Sunday, December 15, 2013

Viva Las Vegas! (or A Dashed PR and a 3-State Moose & M.G. Adventure)

It's been a while, folks, did you miss me??  Kidding....I've been up to my eyeballs in work, finishing up school, etc...oh yeah, and the Vegas trip!  As you may remember, I didn't get to finish the Boston Marathon last April. The Rock 'n' Roll Race Series granted those like myself a FREE race entry to any Rock 'n' Roll race held before the end of the year.  My Original CRB mentioned she was going to run in Las Vegas.  My "bucket list" radar went up (I have never been to Vegas, but have always wanted to least once) and I was in!  Another friend who runs for Tedy's Team was going also, so we figured, "Girls' trip! Why not??"  

Paris Las Vegas
Having never been to Vegas, I knew I was in for an experience.  Apparently there is no open container laws there, and there are people on every corner handing out cards for call girls.  So, as we strolled down the strip with our beverages (because we could!), we were surrounded by bright lights, tourists, and half naked "ladies."  Quite the people-watching experience, for sure.  

Picking up our race numbers
We picked up our numbers at the race expo on Saturday, saw the sights there, and then headed back to the hotel to grab dinner and plan for the next day.  If there is one this that is certain, you will never go hungry in Vegas.  If you can't find a food that suits your fancy, there is probably something wrong with you. Seriously. 

Pre-dinner selfie!

On Sunday, we laid low by the pool and prepared for the race, which was at night - difficult since every other long race I have done has been in the morning.  I chose the half marathon, where my travel companions were running the full marathon.  

The race atmosphere was pretty cool.  It started around sunset, and that night there was a full moon.  With the moon rising over the mountains, the sun setting, and the bright lights of the strip, the first half of the race flew by!  We covered the entire strip and Old Las Vegas, with plenty of singing Elvises and little white chapels along the way.  

I was pacing pretty well, but still wary that I would best my goal time.  I felt good, but I knew I was pushing it.  I drank at every water station because I was thirsty.  Knowing we were in the desert, I felt like I always needed to replenish.  My body was used to November in New England - even on a "dry" day it was still more humid than it ever is in Vegas.  Around mile 11, things went south.  My stomach felt awful, I was getting nauseous, and my hip began to hurt.  I slogged along, knowing now that a PR was not going to happen that night.  

I finally finished and found some space to sit down (which was bizarre because they shut down all traffic on the strip for the entire afternoon/evening).  I plopped down, and my stomach finally staged its revolt.  I had a slight chuckle with the girl next to me as she said, "Oh man, I feel the same way," as I watered the bushes with a special water/Gatorade mix. :/ Ugh.  I knew D and C weren't going to finish the marathon for a while, so I took my time and found Jav.  We both succumbed to the same fate - Late-run/post-run stomach issues.  We were a pretty sad looking pair, sitting on a curb looking at the lights and water show at the Bellagio (which was pretty cool, btw).  We finally managed to get ourselves up and heading back to our respective hotels, making sure we texted each other that we made it safely to our destination (me, just in time...). 

Alas, I did not PR that day.  It was actually close to my worst half marathon time of the 7 half marathons that I have run.  But I finished, and really, the trip was more about the experience (that's what I keep telling myself anyway).

D had a marathon PR!! Woo hoo!  

The next day Chris had a spa day planned with the Tedy's Team ladies, so Dayna and I hit the road to Zion National Park.  Best quote of the day: "This is the antithesis of Vegas." ~D.  And it was so true.  As we rode out Interstate 15, which is a convenient drive through the upper northwest corner of Arizona into southwestern Utah, the mountains rose up around us.  D, a.k.a. photog chic, snapped pics along the way.  When it got warm enough, we put the top down (yes, Christine had snagged us a Mustang convertible!) which facilitated capturing the glorious mountains easily. 

Warning: gratuitous selfies abound!

State #3 of the day - and the second time zone!
Utah = Mountain time, Vegas = Pacific time

Thelma & Louise shot

Welcome to Zion 
Of course, we didn't hike that much.  Just a little jaunt up Canyon Overlook Trail, took our obligatory "boot" picture, and saw a whole bunch of big horn sheep!

Trust the boot! (or sneaker!)


Pictures do NOT do this place justice. At all. 

Yes, he was really that close to the road. Just having a little dinner.

And it wouldn't be a Moose and Mountain Goat adventure if we didn't finish our day with beers and nachos.... at Zion Canyon Brew Pub.

And even caught a sunset on our way back to Vegas.

So, maybe my 7th half marathon wasn't so lucky, but I was definitely lucky to experience a race in Vegas and a gorgeous National Park with great friends!