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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#48- The Hoover Dam Marathon

I really never thought about running this race until a few months ago when my friend Chris Carnahan told me he was coming from Washington, D.C. to run it. I usually run with Chris on his turf at the Marine Corps Marathon, but when he mentioned he was running Hoover Dam, I told him I would drive down and run it with him. I immediately asked my girls, Teresa, Teota, Marsha and Liz if they were game, but when we got closer to the day, Teota was the only taker! Our friend Galen was smart and already had this race on his calendar.

As weeks went by I never heard from Chris about when he was coming in or any of the details of his trip. I kind of assumed he decided not to come. So I posted on his Facebook page the Thursday before the race asking if he was running (kind of breaking his chops and expecting him to make an excuse on why he couldn't come). I was shocked when he said he WAS coming!! Oh heck yeah!!! The thought of how we would out do our D.C. outing was scary, but scary was what happened before we even met up!

Teota and I were staying at the Excalibur. Now, Teresa had told us that this was not a nice place to stay, but it was cheap ($50 a night) and for what we needed it for it would be fine....we thought! We got our keys and headed to the hotel elevator only to be greeted by a man in handcuffs being arrested! "Nice place!" I joked to Teota. We went upstairs just to drop our bags off and then we were going to meet Chris next door at the Luxor, where he was staying. In the time it took us to drop our bags and go downstairs, a man had come into the lobby, shot his wife (who worked at the hotel) and then turned the gun on himself! WTH?!!!!!

After we met Chris and hung out for a few minutes we went back to our room to hit the hay. I crashed down on the bed, put my headphones in and fell asleep listening to a podcast. At 12:00am, I was awakened from a deep sleep with the sound of Teota's scream. Yes folks, a drunk man looking for someone named Nichole had entered our room while we slept!!!! I called security and they came up right away. We don't know who it was, but let's just say we will NEVER stay there again!

Now on to the race! It had been raining the night before and the temps were in the 40's, so we decided to prepare ourselves by wearing warm weather gear. When we got to the start the weather was cool but dry.

We got to the start about 30 minutes before the start which was just the right amount of time to use the potty, take some photos with friends and start! No waiting in the cold for too long.

Maniacs at the Start
Maricar, Teota, Peter and I
Tony (aka Endorphin Dude) and Chris Jones waiting to start.
The course consisted of two loops. We started on a paved bike path for the first couple of miles which was all up hill (I didn't really notice on the first loop as I was talking and having fun, but it hurt like heck the second loop)! We then moved onto the trail for the out to the Hoover Dam and back.
I loved running on the trail and wished I had worn my Hokas and gaitors after just a few miles on it. It wasn't technical trail, but it was a little rocky at parts and some of the smaller rocks ended up in my shoes!
Some of the funnest moments we had running this race was running with our east coast pals! OMH! Maricar (aka Lady Liberty) had us rolling at every turn! She is a hoot! We all got a good laugh at my friend Chris (who Maricar called "the spectator") who wore a hoodie and a 20 pound back pack for the entire first half of the race! We all thought he was crazy, until our military mama Teota reminded us that Chris was "Army strong" and could handle that pack with no problem, and he did!

This must be early in the race! (photo by Giovanni Guevarra)
Heading out on the trail!
The view around Lake Mead was beautiful!
One of the coolest sites on this run was when we got to the tunnels on the trail. We got to run through a number of small tunnels along the trails, which originally were constructed as railroad tunnels in the early 1930s and were used to transport men and materials back and forth between Boulder City and the Hoover Dam, which was then in the process of being built over a period of five years, between 1931 and 1936, in the depths of the Great Depression. They were huge and carved right out of the mountain!

Once we got out of the tunnels we started seeing a lot of transformers and power lines, which told us we were getting closer to the Hoover Dam.

Paul coming back from the Dam. This race earned him his 10 Maniac Stars!
Galen looking smiley as he returns!
Maricar running to the Hoover Dam!
The Hoover Dam.
After we hit the Dam (at the 10K mark), we turned around and headed back towards the start/finish to only do the loop one more time. While I usually hate multiple loop courses, this one I really liked (with the exception of the 1 1/2 mile out and back on end of each loop. I really hated that!)
Chris and I on our way back!
I will say the second loop felt a lot harder than the first loop. I hadn't noticed the first 4 miles were up hill until the second loop and I felt like I was going to die for a few minutes. Once I hit the Dam for the second time and made it through the hills following it, the rest of the course felt great as I ran down the hills that were killing me earlier.
While this was one of my slowest marathons, I loved it and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a nice Nevada run in December besides the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll race. 

Chris, Teota and I at the Finish!
Relaxing and enjoying the hot chili and hot chocolate (what a combo)!
After the race we went back to our hotel and had a nice shower and a nap before meeting our fellow Maniacs for dinner to celebrate Paul Arroyo's Titanium feat!
We had a lovely dinner at a fancy burger place at the Paris Hotel, then made our way to a few other dives before landing at this casino (I don't even remember the name of it) where they had live karaoke! With live karaoke, you actually sing with a live band! We watched for a while then Maricar and I decided to get up there and sing the B-52's "Love Shack". OMH!! that was fun!! We even had our own dancer "Jimmy"!
Maricar and I rocking "Love Shack"!
 What a great time we had. Teota and I had breakfast with Chris before we hit the road back to SLC. It was a quick weekend trip, but it was packed full of fun!

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