I don’t know when our plans to run the marathon started out exactly. Dick Ames and Todd Rose just seemed to bring it all together and everyone seemed pretty excited that we were travelling (To VEGAS, off all places!) more than an hour to run a race.
It was exciting to see everyone plan which race they were going to do and then figure out how to train for it. Emmett hadn’t planned on running any race, because he was out of work and had been sick, but had never been to Vegas before. Todd B. had some of the same excuses, but figured it would be one in a line of marathons in 2000. Laura and Dick wanted to break the Boston Qualifying Mark. Marlaigne and Karine decided that they were going to attempt their first 1/2 marathon.
Emmett finally mailed in his application one day before the cheap deadline: after all, he had been running long distances with Laura at least every other weekend for 3 months. Todd Rose dropped back to the half marathon, and few other new runners passed on the run entirely and ran a half marathon at Pacific Shoreline the week before, so they could just have fun! Karine was steadfast in her promise to run the 1/2; she wasn’t going to back out, like at LB, but she hadn’t really trained with much distance. Marlaigne threw in a few 10-milers, and even ran 8 or 9 in the middle of one of Emmett and Laura’s many 18-20 milers.
Finally, the weekend of the race came and most people made the trek up Friday night - the Brooks’, Tim Hickok and others stayed either at the San Remo or the MGM. Marlaigne and Todd R. stayed in Pahrump, with Marlaigne’s grandma. Laura and Todd B. flew up from Long Beach Saturday morning, and Emmett and Ian Varley drove up Saturday midday.
We all congregated at the San Remo, where they had overbooked, and we made our way to the MGM to pick up our numbers and Champion Chips, sans Laura and Todd B., who had a time hooking up with us. By about 5pm, all of us had found each other in a room at the Sahara (3 miles from the bus pick-up), done a little hottubbing, gambling or whatever, and at 6:30, we had a humongous buffet dinner at the Sahara (the Todds, the Brooks, Marlaigne, Laura, Emmett, and Ian). Several people wondered how Todd B. could put so much away and remain in such great shape!
After dinner, some of us walked around. Ian and Emmett tried to go up the strip, but we were 1.5 miles from even Treasure Island, and we needed to get an early night’s sleep. Todd R. and Laura (later aided by Emmett) were playing Elvis slots until 10:30 and then watched a lounge act until 11. Todd B. played a little Craps. Most of us were abed and asleep by 12 (maybe).
A few minutes later (or so it seems), the phone rang - wake-up call - the caffeine addicts had to hurry, because the downstairs coffee place closed between 4:30 and 5. We caravanned with Sam (not running) and Marlaigne to the MGM to catch our 4:30 or 4:45 bus to the start, and in boarding the buses, almost everyone got separated.
The buses were heated to 80 degrees, which was OK, because it was about 35 outside! The half marathoners started first (at 6:30, predawn). Karine was a little nervous because of her lack of training, and she couldn’t find Marlaigne, but soon got going in the pack of runners. The first four miles went by easily, and then after a stop at Chevron (a real relief!), just kept motoring along, chatting and getting motivation from fellow runners. At mile 10, she cramped, so she just stopped, stretched, and finished her run feeling a natural high. Marlaigne had a bit of a epiphany: “I truly understand why people love to run. I ran the whole distance and never doubted I would make it, never once wanted to stop, and never once felt tired. I talked with the runners around me, looked at the desert, at Las Vegas, and thoroughly enjoyed every inch of the 13.1 miles! Now I’m going to run the Long Beach Marathon!” Todd R. and Tim finished the marathon together (though Todd the 13.1 miles! Now I’m going to run the Long Beach Marathon!” Todd R. and Tim finished the marathon together (though Todd had a faster time).
In the marathon, we had an extra hour to wait, and it was cold. Laura, Todd B., and Dick stayed on the bus, while Emmett froze, but chatted it up with the eventual 11th place finisher. Todd, Emmett and Laura goofed around taking pictures, while the race started, and so ended up running with 10 minute milers for the first 3-4 miles, way slower than what we wanted to do. All three made pit stops in the first 10 miles, though Laura never lost pace, and few people will forget Todd, from showing off his tanned muscular body, to making conversation with a guy wearing a jersey that read “Who Is John Galt?” At about 20 miles, Todd took off and Laura passed a cramping, tight calved Emmett, who even took beer from Las Vegas hashers!
At the end, no marathoner really reached their goal (except finishing), though Todd and Laura ran negative 1/2 splits, and Emmett couldn’t put on his strong finishing kick, because he was cramping so bad.
There was no bus back to the hotel, but luckily we had Sam shuttle Marlaigne, so we had two cars back to the hotel, where some people hottubbed and some collapsed on the bed before either partying or driving home.
Post-race comments: Laura - Thanks for cheering me on. I felt great! Karine - The competitive monster in me is loose and ready to go. Emmett - Ouch!