Last December, a few weeks after Jeff and I married, we traveled together for a pseudo-honeymoon (because no true honeymoon should include a marathon…). I signed up for the Hoover Dam Marathon, a race that begins in scenic Lake Mead National Park, Nevada.
My mom gifted us one week in a condo on the Las Vegas strip. We explored the Old Downtown and Strip, mostly on foot. We took in the sights and sounds and lost a small fortune because “we ARE on a honeymoon”. We even saw our old friend, the mannequin Pis outside of The D!
We rented a car and drove to the Grand Canyon, via Route 66. We spent a night in the Grand Hotel Lodge and hiked a 7 mile round trip into the Grand Canyon the following day. We had a blast! Of course, hiking steep desert trails isn’t the smartest idea, days before a full marathon. The Grand Canyon is a breathtaking, must-see for anyone. We met several hikers that were crossing the entire valley of the Grand Canyon! And we saw pack mules.
We drove back to Vegas that night, as we were meeting up with one of my best friends Beth and her family. They came to Vegas from San Diego to stay the weekend and visit. Beth’s husband Erik signed up to run the Hoover Dam Half Marathon.
We ate homemade spaghetti dinner, played card games and took the kids to see the Mirage Volcano and the Bellagio fountains.
The Hoover Dam race was difficult for me, and simultaneously offered me perspective and beauty as I ran the out and back trail, twice.
The race route traveled from the base of Lake Mead, through the mountains and 6 former train tunnels, kicking up beautiful red dirt in its path.
I saw the speedy race leaders as they ran toward me, on their return to Lake Mead. The route turn around point is the grand Hoover Dam. I took in the sights, snapped a few pictures, and reluctantly headed back toward Lake Mead, myself. On the way back, I found my husband waiting for me to run along side me. In total, he completed 20 miles of the race!! That’s true love! ❤️
In addition to Jeff, Beth, the kids, and Erik (after he finished the Half Marathon!!) ran along side me during different intervals of the race. It really kept me going.
The Hoover Dam is a great race, and full of difficulties that I hadn’t planned on. A lifetime Midwesterner, I have never trained properly for hills. There was a steady incline for much of this race. It also has fewer participants, which means less crowd support and less aid stations. Not to mention its in the desert. My friends certainly got me through this one! And thank you to my family for all of the encouraging text messages during (and after) every race! 🙂
Thank you Nevada, my 20th state!! I’m getting that much closer to my goal!