Race Comments: This is the race that started it all - after a great weekend of travel and racing we caught the running bug and decided to create the 50in100 challenge! There is nothing greater than running on 'The Strip' on a crisp and cool December morning in Las Vegas. The actual temperature at the start was quite cold (~33 degrees) and gloves were necessary for the first few miles. The first 5 miles and the last 5 miles were really cool - we ran past the famous 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign and up and down the entire strip. Miles 6 through 8 were not very exciting as you are clear of the casinos and running through some less than nice areas. All in all, a very fun atmosphere and a great race (even if the bib/entry is a bit expensive).
Highlights: A few of our favorites were the actual wedding/renewing of vows for a handful of runners at about mile 3 of the course, the 15 foot high flames at the Mirage (you could actually feel the heat), running past the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop (from the tv show Pawn Stars), serving as unofficial pacers for a group of about 6 runners (picture with one of our new buddies above), and seeing American marathon record holder Ryan Hall at the expo (see picture below).
Tip: If you plan to run this race allow a lot more time than you think you'll need to get to the start line. It took us about 45 minutes to get from Vdara (Circle Center) to the start line and then we found out the gear check was clear on the far side of the parking lot. Also, if you decide to put a pace bib on your back (i.e. planning to run a 1:52) be prepared to have people assume you are a pacer. While most races pacers run with signs that designate them as pacers, apparently this was new to most runners in Las Vegas.
Day 1 (Friday):
One of our all-time favorite sights so far has to be the Hoover Dam. This structure is really a modern marvel and well worth the official guided tour inside the dam. We will return in the not-to-distant future to check out the Hoover Dam Bypass, a 2,000 foot long bridge about 1/4 of a mile south of the Hoover Dam completed in October 2010. The Bypass was still under construction when we visited and from what we could see the Bypass will rival the Dam in terms of impressive engineering.
Mon Ami Gabi (inside Paris) is a casual french restaurant. We had no reservation and only waited a few minutes for a table. Service was good, wine selection was adequate and the french onion soup was outstanding. Although this is a chain restaurant the overall dining experience was pleasant.
Day 2 (Saturday):
We tried the Silk Road Restaurant at Vdara for breakfast and were very impressed, despite the hefty price tag. Mike had the corn flake crusted french toast and Kristin had the oatmeal with fresh fruit. It was a good thing the meals were fantastic because they were not cheap ~$45 total. As a note, each room at Vdara has a refrigerator, sink and kitchen table which is a huge plus seeing that you can stop by CVS (on the Strip) and pick up some milk and cereal for your stay.
Check out Crystals City Center (near Vdara and Aria) for a glimpse into how the rich spend thousands of dollars on everything from shoes to silver baby rattles. Crystals is worth a stop even if you are not planning to shop, with several scultures (color changing 10 foot tall ice, and massive unique staircases throughout) that are worth your time.
Fiamma Trattoria & Bar (inside MGM Grand) is a slightly upscale italian restaurant. As with most of Vegas it was a bit expensive, but did the trick for a pre-race meal. Service was a bit slow as the restaurant was really crowded but the food was decent. Serving sizes were moderate to small.
Tip: If you want to see any shows while in Las Vegas walk into any "half price ticket" shop along the Strip and buy your tickets for a decent discount. The hottest shows in town may not be available, but we had no problems and saw Cirque Du Soleil's Ka (show was ok, a little dry and seemed a bit long)and Crazyhorse (I guess if your going to see one burlesque show in your life it may as well be in Las Vegas, but I was not too impressed and Kristin fell asleep)!
Nevada Half Marathon Medals
December 5, 2009: Rock n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon