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Las Vegas Rock And Roll Half Marathon Recap

My full recap on the 2024 Las Vegas half marathon plus a detailed itenary of our 60 hours in Vegas.

Stay tuned for a blog post recapping my winter race training experience.

Last fall, I decided to make 2024 my biggest running year yet! I plan to run three half marathons within the calendar year, which is the most I've ever attempted. This is an easily accomplishable goal if I kept most of these runs being that of fun, not "racing" every one. This saves your body from a lot of wear and tear + overuse. Plus, I've been enjoying fun running so much more than racing so why not give this goal a shot!

To accomplish this goal, I know I need at least 12 weeks of training before each half marathon. My body doesn't do so well when I continue to push through training without scheduled break weeks, so I was fully anticipating to give myself 3-4 weeks between every training block to just what I want. Eat fiber, lift heavy weights, run when it's nice outside, and do more yoga. This will also keep me from feeling burnt out of running all the time. So, this meant I had to do a half at the beginning of the year, late spring, and fall to make sure I had plenty of recovery time in between races.

And that's when I landed on the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon.

If you've ever run a race in the rock and roll series, you know they put on a good show. Traditionally, the Las Vegas one is boasted for it being at night and on the strip. Two, very rare bucket list race details for many runners. I knew this would be a challenge for me being on the East coast and being a morning runner, but if you know me you know I love a good challenge.

When they opened the registration up in the fall of 2023, I hurried and signed up for both the half marathon and the yoga on the strip. From what I read, they'd keep the strip shut down for yoga on Sunday for champagne toasts and free Lululemon mats. What a perfect way to recover for the race! I paid about 100 bucks each for my husband and I to participate in the class along with participating in the half marathon. After a few months, I got more details on both events including the start time and the course. Lo and behold, both the half marathon and yoga was to happen on Sunday. Another challenge, accepted.

Another detail about this trip that I want to share because it highly influenced decisions we made; our budget. We have a lot of goals in 2024 being that we're traveling to Greece, going on smaller trips together (half marathon trips, trips to see family, trips for weddings, and more.. all out of state), house goals (dry walling our basement, wood working, our back yard, pieces of furniture, etc). I won't go into financial details, but I do want to preface that we made a conscious effort to be more conscious! I'll discuss costs with everything we did so that you too can be prepared for Vegas prices and how to "ball on a budget;)".

Planning the trip

Since both of our main events were on Sunday, we decided to leave on Saturday. This decision was actually less about budgeting and more about how I wanted to spend majority of the trip. I knew before the half marathon, I'd want to be pretty strict about my food, not consume alcohol, and go to bed at decent times. So to waste two days in Vegas being "safe", just seemed like a waste. So we opted to have that extra day tacked on to the back end of the half marathon and leave on Tuesday morning. But because we did this, we saved a weekend-hotel- priced- night and paid for the wallet friendly Monday night rate.

We made our hotel choices based on the race starting point and the cost. My prior experience in Vegas was as a 7th grader who clearly made no financial decisions but also had no experience of actually staying on the strip. This was probably a good thing because I had no real expectations of how rooms were or experiences to compare to. Essentially, if you want the best hotel option closest to the start point of the race (means you won't walk as far prior to racing, etc), then you're going to want to stay at the Cosmopolitan. Close to the cosmo is the Aria, similar in price and just a bit more steps away from the strip. But I will tell you, the race totaled 22,000 runners so the price per night at these rooms were north of $700. Something Mike and I weren't really looking to do. On the total opposite of this spectrum but closest to the starting point is also New York New York; these rooms were probably the cheapest around the races starting point (around $250 per night). Not to knock the NYNY hotel, but Mike and I weren't a fan of the reviews so we opted for Caesars...a nice, down the center hotel. We had absolutely no view & no special amenities in the room. Not needed by all means, the experience was exceptional and clean. For context, our room ranged from $140-450 depending on the night out of the three we stayed. Again, no comparison here.. but wanting to give context because this can be a stressful part of planning your race day strategy. Caesars was still a hike despite being closer to the starting line. However, the best part was it was right next to the finish line!

We flew Southwest on Saturday afternoon around 4pm. This was excellent; it forced us to eat dinner on Las Vegas time as we landed around 6pm PST. It has always helped me transtiion time zones when I align my eating routine to the time zone I am traveling to immediately. Since I control everything with my pump now, I don't have to split long-lasting insulin dosages either. It is way easier to navigate!

Saturday Night | pre race prep, carbs, sushi, sleep

Once we landed, we grabbed our luggage and taxied to the hotel. Adrenaline was high and the bright lights of Vegas were glamorous! We freshened up in the room and headed out to get food. I did not make any reservations or plans for this night. Originally, I thought we'd check out Eataly; an Italian market located in MGM Grand. From what it looked like, you could go up to any of the six vendors and order different Italian foods ranging from pastas, meats, seafoods, paninis and pizza. This always sounds like a good idea to me before a race; but a classic-Amanda move is to last minute change my mind for the realization that my blood sugar just hates Italian food. So as we were retrieving our luggage, Mike and I both saw a sign for sushi in Caesars Palace.... and thought, YES. Sushi Roku it is.

Sushi is a perfect and somewhat underrated pre-race meal. Think about it; white rice is a simple carb which is easy to digest, broken down and quickly converted into energy. Sushi has very little fiber; if any, it's the tiny matchsticks of cucumber in your California roll. Sushi also has protein, mostly clean and easy to digest seafood with very little fat. Now some may say, "I thought I shouldn't eat high fat, fried foods before a long run?!" You're right... so here's a tip: don't get fried rolls. We got the sashimi platter (I love a good sashimi platter) and three rolls. We shared our food but to be honest Mike lets me eat the platter mostly as he just likes rolls. We also split the crispy rice tuna which was incredible. Sushi Roku is also very elegant inside and a perfect date night spot.

Views from Caesar's Palace; Sushi Roku

Before heading to bed around 10 pm, I snacked on some salted pretzels (carbs and sodium), showered, and snoozed. What a weird feeling to not set my alarm or workout in the AM!

Sunday | more carbs, late packet pick up logistics, 6 mile pre-race "warm up"

I woke up fairly early, around 6am. I laid in bed for a long time. We finally got moving around 8 and found Starbucks. We started our trek towards the Aria where we planned to eat breakfast at Bardot. This was also not a part of our original plan; but I wanted something with carbs and little oil/fat, so actually going to a nicer restaurant was needed compared to a greasy breakfast bagel window shop. So as we walked to the Aria, I got a sense of just how far we were staying. By the time we got to the Aria, I had about 5,000 steps in to my day already!

I ate the original breakfast at Bardot consisting of white bread, eggs, bacon, and berries. I asked for the berries in place of the fried potatoes... again, little fat, higher carb. I also asked for extra bread.

the reason one wants to limit the amount of saturated fats around racing is due to a) fats slow down the breakdown of carbs. I don't want that! I want energy quickly, so the goal is to breakdown my carbs and store for energy (glycogen) to be used for the race. b) trans fats and oils can cause stomach issues, so decreasing oily and fried items is a good idea.

The rest of the morning was hectic. We had an hour before Yoga On the Strip, so I was determined to find where my race packet is. This is important for runners; it contains your bib. Without your bib, you can't run. The only downfall to arriving on Saturday night was missing the initial packet pickup. I had to pay an additional fee to retrieve my packet late. After paying the fee, they sent me zero information on where to go to get my packet. Luckily, I decided to walk to where the packet pickup was the night prior and I got lucky to track down a girl, at a tent, who clearly wasn't supposed to hand out packets yet but there was no way I was walking back here later in the day to get it. She gave me the packet, pins and that was it.

Yoga On The Strip

We headed to Yoga on the Strip located right in front of New York New York. We arrived about an hour early because we ate breakfast and were early. This was fine, we got the best spot in the house! We landed front row and got to practice beside each other.

The event was.....fine. This is from a yogi's perspective. The actual class itself was more of a "teach some yoga poses and call it a day" format. There was no emphasis on yoga for runners or stretching particular muscles needed for the run. The class lasted about 35 minutes. It ended with a free champagne toast from Fit Vine, which was a nice addition! No added sugar and tasted pretty good as we were laying in the sun. We also got to keep the Lululemon mats! Now, these mats aren't true Lululemon material... they are much cheaper. But it was a nice addition considering what we paid for the tickets!

I wouldn't do the event again, but that's just because I have done it already. I don't regret it, it's just not a must-return if I had the opportunity to.

After yoga, we trekked back to the hotel to rest. I had about 2.5 hours to lay down, drink coffee and get ready for the run. By the time I was back at the hotel, I had walked 6.5 miles (12,000 steps) already. This is a good representation of how active this day is due to running the race later and staying on the strip. You're bound to walk everywhere... so be sure to chose Sunday's activities appropriately!

The Race

If you've ready any of the race reviews about rnr vegas, you've probably seen the terrible commentary about the color system. Essentially, rnr tries to control the crowd by assigning colors to every runner based on their projected finishing time. The colors allow you to "line up" at a certain time. For instance, blue was the fastest color in which they could line up at 3:45. I was assigned the next fastest color, green, to line up at 3:55. It's not that no one listened to the directions, it's that there is 22,000 runners trying to move around one starting line. This system just doesn't work. After waiting about 40 minutes to finally get into my corral, it was more waiting.

I finally took off around 4:50pm, an additional 20 minutes of standing compared to when I thought I'd start running. It wasn't bad though because there was sorta potties and lots of entertainment.


The first two miles headed down towards Mandalay Bay and past. Of course I was feeling energized and on cloud 9. Flashes of memories came streaming through my mind of my Nana and mom. It almost brought me to tears! Two women I look up to the most took me to these spots for the first time and I thought Vegas was the biggest city in the world. Little Amanda had no idea.. but I did know my other idol, Céline Dion, lived here. So this place was truly so special and all these memories kept me springy throughout the course.

We turned around at mile two and headed back towards the strip. I still felt strong, fast, and having so much fun. Each mile was soaring by too. I was taking recordings of the surroundings and sending them to my family and Mike.

The first sign of fatigue was mile 5, which I broke open my first gel. I had been running about 45 minutes keeping a solid "fun pace" of about 9:45. Again, I wasn't trying at all.. I was recording, dancing, laughing, you name it. So the pacing wasn't a big concern of mine.

I fueled entirely with SIS gels. Science in Sport is a gel that isn't concentrated glycogen therefore you don't need to consume water with it. I loved training with SIS because I was training in snow and didn't want to carry water with me. The only downfall of SIS is the size. They're bigger than your traditional Gu gel. SIS has so many flavors to chose from, but my favorite flavor is lemon lime and raspberry (electrolytes).

Between miles 4-6, we're in the heart of the strip. Lots of entertainment, crowds, bands, and photo ops! It's def my favorite portion of this course. Once you get past mile 6, you head down towards the more rural part of the strip until mile 9. These three miles, my pace started to slow from more fatigue and honestly just settling in to my easy effort zone. I had less to focus on and more time to get my running cadence down. I ripped open another SIS gel at mile 9 when I turned around to head towards the finish line.

Unfortunately, this is where things went downhill. Around 9.5, I spotted a trash can to throw my gel out. I had already tossed a water bottle on the ground and sprayed a man, so I really wanted to actually throw my trash in a can this time. I tossed the gel packet and as I hopped back on to the road, my foot everted on the slanted part of the curb. Yes.. I heard the pop, and caught the rest of my fall.

This was a bummer. I have done similar things in the past but never in a race. So much for being a good samaritan by throwing away my trash! I started to jog about another mile before throwing in the towel. Yes again.. I walked the last two miles of this race.

I was pretty sure I broke my foot. My ankle didn't hurt, but I felt a lot of pain at the bottom outer edge of my foot. I stopped once at a medical tent and asked if they had a ride back, and they were honestly no help. They barely spoke English. Instead they kept asking me if I wanted sprayed with Biofreeze. Um, no..

Anyways, I finished the race. I walked my little ass to that finish line, limping and all. I will say, I was not happy at the end of this race. It was a similar feeling to a kid on Christmas who got all their toys, then immediately got grounded and couldn't play with any of them. I was so distraught about the fact I had done such a stupid thing.

I refuse to claim the title injury prone. I say this because, I have been a runner for literally 18 years. I have clocked in over 20,000 miles of pure running since I have been alive. And to say all of that, I can count all of my injuries on one single hand. The mentally torturing piece about this is all of my injuries have been in the last 6 years. I kid you not, I have had more freak accidents happen to me than I am proud of. Never once have I been injured from a stress fracture or the way I train. I've never had any serious issues with strength training or yoga. I believe those are what have kept me healthy and going strong for so long. But these falls and my runs on trails are NO JOKE what has been beating me up. I have accepted the fact that if I continue this sport, I am going to get injured. And I need to take all precautions to decrease the risk of falling or twisting as much as I can, but not be shocked when it happens.

I don't plan to go into an injury prevention talk with you all right now.. but for context, I did not break any bones nor tore any ligaments! I have since seen a podiatrist who declared I have Peroneal Tendinopathy; basically, my peroneals ripped a bit and are slightly angry causing lots of pain. An easy fix, but I literally had to stop running so I didn't cause further damage so I am glad I did.

I retrieved my medal and my husband. I stayed at the after party for .5 seconds because I had made dinner reservations and since I ended up walking, my finishing time was a shit representation of my overall performance and we would be late if I wasted more time.

However, you need to stay at the party. It was lit (literally) and if I could put pressure on my foot you better believe I would've stayed, danced, and drank the rest of the night under the stars.

Sunday Night | dinner with a view

We headed to dinner at The Top Of The World restaurant at the STRAT. Although this casino is older, this restaurant is a perfect special occasion spot. My husband and I split the seafood tower as we revolved around the strip! This was also the most pricey restaurant we went to on our trip. What's funny is after long runs, I am never normally super hungry nor do I want to drink much. I had one glass of wine and was really full after this simple protein rich meal. It was a perfect way to end the night. (Yes, I was hobbling around all night in those heels and we ubered of course).

Top Of The World Restaurant- The STRAT

Monday (recovery, sight-seeing, food, rest)

Now normal people would've probably caught an early flight back on Monday due to the foot injury. Not me.. Mike deserved to see the rest of Vegas and despite the discomfort, I also was excited to see more.

One of my clients suggested we check out the Caesar's spa. I had looked into prices for massages... and let's just say, that's not happening this trip. But one nice perk of staying at Caesar's is paying for the "Caesar's guest pass" to the spa, which gives you access to all the spa's amenities, many saunas, cold plunges, hot tubs, and beautifully equipped locker rooms. So, Mike and I got up to workout at the fitness center and made our way to the spa. My workout consisted of biking, only to break up the lactic acid and fatigue accumulating in my legs. I spent about 40 minutes in a zone 2 effort on the bike and hit some chest before calling it a day. The Caesar's guest passes are 75$ per person which I thought was reasonable, especially becasue we had no actual plans this day. Mike and I split up (boys and girls are separated because clothing is optional) and were pampered the next two hours.

For those of you who have done the Caesar's spa.. here are my personal likes: I actually loved the tea sauna. I don't believe I was actually sweating that bad, but the moisture in the air was what made me so drenched. The dry sauna was fine, the cold sauna just felt like an air conditioned room, and the hot tub(s) were of course incredible. I also enjoyed the cold plunge as I used it for therapy on my foot then dove in full body. I love cold plunges and really like how I feel afterwards. I showered and used the amenities provided in the lcoker room. Overall great experience if you're in to the spa-scene.

Everything from here is going to proceed with, "due to my foot..". But really, we did sight-see only to the places I was able to walk. This is more walking than your average individual and I still got 15,000 steps in! We went to Venetian, Paris, Caesar's, Bellagio and the Mirage. We ate a healthy meal at Venetian's Canyon Ranch Spa (pictured below) and pretty much hydrated with water the rest of the afternoon. We did see Pauly-G from Jersey Shore ride by on his convertible, so that was pretty cool!

Canyon Ranch Cafe at the Venetian

We got drinks at the Vanderpump Garden before dinner. This was by far my favorite bar; the entire scene was moody, edgy and garden-like. I ordered the garden party drink made with gin, cucumber, and fresh herbs. It was amazing.

Vanderpump Garden

Dinner was at Sahara, so we took a taxi and ventured to Bazaar Meats. When I tell you this place was incredible, I truly mean it. This restaurant was interesting on the inside; think random animal photos and heads (RIP) on the walls, with random book shelves and beautifully hung floor rugs. It reminded me of an old Alice In Wonderland dream. The menu was catered to the smoker, which was visible to everyone in the restaurant. Every piece of protein cooked on there for at least an hour before serving, so you actually needed to order your entree first before anything else. We ordered a starter and sides too. We started with the traditional beef tartare which was mixed with egg right in front of us. It was awesome, I highly recommend. I ordered the smoked chicken and mike a steak, as well as the mashed potatoes, mushrooms and brussel sprouts. The only thing I wouldn't order again was the brussels sprouts. The dressing wasn't my favorite and they weren't crispy as I had assumed they'd be cooked. This def made our top restaurant for the entire trip!

Bazaar Meats: chicken, mashed potatoes, Mike and the wood grill, our meals, steak tartare

Tuesday | flying home, quick bites, last thoughts

Tuesday morning, we got up and got a quick workout in. My foot didn't feel any better, but I had called and made an appointment to see a podiatrist the next day so I was hopeful to get some answers. (Which, by the way, I am fine. No breaks or tears, but peroneal tendinopathy) I stuck to a 30 minute bike ride on the peloton. We got a quick breakfast at Pronto! by Giada which was fabulous. Since I am no longer training, I am back to eating protein and veggies like I traditionally do.

This half marathon was a whirl wind of emotions; but if I think back to the entire experience, I can't help but to be grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to see another city on my feet, to train through my first winter, to experience the bright lights of Vegas with my love, and to get to do what makes me most

You need to do this half marathon. Don't plan to PR this run; there are too many fun things to do while the run is going on and logistics are crazy. But it's a flat and fast course, nothing to be intimidated about. Oh, and pro tip... just throw your trash on the ground and stay on the course ;)


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