Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Momentary Immortality - Rock n Roll San Antonio and Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathons

It's been two weeks since we toed the starting line at the Rock n Roll San Antonio Half Marathon. The plan was to do that race in the morning, fly 1260 miles to Las Vegas and end the day with butter cake after finishing the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. There has been so much to process with the Thanksgiving holiday in between and we're just now getting ready for Christmas decorating.  

How can we really give a good feeling of everything that happened on the 17th of November? Susan and I are project managers in real life. We live off time lines, so to cram every detail of the day into a single blog, I thought I'd just put it to a timeline and make it short with comments.  

For reference, San Antonio is on Central time, two hours ahead of Las Vegas Pacific time. SA2LV is the hashtag created by Competitor Group for the San Antonion to Las Vegas event. Some of the videos below can be played as background. You know, for effect.

If you're short on time, there's a link at the bottom to a 5 minute video with the highlights. Also, see Beth's blog on the Double Live weekend with a few of her notes on the interviews for Get Back Up. Enjoy the ride :)

4:45 AM    Wake up call
5:45 AM    Walk to the Westin Riverwalk to meet Al and Caryn
6:00 AM    Arrive at the Westin. Get a mysterious text from Al to come up to the room.
6:03 AM    Get a text from Caryn saying that Al can't find the keys to the rental car.
6:04 AM    Panic
6:04:05 AM   Get the location of the car from Al. Find the keys on the passenger's seat in an unlocked car in an uncovered parking lot. Thank stars.
6:12 AM   Pack up Chevy Tahoe with luggage from the four of us. Realize that it's going to be hard to fit luggage for seven.
6:15 AM    Drive to the VIP parking area where the #SA2LV participants meet
6:20 AM    Get stuck on a left turn and almost diverted to the freeway. Al convinces the policemen to let us turn.
6:30 AM    Finally get through the drop off line to the parking area. Ditch the unnecessary extra layers since it was already 65 degrees.
6:40 AM    Speed walk over to the starting line. Say hi to Jeremiah and James on the way (they were doing the 5K)
6:45 AM   Meet at the start line with the rest of the SA2LVer's. Find Beth and Jim. See George Melichar. Look for Kamika Smith. Take epic pictures that end up in the San Antonio Express-News the next day.

Left to right: Susan, Caryn, Jim, Ron, George, Beth. Front: Al.
6:55 AM   Pose for a group picture at the starting line with the #SA2LV group. See Kamika. Finally.

3 Brides. Explanation of joke to follow.
7:02 AM  Meet Michael Wardian. Olympic qualifier who was aiming to run the fastest two marathons on one day (2:37 average).

7:25 AM  Listen to the first national anthem of the day.
7:30 AM  Rock n Roll San Antonio starts
7:48 AM  See the Alamo. Susan and Caryn don't remember passing it. Heh.

8:29 AM Al greets a pig with an air conditioner in his rear-end. It's going to be 85 degrees, so this is a good thing.

9:20 AM  Al stops for hydration, then finds Jesus.

9:50 AM(or so) Beth and Jim finish, shower and catch the early shuttle to wait at the airport to check two large bags with Allard braces.
10:18 AM Susan, Caryn, Al and Ron finish. Ron is texting Kamika furiously to figure out where he is and almost forgets to pick up a finisher medal. Kamika is only a half mile behind and can make the ride to the airport.
10:28 AM Kamika finishes and is able to join us on Mr. Al's Wild Ride to the San Antonio airport.

10:41 AM Depart for airport. Scarf down Fritos and chocolate milk. Hydrate, hydrate, hyrdate. 
11:05 AM Arrive at the airport. Al, Susan and Ron have A-List status on Southwest and convince the TSA agent to let the whole party through.
11:20 - 11:40 AM Mass freshening up at in the restrooms. Try to figure out what and how much to eat and drink for the 3 hour flight and time change. Take pictures for the Competitor Group SA2LV event.

The day isn't half over. Beth and Jim are feeling the fatigue already.
11:50 AM Begin boarding Southwest Flight 3750. Eighty people were scheduled to do both races. Most were on the first flight leaving at 12:15 PM Central time. Al gets the exit row seat and the seven of us get the block. The flight attendant asks if all the runners can sit together so the rest of the passengers can breathe easier. Some of the non-running passengers weren't laughing.
12:19 PM Flight departs San Antonio a few minutes late. Pilot knows about the SA2LV and promises to take the short cut.

I bet the guy sitting next to Caryn wishes he'd chosen another seat.
Al's battle cry for the week was "SUIT UP!" In flight entertainment? The Avengers, of course!
12:19 PM Central - 1:00 PM Pacific  Most of us were icing or walking around to keep loose during the three hour flight. We got two hours back on the time change.  The rest of the times are Pacific.

1:00 PM Land in Las Vegas on time. 
1:25 PM Al kept telling us that transportation from LAS to the Westin was 'handled'. We meet up with Patrick, our Limo driver. How else should you get to a wedding?
1:29 PM Head to baggage claim to get Beth and Jim's bags. Reporters waiting for us who knew about the #SA2LV. Al does the honors. I still haven't found the broadcast.

1:36 PM We're wondering how we are going to get the luggage into this car. Patrick makes it happen.

1:39 PM Enjoying the ride. Monitoring the luggage.

1:50 PM Check into the Westin. Grab quick changes, showers and touch ups for the weddings.
2:10 PM Head to the start line and Run-Through Wedding Check in.

3:28 PM Jim and Beth see Kevin at the VIP tent. Sherry and Ethan find us at the check in.
3:33 PM Procession to the starting line ceremony begins. We see Stephanie Bradsher near corral 23 briefly as she has to go back to get the baby.

3:48 PM We swing by the starting line to see Ann Wessling and John Bingham. In classic Ann fashion, she gives us a pair of Candy rings for the ceremony.

4:09 PM Beth and Jim are on the starting line stage with Ann and John receiving recognition for completing 18 Rock n Roll races as Elite Heavy Medalists.
4:13 PM Ceremony in front of the starting line. Audio is garbled because of the speaker position. I remember tearing up a lot. Jim and Beth are at the end of the video. We also see Kamika again. Finally. (2 min, 30 sec)

4:30 PM Second national anthem of the day.
4:33 PM We finally see how it feels to be Kamika. He waits to see the elites (and a lot of the corrals) start. It's a really neat perspective. Michael Wardian is in the center in the orange singlet. He won Rock n Roll San Antonio (2:31), but fell short of the world record, finishing Rock n Roll Las Vegas in 2:57.

4:40 PM We jump into Corral 5 and wait take off with the back of the corral. We start our second half marathon of the day.

4:56 PM Pose for a picture in front of DJ Carmin Wong who we met at RNR Los Angeles 2013.
5:12 PM Get passed by Kevin Gonzales around mile 2. He went on to finish in a course PR 2:31.
5:15 PM Photo op In front of the Luxor.

5:56 PM  Al hasn't hydrated enough. Stops for a shot of Sangria.

6:03 PM  Al remembers he hasn't eaten much. Stops for a taco.

6:33 PM Since Al and I were going slightly faster than Caryn and Susan, a lot of people were looking at the ladies and congratulating them for getting married. Good thing we were keeping an open mind and laughing it off!
7:15 PM Pose for a Louie Soriano picture with the local law enforcement.

8:21 PM After a long day, we get to mile 13. With 0.1 to go, we hear Ann giving us a shout out that ends when this video starts. Usually we give her a high five. This one was worth a hug.

8:25 PM We cross the finish line, but before we get our medals, John retrieves Beth's frame which he carried a mile and a half from the starting line. We will be forever grateful for that and for putting up with us asking you to take this video.

8:47 PM Finally get to the SA2LV to pick up the special spinner medal. We know its a once in a lifetime event since CGI will be separating the races next year.

9:05 PM Back at the Westin for a quick shower, change for a 9:30 dinner reservation at Mastro's.
11:15 PM We get through dinner with little conversation, like the post-credit scene in The Avengers where they went to get Shawarma

We did get Caryn her butter cake though. It was a great way to cap off the five months of planning leading up to the Double Live.

I'll leave the usual race descriptions off this time around because the weekend and the day were sensory overload. One thing that we kept very low key was our sorrow for Jim and his family. Jim's mother, Georgia, passed away just days before the Double weekend. Jim left the funeral on Saturday to arrive less than 10 hours before the first race.

There's a tribute to our little group of Rock n Roll Gypsies that is too big to upload to this blog so it's posted at our Marathoning for LIfe page. Here's the direct link. It's a compilation of moments we'll always cherish. Thanks to Al for picking the background music - appropriately, "Road of the Gypsy" by Adrenalin. 

Thanks for an unforgettable weekend. ~ Susan and Ron.

Links to SA2LV Coverage:
Marathon perfect vehicle to spread uplifting theme  - Las Vegas Review-Journal (11/16/2013)
Complete list of participants in SA2LV: Competitor Group SA2LV Hall of Fame
Heat is no sweat for Runners - San Antonio Express-News, 11/17/2013
'Rock 'N Roll' Runner Overcomes Paralysis, Will Compete in Two Half Marathons Sunday - WOAI Radio. (11/16/2013)For more stories about Beth's amazing journey as a runner with foot drop, Like her Facebook page at Get Back Up.

If you're interested in joining us next year for some of these crazy adventures, it's not too late to sign up for the Unlimited Tour Pass. You get up to 24 race entries on North America for only $400 (as little as $16 per race!) or for only $450, you can add the 6 European Races. Details at the Tour Pass page.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings!

    How are you? Hope all is well!

    First of all, thanks for writing about your love for marathons. I admire your determination a lot! Also, thanks for mentioning our client, COMPETITOR GROUP (Rock 'N' Roll Marathon), on your post. We really appreciate the mention! I'm glad you wanted to share information about Rock 'N' Roll marathon with your readers.

    In line with this, would you mind linking back to us as a reference for anyone that is interested in learning more? Here is the URL: http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/las-vegas.

    Please let me know if you will. Thank you so much and I wish you all the best! :)

    Abby Michaels