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Friday, September 03, 2010

Destination Running: The Vegas Strip

When I was in Vegas last week, I ran my long run along the strip. 12 miles, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
It was 7:30 a.m., I was all strapped up with my water belt, gels, and we were weaving through the people on the sidewalk better known as the remnants of the night before.

Someone yelled, "Take a vacation!"

I didn't say anything back but in my thoughts, I yelled, "No, YOU take a vacation!" in my best "big baby nanny nanny boo boo I am rubber you are glue" type of way.

But then afterward it occurred to me that this WAS vacation. There was nothing in the entire world that I wanted to be doing at that moment than running the Las Vegas strip in all of it's 7:30 a.m. dry desert, zero humidity, sparkly glitzy glamorous seedy glory.

No, it wasn't always this way. Long ago, I took a cruise in which there were various means to work out including a track that wound around the whole ship and I remember thinking to myself that there is no way in hell I am going to work out because I! AM! ON! VACATION! And that meant a vacation from everything!And yes I will eat two lobster tails! (Thank you, sir, may I have another!)

As I let that lingering drunkard's voice swirl around in my head on my run, I thought about how this truly is the first time in my life that exercising has become a part of my vacation. And not a part I dread, either. It's not taking away from my vacation in any way shape or form, but instead has added to it.

Because running in far away places GIVES ME STORIES!


And I want my life to have stories!

Think about it. I get to compare the hotel pools. I get to run on various treadmills from the very old and rickety and scary, to the treadmill Cadillacs. I have learned that not a single hotel worker in the world knows how long any single one of their pools actually is and that no one really has a lane pool. That in Vegas, you have to pay $25 to use the gym unless you get lucky and score a voucher. But most of all, since getting in workouts on vacation, I have learned that running in a destination is so freakin cool.

This year, I ran that half-marathon in San Diego with Team In Training and Team Shrinking Jeans.

In New York, I ran the Brooklyn Bridge and I crossed it off my bucket list (and what a day that was.)

I ran a 5k around the harbor in downtown Baltimore with some awesome women during Fitbloggin '10.

In Las Vegas, I ran the strip.

Running in these places allows me to run in a different climate, to see different people and immerse myself in all of it and see the city in a whole new perspective.

It is amazing.

So just in case you are ever considering running the strip in Las Vegas, here is what I have learned.

In Vegas, I learned that the strip is 4.2 miles long. So in order to run 12 miles, you must run the strip just shy of 3 times.

There are some intersections in which you must cross by going up some stairs, going over a bridge and going back down the stairs.
There is also an escalator should you choose to use that instead of the stairs. I know you're asking me if we used it.

I won't tell.

Yes we did. (Is that cheating? I say no. Don't judge me.) OK so yes, it probably looked funny to see two runners stopping, stepping on the escalator, going up to the top, running across the bridge and stopping again on the escalator down. In our defense we did take the stairs a couple of times but come on! We were going 12 miles!
We started our run from the MGM Grand where we stayed, which is on one side of the strip.
When we got down toward the Stratosphere at the other end, let's just say I was glad I had my husband with me, although I was ready to open a can of whoopass should the need present itself. But be forewarned, there is a little sketcharoo-ness going on around that area and beyond. So that was our turnaround point.
At 7:30 a.m. it was 80 degrees with 20% humidity and there was a nice desert wind blowing. This was actually much cooler that what I am accustomed to and quite lovely!

There were surprisingly a large number of runners on the strip! Besides the guy who yelled at me to take a vacation, I was definitely not the only one running like I thought I might be.

There were still a lot of drunk people with beer in hand at 7:30 a.m.

Yes, Elvis was up at that hour. He's always up.
My husband did not want to stop and get our vows renewed at the little chapel near the Stratosphere around mile 4 and yes I was mildly disapointed.

There are quite a lot of opportunities to take pictures from underneath something.
And by the way, it's really cool to bring your phone and take pictures of what you're seeing while you're running and yes it slows you down a little but you know what? How many times am I going to be running the Las Vegas strip in my life?

Everyone you are with in Vegas will probably think you are crazy for getting up early and running the strip (because hello! It's Vegas!) but it really is a good time and an experience worth writing about like I am.

There is always, always, time to be an immature 10-year-old.
Sorry. I have no idea how that got in there. *snicker*

Running 12 miles in Vegas means yes, you can have the brunch buffet in Paris.

Husbands can get a little grumpy on 12 mile runs in Vegas.
It's so much easier to take an ice bath in a hotel bathtub merely because of the presence of the ice bucket and the neverending availability of massive amounts of ice.

You must put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door before you leave for your run or you risk having the cleaning people in your room when you arrive back at your room in a sweaty heap of mess.

Playing Blackjack immediately afterward gives your legs a nice long rest.

The hotel sells Advil. 

It might be better to wear comfortable shoes after your long run instead of a dress with heels.

But in case you do choose to wear heels, eventually your legs will stop screaming, it will just take a lot, lot longer, and possibly cocktails.

Cocktails are not a good recovery drink. Coach Joe would  not be happy. But if you must have cocktails, alternate water and cocktails on at least an every other drink basis.

Try to get a good night's sleep afterward. But if that's not an option, go dancing until at least 3 a.m.

* * *

So where are you on the vacation exercising? Does it make it in? Any adventures out there?


Jessi said...

Oh my goodness....this looks SUPER fun! To not have taken advantage of 80* with low-to-NO humidity (20% feels like nothing when you're used to 80-100%) would have been silly. ;-) Before kids, exercise in some form (run, walk, hike, bike, etc) would make it into our was a fun way to discover new cities (San Francisco, San Diego, Balitmore, DC, Philly). But now, after kids, we settle for the workout room, if it's available (and sometimes I secretly wish it wasn't). :-)

Deb said...

The "after party" sounds like helluva good time! You deserved every minute of the fun!

Anonymous said...

Love you and your bloggy!!!

"No, it wasn't always this way. Long ago, I took a cruise in which there were various means to work out including a track that wound around the whole ship and I remember thinking to myself that there is no way in hell I am going to work out because I! AM! ON! VACATION! And that meant a vacation from everything!And yes I will eat two lobster tails! (Thank you, sir, may I have another!)"
LOL...fresh peppa'

Brooke said...

i've never exercised on vacation before, but i'm heading to the beach in a week and i certainly plan on running on the board walk. i might even get in a real swim or the ocean!!

Kirsten said...

Exercising is part of my life - be it at home or on vacation. Take next weekend for instance. I will be visiting Tiffany in Idaho and you bet I'm taking my running shoes. I have a 16-miler slated for that weekend. Hopefully I stop feeling like I'm going to die between now and then. I think running with one of my SAHs would be the only way I'd want to run the strip. Vegas is not my happy place, but I'm glad you had a great time.

Pubsgal said...

Glad you had a great time! I loved reading about your run; thanks for the preview! (I'll get to run part of this in the 1/2 marathon in December! Eeeek!)

Yep, I hear ya. My only vacation-related exercise used to be swimming in the pool, snorkeling, and wandering around shops. Oh, and doing some Mai Tai bicep curls. I still like doing all of those, but 2 of my last 3 vacations saw me doing races, too, which was so fun!

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