Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Race Report: 2014 National Nurse's Half Marathon

This past Saturday, I participated in my very first small, local race: The National Nurse's Half Marathon (btw, no, it's not just for nurses and no, I'm not a nurse).  This race is a point to point road race along the rolling hills of the Red Rock canyon area in Las Vegas.

I attended the expo Friday night.  Some of my Zumba instructor friends were exhibitors, so it was nice to see familiar faces.  Also, I finally got to get some Shoe Frosting!  If you ever see these girls at an expo, go say hello!  They are super sweet and so much fun :)  I think I showed a ton of restraint by only buying 6 "frostings"!  The expo was really small, but efficient and well-organized.  They had amazing speakers--I wish I wasn't at work all day so I could have listened to more.

I was pretty nervous for this race--I would be going alone, driving myself to the start, and running on my still healing knee (12 weeks post-surgery and counting!).  I already had the Disneyland Half under my belt, but the 3 hour finish was far from what I wanted to run today.  My goal was to shave off 15 minutes and come in around 2:45.

The Very Small Start Line
They arranged for buses from the finish line to take you to the start, so I boarded the bus around 6:00 (start was 7:00).  Our bus got lost, but eventually found the little town of Blue Diamond.  I used the bus bathroom (super smart move--there weren't many bathrooms available and everyone was needing to go 'one last time').  Then, we all gathered around in the park.  There was no "marked" start line; we were instructed to follow the lead cars.  Very different from Disney, but well-organized in it's own way.  Local musicians sent us off with the national anthem.  It was pretty funny how many other runners ran Disney.  Everyone I talked to was talking about a Disney race (yes, I was wearing a runDisney Sweaty Band which started the conversation).  I should have told more people about the blog!!!  I always forget that part :)

We were off pretty much on time.  A quick stroll through Blue Diamond and we were well on our way on the streets in the canyon.  It was so nice to be on an open course where you didn't have to weave around tons of people.  I was able to set my own pace, stop when I wanted, and really "run my race".

The first 4 miles were hilly for me.  My legs (especially my right leg) were cramping early and feeling unprepared.  Also, without the typical huge start and long walk to corrals, I didn't do a good job of warming up.  I was texting my hubby at mile 4 to bring ibuprofen!  The up-hill/down-hill is really hard on my knee.  I also made the mistake of not taking enough walk breaks early.  I was so in the zone and felt so good I didn't want to stop running!!!  It was one of those mornings where I really need to talk myself off a ledge--I'm running injured--I just can't do what I used to do!

Once we were past mile 4, the course got much flatter and easier.  My knee quickly recovered and my legs started feeling better.  At mile 6, I smartened up and went to my intervals: 1:30 run/1:00 walk.  This is how I've been training, so it just made sense.  As soon as I switched to these intervals, my run speed increased and I was hitting a comfortable stride.

My hubby ended up meeting me around mile 10 and again at the finish.  It was a great boost to see a familiar face.  I also knew I had tons of cheery Zumba friends at the finish--what a great support!  Turn right, turn left, FINISH.  My official time was 2:31!!!!!  I had shaved off close to 30 minutes from the Disneyland Half!  That was so awesome!  I exceeded all of my own expectations.  Just another confirmation that I am on the mend!  The finish line was great, then I was off to teach a few Zumba routines at the finish line too--it sounded like a great idea at the time.  I struggled a little, though, because I was really tightening up after pushing so hard during the race.  Gotta admit, though, it was kind of my perfect world--half marathon + Zumba = happy Aly :)

Before we close out, I have to tell you about the course--it was seriously B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!!!!  It is not what you think of when you hear Vegas for sure!  The mountains, rocks, scenery--just amazing!  This stretch of road is full of runners, bikers, and other athletes on any given weekend morning, so I plan to add this "course" to my regular running schedule.

I would highly recommend this race to anyone in the area or traveling to Vegas.  It was affordable, very well-run, had a great course and pretty awesome bling!  Check out the website for next year's race!  I'm sure it'll be even better!   http://www.nationalnurseshalfmarathon.com/

One more half in the books!

No comments:

Post a Comment