This edition of everyone's favorite blog is thanks to a just completed residency in Las Vegas, NV. (Ok, so it was only 5 days and nobody came to see me for anything.)
While mostly all posts are running, this one will include some Vegas tidbits if for nothing else, this is the best place for me to write up about a vacation (which I will do in a separate entry). But that will be later on. First the running:
Vegas is tough place to run and I am not talking about the weather. I am mainly referring to the famous Las Vegas Strip. While much of it is flat, there are numerous intersections that require going up and down stairs. Typically, I was able to avoid this by making a right or left and going to the next traffic light to cross the road. This worked very well for me with the exception of my second run that had lots of construction occurring preventing even that strategy. Overall in my 5 days of running, 4 were spent starting and finishing at the Flamingo (where I was staying). My total trip mileage was just over 47 miles. My favorite run probably was the first day where I ran in a northern direction on the strip to downtown and up to the Neon Museum/Boneyard. Since my run was early enough, I got to see the lights on with very few people out and about. It was calm and peaceful like the city was just mine. And the weather was wonderful. Cool but not too cool. For the 4 runs I did in the city itself, I don't think I broke a sweat. Now, I am sure that is not the case come summer. However, I will say that any longer of a stay and routes would have gotten pretty dull either by being repeated or just more of wide open with nothing around. But I can say training was good on this trip. Now getting up and out today now that I am home is another story. (The flight home was tough to sleep on so I am pretty wiped.)
As for the mysterious 5th run (on the 3rd full day of the trip: 3/16), it was a day spent racing in the Lake Mead Recreational Area near the Hacienda Hotel & Casino. I participated in the Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam 5K put on by Mountain Man Events. Originally, I was signed up to do the Half Marathon distance but after some knee issues the first week of the month, I felt it was wise to switch the distance. (Thankfully, the day before, I was able to check my email and confirmed the switch happened.) I am glad to have made this call. While the time spent running early along the strip was cool, it was a bit warmer at the race locale with temps I was not really adjusted for. On average, my time in Las Vegas was 40 degrees warmer than home in Philadelphia.
After a brief 40 minute drive, I parked in the designated race lot and proceeded to walk the "1/2" mile to the start/finish area to pick up my packet. I quoted the distance because it was longer than the half mile organizers said. Probably closer to a mile. It was a hike. With being an out of towner and having a car only for race day, I had to wait until race morning to pick up my packet. Apparently, despite registering months ago and selecting small for my shirt size, I was only able to get a medium. For someone who wears is a youth large/men's small, a medium is in some instances huge on me. But I had my number and chip, so I had the things I needed to race. After a warmup in the opposite direction of the race, I laced up my shoes and walked 1/4 mile to the start line. Now there was some confusion here as the HM and 5K headed out 5 minutes apart in opposite directions with only one timing mat. The confusion was caused by some initially muddled instructions. It mainly impacted us in the 5K because the crazy sensitivity of the mats kept being triggered and what appeared to be some struggles by the timers to reset us. Anyways, we were giving the GO and off we went. Now here is where I goofed. I should have either gone over the course on race morning or read the description better. I thought we would be on a paved stretch. Not the case. It was looser gravel/dirt that took some time to get a nice pace going on. However, I managed to do so and by about the 1/2 mile mark I started to pull away from a pack of 3-4 others. Usually, I don't wear sunglasses but on this day I did which was fine except when we went through the 3 tunnels each way. Boy, they were dark. With this course being out and back, it was brutal on the way back as people were spread out across the whole trail. And this was not some trail I could hop off. Doing that would have had me going down the side of a 'cliff'. In the end, I passed the crowd and rolling in for the victory. Officially, my time was 16:51 but due to the timing issues, Peg felt it was a whole minute faster. Which would make sense since the clock said 20:51 when I crossed and the 5K was to start 5 minutes after the HM. Also, the initial results were missing several top finishers. Just wonky. But I did have a nice chat with 2nd and 3rd on a cooldown. After a bit of waiting upon cooldown's end, I picked up my alabaster trophy (apparently valued at 650 US) and went on my way.....I had the Hoover Dam and hiking to do.