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Nov 16

Rock and Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon – The Ultimate Runner’s High

Although I have been to Las Vegas at least a dozen times, the trip I made to run my virgin Rock and Roll Half Marathon was the best time I have ever had there. I’m slowly coming down from my runner’s high so excuse me if some of this makes zero sense. Maybe if you play Snoop Dogg while reading, it will enhance the expeirence.

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Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon Stripped Down

Location

Obviously. There were so many positives about being in a town like Las Vegas before a race. The atmosphere is continuous stimulation and excitement, you can get anything you need, anytime you need it, the food is some of the best in the world and, this past weekend, the entire city was crawling with runners!

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I knew running the strip at night was going to be amazing but I did not know how amazing until I was doing it. Wow. Just wow. I told my husband afterward it was the easiest 13.1 I had ever run because there was no downtime for my mind. From the over-the-top light display, to the throngs of cheering crowds to the pancake flatness of the course, it is a runner’s paradise.

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The Headliner – Snoop Dogg

As soon as I found out Snoop Dogg was headlining the pre-race party, I knew I had selected the perfect rock and roll half to run! I have loved Snoop since I was in high school but had never seen him live. Having him perform was also the only reason my husband, SIL and BIL agreed to come to the start with me!

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Snoop, it turns out, was a very interesting choice.

You see, runners as a whole are a pretty conservative bunch and pre-race preparations can be taken especially seriously. We were an audience dressed ready to run and it was 2:30 in the afternoon. All of this made it even funnier when Snoop came out smoking a gigantic blunt and didn’t censor his lyrics even a little bit.

I heard more mother effers, bitch references, the “n” word and extremely graphic adjectives for male and female anatomy in the first 10 minutes of his set then I have during the entirety of the Trump campaign coverage.

Looking around and basically seeing people try to ignore the music or laying down to mentally prepare for a marathon was the most ridiculous juxtaposition. And I loved every single second.

Obviously, this video and the screen displays are not for your kids… And yes, that’s my husband, more excited at a race then he has ever been!

 

Sadly, I was in the first corral and had to leave before the show was over. My family stayed and rocked out for at least another hour and I was insanely jealous.

Organization

I was seriously impressed with the overall organization of this race. We are talking about 40,000 runners (for comparison, the NYC marathon averages 50K) in a city already bursting with people. It still boggles my mind that they are allowed to shut down the strip for this event! They only do it twice a year – New Year’s Eve and the Rock and Roll Marathon. Very cool.

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The expo, although held off the strip, was super easy to navigate and very clearly marked. I breezed though and had my bib, race shirt, souvenir hat and all my questions answered in no time. I actually think it took longer to be driven to the expo center than it took me to get though it.

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At the pre-race venue where Snoop performed everything was very well laid out and organized as well. There was a gigantic parking lot with nothing but port-o-potties identified by an enormous “restrooms” emblazoned balloon hovering over the location so you knew exactly where they were.

A fleet of UPS trucks were lined up, ready to receive and transport our gear bags to the finish. Again, everything was clearly marked and I dropped my gear bag within minutes of arriving at the venue. Afterward, I found my alphabetically designated truck quickly and had my gear back in no time. What can brown do for you? Apparently everything.

As you can see in the photo below, their were directional restroom signs on stage as well as race bib color coordinated corral start times. There were additional bathrooms just outside of the corrals as well. These Rock and Roll people really have their shit together. < – – I couldn’t resist.

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Race Route

In a word, the race route was spectacular! I have never seen so many lights, had so much crowd support (well, besides the NYC marathon) and have smiled as much as I did during this race. There was constant stimulation for your mind that your legs just kind of did their thing. Granted, I was not running for time but for fun, and fun was exactly what I had.

The only thing that could have made this race better would have been running it with a friend. Next year, I won’t make that mistake and will literally kidnap people if need be. (I’m looking at you Nat, Sue and Shannon!)

The course was completely flat, ran right though the main strip, past the stratosphere, into old Las Vegas and then back down the strip ending in a lit up, fiery finish line, announced by Elvis (of course) at the Mirage hotel.

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Since we were staying at Caesar’s, located next door to the Mirage, it was super easy for me to walk though the finisher’s chute and directly to my husband and back up to our room. I promptly took the best bubble bath ever and went to dinner at Giada’s. Absolute perfection.

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Racing First Class

I will say this, my experience was based on being in the first wave and literally the first corral. When I got to the pre-race venue it was half empty and therefore easy to navigate. The toilets were still very clean, there wasn’t a lot of crowding and, during the actual race I found myself only surrounded by three or four people after mile 5. I had plenty of room to run prior to that and there was an abundance of water and gatorade on the course as well as post-race food, drinks and zero lines to get my gear.

I mention this because I have heard other stories basically saying the opposite so, I don’t know what it was like for those in the last wave or finishing closer to the back of the pack. I would hope the experience is the same but I cannot say for sure.

That said, these were my only small complaints for the overall experience:

  1. The expo and packet pick-up being held off the strip. It was kind of a pain to get there and back and, with so many of the biggest hotels in the world on the strip, it seemed unnecessary.
  2. There was SO MUCH WALKING just to get to the pre-race venue. I had to walk to the monorail at a different hotel (which was long since, Vegas) and then almost another mile to the start. The sun was brutally hot and the walk was not fun. At the end of the day, I walked almost 37,000 total steps! Seriously. Getting an Uber or cab was difficult and not recommend since they started closing streets very early.

img_08613. The volunteers at the course water stations were not yelling out what they had – water or gatorade. I was asking them every time and, some of the stations had gatorade cups to distinguish but, not all. It may not seem like a big deal but when you need Gatorade and not water and are cruising along and trying to be courteous of your fellow runners, you want to be sure you’re getting what you need and headed toward the person who has it!

The Ultimate Finish

To top off the entire experience, while we were having our post-race celebration party at Giada, we could see the finishers still streaming into the chute from our table. We also saw a marriage proposal! It was the sweetest thing ever and was a perfect ending to my amazing day.

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Obviously I would encourage anyone to race this event and bring lots of friends and family! Having my family enjoy so much of this with me was a huge thrill. The entire weekend was one incredible experience after another and I have much more to share with you so stay tuned!

Since I know you’re now planning to run this with me next year, check out some great deals from my friends in sin city before planning your trip!

Have you run Las Vegas?

Have you been to Vegas?

Have you run another Rock and Roll race?

34 comments

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  1. Angela @ happy fit mama

    Ok, you can kidnap me to for next year. You convinced me I need to do RNR Vegas. But will Snoop be back for next year?!?!
    Angela @ happy fit mama recently posted…10 Running Safety Tips for Every RunnerMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I certainly hope so but I have no idea. I really think I’m going to round you, and all our other running friends up, to see if we can make this happen. It was too much fun to do alone! 🙂

  2. Hollie

    This is a race I would love to do. Honestly, I’m not sure I would run well that late at night. It looks like you had an amazing time.
    Hollie recently posted…Mini Trip to Upstate New YorkMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It was definitely hard to run at 4:30 in the afternoon after all the eating and walking but, the race route and pre-race party made it totally worth it. I hope you can do it next year!!

  3. Ana

    Pick me! I’ll run it with you! RnR Las Vegas is on my hit list, I just need everything to line up for it… or most things to line up.

    Congratulations on an awesome race! that medal looks really cool!
    Ana recently posted…Hero Run 5K 2016My Profile

    1. vita88

      I would LOVE to do it with you!! I totally get it about having all the stars align but fingers crossed 🙂
      The medal is very cool and actually spins like a roulette wheel – LOL!

  4. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    I’m glad to read about someone having a good experience at this race! So many recaps were less favorable–I’d go with you but only if I could be in a front corral!

    Looks like your hubby had a good time too–mine said this is one race he’d go to with me. Because I gave him permission to go to the casino during the race. Maybe next year.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…What’s All the Fuss About?My Profile

    1. vita88

      That’s why I added the “disclosure” because I heard bad things about the organization. I do think they changed up a lot of it because of the feedback so at least they are listening.
      I would love for you to go and yes, my husband had such a great time, which was a huge highlight for me. And, I told him he could stay and play/watch football at the casino but he definitely did not want to miss Snoop 🙂

  5. Nellie

    Such an awesome time!! Did you really expect Snoop to censor anything?! I know this wasn’t your first hardcore rap concert right?! 🙂 So happy your rock n roll experience was a good one, I think I might go next year…I’ve never been to vegas so this might be the way to get it in!
    Nellie recently posted…Got Muscle? 8 Beginner Strength Training Routines For WomenMy Profile

    1. vita88

      OMG I’m laughing!!! No, I guess I would NOT expect Snoop to ever sensor himself but it was just so WEIRD because I was in my racing outfit, surrounded by uptight runners in broad daylight!! And um, yes, now that I think about it that was my first hardcore rap concert. WHAT?!?! Thank you for pointing that out and if you run this race with me next year that would just make my life complete! 🙂 xoxo

  6. Danielle @ The T-Rex Runner

    I’ve never really had much of a desire to visit Vegas, but I will admit this race does interest me for the aspects you mentioned. It seems like running under the lights would be amazing! It sounds like you had an excellent time.
    Danielle @ The T-Rex Runner recently posted…Making Running Fun AgainMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I honestly cannot picture you in Vegas. First off, there are no peace flags 🙂 But seriously, running this race was such an absolute blast that I think anyone would love Vegas afterward! Put it on your list!!!

  7. Paria@momontherunsanity.com

    Ok, so I’m going to seriously consider running this next year if I can make logistics work depending on what is going on with my children…. although I would clearly be in a later wave with a half-marathon pace that is more in the 2:05 range, so maybe I would have a different and not so great experience……
    On another note, which exact Garmin are you wearing?? It looks so blingy!! My Garmin is the purple forerunner 220, and I just got garmin envy looking at yours…. Let me know…. because Christmas is coming and while I’m not exactly Christian, I celebrate the presents part….
    Paria@momontherunsanity.com recently posted…Never ForgetMy Profile

    1. vita88

      First of all PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN NEXT YEAR!!! I think the overall race was much better organized this year for everyone but I will keep a look out for other recaps from second and third wave runners. Second, I’m wearing the best Garmin watch EVER – the fenix!! It’s excellent for triathlon but obviously has all the perks for runners plus is bluetooth enabled so you can get mail, texts, social media updates, etc. I love this watch more than almost anything. It’s a little pricey (I think around $600?) but it’s worth every penny. I wear it every single day and get lots of compliments.

  8. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    So glad you had an amazing time and I’m sooooo sad that I wasn’t there to experience it with you!! We will make it happen!!!

    1. vita88

      I was sad every moment you were not there. It was so much fun and we need to make SOMETHING happen soon 🙂

  9. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Wow, 40,000 people?! I had no idea it was that huge!! You did make it sound pretty amazing… I’d definitely consider this one. The only downside, didn’t you say it was hot?!
    Looking forward to hearing more!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…What’s next (ten days post marathon)My Profile

    1. vita88

      The temps were in the 80s during the day and only dropped to about 60 (I think) at the start but, it was dark by 4:45 so having no sun made a HUGE difference. I raced in shorts and a tank, thinking I may need to toss my tank but I honestly was never that hot. And yes, it was a HUGE field but I never felt overly crowded – not even at the start. I hope you consider it for next year because it is a whole experience…and better with friends 🙂 Plus, you’re speedy enough to be in the first corral!

  10. Ariana

    I’m glad you had such a good time! I was there for the 5k and half as well, and I agree that it was super organized. Congrats on finishing it!!
    Ariana recently posted…How to Create a Workout ScheduleMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Awesome!!! Congrats to you too!

  11. Suzy

    I love how happy you are and how sparkly huge your smile is! Your race sounds like it was absolutely spectacular. I’ve done RnR Arizona, and RnR Seattle and they were both such well organized races. I have never been to Vegas in my life. Crazy eh? I feel like it would be too stimulating for me; my pea sized brain can barely handle WalMart.
    Suzy recently posted…ClenchMy Profile

    1. vita88

      What? I feel like you and Vegas go together like you and running! Although it’s much more stimulating that Walmart so there’s that 🙂 Thanks Suzy! I met a lot of very friendly Canadians in Vegas so if you ever do go, you will be surrounded by your countrymen. They were very sympathetic about the whole Trump thing too – LOL!!

  12. Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Vegas is high on my list of places to visit (such an easy flight coming from Seattle!) but I would have never thought to consider the RNR Vegas until now! All the food you shared on Instagram looked extra amazing also! Congrats on your race!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Racing in Cold WeatherMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You absolutely have to go! And yes, it’s worth it for the food alone but, if you can throw in a race then why not, right? Maybe we can make a meet up happen next year! Thanks Laura.

  13. Susie @ SuzLyfe

    I’ve heard mixed reviews of this race, but I’m glad that you had a great time! Funny story, Snoop Dogg played COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY’s end of the year party. They voted on it.
    That would be like him playing Yale. HILARIOUS
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Are Special Running Socks Necessary? (Feetures Review + Giveaway)My Profile

    1. vita88

      I had too so I was a little worried going in but, obviously they have worked out a lot of the kinks!
      Totally love that Snoop played Columbia!!! Those kids ARE smart 🙂

  14. Dana

    I’ve walked most of the route you ran, but it was at 4:30 a.m. when I was still on East Coast time. It was a great walk, and the only people I saw were “waitresses” walking home after their late night shifts.

    Looks like a great time!
    Dana recently posted…Medicine for my soulMy Profile

    1. vita88

      LOL!! I’ve run that before too but around 7am with drunks still coming and going. I must say, the race is quite a different experience 🙂 LOL! Thanks Dana.

  15. Natalie

    Yes!!!! I am there next year!!! We will plan it and have a ton of friends and party all weekend.
    Bring it!!!
    Our husbands can hang out and drink together – it’ll be perfect 🙂

    I can’t wait to play the Snoop Video tonight – kids in earshot, so have to wait!!

    Loved all your pics and looks like they had better organization this year.
    So fun!!! xoxo
    Natalie recently posted…Life Lately, Take Care Of Your Feet, and an RX BAR GIVEWAY!!My Profile

    1. vita88

      I would absolutely love that!!!! It is a MUST!
      My kids wanted to see the Snoop video so I had some explaining to do 🙂
      Thanks so much Nat!

  16. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    I am SO SAD I wasn’t in Vegas. Mostly for Snoop… KIDDING. 😉

    Giada’s is the best call. Isn’t that focaccia amazing???
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Sometimes I forget… sometimes I just can’tMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Me too!!! WTH??
      Giada was perfection, especially after the race. Other Vegas favorites include Nobu, Jean George in Aria and the soufflé at the Eiffel Tower restaurant was the best thing I have ever eaten. Damn I love Vegas!…and I know you do too 🙂

      1. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

        Nobu is one my my Top 5 meals of all time. SO GOOD! And that Eiffel Tower souffle… it was our 3rd date! 🙂
        Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Sometimes I forget… sometimes I just can’tMy Profile

  17. Danielle

    Snoop!!!! So so so happy for you and your amazing fo shizzle my swizzle experience!!
    That race was my favorite race and PR. I had some gripes but overall loved it, and I didn’t even have Snoop. I think it was Tom Petty the year I ran and it was fine. If it were Snoop I would have best my time by a minute I’m sure. I bet starting in the front makes such a difference. I started in coral 35 or 36 and it was like a million years before we toed the start line. First six miles was sheer adrenaline and lunacy but still so fun. I loved seeing all the crazy costumes and all the Elvis runners.
    Looks like you had the best time ever! That’s so awesome! Jazz hands and sparkly waves at ya! Air punch!
    Danielle recently posted…WIR sleep less play moreMy Profile

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