Vegas and Slow Races

I often find myself in Las Vegas. And I often blog about my trips to Vegas with the same basic formula.  I note that I’ve been in or am in Vegas.  I bitch about how bad the running is in Las Vegas.  I bitch about my job, usually praising the people I work with but bemoaning the long hours.  Sometimes, in the summer months, I note how hot is there.   And sometimes I note that it’s hot in Las Vegas.  Sometimes I comment on drunks and prostitutes and how the affect my training.  I will now try to do all of those things.

I am now returning from Las Vegas.  Man, the running was bad this time.  There just isn’t anyplace to run.  I know what you’re thinking “THere are places to run everywhere!  That’s why we run!.”  Listen, it’s just not true.  The iconic Las Vegas strip is an awesome vista — you see interesting people, cool new construction.  Unfortently, any time after 8am you see more people in one run than you’d like to see in your whole day.  The new construction means contestant construction.  Which means scaffolding (if you’re lucky) and sidewalk closing (if you’re not).  I did the strip twice, both at 6am, and it really wasn’t crowded.  The first day was a Monday, second a Wednesday, so the crowds were sleeping it off.  I’ve had problems with everything there before.  I even made a video about the awesome road conditions.

I had two speed workouts on my schedule — one was a progression run, 20 minutes easy, 20 minutes moderate effort, and 20 minutes at marathon pace.  As it’s so freaking hot out, I decided to do that on the treadmill at the gym.  Amazingly, the gym isn’t 24 hours at the MGM Grand.  You can get a crappy steak and gamble away your life’s savings at the craps treble at 2am, but you can only go to the gym after 6.  I was a few minutes early, and there were about six other hotel guests hanging out in the hall.  The dymaic was great as everyone was fresh out of bed, and had nothing in common except we were expecting to interact with a treadmill and we got to interact with each other.  There may have been a grunt or two.  Maybe a fart.  That might have been me.  Then the gym opened, and I hit the treadmill.

It was a good run, or as good as a treadmill run can be.  Afterwards, the guy in the treadmill next to me said “great run,” and I said “thanks.”  Thinking that was it.  Turned out, he was a sub 3 hour marathoner who trains doing 70 miles a week. Like most running conversations, it was longer than one would expect and yet less substantive than one would believe.

The rest of my runs in Vegas sucked.  Sucked sucked sucked.  Too hot.  Too many crazy people.  Also, too hot.

So clearly a “before” picture.

Speaking of hot, I ran in the NYRR Club Championships last weekend.  And that sucked too.  It was way too hot.  I ran without a shirt on, which I’ve never done in a race.  Standing in line before the race, I was sweating like I usually sweat at the end of a race.  And yet we hadn’t run at all.

I haven’t had a good race in recent memory, and this one is no exception.  I really had no idea how the heat would affect me.  Well, I knew it wouldn’t make we run faster.  I ran this race two years ago, and really enjoyed it.  I ran all of the first three miles in 6:23 (it’s a five miler).  This year, I ran the first mile in 6:54, and I was hardly holding back.  The second hill had some solid downhills in it, so I tried to open it up, and I was running faster.  I was therefore heartbroken when my split for mile two was 6:29.  And I was running downhill.  And giving it my all.  Did I mention the heartbreak?

Mile 3, 6:50.  Mile 4 had has cat hill in it.  7:17.  Mile 5 6:51.  34:23 overall.  vs 33:04 in 2010.  I don’t want to do the math.

Pretty much everyone from the club had a bad race.  So I’m not beating myself up.  But boy was I sweating.

Now I’m on my way to vacation in Slovenia and Croatia, where I really hope the weather is going to be a lot nicer.  Or cooler.  Or different.


Written by Greg Cohen

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