Las Vegas has been my happy place for a number of years now. Once, sometimes twice a year I would make the 4-hour flight with various family members to decompress from work, to bond, to have fun. Being goofy with my sister. Catching up with my mom. Watching my wife almost in tears at a show. Simply magical times.
Last year, I checked a big one off my bucket list. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon. We went right down the main strip at night! It was an amazing experience, but I figured that would be my only time. It was simply too crowded, and weaving around people is a pet peeve of mine. When you’re as slow as I am, it’s extra frustrating!
While watching the news of the shooting, the festival-goer videos made things a little too personal. Most were taken from the exact vantage points I had wandered around during the pre-race festival last year. For a few days, I was not only shaken thinking about Las Vegas, but being around large running crowds again. In one act of madness, two of my favourite things in the world now caused me fear.
After a few days of contemplation, I realized I could not let this tragedy destroy the two things I care for most. I am fairly new to running, having only completed my first 5K three years ago. Since then, I have progressed to the half, and even completed my first full in May.
I realized how much I’ve overcome since my journey started. That time when I was walking on a fun run, explaining that I couldn’t run due to a bad hip injury many years before.
“Have you tried?” was the response.
That time when I thought I’d never break a limit I’d set on a distance. And CRUSHED IT! And in that journey, I’ve become a much better person. And found a family along the way. I’ve found some very true friendships on the road, and knowing people have your back, even at the #backofthepack is pretty special.
I decided I couldn’t—I WOULDN’T let this act of savagery ruin my memories. I’m taking back Las Vegas on my terms. I’m running the Strip again this year. I will be there to show that I will not be frightened into hiding. I will stand strong in a crowd. I will run my hardest, and I will not give up! #iRun #VegasStrong
I’ve hid from and denied my fears for far too long. I’m stronger than that. (Trust me. My running partner told me so.)