Mary's Going with Guts!

Track my progress as I train for my next Team Challenge half marathon for the CCFA

Leaving Las Vegas

Posted by msdon9 on February 20, 2012

The saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Well, there’s a reason why you didn’t hear much about my participation in this past December’s Rock and Roll Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon, and the location is only part of the reason.

Last season I ran with Team Challenge as an alumni “street team” member, which means that most of my fundraising was replaced with volunteer work for the Long Island chapter. While you may have seen me taking pictures at the NY State Parks Summer Run Series or posting information about my teammates’ fundraising events every now and again, I didn’t actively pursue a particular fundraising goal for myself. I paid for my own flight, hotel, and race entry fee, and spared most of my friends the abuse of social media I usually engage in when I’m actively trying to raise money for the cause.

My friend Bevin agreed to come to Vegas with me to run what would be her first half marathon. We trained separately, me in Long Island with my team and she down the Jersey Shore, but we both stepped off from Race Corral 17 right in front of the Mandalay Bay Hotel the evening of December 4th. That’s right, I said “evening.” The race started around 5pm and we ran the strip at night with 60,000 estimated participants. It. Was. Mayhem. (But it was also a lot of fun).

My performance in the race was just…..”eh.” I had a feeling going into it that my stomach wasn’t going to cooperate because it HADN’T been cooperating almost all season. I think maybe 1 out of every 6 runs was drama free, and the rest required frequent pit stops. What I hoped would end in a PR in Vegas ended up a much longer race with 3 or 4 bathroom stops along the way (I lost track), each of which came with super-long lines. Apparently it was difficult for the city of Las Vegas to gauge how many port-a-potties would be needed to accommodate 60,000 runners. Each line I waited on was about 10 minutes long.

Hasta Luego, PR.

Aside from that, I felt pretty good when I WAS able to run. I started slowly with a few of my friends who were feeling a little sick. I left them at Mile 5 for my first bathroom stop, but picked up the pace right after to try to make up for some lost time. I took a little walk break somewhere around mile 10 and watched the Bellagio fountains…then I really tried to pick up my pace for the finish. If I could subtract my time in line for the bathrooms, I probably would have had a decent performance. I guess you can’t win ’em all.

Probably the WORST part of the Vegas race was the aftermath… a large percentage of those 60,000 runners were trying to make their way through Mandalay Bay to get back to their hotel rooms, all while the Michael Jackson Cirque de Soliel show was letting out in it’s opening weekend. Lest we forget that there was also some crazy RODEO going on and there were a bunch of cowboys in 10 gallon hats trying to make their way through the hotel as well. We wanted food after the race, but we were basically SOL – most of the restaurants in Mandalay Bay were closed, and the buffet that was open had like a 2 hour wait.

Logistically, some things could have been improved… that’s for sure.

The important thing is that the race benefitted the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation in a continued effort to find a cure for digestive disorders. I took a few minutes to search around the Internet to find some facts to post, and I stumbled upon a pre-race press release from the Team Challenge national organization:

Less than 1% of the population has ever run a half marathon – no small feat – particularly for those who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). More than 1,200 Team Challenge participants, many of whom have Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, will be running the Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll ½ marathon on Sunday, December 4th.

So that’s pretty cool, right? Think of how much money was raised as a result!

Truthfully, progress can’t be made to find a cure without medical research, and medical research can’t be conducted without the generosity of everyday people. There are many causes out there that need support; we all know someone who has either lost a loved-one to cancer or battled the disease themselves. We all know of children who suffer from debilitating and traumatic chronic illnesses like Spina Bifida and Muscular Dystrophy (to name a few). We all want to find a cure for ALS and Leukemia and Lymphoma. I understand that it’s not easy to find the extra dollars to send to these causes in a tough economy like this one. I can only hope (along with the estimated 1.4 million Crohn’s & Colitis patients in the US) that there’s a few dollars to be found for our hopeful cure, too.

 

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