The 2024 Rock N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

The 2024 Rock N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

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Redemption is mine! In 2022, I ran the Rock n’ Roll Vegas Half for the first time. If you’re not familiar with the race, it starts at 4:30pm (7:30pm EST) and you run the Las Vegas strip at night. 

It’s an incredible experience, but also a tricky race because of the unusual start time. Usually, it’s easy for me to wake up at a certain time and go through my race morning routine, but in this case, it’s hard to know how to rest and fuel during the day to be ready to race. 

You can read my recap of the 2022 race here. I’m not sure where I went wrong during my first try, but it was not a good race for me. I went into this year’s race with the following goals:

A Goal - PR 1:43:14
B Goal - Sub 1:45 
C Goal - Have fun!

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY BEFORE THE RACE

I flew out to Vegas by myself on Friday mid-day. There were a handful of people on my flight heading to Vegas for the race (the flight attendant asked people to raise their hands after he found out I was running). I wore my Pen & Paces 13.1 sweatshirt to make it clear. Turns out the couple behind me were also running after they discovered the race while they were in Vegas last year. 

When I landed, I texted my Aunt Lisa and headed straight to her hotel, Park MGM. She had a cold Stella waiting for me in a bag of ice in the shower. She’s the best. I started carb loading with that beer, snacks, and a pre-dinner sandwich at Eataly which was fresh Italian bread covered in prosciutto, arugula, mozzarella, olive oil and sea salt. 

My dad was scheduled to land a little later, so Lisa and I decided to head to the craps tables before our dinner reservation (it did not go well). After losing, we drowned our sorrows at the Champagne bar in the Cosmo. It was a beautiful spot to drink champagne, feel fancy, and, of course, people watch. For dinner, we went to one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, Ramsay's Kitchen, and had steak, insanely delicious mushrooms, and a free* sticky toffee date cake topped with ice cream and caramel (his moms recipe we were told! *steaks needed a do-over). 

After dinner, we met my dad and his cousin’s son, Will (who lives in Indy) at the craps table at the Mirage. It’s a requirement for my dad to play craps somewhere he can smoke a cigar at the table which these days limits the options. I gambled away all of my “day one money” ($300) and then Lisa and I left my dad and Will to wait up for the rest of the crew (they didn’t get in until 11pm aka 2am EST). 

Sleeping in a bed by myself (no kids) was heavenly. But my body clock made it hard to sleep in the next morning. I snuck out quietly to go to CVS where I bought a box of pop tarts, a huge water, and a huge Gatorade. I got my “day two money” out of the ATM and headed back to the room where I proceeded to eat pop tarts in bed. More heaven. Once Lisa woke up, I ordered Starbucks and ate a second breakfast of a warm, everything bagel. 

My coach, Rachel Sinders, programmed an optional shake out run for Saturday, the day before the race. So, once my breakfasts settled, I headed out to the strip for an easy run + strides. If you’ve never been to Vegas, you don’t really leave the strip. It gets shady pretty fast. At 9am, the strip wasn’t full of its usual crowd. You’d think you’d simply run down and back in front of the casinos, but that’s not how it works. There are quite a few pedestrian bridges with quite a few stairs that I chose to jog up very slowly so as not to hurt myself the day before the race. I ran the finishing strides back and forth close to my hotel where there weren’t many people. It felt good to move and see other runners along the strip doing the same.

When I got back, Lisa headed down to play some slots while I showered up. I was still pretty tired from the day before and after showering didn’t quite have the energy to get ready yet. So, back in bed watching random TV until Lisa came back and we decided to nap before leaving for the day knowing we probably wouldn’t be back to our room until the end of the night. 

On a typical trip to Vegas, my dad does not make plans. This was not a typical trip. More on that in a minute. First, we met up with the rest of the crew. Since there wasn’t space at the craps tables, we decided we should make our way to the expo at Resort World Casino. When we got there, instead of going straight into the expo, we, of course, had to check out the craps tables. As luck would have it, we stumbled upon a $15 table that was opening. There were 7 of us, so we took over one half of the table and strangers filled in the rest. 

By the way, you don’t know anything about craps, here’s he short of it:

  • It’s the game where people are standing around a table and (hopefully cheering and high-fiving)
  • The amount on the table is what it costs for you to “buy in” for each roll - $15 is typically the least expensive and it can go up to $100+
  • One person rolls the dice at a time and you essentially bet on what you think they’ll roll certain numbers start and end the roll for that person

It’s more complicated that that, but this isn’t a craps lesson (come to Vegas with us next year if you want one!). We have a side bet to see which one of us has the best roll. Yours truly hit 5 winning numbers on my roll which dug me out of the $300 hole I was in and then some. We joked that we were doing so well we might not make it to the expo before it closed at 5. I slammed a bunch of little waters. It’s hard for me to feel hydrated enough in the desert. Once our side of the table was done rolling, the table was cooling off and we were ready to go. As my dad wisely says, “You have to know when it’s time to leave the table.”  

The expo was just up the hall from the tables and we walked the ‘red carpet’ and took some group photos on the way in. My Aunt Lisa joked that she was joining as our photographer since she wasn’t running. This was great for me because my dad is reluctantly my Instagram dad and was happy to be relieved of his duties this year. This year, there was a tunnel with smoke and lights as you entered the hall. It was fun to watch Lisa because she’s never been to a race expo before. She said it almost made her want to run. Almost. 

My bib number was easy to remember because it was 317 (my area code) with a 0 on the end, 3170. We got our bibs and shirts and then made our way though the merch and exhibitors. I unsuccessfully fought the urge to buy something when I saw this Rock N’ Roll pom pom beanie. And then they had new hydration I’d never tried, and then Advocare Spark (which I’ve loved for years). And then of course I needed to replace my Goodr aviators that I broke. My credit and debit cards took turns sending me fraud alerts as a result. Guess they’re not used to me being in Vegas. 

Back to the plans I mentioned. We had a dinner reservation at Mateos in the Venetian at 4:45pm and plans to go to The Sphere to see U2 starting at 8pm. So, now that it was after 4, we knew we’d have to hustle to drop off our packets and get to the restaurant. We had a lovely Uber driver in a fancy electric Hyundai I’d never seen before. He asked us questions about the race and decided that he’d stay home and spend time with his family while the strip was closed down. A smart move. 

A lot of people who are seeing a show at the Sphere will eat at the Venetian because they’re connected. Mateos was the perfect pre-race and pre-Sphere dinner. I ordered handkerchief pasta that I will have dreams about. It was two sheets of fresh pasta bundled on my plate to look like, well, handkerchieves, and topped with pesto, olive oil and sea salt. I ate every bite except the two I shared with both my dad and Lisa. After dinner, we debated on whether on not to go to a dispensary before the show. We still had time to get to the Sphere but decided we should get there early to explore a little bit. And I’m really glad I didn’t see the show stoned. More on that in a second. 

U2 AT THE SPHERE

After a long walk down a hallway and through the convention center, you can see the Sphere out an open doorway. It immediately pulled us outside for a look. A security guard standing in the door was yelling at people to keep moving. I could see why. The giant orb stops you in your tracks and you just stare at it in awe. $3B it cost to build. It’s incredible. We make our way down an outside staircase to get a closer look. From far away, it looks like it’s a big screen. But up close you’ll see that it’s a bunch of coaster-sized lights each making up the bigger picture. We stare in awe some more and then make our way inside. 

The lobby is cool too. There’s a low humming sound playing throughout that goes with the U2 vibe. It’s hard to describe. The light fixtures inside are all the same color along with the uplighting on the walls. We’re disappointed to find out that the robots that are displayed in the lobby, aren’t out for the U2 show. That’s why we got there so early, but there’s still a lot to take in. Our seats were in the 204 section, row 15. I tell you this in case you’re considering a show in the future. We take the escalators up and are again magically drawn to an open door where we can see the screen. It’s not our section yet, but we just had to see inside. The display is like the Pantheon in Rome with an opening at the top. We snap some pictures and then a security guard kindly asks us to get out of the way. 

At the bar, the bartenders ask if we’d been to a show before. One of them tells us we should look for a bird during the pre-show. This was a pro tip I’m glad I got before going in. We order cocktails, waters and I got myself some Twizzlers. At our seats we realize we have more than an hour before U2 will be on the stage. My dad and I see a clear path to walk over and look at the display up close. I say display because at first, it was unclear to me that it was a screen. This sounds dumb in retrospect, but at first you think they’re going to project somehow on the display that looks like concrete blocks. As we got up close, you could see that it was in fact a giant screen making us see what they wanted us to see.

While we were looking up, I spotted the bird! It was crazy to see. It looked so real. After we walked back and sat down in our seats, we saw a light flickering in the ceiling that looked like a little room. It disappeared after a while. Then, we saw a blue balloon that looked like someone had accidentally let it float up to the ceiling. After a few minutes of bouncing along the ceiling, it appeared to float out the top. We wondered how many people noticed these things before the show. You either had to know to look for it, or you had to be looking straight up at the exact right time. So, now you know. 

At 8pm, a DJ started playing down by the stage. There’s a huge general admission area where you stand for the whole show. We decided we were too old for that, but I do wish I would have been down close to the DJ during this part. They had him on this car that was setup as his table (or whatever it is you call a DJ setup). He knew his audience and played tons of great music from the 70s, 80s. The car actually moved and he made his way from one side of the venue to the other. 

Once the DJ left, it was time for the big show. I went to the bathroom and missed the helicopter flying overhead while the seats vibrated. But, I got back just in time to see the screen appear to break open and it was magical. Even if you’ve seen pictures or videos - nothing can explain how it feels to be in front of a screen that can make you feel like you’re outside or about to be crushed by a box closing in. When I explain the show to people, I tell them it’s not that U2 was amazing. They were great, but it was about the venue. The technology, architecture and art that come together are truly unique. I want to go back to see the Sphere Experience show we originally had tickets for. It’s something you have to do if you’re going to Vegas. 

Being at a concert until 11pm the night before a race isn’t in my normal routine, but it was worth it. We made our way outside and onto the streets with the other 18,000 patrons. There was no way we were going to get a cab or Uber or pay the money people were asking. So, we walked and walked. Finally, we walked far enough where we were able to pop into a casino and out to their taxi line that didn’t have a crowd. My aunt and I headed back to the Park MGM and my dad ended up walking back to his hotel instead of meeting his cousin out gambling. Smart choice, D. 

RACE DAY 

My body clock was on EST the entire weekend. So, I woke up at 3:30am (6:30am at home) but was able to roll over and sleep in until a reasonable Vegas time. My aunt Lisa was getting ready to leave for her flight to California for the second half of her trip out West, so I was going to go meet my dad for breakfast. First, I ate the last of my strawberry Pop Tarts and then we got coffee and packed everything up. I decided to walk over to Paris which was about a 15 minute walk over a couple pedestrian bridges. Drinking coffee and lugging my stuff caused me to sweat through my shirt on the way over. Thank goodness for the elevators so I didn’t have to carry my suitcase up and down. I was nervous about tripping or somehow injuring myself, but not nervous enough to take a cab. My dad says that one of the reasons he likes staying at the Paris is because of their breakfast. Specifically breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi. The line looked long, but it moved really fast. I decided against a second cup of coffee but instead finished a Gatorade I brought with me. To eat, I got waffles (carbs!). They were incredible and I felt like I was 5. 

 

Next, the plan was to gamble until we wanted to get off our feet. So, we headed over to the Bellagio where my dad could smoke a cigar at the craps table. We got on a $25 table. I was up $100 at this point after our rally at Resorts World, so I threw down a couple hundred dollars which is chump change in this case, but I gamble responsibly if there is such a thing. Next to us was a nice man named Ed who was from North Carolina. When we told him we were in town to run the race, he told us about his nephew who was an Ironman. He laughed as he told us he thought it was all stupid. All of the tables start to blur together after a few days, and I can’t remember anyone else at the table while we started winning besides Ed. He gave my dad a hard time for ordering a virgin bloody mary and equally as hard of a time for smoking a cigar before our half marathon. We high fived and watched the table go from the $25 buy in to $100. The $100 table brings in a different breed of player. One such player was betting thousands of dollars on what my dad calls “sucker bets”. He was losing thousands of dollars and the table started to get chilly. Some drama began to ensue with the guy’s friend and since I was now up $400 I was ready to leave. I could tell my dad wasn’t quite ready, but he obliged and we went to the cashier to collect our winnings. 

 

On the way back to the room, I stopped at CVS to buy a random assortment of food to us as fuel for the race. At this point it’s probably 1pm and we have a couple hours until we need to leave the room and line up. I wandered around CVS trying to decide what to buy. I settled on more Gatorade, water, beef jerky, pineapple, and bold Chex Mix. I made a comment to the women in front of me about not knowing what the heck to eat and they said they were in the same boat. Funny enough when I gave my phone number for rewards, one of them asked me if I was from Indiana. She was from Brownsburg! Such a small world. We’re now Instagram friends, of course.

My dad decided he would try to meet up with his cousin before coming back to the room. I filled up on some carbs and laid down for a quick nap. My dad ended up coming back and napping too. We woke up with about a half hour to go until we needed to leave to find our corrals. I had piled all of my race stuff on my bed before resting and now started the process of putting everything on. The weather was warmer than the last time I raced and the arm sleeves I brought were not needed. First, I coated myself with Squirrel Nut Butter (anti-chafing) and then got dressed. Tank top and shorts, my favorite Brooks three pocket bra, motivational bracelet stack and temporary tattoos. Even though half of the race was going to be dark, I also wore my new Goodr aviators. Headphones, check, phone, check, hotel key, check, fuel (two Salted Watermelon Gus), check. The bathroom situation was fine because it wasn’t first thing in the morning - or, at least I hoped this would be the case. 

Walking out the front of the casino there was a sea of runners. The finish line chute was across the street at the Bellagio and I couldn’t wait to see it again all lit up. My dad and I made our way to the corrals and got a picture together before saying our goodbyes. It was chaos for a bit after that. I made my way towards a blue corral flag, but there was a huge mass of people from all different color corals attempting to go the same way. It was stressful not knowing if there’d be another bathroom opportunity because I didn’t see anything besides a sign pointing in the opposite direction everyone was heading. People were chatting nervously with each other. Many of them had run the race before and said this was the worst corral loading they’d seen. The last time I ran in 2022, we were in a huge open lot (think where you’d have a music festival) with tons of bathrooms and very clear instructions. Because they’d changed the start and finish line locations, this plan was new and didn’t seem to be working well. After what felt like forever, we made it to the flags where we were funneled into a smaller chute and then you’d drop off to the left when it was your color. Eventually I made it to blue and made my way over to some porta potties. 20 minutes until go time. 

 

THE RACE

There was a stage with some entertainment and the start line would periodically shoot up big flames. Flames so big you could feel the heat from yards away. The guys behind me were talking about another guy’s Purdue shirt so I turned around and told them I was a Boilermaker by marriage. They’d gone to Purdue but both were now in Colorado. I told them I was a native since I was born in Aurora, CO. They’d both run the race quite a few times. We saw a guy dressed as a hot dog and I told them the story about how I’d been beaten by a girl dressed as corn at the Indy Monumental last year. We had a good laugh and I told them my new goal of the day was not to be outdone by a hot dog. The national anthem was sung. More fire during the appropriate moments in the song. With a few minutes to spare, I got to go to the bathroom. I would have been OK if I didn’t get to go I think, but it’s always nice to be sure - or, as sure as you can be. 

I found a spot to start in the middle of the corral. I turned on my music hoping the good songs wouldn’t play first. I made sure my watch was ready to go with the workout my coach had prescribed for the race. 

Miles 1-3: 8:00/mi
Miles 4-6: 7:55/mi
Miles 7-10: 7:45/mi
Last 3.1: 7:30/mi

If executed, the race would be a half marathon PR for me. I’d just PR’d the half in November 2023 at the Monumental in 1:43:14. My previous PR was before kids and down a mountain at ~1:45. Since I had such a hard time with Vegas a couple years ago and I’d just spent the last two days gambling, I wasn’t feeling the PR. However, I was going to let my body decide. In my mind, I was ready to do the best I possibly could and see what that would get me. We counted down from 10 seconds and then the sea of runners started to surge forward. 

Before a race, I’m always nervous. The nerves won’t go away until I start running. So, I was relieved to cross the start and simultaneously press the start button on my Garmin. The course starts with us running south away from the strip. With the change in start/finish, we would turn around sooner than the last time I ran, which I liked. 

Mile 1 - 8:13
Mile 2 - 7:56 

Early on, there was a photo op in front of the famous Las Vegas sign. I spotted the photographer and prepared to run to the side and smile. Instead, I noticed people coming to a full stop. I dodged a couple people and kept on running. 

At this point in the race it’s still light out. You run out by the airport and reluctantly take in the fumes. No matter how much water or electrolytes I look in while in Vegas, I was feeling constantly thirsty. I also felt like I couldn’t wait until mile 4 to take my first Gu. So, I took it somewhere after mile 2 instead - after turning around to head north on the strip. 

The aid stations had Mortal hydration, a product I’d never had. It was delicious. I got water too. Now it was time to mentally prepare to run straight up the strip until mile 9, so almost 7 miles. This race could be so fast if it wasn’t at night. That must be why it doesn’t make the lists because there’s not a single ounce of elevation anywhere on the course and only a handful of turns. 

Mile 3 - 7:57

Up ahead, I see hot dog man. I pass him and don’t see him again for the rest of the race. Winning! Between 3 and 4 you pass the start and see the other corrals taking off. I tried looking for my dad and his blue hat with no luck. It’s a nice distraction being able to look at the other side. 

Mile 4 - 7:57

I’ve locked in a pace and now the crowds of spectators are getting bigger. We’re at the heart of the strip. It makes the people watching even better. There are tons of people who have likely never spectated before. Many are holding cocktails and look like they’re feeling no pain. I’m also feeling pretty decent so far and continue to push to maintain. I think about when I’ll take my next fuel in less than a couple miles.  

Mile 5 - 7:57

There’s also a 10K and the races split after mile 5. More hydration and water. A photo op. I slow down a bit and get myself in position to hopefully look like my feet are both off the ground. Out of nowhere, this chick comes up behind me and jumps right in front of me to be in front of the camera. Cool. I still remember this happening to me and my dad in the MCM years ago. Whatever... I settle back on pace. I looked her up after and she kicked my ass my more than 10 minutes. 🤣 Congrats, Chloe! I say sarcastically.

Now my runner math is counting down miles until my next Gu and until the turnaround. About a mile until my next Gu and the turnaround is about 4 miles out (but only three after I have my Gu!) 

Mile 6 - 7:51 

I take my second Salted Watermelon Gu. 3 miles until we turn around and head back towards the finish. 

There are a lot of spectators during this stretch of the strip. I lower one side of my headphones to take in the sounds. I’m wearing my “Yell My Name” bib from Pen & Paces and a few people understand the assignment. A lot of people are just watching because they’ve probably never seen a race before. It’s outstanding people watching which helps distract me. 

We run by several wedding chapels and I spot a bride and groom. How funny their pictures must be with us in the background running around. There’s a big sign near the Vegas arch as we enter downtown. At least I think this is the old downtown Vegas. It’s a lot quieter here. No one out and about. 

Mile 7 - 7:47
Mile 8 - 7:50

I can’t remember when we saw the leaders of the race exactly, but they flew by and I gave my usual “nice work, guys” “go get it”. For a bit we are running parallel to the runners ahead of us. It helps with the people watching since there aren’t many other people. I didn’t see hot dog guy, so I’m confident I’m still in front of him. 

Mile 9 - 7:46

At mile 9 we turn back towards the strip. Shortly after, we can now see the runners behind us on the other side of the course. I start looking for my dad and his crew. Another welcome distraction. At this point, I’m not necessarily hurting, but I know I don’t have a lot of speed left to give it a kick the last few miles like I was hoping I would. 

Mile 10 - 7:59

I didn’t look at the total time on my watch at all. My goal was to run the best race I could and that’s what I was doing. I knew I’d slowed down and I was now trying to fight off a stomach cramp - something I’ve rarely dealt with. I blame the dryness in the desert. Like I said before, I was constantly thirsty and taking fluids at every aid station.  

The cramp got worse. It felt like someone was stabbing me. Ugh. I worked on breathing - something I could now do a lot better with my septoplasty behind me. I tried not to panic and kept telling myself to relax and breathe through it. My new friend Dania’s words entered my mind too, “Suck it up buttercup.” Dania is a Cystic Fibrosis warrior and her words gave me strength. I winced through the pain but didn’t stop running. 

Mile 11 - 7:59 

At mile 11, there was a Biofreeze station where you could stop and have them rub their product on your body to help get your muscles through the last couple miles. I remember running Chicago one year and stopping at a similar station where I pulled down my compression socks and had a kind volunteer rub Biofreeze all over my calves. I skipped this one and kept moving towards the finish. The cramp was responsible for this mile being my slowest and most difficult.

Mile 12 - 8:17

One more to go. Less than 10 minutes to go. This is the pain cave. You gotta get comfortable living in the pain cave to get faster. The cramp is mostly gone now and it’s time to give it what I have left. I take in the spectators in the heart of the strip and keep moving as fast as my body and mind will let me. 

The finish line party is in full swing with the lights of the strip surrounding it and the music pumping. I put my sunglasses back on and I raise my arms in triumph. then, immediately stop my watch and look down to see what I’d been able to pull off. 

Mile 13 - 7:53
13.1 - 1:44:56

Overall - 728/12,011 - Top 6%
Female - 109/7,664 - Top 1.4%
F35-39 - 16/1,160 - Top 1.4% 

I swear that ever since having a running coach I tend to feel less like I’m going to die at the finish. However, this race I was really spent. Catching my breath was a lot easier since I can now breathe through my nose, but for the first time ever - I dry heaved at the finish. Thank the Lord it was dry and I didn’t actually puke because then I’d be 2/2 ending Vegas covered in bodily fluids… yeah, I peed my pants at mile 11 in 2022. You know I wasn’t feeling well because I didn’t stop for a single photo op in the finish chute. There was even a dance floor and a disco ball where some elites were busting a move. I slogged along with my bag of snacks until I saw some hot chocolate. Brilliant. I wish I could have held two cups. 

When I looked up I saw the two guys I’d chatted with at the start. They’d come in just before me at 1:38 which is what they’d wanted. I can’t remember what else they said because my brain was not working well. 

My body was screaming for me to sit down, so I made it to the end of the chute and sat down near the porta potties and gear trucks. My dad and the gang were going to be a few more minutes, so I decided to do my best to relax and refuel. Next to me was a group of hilarious runners. Two of the guys were wearing nothing but speedos. I didn’t have energy to engage, but I sat there savoring my hot chocolate and listening to their banter. They soon spotted a shirtless guy who had draw lines for a six pack of abs on his stomach. They grabbed him for a photo. If anyone has seen this photo on the internet, please send it to me.

Before long, I was getting really cold. The only time I’ve ever checked gear it was a bad experience, so I didn’t have anything to put on and my hot chocolate was now empty. I decided to buy myself a sweatshirt to keep warm and justified it by thinking of it as a roll of the craps dice. The first sweatshirt I picked up was lululemon and I immediately searched for something cheaper. I found a soft, teal one with all of the participants name on the back. Sold. I got a large so it would cover more of my body. Before heading to sit back down, I asked a stranger for a finisher photo with my medal (now that I had more strength). Thank you, kind stranger.

I hobbled back to the same spot as before and the funny runners commended me for being so smart. It was a good purchase decision. 

Not long after I’d been sitting again I spotted my dad in his bright blue Boston Marathon hat. I could tell immediately he was ready to get the hell out of there. My dad has been a runner for quite a while, but has prioritized his golf game over his training. He only runs about once a week these days but ended up finishing in an impressive ~2:15. Turns out, my Indy internet friend, Sarah Kain, came through around the same time (a 4 min PR!). And although we’d been texting we didn’t end up meeting up because my dad was on a mission.

Even though I’d been sitting and listening to a volunteer make announcements about where to exit for the last 20 min, my dad and I trusted a stranger and walked to the back of the finisher area to leave. On the way, I ran into the guy who sat behind me on the plane. We wished each other a quick congrats and I rejoined my dad who was looking for our way out. 

Turns out, where the volunteer was repeatedly pointing to as the only exit, was in fact the only exit. My dad, not being a rule follower, decided we’d just hop the fence. Sure, dad, great idea. I can’t believe my dad made it over the fence. I did too, but it did not feel great. We were home free thought and heading back to our hotel. Technically, it’s right across the street, but you can’t just cross over the boulevard and especially when it’s shut down for a race. 

We cut through another casino and I stopped and bought us some big ass beers - the only size they sell in Vegas it seems. We made it up to our room and I got to shower first. Then I drank my beer and watched TV. My dad fell asleep and I knew if I did I wouldn’t make it back downstairs to celebrate. Soon enough, he woke up and we headed out celebrate by gambling. I, of course, wore my medal and would give a knowing smile or say ‘congrats’ to others who did the same. There were still runners coming in across the finish when we crossed over to head to the Bellagio. 

We squeezed into a $25 craps table. I decided I’d only bring out my $400 so even if I lost it all I’d still go home even. The table was ice cold. No one was very friendly and no one even commented on my medal - rude! A stark difference between the last time I’d run and celebrated afterwards. It got so cold that it was only me and my dad left rolling the dice. This chick that was playing was trying to explain the game to her family. Rule number one of spectating craps. Whatever you do, do not say the number ’seven’. It’s just not something you do. So, I’m rolling and I hear her say to her family, “OK, so the only thing she can’t roll right now is a seven.” She says this as I’m letting the dice go and I knew before the dice even settled. Seven. I wanted to tell her off but decided against it. Instead, I settled on angry whispering about it to my dad who rolled his eyes in agreement. My dad was next to roll and it was just as bad. All of my winnings were gone. And to make matters worse, we never even got a drink. 

My dad’s cousin had texted and we headed back across the street to meet them. My dad rightfully assumed that I wouldn’t want to venture to far from our hotel. We were so desperate for a drink at this point that we actually bought one at a casino bar - a first for me. The craps tables were all full so after we finished our drinks we headed back into Paris. They were filming a movie or TV show and there were signs telling you that if you were in the area you were agreeing to be on film. Pretty sure they wouldn’t want an extra wearing a race medal. It was interesting watching the guys working manage what I assumed was a table full of fake drinks they were using. I watched a guy wearing a Dodgers hat fill beers with water. 

My dad wanted redemption for our terrible run across the street but I declined to let him give me a loan for more craps. We asked the dealer what they were filming and he said someone told him it was Spiderman. Who knows. He then told us you weren’t allowed to say ‘shooter’ anymore when cheering for the person holding the dice. We let that sad reality sink in and my dad started cheering for the ‘roller’ instead. Not quite the same ring to it. I watched as they started a run that would last for hours. That’s what I get for not joining. Such is life in Vegas. But I was ready for my bed and slept like a baby in the free t-shirt I got for signing up for next year’s race. 

HEADING HOME

The trip home was fairly uneventful. My dad and I shared a cab to the airport, but split up before security because he was on a different airline. He was heading back to Florida. I did see the same couple that sat behind me on the plane to Vegas at our gate. The guy was the one I saw after finishing. I couldn’t find my friend Sarah but managed to see this guy everywhere! I chatted with him and his wife for a while. They were from Terre Haute, a city about an hour west of Indy. I should have gotten their names but didn’t.

I did end up sitting next to a guy who is training for the Indy Mini. And we are now instagram friends and he even supported AB by buying some tattoos! Thank you again, Bill! See you in May. 

Traveling alone with no one else is a special kind of heaven after having kids. It was so nice to have a break and get to do something I love. Time to start recruiting for more people to join me next year… Viva Las Vegas! 

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