advertised your 5:30 finish from the start.

This is to be my first marathon. I and two friends registered in April thinking we would have a no-pressure marathon in an awesome city. We and our husbands are taking time off work and flying across the country to participate in your race, and now I find out that there is a chance that we will not even get an official finish or medal for our efforts.

This does not sit well with me.

And I don’t feel like I am speaking for just myself. Did anyone bother to look at the results from last year? I certainly did. Out of 5905 finishers, 1087 finished in over 5:30. That is 18.4%. You are in essence telling 18.4% of your finishers from last year, “You are not welcome here this year.”

Your web site states, “Our staff is always interested in hearing your feedback in our attempts to make the event better every year.” Well, here is my feedback. And if your goal really is to make this event better every year, well then you have already failed miserably this year. My excitement and joy over this trip and this event have been replaced by worry and anxiety.

Great job, RnR.

And believe it or not, she actually emailed back:

Hi Pam,

Thank you for your e-mail. We are sorry for the inconvenience that this change has caused. We have created a new course, and because of this, we have had to work with the city to create new time limit changes. The course/The Strip must be reopened after the 5 ½ hour time limit. We contacted every person that gave us a predicted finish time of over 5 ½ hours (less than 300 people when we made that change) to inform them of this change and have given them 4 different options: Switch to the ½ Marathon, Change their predicted finish time for the marathon, Full Refund (which we don’t usually allow), or a transfer to a different Rock ‘n’ Roll event. With this new change, the runner must maintain a 12:40 pace in order to compete the marathon in the allotted time. If they are behind this pace they will be asked to divert to the ½ marathon at mile 12.8. Although you did not originally fall into this group, if you would like to make a change at this point, you can. Please let us know what you decide.

So there are my options.

But now that I really think about it (and after consulting Vegas Running Buddy), I think we are going to leave it as is and let the chips fall where they may! (No Vegas pun intended.) I KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that we can hold that pace through mile 12.8. Hell, that’s slower than any of my long runs have ever been, even when training and completing my first half mary a year ago. So I’m confident that I can train my way to 20 miles below that pace, too. Miles 20-26.2 still give me a little concern, but hopefully we will have enough time banked that we can still finish with no problems.

Vegas or bust, baby!