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December 09, 2007

We ran the Zappos.com Las Vegas Marathon 2007

My wife and I went to Las Vegas and we ran the Las Vegas marathon there on December 2nd (I finished in 2:49:11), as well as a 5 kilometer Santa Run. We went with another couple, and one of my running friends showed up the night before the marathon. It was a lot of fun, this being my first time to Las Vegas.

The whole trip got off to a rocky start though. Our plane was scheduled to leave on Thursday night. Technical problems delayed the flight and after a couple of hours of waiting in the plane, they crew had been working to long so they needed to find a new crew. They let us off the air plane and told us to wait until the new crew arrives. Then closer to midnight, the told us the US customs wouldn't be working when we arrived there, so the flight need to be canceled. Great. Oh well, they put us in a hotel and next morning at 6 am, we were there again. This time we got out of there.

When we arrived in Las Vegas, it was raining big time. This is not that common in Vegas, and it was pretty cool weather. The cab drivers thought it was super cold, whereas us Albertans thought it was balmy. We had minus 20 Celsius when we left Edmonton, you know. Some difference.

We stayed at the Excalibur, a somewhat decent, huge hotel in a good location. Mandalay Bay, the Luxor, New York, New York, etc, were really close by. You end up doing a fair bit of walking in Vegas, since all the hotels are so huge. We went and looked at the 5 star hotel The Wynn - very impressive! They have a staff of about 7,500 people, a cab driver told us. They had many cheap stores in the hotel, like the Rolex watch store, where you could snag a watch for only $45,000 or so.... :)

On Saturday, it was time for the Las Vegas Santa Run, an attempt to set a new world record for the largest Santa gathering ever! Crazy, huh? Wel,l this is Las Vegas! It was hilarious to see. We all got Santa outfits when we registered, so at the race, there were 7,269 Santas in a big group in downtown Las Vegas. I ran the 5 kilometer race, wearing the red suit, in under 21 minutes, although I think the course must have been a bit short. The famous Sigfried and Roy were there too to kick off the "Santa party". It was a lot of fun. Although I won't break any world records personally, I was part of setting a world record this day!

Las Vegas Running Trip 2007 Slideshow

But wait, the crazy stuff doesn't end there! There was also an Elvis world record attempt, of course! What else would you expect in Las Vegas?! My wife and her friend made up some really cool Elvis costumes and ran as Canadian Elvises (or Elvi, in plural). It was a complete hoot. My wife used pictures of my guitars and got them printed up in almost real-life size. She then glued the pictures on some kind of foam material and cut around the guitar body shape. Worked great! My Fender Strat and my Squier Tele ended up as Elvis-guitars... :)

The Las Vegas Marathon Expo was really good. I bought a lot of running gear, probably too much. I got a pair of Brooks Trance, a very nice shoe. Shoes are way cheaper in the States than in Canada, so all of us bought a few pairs of shoes.

Running the marathon was great fun, well except for the last 2 miles... :) It was very exciting to run down the strip during the sunrise, and there were fireworks in the air as the starting gun went off. There was a lot of good entertainment along the whole course, and I ran the whole first half of the race with a big smile. After, it started to become more hard work.

Robert Renman finished Las Vegas Marathon

I ran most of the race with my friend David Ball, who ran his first ever marathon. This was my 5th one, and I was a bit worried if he had trained enough. He is a great runner thought, and he did really well, finishing in 2:55. He pulled away from me at about 2:15 into the race. My legs were starting lose their spring, so I fell back quite a bit. With 2 miles to go, I passed David, who was cramping. At the end, some guy passed me with with 80 meters left to run. I summoned some extra powers I didn't know existed, and I came back and passed him just before the finish. Oouch, that hurt my groins though... and unfortunately, his chip time was still 1 second faster than mine. Oh well, how could I have known?

Not being much of a gambler, I did try the slot machines a few times, mostly just because that's how you get a drink in a casino. I played the 1 cents slot machines and won a few dollars, but I kept playing of course until the money was gone. As long as you play, they bring you drinks for free.

I intended to check out some music stores too, but the one I had in mind to go to, Ed Roman Guitars, was hard to find. The store had moved somewhere else, so the cab driver took me to a newly opened Guitar Center instead. It was noisy in there. Like 7 kids all playing metal at the same time through real amps.

I grabbed a strat and a Crate V30 Palomino, head and cab configuration. Wow, this amp sounded great! I was quite impressed. It has 2 channels, and even though I didn't quite like the distortion cranked up, it sounds really good with the distortion set low and the amp turned up. It's a class A amp, and the tones I got out of it were really inspiring. In fact, a customer walked up and complimented me on the tone. It was cheap too, and would be a great purchase for someone looking for a reaonably priced class A amp with good tone.

I also plugged into a used 1979 Marshall JMP 50 watt head and old Marshall cab. Dude, that was a great tone. Loud of course, and the juicy Marshall tone I got created a big grin on my face. That head cost more then twice as much used as the new Create head, but the sound is quite different. More ballsy and fatter. Those older JMP Marshalls are fun to play, but they sure are loud and wouldn't work so well as a practice amp for someone like myself.

In all, this was a great trip and I wouldn't mind coming back. There is a lot to see and do in Las Vegas, and I'd like another chance at running a faster time on this great course.

Las Vegas Video Clip from 2006

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com


Posted by Robert Renman on December 09, 2007

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