I catch a cab to the MGM Grand for the 5:30 a.m. bus. Downtown temps bracingly cool, ~40°. Some 25 miles south, the start area in the two-casino town of Jean remains several degrees colder, particularly for those standing outside in the pre-sunrise breezes. So most of us wait in the heated buses until about 7:15. At the 7:30 start we have dry, high 30's, expected to peak in the mid-50's. Ideal conditions.
First half of the course: serene, majestic, pure. Loved it
We set out north to Vegas as sunrise still stretches out across the land. In m2 or so Tawni Gomes and her friend Laura catch up to me, doing their run:walk of 4:1 minutes. I stay with them until they stop at the m4 portopotties.
The next few miles bring a very gradual climb. Occasional curves and crests keep it interesting. But I can't find the flow. Ongoing relationship struggles make this weekend trip stressful, and even apart from that I despise virtually everything about Las Vegas. This emotional morass makes the first half of the marathon that much more valuable to me. I enjoy the tranquility of the desert landscapes. Cool air fills my lungs and refreshes my spirit. Brilliant blue sky, non-stop sunlight. I enjoy chatting with others who share a veneration, or at least an appreciation, for this experience. All this provides some balm for my emotional pain, but under all this stress I still slog along. I literally feel some nausea from all the anxiety.
I anticipated fit problems with the new prosthesis, so my girlfriend will meet me at the Arco station, about m15, with my old reliable; looks like I'll need it. I have to make three or four stops to try to adjust sock thicknesses. As I do this, Tawni and Laura catch up to me. Between here and the halfway point I try to keep up with them, but surges of brief but excruciating pain in my residual limb keep throwing me off. My pace drops drastically in this segment. I do feel better once I change prostheses. Even though the second half of the race brings a long, gradual downhill and then stays flat, I won't feel able to take advantage of it.
Halfway. I've completed most of the enjoyable part of the course