I set a goal last year of running a marathon a month. I ran 11 so that’s not too bad but now that the states are getting further away from home it’s costing a lot more to get to all these different locations. This year, unless I win the lottery, I’m shooting for 6 marathons. I think I can afford that. My first race of the year was in Las Vegas, Nevada in March. Las Vegas is only a 6 hour drive so the trip wouldn’t be costing us an arm and a leg and since I’ve only got one of those left I really have to watch it!
We drove down and were able to stay with some good friends of the family, Julie and Jason Deforest. So far everything was going great. Once we arrived in Vegas and made our way over to our friends place we went to dinner at the ‘M’Casino. They had the largest buffet I’ve ever seen in my life. Nothing says Las Vegas like a Buffet! Everything was so yummy. I ate and ate and ate. If you are out there reading this and are wondering why people run marathons I would think that getting to eat and stuff yourself silly is a very good reason by itself. After dinner we went to bed good and early so I could get enough sleep before the big race.
The next morning my wife, Lynette, dropped me off at starting line buses in front of the Red Rock Casino. The second I sat in my seat I realized I had left my bib number and shoe timing chip in the car. It was 5:00am and the race was scheduled to start at 6:00. I looked around but Lynette had already left and she did not have her cell phone with her. She was hoping to hurry back to Julie’s place and get a few more hours sleep so she wasted no time in the parking lot. I was freaking out. This was a first for me. I’m always so careful to check and then double check everything. I figured, ‘Well that’s it, race is over’. Another runner on the bus stood up and told me not to worry, he said that they were still signing up runners at the starting line and once the bus got us there they would issue me another bib and timing chip. He was right, thank goodness. I got my new bib number and timing chip and still had plenty of time to eat some snacks and drink a bottle of water.
This was perhaps my hardest true marathon. The course was a 9 mile incline into some of the most beautiful red rock I’ve ever seen followed by a rapid 4 mile decline. It was brutal. Most everyone I saw walked a good deal but I refused to. I had trained extra hard for this race because I had read the reviews very closely and I knew there would be killer uphills and knee smashing downhills. As soon as I finished the first 13 miles the 1/2 marathoners were waiting at their start and joined the full marathoners to run back the same way we had just come. So the 4 mile steep downhill just turned into an almost impossible 4 mile uphill followed by a 9 mile downhill. I did not stop and finished with a very respectable time of 5 hours 50 minutes. We were told to add an hour to our normal time because of the extreme difficulty of the course so I was very pleased. While this was my most difficult marathon so far it was also the most beautiful and probably the best organized and by far my most favorite. There were more than enough water stations and porta-pottys. The course was very well marked and nothing beats starting in pitch blackness at 6:00am and watching the sun come up during the race.< <Every time I complete another marathon I’m just amazed I was able to do it. I thank my Heavenly Father for the opportunity and physical ability to be lucky enough to compete in marathons. I have been truly blessed.