A Letter To The Las Vegas Half Marathon

Dear Race On The Strip,

Hello. I just wanted to shoot you a quick note to let you know how much I’m looking forward to seeing you on December 4. It’s coming up quickly! In just six weeks I’ll be tearing up your asphalt, which isn’t as dirty as it sounds — but we can talk more about that another time.

I know that for the past few weeks you’ve been thinking that I’m nothing for you to worry about. Perhaps you’ve thought, “Ali is still recovering from her marathon. She’s not going to be ready to race a half in December.”

See? This is the daily reminder that I ran a marathon oh, a month ago.

Or, Las Vegas Half, maybe you got cocky thinking that I was going to let this Crohn’s disease flare-up bring me down. Last night, after a stressful day to wrap up a stressful three-week period at work, I just wanted to run. I didn’t want to run fast and I didn’t want to run far. I got my nice boyfriend to join me for a jaunt along the East River. I thought I’d be able to power through 3–4 miles.

The night was perfect. Cool, breezy and beautiful.

See? This is lovely.

But sadly, yet again, my stomach was just not having it. My brain said go, my stomach said no, and we got into a big battle along the river. It wasn’t a pretty scene. I slogged through 3.65 miles, taking more walking breaks than running ones.

You’ve seen me getting frustrated, Las Vegas. You’ve seen me getting weaker, slower and more Steroid-faced.

Sure, I get it. You don’t want me coming out there and crushing you this winter. That’s fine.

But I’m sorry.

I simply cannot oblige.

Because this morning, I woke up and I ran. I ran 11 miles and they weren’t perfect, but they were damn good. The weather was cool, crisp and perfect. The bleachers have been put up in Central Park where, in two weeks, fans will swarm to cheer on the finishers of the New York City Marathon.

I geeked out over this.

The park was packed with runners. Some tapering for their fall marathons — Marine Corps and New York City — and others getting in some final major mileage before later races, like Philadelphia. Everyone was working hard. Everyone was flying by. And I was one of those people.

Happy runners, happy runners everywhere!

Yes, I had to make a few bathroom stops. In fact, I found a lovely new bathroom by the Great Lawn that appeared just as I needed it.

What a nice bathroom!

I felt amazing for the first five miles. My stomach wasn’t totally calm, but it was cooperating. I forgot how much easier running feels when it’s not 90 degrees and humid. Everything today just felt right.

Everything felt especially right during mile five, when I started to see my watch light up with numbers I hadn’t seen in a long time: sub 8-minute miles. I held on for dear life.

I felt untouchable.

As I wrapped up my sixth mile, I was giddy. “I’m back!” I practically shouted in my head.

Just then, I saw a familiar face running toward me over on the Bridle Path.

Look! I know him! It's Brian!

Brian is planning to crush you in December, too, Las Vegas. Today was his first long training run for what will be his first half marathon, and I know he’s pumped.

We were both excited to see each other, and we decided to wrap up our respective runs together — me shooting for 10 miles, Brian looking to cover eight.

We hit up the Reservoir for two laps. We kept the pace comfortably fast. We didn’t talk much. We both had our headphones in. We just ran. We passed people and let very few people pass us.

As we returned to our starting spot, we were both sweaty, exhausted and happy.

About to clock in at 10 miles, still at a sub-8:00. I'll take it. I will definitely take it.

So like I said, Las Vegas: I’m sorry. I’m sorry I am not planning to go easy on you this December. My plan is to come out there and crush you. I’m going to run hard, I’m going to run fast, and I’m going to tell you and your little friend Crohn’s disease (I do assume the two of you are working together in an attempt to beat me) to suck it.

We are sweaty. We are happy.

I ended up running 11 miles today. I ran them at a pace I’m happy with. A pace I will further crush when I arrive in Nevada in December.

These are my splits. I'm OK with them.

(Don’t get too excited about mile 11, Vegas. That was the cool down. There were puppy stops involved during mile 11.)

This is a 6-month-old English Bulldog. We're friends now.

My confidence has been boosted. The Steroids may not be working at rapid speed, but they’ll kick in eventually. And then I’ll continue getting faster.

I will see you soon, Las Vegas. I hope you’re looking forward to it. I know I am.





0 Responses

  1. I wish I could run a half marathon in December. But Canada just doesn’t have the winters for that one. Good luck with your Vegas one though. I am sure you can kick some ass.

  2. Amazing time on that run!!! I ran a marathon a week after you… and also signed up for a half-marathon… for the end of November. gulp. I ran 9 miles at 9 min miles but it was the first run I felt like I had my groove for, so I’ll take it! Still a bit slow but WHATEVER!! For the record, I had to stop several times for a bathroom and had a rather close call around mile 5 when a stranger stopped me to chat as I was running for the bathroom. Apparently antibiotics and my stomach don’t get a long….
    You will do awesome in your half!

  3. Is your next shirt going to say – “Watch out races, I’m here to kick your butt”? ‘Cause I would totally buy that.

    BTW – had a spotting of a I <3 Sweat shirt in the wild. So wanted to talk to the person wearing it, but we were ships in the night, running in different directions.

  4. nice job!! LOVE that Brian wears his I Heart Sweat shirt!! So awesome. Running part of the half with Jess today (sorta kinda) and wearing my I heart sweat shirt was so fun! Tons of people kept commenting on it. So cool 🙂 And PS, you will rock this half!!

  5. 1. Amazing long run! Speed demon.
    2. You will crush the LV half, I’m sure.
    3. Had so much fun with you last night!
    4. I hope your foot is feeling better by now
    4a). can we run together this week?
    Have fun today!!

  6. Dear Ali,

    From this point out all I can hope to do is distract you with slot machines and puppies. You’ve called my bluff. I fully accept that December 4th is going to turn out very, very badly for me.

    Not accustomed to confrontation,
    Race on the Strip

  7. This is a fantastic little letter- I love it! Congrats on your 11 miles today. I bet it felt great after some runs that have been frustrating! I can’t wait to read your race recap in December:)

  8. If I were a betting person, I’d BET you were going to ROCK THE STRIP! Get it? In Las Vegas, people bet? haha I’m not funny. Solid LR and the stands made me excited today, too, except when I realized people won’t be there to see me. But they should be, right?

  9. That’s awesome! I can’t believe you ran a 7:39 minute mile! I don’t even know if I can do one mile at that pace. You’re going to totally kick the Las Vegas half in the butt! I’m super excited for you.

  10. I love this!!

    Also, I was out in my I heart sweat shirt running this morning and some really nice girl stopped me to tell me she reads your blog also and was excited to see the shirt!!

  11. Dear Race On The Strip,

    Just look at the splits on that 11 miler, and try not to cry. That was easy. Ali is going to kick your ass!

    I <3 Sweat, Too

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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