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Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Recap

by Meghann on December 5, 2011

We came. We ran. We ROCKED the Vegas Strip at night!!

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Wow! What a great race!

There were no PRs or no PDRs AND no pressure! Just a great night run with 44,000 of your closest friends. Loved it! :)

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In the weeks leading up to the Las Vegas half I received more than one email, tweet, or comment asking how I was going to fuel for a night race. Honestly? I had no clue! I’m extremely blessed to have a stomach of steel and the ability to literally eat an entire footlong sub minutes before any race and not have a problem on the course.

I know most runners aren’t as lucky and pre-race nutrition is a tricky business, but I wasn’t worried. I was mainly concerned with making sure I wasn’t starving at the starting corral since the race ran right through dinner time.

So, timing versus actual food choices was my main concerned.

Yesterday Anne and I slept in before meeting Monica and Stephanie for brunch at Delights Delicatessen at 10:00.

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Anne and I decided to continue with our food sharing tradition of the weekend and ordered both the garden omelet and baked lemon raspberry to split.

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The omelet was ok, but the baked pancakes (with fresh whipped cream) was like eating a rich decadent cake. It was amazing!

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And, in a world that can only be as random as Vegas, we dined next to an attempting-to-be-incognito-but-a-hat-with-sunglasses-is-more-of-a-giveaway-than-a-disguise Brad Garrett. We kept our paparazzi skills to ourselves, but it’s fun to name drop that we had breakfast with Brad Garret in Vegas. ;)

The day before, Anne and I had a blast exploring up and down the strip, but our legs were killing us that night! We really wanted to go out and see some more of what Vegas had to offer before the race, but knew it wasn’t the best idea. Instead we grabbed some sandwiches on our way back up to the room and went to crash for a few hours.

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I was able to get a little work done and a few episode of One Tree Hill in (I’m catching on the 8th season on Netflix) before taking a cat nap.

Just after 2:00 I ate my sandwich.

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Roasted Turkey with bacon and avocado on white. It was delicious. :)

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Right around 3:30 we cranked up the club music and started getting ready to head out. It felt so strange getting ready to race while it was daylight out. I even managed to put a little make up on (it is Vegas after all) and brush my hair. Craziness!

A BIG shout out and thank you to Attune Foods for sponsoring Anne and I for this race. How adorable are the shirts the company made for us?

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The race started at 5:30, but was we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to get to the race start. I’ve learned my lesson many times in the past and have decided I would rather be crazy early to a race, than fighting the crowds. This is my second Rock ‘n’ Roll race that I’ve had this philosophy and both times I’ve had amazing non-crowded experiences, but have heard horror stories from people at the same races who left later and had not-so-great experiences.

Allow me to shout it from the rooftop – IF YOU DON’T LIKE CROWDS THEN ARRIVE EARLY TO THE START! <- the best advice I can give you!

We re-met up with our friends Rosa and Stephanie in the lobby and headed to the start.

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Attune power!!

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The roads were already starting to fill with runners, but nothing too crazy.

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The tram station looked like a mad house, but the wait wasn’t bad. We were able to hop on a tram almost immediately and made it to the start with plenty of time to spare.

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We spent about 30 minutes in the Mandalay Bay lobby using the restrooms (lines moved fast!) and soaking up some warmth before heading out to the corrals.

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How AWESOME is Stephanie’s husband’s shirt?!?!

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He wears it for every race he spectates at! I love it! I need to get one for Derek. ;)

We headed to the corrals about 20 minutes before the start and had no problem making our way to the middle of the pack.

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We even found a friend in the crowd!

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Monica was running with the ‘just for fun’ philosophy as well and decided to join Anne and I for the 13.1 miles. Of course, we welcomed her with open arms! The more the merrier!!!

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It was FREEZING, but starting right next to the Mandalay Bay tower at night was So. Cool!

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Ahhhhhh!!!!!! We’re running Vegas!!!!!!

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Oh, and good news! My eating strategy was a success! I wasn’t starving at the start and my stomach was fine for all 13.1 miles. Yay! :)

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In true Rock ‘n’ Roll fashion, the start was perfect. There was a big send off for each corral and we never had a problem with bottle necking or walkers. I really believe the early corrals are key here, if you don’t want to fight your way through the start, I highly recommend making sure you’re seeded in corral 9 or lower. We were placed in 6 with a ‘potential predicted finish time’ of sub-2:00.

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Here goes nothing!

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The first mile out was amazing. I kept jumping up and down shouting “How cool is this?!?!” We ran an 8:45ish pace and just took in all the sights and sounds that are Vegas. None of us are normal night runners (nor practiced any night runs leading up to race day) and were surprised how great our legs, stomachs, and bodies felt.

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We were all freezing our tails off at the start and, unlike most other races, we knew it was only going to get colder on the run. However, once we started moving, my body began to immediately heat up and I was seriously regretting the addition of the long sleeve compression shirt under my Attune shirt. I was starting to sweat. I took off my gloves, but stashed them in my waistband, afraid that I would regret the decision of tossing them later.

Luckily the winds weren’t as bad as the day before. In fact, I don’t remember having a problem with them at all. All-in-all I would say we had perfect racing weather.

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I can not say enough about how cool it was to run the strip at night. All of the beautiful lights and displays lit up the course (minus a few sketch areas in the middle of the course) and this may be the first race where I was able to watch tv while running (thank you hotel advertisements along the course!). We even caught a glimpse of the Bellagio water show we had missed the day before. It was incredible.

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After we passed The Palazzo around mile 3, Anne and I were in new territory. I remember staying at the Circus Circus in my youth, but I hadn’t had a chance to see it this trip. The big tent was still the same out front and the lit clown out front was as scary as ever.

We passed the stratosphere, a dozen or so wedding chapels, and entered some not-so-nice areas that were poorly lit. Monica, Anne, and I stayed close at this point and were thankful for the thousands of runners that surrounded us on either side. This did NOT look like an area we’d want to explore on our own at night.

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As the lights of the main Vegas strip began to fade behind us, the streets grew very quiet. There were no fans and runners were, well, running. This is the part where the three of us began to slow down and just get lost in conversation. I LOVE running with friends and it was so nice to not have any pressures of times on us and just run and talk at our leisure.

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We ran past the ‘Old Town’ of the Vegas strip and were greeted by whiffs of stale smoke air. Yuck. I’m pretty sure you could smell the smoke from that area coming and going a mile away!

Old Town also marked the turn around point where we made a quick U-turn and began running towards the main lights again. I took a couple of Gu Chomps and just tried to soak everything up. This was a very flat course that was really flying by.

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Around mile 11 I started to feel chilly again. My hands were getting cold and my nose was starting to run. At that point I was thankful for the long sleeve shirt and the gloves I had stashed in my waistband instead of tossing. I may have felt a little warn in the beginning/ middle of the race, but was just right pulling into the finish. Wardrobe choice was a success!

Finishing the last 5K+ on the strip was amazing. So many gorgeous lights everywhere! Sure, the crowds were a little thin (really, Vegas?!), but the view made up for it.

At mile 12 we kicked up the speed a bit and pushed ourselves hard to the end.

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We crossed the finish line at 1:59:05, hand-in-hand! :)

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Personally I LOVED running the strip at night! This was NOT a race meant for a PR (too many people, funky starting time, the yearning to ‘live it up’ in Vegas) but, instead, a race meant to be done with friends for FUN!

We had a BLAST running Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas together! I would come back to run it again in a heart beat!

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The finish line was insane, but the volunteers did a great job funneling everyone out. We grabbed our space blankets (NEEDED!!!! brrrrrrr), drinks (heck yeah! I grabbed 5 water bottles! Those things are $4 on the strip!), food and easily found Monica’s husband Ben in the family reunion area.

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Anne and I were all set to walk back to our hotel (the race ended at Mandalay Bay and we were staying at MGM Grand), but quickly realized it was just too cold. We decided to check the tram out ‘just in case’ and were pleasantly surprised to hop on the first tram home. Talk about good luck!

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We (very quickly) showered and changed before hopping in a cab to make our 9:30 dinner reservations at Serendipity 3.

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A post-race treat of Peanut Butter Frozen Hot Chocolate? Ummm… YES, PLEASE! ;)

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I’ve dined at the NYC Serendipity once before, so when Anne suggested we eat there this weekend, she didn’t have to ask twice. The Peanut Butter Frozen Hot Chocolate was like sipping on a delicious reeses milkshake. It. Was. Incredible. and just what the doctor ordered.

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We had plans of sipping on actual hot chocolates to warm us up, but they do such a great job of pumping the heat in there there a frozen one sounded just right. Bravo, Serendipity! :)

I really had no idea what I wanted to order from the menu. Traditionally I prefer burgers after big races, but I just had one the other day and wanted to branch out. I had read on both Yelp and wikipedia that Serendipity is known for their famous hot dogs, so when I saw it on the menu I knew I had to have it.

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Holy crap! This thing was insane!

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A full foot-long hot dog was a full personalized topping bar. Wow!

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Load ‘er up!

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Man, that was just what I was craving! I could only eat a little more than half, but every bite was better than the last. I can see why they’re famous for it! Probably my first hot dog in years and definitely one of the best!

I had a side order of sweet potato fries as well, but didn’t get a photo. They were ok. They were slightly coated with brown sugar and I’m not crazy about sweetened sweet potatoes.

Monica ordered this crazy overflowing grilled cheese that was filled with 6 or 7 different types of cheese. She gave me a piece and I was in cheese heaven. :)

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Our adorable dining partners.

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We headed to the hotel after dinner and I immediately crashed after setting my alarm for 5:15am for my early flight.

What an incredible weekend. Seriously!

Thanks again to Attune Foods for making this all possible!

If you haven’t added the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon to your race bucket list, I would highly suggest it! Just remember to run for fun and live it up Vegas style while you’re here.

Rock on!

  

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) December 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Congrats on your race!!! Vegas is always a good time, regardless of the activity. ;) So glad you made it to Serendipity for some deliciousness – totally worth it!
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2 Lena @Fit on the Rocks December 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm

That sounds so fun! I’ve been thinking about doing this race for fun next year with some friends, so thanks for the recap!
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3 Dori December 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I can’t imagine running a race in the dark. You did great, especially considering you were running for fun. That is my dream half marathon time for some point in my life! That hot dog is insane. I live around the corner from Serendipity but have actually only been there once. I should go back at an off-ish time after the holidays are over. Congrats on the race!
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4 Lea @ Healthy Coconut December 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I ran the inaugural race for this half marathon in Dec 09 and I remembered it being as fun as this post recap. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience running the strip.

Fun recap, I hope I can run this race again in the future.
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5 Lea @ Healthy Coconut December 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm

P.S. My post race food treat was also at Serendipity:)
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6 Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete December 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Sounds like an absolute blast!
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7 Christina @ Just Running December 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm

It sounds like you had a blast!

Boy, that guy’s shirt really stands out. My little boy spells and reads everything he sees (he’s not quite three and can spell over 100 words!), so I wouldn’t appreciate seeing a shirt like that at one of my races.
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8 Hillary December 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I’m running the DC Rock N Roll in the spring—hope it’s half as cool as this!
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9 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife December 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

WOW–it sure does sound like fun! Holy hot/frozen chocolate–that looks awesome!!

I think it could be fun to run at night, but I SO prefer morning running–I don’t know how I’d have handled that all. Plus my stomach is not made of steel, but I am sure glad you did great!
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10 Devon @ Answering Oliver December 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Glad you had so much fun! I ran the full marathon (my first) and haven’t gotten the chance to live it up Vegas-style yet, but I WILL tonight!! The first 13 miles of the full were off the strip, but the anticipation and excitement of finally getting there for the second half were so worth it. LOVED this race!
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11 Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine December 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Great job, Meghann!! I really enjoyed your recap. :) Sounds like a super fun race!
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12 PavementRunner December 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Great recap and an even better attitude about the race. Not every race is meant for a PR and it’s always fun to just run for the sake of running. Especially with friends. Congrats on a great race and that food looks amazing (love WitchCraft, and that hot dog should be wrapped in bacon — dont knock it till ya try it).

And that husbands shirt is awesome! I need one for my wife, but it would have to say crazy husband and such. Cheers!

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13 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats December 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

That race sounds fun and that’s so great you could run together! I’m a big fan of running buddies!
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14 Carly D. @ CarlyBananas December 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm

That sounds like such a fun race!
I ran a RnR race this summer and weirdly, I really wanted a hot dog after! It must be something about their races haha :)
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15 Alaina December 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm

That sounds like such a fun race!!! I’ll have to see if my husband would be up for running that one. We sure do love Vegas!
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16 Carolina @ Peas in a Blog December 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm

This looks like such a fun dress, very fun!
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17 Lily Fluffbottom December 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Man, that sounds like so much fun. I think i’d love to do that race one day. Its hard to imagine Las Vegas being cold.

Congratulations on your finish!
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18 Courtney December 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm

How fun! I would love to run that race, never been to Vegas!
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19 Jessica December 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Sounds like you had an amazing time. I am usually a ‘hamburger after a race girl’ myself but love, love, love hot dogs. :) It sounded like you made a great choice and it looked amazing!
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20 Sarah S. December 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Congratulations on your race! Looks like you had a great time as well, Vegas is the best!

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21 kathleen @ the daily crumb December 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm

what an amazing race experience!! congrats :)
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22 Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm

what a wonderful race!!! Looks like so much fun!
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23 Sana December 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I LOVED your recap! You look like you had a blast :)

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24 Danielle Dillard December 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Added to my bucket list! Looks like a blast. Glad you had fun!!!!
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25 Kate @Pastafreerunner December 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Awesome race recap! Sounds like it was a ton of fun and completely stress-free!
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26 Cait's Plate December 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Oh my gosh that peanut butter frozen hot chocolate looks INSANE!!

Congrats on the awesome finish!
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27 Tina @ Best Body Fitness December 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I want to run that race next year just for the fun of it. Glad you had a great time. And that is one BIG hot dog!!
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28 Gwen December 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm

That sounds like a BLAST! I definitely want to do it next year! I love that you put on some makeup. Too cute!

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29 RunEatRepeat December 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I had a BLAST!!!
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30 Heather @ Run Eat Play December 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Wow! Looks like you guys had an awesome time. I love Vegas! Great job on your half marathon!
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31 Brittney December 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Vegas looks so fun! I have yet to visit the city and the RNR looks awesome! Great job and glad you had fun!
I’ve had the frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity in NY- it is so delicious! Excellent post run choice!

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32 Mary @ food and fun on the run December 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Love the shirts you all wore :) They look great! And yes, I need to put this race on my to do list! Looks like so much fun!!
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33 Whitney December 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Wow! I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I find that guy’s shirt pretty offensive. And I’m not even someone who gets easily offended. It’s just not funny to call your significant other a bitch. On your shirt. In public. Yikes.

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34 KT December 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I found the shirt offensive, too, so I was glad to see I wasn’t alone in that. Not even just the language, but the entire sentiment of the shirt bothered me. However if the blogger whose husband wore the shirt isn’t bothered by being called derogatory words, who am I too judge?

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35 Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers December 6, 2011 at 8:57 am

Same boat, here.

Why do you need to use such an offensive word to support your wife? Why couldn’t it just say “I love my Crazy Wife”?

While I’m all for fun inside jokes between loved ones, I think that shirt is sending a message that a) doesn’t need to be viewed by random young spectators and b) it’s okay to call women bitches, as long as it’s in a positive light.

It’s not okay.
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36 emily December 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm

You guys had such a great race! And I am so jealous of your dinner; Serendipity3 is one of my favorite restaurants on the planet!
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37 Christine December 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm

congrats!

it was fun reading your (and many others’!) tweets from this race weekend.

……. now craving that hot dog.
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38 Alexa @ Simple Eats December 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

A night race in Vegas?! That seriously has to be one of the most exciting experiences! I would kill for a hot dog like that!
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39 Victoria (District Chocoholic) December 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Having a stomach of steel is great for situations like this. I once at a snickers bar in the middle of a swim practice of 20×200 lactate threshold. It was awesome.
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40 Corey @ Learning Patience December 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Wow – that looks SO cool!
Awesome job….almost cool enough to motivate me to try it next year…..um…maybe… :-)

xoxo from Trinidad
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41 Katy (The Singing Runner) December 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Looks like a blast Meghann! I’m definitely adding it to my bucket list! It gives me an excuse to go to Vegas! ;)
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42 Michelle December 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Oh my – that’s quite a dog. Ha ha.

Congrats on a fun race!
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43 skinnyrunner December 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm

congrats on a fun race!
that hot dog is out of control.

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44 Michelle@SFTS December 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Congrats on your race, I’ve been glued to my GoogleReader waiting to see all the recaps! Your blog (and others) are the whole reason I even started running and I must say, I am in the best shape I’ve ever been and I’m only getting started :)

This is kind of weird and random, but hot dogs are my absolute favorite food!! I think I need to get my butt in shape so that I can make it to RNRLV next year and hit up Serendipity!

Great recap!!
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45 Sara@RunningInPinkProject December 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I ate at Serendipity in NYC last winter… SO good though that hot dog looks scandalous I have to say. :D Congrats on your run. I am S L O W and “back of the pack” so Im incredibly impressed that this was your “fun run” time. Thats awesome!
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46 Karolina December 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I absolutely loved watching all the footage online last night, but it’s extra fun to read a personal story about the run! It sounds like the 3 of you had a fantastic time running together! Congrats on a great run:)
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47 AmandaRunsNY December 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Congratulations! What a fun race! I really want to run this race once day. It just looks like such an awesome, fun time.

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48 Anne P December 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm

What a blast. We need to do races together more often :)

xo

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49 Army Amy* December 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Looks like a great race!*
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50 Stephanie December 5, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I love the picture with the hot dog! OMG. but that hot chocolate looks incredible!! Yum!! Glad you guys had a great time. So you talked us into it, we are going to make and sell the shirts, why not
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51 Kristin @ FoodFash December 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Looks like so much fun!! Glad you had a good time. We need to get together sooooooon :)
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52 Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete December 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Great job on the race! People are WAY too serious sometimes, and I’m glad you guys had fun on this one! Not every race is going to be a PR, and that is okay!

I’m actually headed out to Vegas in January for my best friend’s b-day party, and all your pics are getting me excited!
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53 sugarmagnolia70 December 6, 2011 at 12:23 am

Nice recap! I ran it last night too…and just like you got cold at mile 11. Glad to hear it wasn’t just me! Congrats on a great race.

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54 Erin December 6, 2011 at 1:34 am

Glad you had fun in Vegas! I ran the full marathon and, well, I managed a PR while dodging all you half marathon runners :-) But I left wanting to go back for a “real” vacation sometime soon so I guess Vegas did its job!
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55 Heather December 6, 2011 at 9:19 am

Ugh, I had the worst half marathon experience with this race. Writing up my recap later today, but I’m glad to at least see others had a good experience. For those runners who finished later though, getting out of Mandalay Bay was a straight up nightmare.
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56 Emily December 6, 2011 at 11:12 am

Congrats on enjoying yourself and your time there!

I’ll be out there next year for that race, and I am already looking forward to it. I am going to run it with my cousin, who did it this year. :)
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57 Cait @ Caitstrides December 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm

You’ve totally inspired me to run this race. I’m going to look into signing up for 2012. It looks amazing!

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58 Aron December 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Sounds like you guys had a blast – exactly the way to run Vegas!!!
Aron recently posted..Race Report: 2011 Rock ‘N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

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59 Maria December 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm

AHHH! This race looks like so much fun! I’m definitely signing up next year!
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