Monday, November 19, 2018

Palos Verdes Lexus LaceUp Half Marathon Race Recap

Saturday morning was the Palos Verdes Lexus LaceUp Half Marathon (the third race in the Lexus LaceUp Running Series {which I have been lucky enough to work with for the 2018 racing season}). If you haven't read my recaps for the first two races, the OC Lexus LaceUp Half Marathon and the Ventura Marathon, make sure you go and get your read on!

Jumping for joy that the hills are done!

As you may remember, I was asked to be a part of the Lexus LaceUp Running Series crew this year, and with that comes some AWESOME perks - like two free entries to all of the events (one for me and one for the hubby), the ability to do a giveaway for two additional entries per race, some sweet swag, etc. With that being said, you better believe I will still #KeepItReal and let you know the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to my opinions on the events.


So let's get right into it, shall we?! 

I don't know if I'm the only one, but I love Saturday races. Something about still having all day Sunday to sleep in (ha, as if my body would ever allow that, but technically it's an option ;)) and take care of business (laundry, food prep, household chores, etc) helps me feel accomplished and like I am ready to tackle whatever the week ahead has for me. I also enjoy getting ready for a race on Friday because I feel like I'm already in a routine and can easily add in the few extra tasks required of an upcoming race (as opposed to Saturdays when it's more of a free-for-all filled with maxin' and relaxin').

Obviously taking a #FlatRunner is one of those "extra tasks" required for race day ;)
#FlatCarlee included: white PRO Compression socks, white Handful sports bra, Sparkle Athletic mermaid skirt {limited edition color}, Graced
By Grit half zip
(with November Project Pride tag), elite Road ID, trucker hat I made, black and white QALO silicone wedding bands, blue
Momentum Jewelry wraps
, my Garmin Forerunner 935, Nathan handheld, PROBAR BOLT chews, and Brooks Ghost 11 (with blue Shwings).

This is especially the case when it comes to going to bed at a reasonable hour. It feels like I am just extending my normal routine an extra night instead of having to go to bed extra early on a Saturday night (although, let's be real, if you are a runner, I would guess that most of you have your long runs scheduled for Sundays and therefore tend to be up before the butt-crack of dawn on those mornings anyway, which calls for hitting the hay at an unreasonably early hour anyway).

One of the many things I appreciate about this race series is the fact that it offers race day packet pick-up. Although the events are located in Southern California, SoCal is a rather large geographical area and therefore I wouldn't say all the races are "local" {it took us 4 hours to get to Ventura the afternoon before that race}. Not having to drive to an Expo on the day before the race is a HUGE plus for me. In fact, there are some races I would love to do, but it isn't worth it to me to drive there and back on the day before the race to grab my bib and then again on the day of the race to run, nor is it worth it to pay for a hotel to stay in the night before. {#RealTalk} The Lexus LaceUp Running Series even includes race day pick-up as a "free" perk if you register early enough (the cut off for this race was October 23rd, about 3.5 weeks before the event) - and even if you missed the cut-off the extra cost was only $5, which I feel is totally reasonable.

A picture of the views on our way to packet pick-up

We got there close to "opening" and there was still quite a few folks. The closer to race time, the longer the lines got.

Let me back up a quick minute before moving on... I saw on the runners' information that there wasn't parking at the start/finish, but there were three parking lots (two within walking distance from the start/finish area and one that you could take a shuttle to and from). The hubby and I decided we'd shoot to park at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center (the first parking lot option listed). Let's just say it was a cluster. We got to the area around 5:40am (bib pick-up was supposed to open at 5:45am and the races weren't scheduled to start until 7am). At this point the line for the parking lot was already extremely long and although there were volunteers, they just seemed to be standing around {warning - this was a reoccurring theme throughout the morning}. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate volunteers immensely, but either they weren't equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary or they just didn't care... either way they were very ineffective. Eventually we found a parking spot (I'd say maybe 10 or so cars after us got in and then the lot was filled to capacity - and that was before 6am - so in case you are considering running this race in the future, make sure you keep this in mind).

Parking lot selfies are a must, right?!

After walking over to grab our bibs and participant shirts, we made our way back to the car to drop off our goodies and get ready (the hubby wanted to use our Rolflex, put on his socks and shoes, etc). I noticed when I went to attach my bib that it was a little off... The holes for the safety pins on the top of the bib were actually punched in the gear check portion, so if you took off that tag you didn't have holes to put your safety pins through. Also, the food and beer tags on the bottom weren't perforated (the food trucks thankfully had scissors, which were a life saver because the paper was not easily torn).

Obviously these are not huge issues, but these are the small details that some events
handle while others let slip through the cracks.

The sun was a little more visible on the way to the start after our wait in the car

Once we were ready we made our way back to the start/finish area. I knew Megan and Richard were running this race and thankfully we found them right away. We snapped a few quick photos and then made our way over to the start.

The PRO crew!

Richard made sure the photographer got the sunrise in the shot too ;)

Note: This was Megan's third year running the race, so we got in line and followed her through the chaos. There was a HUGE line for gear check (I don't know if there weren't enough people helping or what, but apparently it has been an issue in the past as well) that we had to meander through and then made our way to the start. Well, we thought it was the start... Apparently this year they changed the starting line for the Half Marathon and 10K and thankfully we saw the pacers walking away from where we were so we followed them. Seeing as the starting line had changed from previous years, it seems like a good idea to have been making announcements or have some sort of signage to let folks know where they were going... (Megan mentioned Palos Verdes is pretty cray-cray when it comes to city regulations, so she thought a noise ordinance might be why they weren't using a PA system, but I still think we could've been better informed).

For being a somewhat small race (712 finishers in the half marathon), it still felt crowded

Ready to get this party started!

The Half and 10K were slated to start at 7am (and the 5K five minutes after), but we didn't start until closer to 7:10am. I'm not sure what the delay was (I thought I heard the announcer say something about a fire arm malfunction, but that seemed extremely strange), but eventually they were counting down from 3 (and then back up to 3) and we were off.

Source: @blingwhore's Instagram feed
FYI: I am not pushing a stroller, although some folks thought it looked like I might be ;) That was the mama's next to me.

Seeing as I had three races the previous weekend [if you haven't read about our self-imposed #Dirt2Strip challenge including the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon, Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas 5K and Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, I'd suggest checking out those posts!], I knew this race would not be about time. The hubby and I had heard it was a beautiful, but hilly course, so we were out to enjoy the views and time with each other. We had no time goal, no agenda.


The rolling hills definitely started immediately and never really let up. The race does try to spin them in a positive light, by setting up a race within a race - offering a $500 prize for the fastest male and female on the steepest hill of the course (which comes after the Mile 10 mark). I'll be honest, the course is definitely not easy, but the views do tend to distract you.

Some of the hill action we encountered along the course

I may be in the minority, but I enjoy out-and-back races because seeing runners on the other side gives me something to take my mind off of myself (whether it's cheering for them, looking for friends, etc). The issue with this out-and-back was they didn't have the two sides split. Sure logic would tell you that you could run to the right hand side of the street, but until the lead cyclist is riding at you, you don't know that the runners will be sharing the same lane you are in. There were a few spots along the course where it seemed like runners were choosing their own adventure... with no cones splitting the lane or volunteers telling us where to run, it was up to runners to decide where they wanted to run. {There were plenty of volunteers, but unless they were at an aid station, the volunteers were students and it seemed like they were just there to get school credit or something... Apparently their phones were more important than the race they were there to help at.)

Richard snagged a shot of us on his GoPro. (You can sort of see runners are sharing a single lane with no separation between sides)

I would say there were plenty of aid stations on the course (I was a little confused because the ones with Honey Stinger Chews had opened the packages and just had them in large pans, which seemed unsanitary, but maybe they were trying to avoid having folks toss half of the package if they didn't eat them all?), although when they use plastic cups I find it difficult to drink from on the run because I can't fold them like the standard paper cups. {Wow, I'm being so petty, aren't I?!}

The hubby and I split a package of PROBAR BOLT chews (how I fuel for 99% of my runs and races),
so we didn't have to worry about all the sweaty hands reaching in the big pan of race-provided fuel.

Let me be honest (HA, as if I haven't been already), this is a nice race, and if I was local I would definitely consider running it again, but to have to drive upwards of 4 hours (1.5 hours there and 2.5 hours back - thank you weekend traffic), it probably isn't worth it for me. The course has some great views, but we are spoiled with similar ocean views a mile from our house (and I don't have to fight the constant rolling hills to run them at home ;)).

Overall I think we gained about 1,000 feet of elevation, which isn't terrible, but it was constant rollers!

Stopped mid-run to ask some surfers checking out the waves if they could snap a picture of us.

Around Mile 12 I tried to get the hubby excited about finishing and told him in less than 15 minutes we'd be in line for breakfast burritos! You see, the Lexus LaceUp Running Series has some great perks, one of which is a free food truck breakfast post race. When we grabbed our bibs we were checking out the different trucks and saw the one we had our sights set on - vegetarian breakfast burritos! Well, as luck would have it, by the time we finished and stood in line for about 10 minutes (it always flabbergasts me that the lines are so long since there are only three items available and absolutely no substitutions, so you'd think they'd just keep making the same thing over and over with very little wait time) THEY RAN OUT OF BURRITOS! Ex-squeeze me?! How does this happen?! I guess it happens because the 5K and 10K runners finish before the half marathoners and eat all the food... NOOOOO! To say we were bummed was an understatement... We settled for smoothies because we could take them in the car with us, but we were looking forward to the burritos.

Seems as though they need some spell checkers... and nutritionists...
Vegetarian has an extra "g" and they continue to mark items with bee pollen and honey as vegan...


On the way to the car we snapped a couple pictures. (The finisher area was overly crowded for my liking and I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. I realize Pelican Cove Park is small, but if it's going to be that tight of a squeeze I'd recommend limiting the number of runners for future events if there isn't a better place to hold the post-race gathering.)


The girl taking our photo said that if we stood in front of the sun she would snap a "cool silhouette shot" - LOVE IT! 

Despite the hilly course, the hubby and I still ran a very respectable race - finishing in 2:10 (an average pace of 9:55/mile).

Not too shabby!

I think of the three Lexus LaceUp races we've done thus far, this is my
favorite medal of them. (The blue in the waves is like a stained glass"

When we got back to the car I had put in our directions and saw it would take us about an hour longer to get home than it did to get to the race due to traffic - UGH! I guess the silver lining in the extra delay was the fact that one of our local radio stations had started playing Christmas music already so I had something to jam to on the drive.

He can fall asleep within minutes of getting into the car...

Now, after reading this recap you may think that I hated this race - but I didn't. It was a decent race (especially since the hubby and I received comped entries to run it), but I just want to make sure everyone is well aware of the potential issues we ran into, that way you can make an informed choice when deciding to spend your hard earned cash on the registration. If we lived closer, I definitely wouldn't rule this out for the future, but for us, I don't know that it is worth it.


PS Since we didn't get burritos for breakfast, we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner on the way to church.

With Mexican food on the brain, we had to get some for dinner!

Can you believe that one last race in the Lexus LaceUp Running Series is all that remains for the year?! The Riverside Reindeer Run. If you want to come run this Christmas themed event with the hubby and I (we will be running the half marathon but they also offer a 5K and Kids' Race), make sure to use code "CARLEE10" to save 10% on your registration!

Do you like running hills?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 46

Sunday, November 11th – 7 mile run & Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon 

Monday, November 12th – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, November 13th – 4 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, November 14th – 10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, November 15th – 22 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, November 16th  75 minutes on the stationary bike, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, November 17th – Palos Verdes Lexus LaceUp Half Marathon, Stretched & Foam Rolled

The way that my runs lines up this week, I got in almost 70 MILES! HOLY CRAPOLY! I will probably never hit that amount of mileage again, but I am stoked at getting here and having my body feel a-okay! Despite having my muscles feel okay, I am thinking that I need to prioritize sleep or else I will probably run my body ragged and get sick sooner or later.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Favorites

After a week full of race recaps (man, they take a while to put write, but they serve not only as a resource for runners potentially looking to run the race, but also as a diary for me... seeing as my memory is terrible #FibroFog), it's time to get back to our regularly scheduled programs before another quick hiatus next week for a Thanksgiving camping trip.

PRO Compression Ambassador Program

I know, I know, I'm probably biased to this program since I've been a part of it for the last FIVE years, but it is definitely one of the best run ambassador programs I've been a part of. With that said, applications for the 2019 team are currently open, so if you've pondered throwing your name in the hat, make sure to check out the application HERE before November 23rd! (And, yes, in case you were wondering, I did already send in my submission for year number six ;))


Brooks Ugly Christmas Sweater

Did you see that right now, with a $150 purchase on, you can get a free Ugly Sweater Long Sleeve shirt?! As I'm sure you are well aware, I am all about the holidays, and love being festive on my runs! If you are planning on placing an order soon (maybe you need new running shoes, a windbreaker or gifts for your BRF {best running friends}), why not grab a free tee while you're at it?! It's available in women's and men's, so place your order today! #RunJolly


QALO Rings

I think at last count I currently have 16 QALO silicone wedding rings, but I'm pretty sure I am going to need to order a few more immediately. I saw some of their new designs on Instagram a few days ago and I am in love (especially with the one that actually says 'love' on it). One can never have too many rings, right?! The Strata silicone ring features two layers of contrasting silicone and an engraved pattern all throughout, taking shape in a dynamic, two-tone design. The collection is GORGEOUS and I'm pretty positive that I "need" one of each! #DearSantaIWearASize4 #ISwearIveBeenGood


Girls with Sole - A Girl Power Guide to Unleashing Your Inner Superhero

I saw this book a few weeks ago but kept forgetting to include it in a Friday Favorites. It officially released yesterday, so I guess it's timely enough. I'm pretty sure I need a copy immediately! The synopsis is everything - By combining the powers of fitness and self-awareness activities, Girls with Sole will guide you through the process of reinventing yourself and unleashing your inner superhero. It'll provide you with the tools to becoming a badass, rock star, super version of yourself. Girls with Sole shows you how to further develop and unleash your gifts into the world and take real-world steps towards becoming the fit and fierce person you want to be. We don’t need anyone to save us; we save ourselves! Capes optional.


Sparkle Athletic Ugly Christmas Sweater Trucker

If you remember, Sparkle Athletic released an Ugly Christmas Sweater Skirt a few weeks back and it made it onto a previous Friday Favorites. Well, now they've gone and made a trucker hat and I'm IN LOVE! This pattern is anything but ugly! And, with that, I think my Christmas list has now become majority trucker hats that I 'need'. #DearSanta


What are you loving lately?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Recap

Sunday was the Rock 'N 'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon - which was also the third and final race of our #Dirt2Strip journey.

Hopefully you've read my recaps for the first two races {Saturday morning's Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon and Saturday evening's Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas 5K}, but if not, you totally should... and I'm not just saying that... or maybe I am ;)

In the morning we were running the Hollywood Hills and in the evening we were running (off the) Vegas Strip

When I left off in the last post we were refueling Saturday night with #AllTheFood. After that it was time to head back to our hotel rooms and hit the hay since it had been quite the full day. Now, I don't know if you know this or not, but I am currently training for my first official ultra marathon (the hubby and I did the Grand Canyon {Rim2Rim2Rim} which was about 50 miles, but it was self-supported and unofficial). With that said, my training plan calls for quite a few miles to get me and my legs ready to tackle this next challenge. Technically I was supposed to have 22 miles on Saturday, so seeing as I only got in about 15 I decided I'd hit the strip and get in an extra 7 when I woke up Sunday morning.

Maybe next time I'll tuck in my shirt so my tummy isn't out in all its glory ;) 

The weather was a bit on the chilly side and the winds were whipping around, but it was awesome to have the strip almost to myself. (Let's be real, Vegas never sleeps, so folks were still stumbling around at 6:30am "continuing to rage".)

Some of the character stops I made while out on my run

After finishing my run I decided I should probably get off my feet for a while so I made my way back to my room to shower, refuel, do a little work and watch some football. {During this time the guys went to the lululemon outlet store, but since those clothes are a little too rich for my blood I opted out.} Eventually it was time to get dressed and ready for the race.

This #FlatCarlee was all about the reflective gear (so of course I had to shoot one picture without a flash and one with a flash)!
My flat runner included: neon pink and black PRO Compression socks, black Handful bra, Sparkle Athletic reflective chevron skirt,
2017 Los Angeles Marathon jacket (Jade Jacket made by Skechers Performance), Brooks Sherpa reflective hat, pink and black QALO
silicone wedding bands
, pink and black Momentum Jewelry wraps, elite Road ID, my Garmin Forerunner 935 and Brooks Ghost 11.

Just like before the 5K, the #WeRunSocial crew had a meet-up before the races on Sunday at the Bellagio fountains.

Source: @werunsocial's Instagram feed

It was awesome to see everyone. Although having the fountains going off in the background of our shot was a great idea in theory, it was a little difficult to execute because the sun was behind us and the sidewalk is only so big (especially because all the tourists are also trying to stop and enjoy the water show), but we did our best to make it work.

All of the crew that was there at the time of the photo (people came and went when it was convenient for them)

The #RockNBlog crew who were at the meet-up

The #Dirt2Strip crew! 

Since all of the official information said that runners were required to go to the Start Line Village prior to the event (and enter the corrals via the village), once it got close to race time, the meet-up started to disperse and everyone made their way to the pre-race festival. Capital Cities was the headliner and were already onstage by the time we got there.

As you can see, it wasn't a hip-happenin' concert...

I guess this is as good of a spot as any to see if anyone would like to place a wager (it's Vegas, baby)... Race one of the weekend was a short course and race two was... uh... lameSo what do you wanna bet that race three will be a success?!


I will say, when we got to the Start Line Village I was impressed by the number of port-o-potties. There were tons and we were able to walk up with zero line {spoiler alert: this was NOT the case for the rest of the race, but more on that later}.

We had a decent size crew in the blue wave (the number of runners is very large for RnRLV, so they split them into three waves {blue, green and yellow}, with 12-14 corrals within each wave) so we tried to set a game plan. Last year we had entered the starting area too close to the start of the race and really had to work to get up to the proper corral (not to mention try to stay together). This year we decided to try to enter the staging area as soon as the corrals opened - which, for the blue wave, was 3:40pm for a 4:30pm start time. We figured that because the official info all stated runners had to go to the village and could only enter the corrals when their wave was called that it would be regulated... Let's just say it wasn't. Once they opened the gate for us to start walking to the start line you could tell it was a cluster. There were no barricades along the road to keep others out of the huge mass walking to the start (this included folks from other waves, spectators and just drunkards who got stuck in the shuffle). Literally we were all just meandering down the street and whoever wanted would jump in. Now, don't get me wrong, RnRLV is never about a time for me (this was my fourth time running the race {2015, 2016, 2017}), so I wasn't getting bent out of shape because other folks were "sneaking" into the wrong corral (although no sneaking was required, there was no security, nothing preventing anyone from from coming or going, no one telling anyone where they should or shouldn't go, etc), but I was disappointed by the lack of security, the lack of a plan, the lack of containment, the lack of thought that seemed to have gone into the start. Unless you needed to drop stuff at gear check or you were really into the concert, there was zero reason to arrive early and go to the Start Line Village. Had we known, we could have hung out with the crew longer, saved some steps and just bee-lined it straight to the start closer to race time. We all hoped this wasn't a preview of things to come...

Last year, a few weeks prior to the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas event, there was a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Due to this, RnR moved the start line, changed security measures, adjusted the pre-race entertainment, etc. I'd say that because of this many runners are extra aware of security at this event... but it didn't seem as though Rock 'N' Roll felt the same way. In fact, I don't remember going through much security for any of the events over the weekend. (During the 5K they were checking bags, but that's the extent of the security I remember.) When we were waiting at the starting line a few of us mentioned how worrisome some of the issues were (the lack of security to get to the corrals, then when we got to the corrals we were fenced in with 8-10 foot fences, meaning if something were to happen we were stuck, plus folks noticed an open window at one of the nearby hotels, etc). In the world we live in today, unfortunately these are things we have to think about, especially with what occurred down the street so fresh in everyone's memories.

The fire may have been a better touch if it was dark out...

But, now, let's get back to the race itself. After waiting for what seemed like FOR-EV-ER in the corrals (maybe they thought the walk would take 50 minutes?), it was time to go. We located satellites on our Garmins, assigned everyone a number (so we could count off and make sure we didn't lose anyone along the way) and got down to business... And by business I mean the exact opposite of business... this race is always a 13.1 mile PARTY!

While waiting for the race to start we numbered off... I was #2!

The first mile or two is pretty boring and mellow. Since the blue wave started at 4:30pm it was still light out so the strip isn't lit up in all of its glory yet (and you are just running along the airport and a few smaller hotels). But then we get to our first stop - the "Welcome To Vegas" sign. And here's where our good friend Chris Heuisler was. Rock 'N' Roll had a four hour Facebook live stream going on and Chris was there getting some footage. Of course the crew rolled up and chatted for a bit. (If you saw it, you probably noticed I thought it'd be 'funny' to act like I was bored while everyone else was freaking the freak out {I don't know why I thought it was a good idea... I've since apologized to Chris twice for "ruining" the interview}.)

[And in case you didn't see it, you can watch it now ;) Around the 32:45 mark is where the crew rolls up and takes over.]

Well, after we left Chris, it was time to snap some pictures at the sign... I mean, it is one of the reasons why you run Vegas, right?! (And, as Chris mentioned in the interview, I ran as 'the sign' during the 2016 RnRLV 5K - HA!)

This picture is a MUST if you are running RnRLasVegas!

And then one of just me ;)

Then more friends caught us before we left so we snapped another shot!

And one final selfie before heading out ;)

Eventually we decided it was probably time to start running again... so we merged back into the race and plotted along.

Like I said, this race is pretty much a party from start to finish. I don't know if it feels like that because so many of the people in town are wasted and go crazy for the runners or if it's just that fun ;) Las Vegas only closes down the strip twice a year (once for New Years Eve and once for this race), so it's pretty special to be able to run it without cars or having to dodge the intoxicated crazies on the sidewalks. The lights are all on, the music is pumping and the party vibes are strong!

Was trying for a selfie and someone jumped in... Then I figured I'd get just the cool neon signs.

Look at all that reflective gear!

Some of the sights along the course (although either I am lit or the background is, so it was hard to capture)

I've gotta give props where props are due and say that I appreciate the update that they made in the course this year. We did less running "off the strip" (in years past, you did some neighborhood running to make up some mileage) and it definitely kept the morale up. I'd say we probably could have had the corrals much closer to the Start Line Village and had even less "off the strip" (boring, dark, cold) running, but it was a move in the right direction. #OneStepAtATime


But with the positive comes a negative... The bathroom situation. Now, since this is an evening race, not everyone is familiar with how to fuel and hydrate (it is much easier to race in the morning, at least in my opinion, because you don't have a full day's worth of food and beverages in your gut). Although we used the bathroom at the Start Line Village, by Mile 3 a few of us already had to go. We decided that we would keep our eyes peeled and take a group pit-stop the next time we came across a bank of potties. Well, let's just say that didn't happen for almost SIX MILES! The official information about the race mentioned there will be portable bathrooms at each of the aid stations (but that it was "subject to change") but whenever we came across a port-o-potty which were far and few between (like maybe 6 or 8 total between the start of the race and Mile 9) it was a SINGLE one and the line was at least 20 runners long (legit - when we stopped later in the race for 'adult beverages' I counted and there were 21 people in one of the lines I saw). Around the point we were turning around and heading back to the finish we saw quite a few runners taking a detour down a side street and a bunch of us crossed our fingers and said "BATHROOMS!". When we veered down the street there was actually a truck unloading port-o-potties... I have no idea if this was something that slipped through the cracks or where the ball was dropped, but it was bad. Maybe they were ALL at the Start Line Village... (If you remember my Ventura Marathon recap, I had stomach issues, so bathrooms are definitely in the forefront of my mind.) Had we not found these recently delivered bathrooms we would've exited the course and gone into a casino or restaurant nearby to use their potty.

Literally unloading port-o-potties around Mile 9 when we showed up...

Despite the bathroom dilemma, we still had a great time (but when you roll with the friends I have, it's hard not to!). As per tradition, around Mile 12 we stopped into one of the establishments along the course to hydrate with adult beverages... Because "when in Vegas", right?! I am not a beer drinker (I have never tasted pee, but if I were to try it, I am sure it would taste the same as beer...), so when Brian suggested some of us do Fireball shots I was ALL IN! (Beer and wine aren't my jam, so if I am going to drink {which doesn't happen too often} I go the hard liquor route.)

The only four "brave souls" who wanted shots during a half marathon ;)

The bartender was not stingy with these pours!

The rest of the crew grabbed their Coronas (which they attempted to save for the finish line, but most folks ended up drinking the contents before we got there ;)) and we made our way to the finish. Although, we didn't want the fun to end!

I don't drink beer so I made the perfect photographer ;) 

We ended up finishing in just under 3 hours and keeping most of the group together - I'd consider that a success! Vegas is always about the PARTY PACE! And when we crossed the finish line, guess who was there... Chris! Brian and I stopped to chat with him for a few minutes and when we snapped a quick pic he returned the favor of "being bored/ unimpressed".

Always good seeing this guy! 

The finisher chute is always crazy long in Vegas, but eventually (after picking up all of our medals and post-race snacks {like pretzels, bananas, chewy bars, Pringles, water, Gatorade, etc) we were able to exit to the street.

The bling bling! (I thought it was cool that it could sit flat and that the
cards move and fold into a single card.)

Finisher shot (with and without a flash so you could see my reflective gear in action)

We call Vegas pace our PARTY PACE! 

Some of us had discussed going to get pizza after the race and it was exactly what the doctor ordered! (Again, having to figure out fueling {when and how much to eat before a night race} is tricky and I wouldn't say I nailed it because I was hungry by Mile 6, so pizza was sounding scrum-didily-umptious at that point.) The white pizza was AMAZEBALLS!

Where'd we go? Shhhh... it's a secret ;)

Eventually it was time to call it a night and go our separate ways. Vegas is always a whirlwind (especially when you mix it in with a self-imposed challenge like #Dirt2Strip), but no one ever seems to want it to end. #UntilNextTime

The last picture I snapped before boarding my 6:30am flight Monday morning

If you want to party in Vegas next year, there is a $99 pre-sale price* available until the end of the week (to put into context, when we grabbed our bibs from the Expo on Saturday they were selling half and full registrations still and the cost was close to $300... prices only go up if you wait to sign up!).  *You can register for the 5K, Half or Full for $99 (although, if you read my recap from yesterday, I'd suggest saving your 5K registration fee and going to a show with the extra cash).

Do you enjoy going to Las Vegas?