Archive for March, 2012

Run Las Vegas

Before I get started here, let me just say that I love Las Vegas.  My husband and I have travelled there three times now in the last three years and we find new and exciting things to do each time.  I will try my very hardest to restrict this post to the running aspect of my recent trip and not sound like a tourism person telling you why you should go.  But you should. 😉

We arrived in Las Vegas on a Wednesday night and didn’t have time for much before bed.  Thursday morning I woke at my usual 6:30 time ready to get up with the kids… but wait.  The kids were at home, and thanks to the time zone change it was only 4:30! As most mothers know, after years with early rising children, we lose our ability to sleep in.  After lying awake for almost an hour I decided this was ridiculous! What do runners do when they’re up early and waiting for the day to begin? They go running of course!

We were staying at the Flamingo, which is mid-strip, right across from Ceasar’s Palace.  If you’ve never been to Vegas, there are walkways across many of the streets with stairs and escalators to get up to said walkways, so the thousands of pedestrians don’t slow traffic too much.  As a prairie girl who has to run 4 km to find even a small hill to train on, I love these stairs! This is seriously the most hill training I get all year. 

I never run too far in Vegas, as you walk all day every day just doing regular touristy stuff, and I don’t want my legs to be too tired for the day.  I decided that an easy 5 km loop would be perfect for my first day there, and tried to hit as many stairs as I could along the way.  My run actually ended up at 5.7 km as I found myself on the wrong side of the street at the end of my run and had to go a ways before I could cross again.

Friday morning bright and early (which is about 9:00 for my husband, lol!) we jumped in our rental car and had breakfast before heading out of town towards Arizona.  I was so excited to see the Grand Canyon!

I had a very lovely image in my mind of running at the Grand Canyon. I imagined trails descending down the side of the mountain where others would be hiking and I could run, doing a true trail run and real hill training.  Any of you who have been to the Grand Canyon are laughing at me right now, I know!

We arrived at the Hualapai First Nation and the west rim of the Canyon after a brief stop at Hoover Dam.  Can you say sheer drop off hundreds of feet down? Clearly, there would be no running here! (I know people do run the Grand Canyon, there must be other places that we just didn’t get to!)

We found some rocks to climb and were able to take a picture for my Mom that looks much more horrifying than it actually is! (Tee hee!)

I finally caught on to the sleeping idea and took advantage of some shopping time on the next few days.  I felt guilty for missing my runs, but I also knew this would be my last real “time off” before beginning the training plan for my first half marathon.

The last day in Vegas I did a 6 km run and loved every minute of it.  The rest had served me well, and I felt like I could run forever, a feeling that has stuck with me on every run since returning home.

As a prairie farm girl, I never see anyone else on my runs at home.  I’m usually passed by one or two vehicles while I’m out, and our neighbors used to stop to ask if everything was alright.  Now they just wave and later tell my husband “I saw your crazy wife out running again yesterday!” One of the things I love about running in any urban centre is seeing other runners. From the man doing “hill repeats” up and down the walkway stairs by the Wynn to the women who are excited to try out the new run gear they scored at the outlet mall, I feel like I want to high five everyone I see. It’s like we’re on the same team, all working towards a similar goal.  This sense of comraderie is usually something I only experience at races, so it’s great to feel that way in training, if only for a couple of runs.

When we got home we found spring had arrived while we were away.  The snow was gone and temperatures were above freezing. While it was great to run in shorts and a tank top while away, there truly is no place like home. My fleece-lined tights have been put away for the season, and my arm warmers are getting a work-out during this “in-between” season. I’m looking forward to my first race of the season, the Saskatoon Police Services 10K in about a month.  Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

How do you fit in runs while on vacation? Do you enjoy running in new places?

Gotta run.

P.S. If you do want to check out Las Vegas and haven’t before, you must go! A few of our favorite things to do there…

– watch the fountains at Bellagio (free)

– ride the roller coaster at New York New York

– see the gardens at Flamingo (free)

– see the Sirens show at TI (free)

– the Mob Tour at the Royal Resort (just off the strip, easy to get to by bus and a short walk)

– the Mob Experience at Tropicana

– the Titanic exhibit at Luxor

– the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay

Madame Tussaud’s wax museum at Venetian

– Cirque du Soleil (I saw O at Bellagio this time)

Las Vegas Motor Speedway (my husband has done the Richard Petty Experience before, and we went to NASCAR this time)

Fremont Street Experience (go at night, not during the day)

Las Vegas Premium Outlets, North (an easy bus ride from the strip. There is a South mall as well which isn’t as good but does have a New Balance store, which I loved!)

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My Treadmill Is A Beast

 I hate winter.  Period.  No question.  Much as I love running, I just can’t bring myself to be outside for more than a few minutes when it’s colder than -12 Celcius (10F).

I’m still a newbie runner, so this is only my second winter.  Last year I didn’t run from November 1 to the end of January when a friend splurged on a new treadmill for herself and gave me her old one.  By then I was so thrilled to be running again that I loved every second pounding the belt.

Now, when I say my friend gave me her OLD treadmill, OLD is definitely the key word.  It was gifted to her in the same situation, so I have no idea how old it actually is.  I do know that speed is adjusted with a dial, there is one small screen, and the incline adjustment is done by adjusting the pins in the back feet of the ‘mill by hand.  ANCIENT.

Display is in miles, I'm a young enough Canadian that I have no idea what that means, so need kilometers and it won't switch! Note conversion table taped on the side.

Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I still am very grateful for this treadmill.  My only other option would be to swing a kettlebell with Jillian Michaels every day all winter or actually brave the Canadian priaire elements (a couple weeks ago it was -43C with the windchill all week. That’s -45F!) and run outside.  Neither are appealing to me in the least. 

We make sacrifices in our family so that we can afford to have me stay home 5 days a week with our three small children.  One of these sacrifices is a new treadmill.  Four days a week I run without going anywhere and stare at the unfinished drywall in our basement and dream about treadmills with MP3 ports, fans, WiFi, and push-button incline.  Someday. But not today. Today I’ll write a cheque for my daughter’s preschool fees and sign the twins up for swimming lessons.  Today I’ll take my kids skating (indoors, lol!) after Irish Dance lessons are over.  Today we’ll play at the Fun Factory and get hair cuts at Beaners. And if not getting a new treadmill for myself is the price I pay to enjoy all these things with the most important people in my life, then sign me up. I’m there.

Gotta run.