Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The latest and greatest

Victory.  Completed another 1/2 Marathon, attempted to eat my way thru Las Vegas and drank a bunch of red wine.  I haven't been able to post about any of it since I am still without service.  I did manage to take steps to rectify it.  I am waititng to receive a modem and then I will be able to quit griping about my lack of service at my neighbor's house.  I don't know how they do it.  They still don't have service.  Only one of the three has uninterrupted service.  The other two are bueno.
I am tired of lamenting things that I can control.  I definitely can pay for my own service and am in the process of establishing that.  Til then, I am at a coffee shop hoping to update my blog.
Las Vegas was wonderful.  I had planned on driving to the Strip due to waiting too long to purchase tickets.  Can you say related to lack of internet service at home?
A friend of mine and her hubby opted to cash in miles and fly me to Las Vegas.  Delightful.  Well, had it been a direct flight.  I flew from Phoenix to Los Angeles, to Palm Springs and finally arrived in Las Vegas.  Long day Saturday.  This after a closing shift.  I needed sleep in a bad way.  I think I slept for awhile between two seats in the airport.  I have never been able to do that in the past.  I was that tired.  Plus, when I arrived at the airport in Phoenix, my flight departed from Terminal Two.  I walked in to security and my hands were swabbed.  I asked when they began doing that and I heard, two years.  Funny, they don't practice that in terminal three or four.  I had the full body scan (also a lot of fun) and headed to the seats. 
I arrived in Palm Springs and found that my flight was delayed.  Thankfully, it was a short delay and I did arrive in Las Vegas about ten minutes after the original flight arrived.  I took a cab to the Bellagio and checked in with two of my friends.  Shari had already walked around the Bellagio and Jennifer was in route to the hotel.  I had friends in town from Denver (who bought my ticket) and the RV guy decided to cross paths with me while I was in Las Vegas.  Interesting to say the least. 
I spent the weekend with Shari, Jenn and Aron.  Sort of a mini-reunion from high school days and then, of course, Shari, representing the current me.  It's funny how we know people from our past and realize what they know while talking to them.  Jennifer talked about my mom and siblings, Aron spoke of Denver and my interactions with him on his RV lifestyle and Shari, spoke of wine inspired weekends, spectating running events and Brian. 
All, in all, it was fantastic.  Dinner at Bouchon was inspired.  I absolutely adored the gnocchi and Paul, my favorite sommelier, was working.  He hooked us up with some food friendly wine.  The next morning was hard.  A touch hungover and still hoping to catch up on sleep.  Shari treated us to coffee and muffins before finding lunch.  The 1/2 marathon, at night, was challenging.  How to prepare for the 13 mile run?  I think I could have hydrated better and eaten more food.  When I started the race, I was hungry.  I ate a sports bean at the start of the race and continued to eat in hour segments.  If I ran another night race, I would take more time to fuel properly.
Jennifer wanted fettuccine alfredo and Shari and I were indifferent.  I can always eat a burrito or salsa.  We found a restaurant in the Bellagio that saitisfied all of our needs.  After lunch, we returned to the room and napped.  I knew that if I didn't sleep more, I would struggle with the 1/2.
A tram ride to the Mandalay Bay and we waited to start the night race.  I tend to get hot after the first mile and a half and so I wore a t-shirt, jacket and shorts.  I figured that would suffice. 
Last year, I ran the full marathon in Las Vegas.  I was conditioned and ready to tackle the full.  The first half was awesome, running up and down the Strip, surrounded by spectators and casinos.  I loved that aspect of the event.  The second half was challenging once we veered off the Strip. 
This year, they opted to start the full an hour and a half before the 1/2 marathon participants.  The course started them west of the Strip and then they met up with the half marathon participants to race the Strip.
Terrible idea.  From the start of our 1/2 experience, people were upset about the lack of space for the marathon runners.  There were cyclists trying to direct traffic which further annoyed me.  I always think I am going to run into a cyclist or something.  Then, there were some pissed off full marathon participants.  I think I heard--get the f*#k over....Initially, I wanted to say, calm down and then I considered their training, that race and how furious I would have been had that been my experience with the full marathon.  There were people everywhere.  Every type of experience of inexperience too.  As the race progressed, I, too, was annoyed with the course.  The constant negativity and people walking, not running, this event.  I think they should consider a walk lane for this course. 
Plus, there were not enough porta potties on the course.  Some of the aid stations were out of water and cytomax and there was a constant flow of people.  Not once was there a break of not having to weave in and out of people.  It was obnoxious.  I think this route was poorly planned and definitely missed any sort of successful execution.  The energy of the race was shot and negative.
Shari did extremely well inspite of that.  She walked, maybe, half a mile.  I ran with her and a few times found myself in la la land, confused, as to where she was.  Still, we managed to meet up and finish the race together.  I am so proud of her!
We met up with Jennifer since she was in a different corral than we were.  It was cold at the end of the race.  Windy and miserable.  The cab stands were gigantic and the wait for the tram was another representation of how many inconsiderate people there are out in the world.  I felt like I was part of a cattle prod. 
Unfortunately, Jennifer was sick after the race and unable to join us for dinner.  I had to celebrate at Olives.  We raced back to the Bellagio so I could shower off some of the salt and head to dinner. 
Since we were the last reservation, well, the experience was okay.  I was disappointed in the food factor and they were out of lavosh crackers which made Shari sad.  Yet, it was another lovely experience amongst friends.
Monday morning, Jennifer returned to Kansas City and Shari and I enjoyed massages.  Jennifer had a statistics class that mandated her return.  I wish she had been able to stay.  The massages were excellent.
Later, Monday, Shari, Aron and I met up with some of my other friends, Carrie and Cedric.  Another inspired conversation between different people in my life and travels.  I am blessed to have such great people in my life.
Tuesday, we rushed to the airport to stand in another line of security.  I feel the theme of this trip was waiting in line or dodging inconsiderate people.  I was frustrated to say the least with the experience.  After we found the right terminal, I rushed to the bathroom.  I had to go potty.  I jump up, bend down to grab my baggage and bang my head on the coat hook.  Ouch!!!  I swear, I thought I was going to die.  It hurt so bad.
I found some ice and then carried it around the airport.  Excellent.  Great way to conclude my trip.  It was an interesting trip with great people, food and wine, of course.  I believe I will reflect more on it later.  I am just grateful to have blogged some of it...

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