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Race Recap: My first half marathon…

The title is a misnomer. I have done over 25 half marathons before this one, but this morning’s inaugural National Nurses Half Marathon was officially my first ever half (as far as I can recall) that I did solely to prepare for another half. Yep, it was basically an expensive training run, but one that had one of the more gorgeous scenery I have ever seen.
I have been travelling quite a bit and have not had a chance to do any of my training runs during the week  + barely doing my long runs in the weekend. With the Nike Women’s (half) Marathon coming up this month, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas on the second weekend of November, then my first trail half marathon the weekend after Vegas, and finally a 10km trail run the day after that, my race schedule is back-to-back-to-back, again. That and by now, I should be at 10 miles training for the LA Marathon. Basically I was behind with training (as usual) and panicking (also as usual). What better motivation is there, than to do my long run at a race, right? Anyway, onto this pseudo report.
Race: National Nurses Half Marathon
Date: October 13, 2013
Start Time: 6:00 AM
Location: Las Vegas, NV
As noted above, this was purely a training run; though I should note that an hour before the race, the Race Director (an accomplished runner, Nurse, and multiple cancer survivor!), mentioned that this alternate course was “fast” according to the Elite who reviewed it with her! I briefly considered if I should throw out my plan of taking it easy and just race it. Thankfully, I didn’t and I ended up making a new friend (from Ontario, Canada) and ran with her the entire way. 
We started in darkness — having only the glow sticks they handed to us earlier that morning to guide us on the deserted highway by Red Rock Canyon. I was surprised there weren’t that many runners who had headlamps (myself included). There was some light coming from the shuttle busses, Las Vegas PD vehicles, and the start line water station, so technically it wasn’t that dark that one would trip. However, I went in the porta-potty in near darkness, hoping to Baby Jesus I wouldn’t miss the commode as I peed. xD Oh, TMI. Anyway…
This wasn’t your regular race where we’d sing the national anthem then wait for the horn/gun to start the event. Nope. I was just chatting with my new friend around the start line area (which by the way, was also unclear!) and next thing you know, we heard people counting down from 10 and then cheered. Our cue to run was when a slew of ladies began going in the direction of the finish (it was a point-to-point race); that easily led to the (correct) assumption that the race had begun. LOL
I guess I have not done a small race in a while (if ever) that I wasn’t used to not seeing the bells-and-whistles that come with some “big production” races. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful inaugural event that had its share of challenges (thanks to a government shut down) but I’ve never been that confused at a start line before. For one thing, the porta-potties that were supposed to be a few yards from the start were actually delivered a quarter mile away. There was a bag drop, but it was the back of an unmarked pickup truck (LOL) and as mentioned, the start line did not have an actual line or mat on the ground, nor balloons or anything that would say “This is the start” — at least I didn’t see it cos it was rather dark! xD
Still, I had a FUN time running it, and chatting nearly the entire way with my new friend, Irene. We stopped at several points to take photos of the beautiful scenery and just stayed silent when the view took our breath away. I also took a photo of some kids in formal wear, at one of the water stations! They even had a mini string band(?) at said water station. I would definitely run this course again (for PR) since the second half of the race was all downhill (the climbs were gradual, too). I’d love to see how much of a time improvement I would have running an easy/gradual downhill course for nearly 8 miles.
I leave you now with some snapshots taken at the race, but for the time I spent inside the porta-potty in darkness (but believe me, I was tempted to take a piccy xD)

p.s.,
Recovery Chocolate Cake slice. Boom. xD
Chocolate Cake and Medal
 
p.p.s.,
My chip time was 02:45:09

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