D here… Today is the last day of the Fall 2011 semester for me! I have my Time Series Analysis final at 7 — yikes! I ended up getting an A- in my other class.. Just can’t wait for it to be over. Hopefully I will be back to blogging after tonight 🙂

Wish me luck!

Hola, D here. I SHOULD be studying for my Thursday final.. but, I’m blogging instead!

SO many people complained about the Vegas Rock n Roll half & full marathon. While I agree that it was poorly managed for such a large run, here are some of the things that made MY awesome:

1) I stayed at Mandalay Bay! When I was booking our hotel, I was debating between Mandalay (where the race started and finished) and the Venetian (where the expo was held). I eventually decided on Mandalay because I’m lazy and the idea of leaving my hotel 2 minutes before the race start sounded amazing! A lot of people ran into trouble after the race trying to get back to their hotel — long lines for cabs combined with the strip being closed meant that it took HOURS for runners to get back. I was able to get back to my room in 5 minutes. Awesome.

I heart Mandalay ❤

2) I started in an earlier corral. Tons of runners had issues with overcrowding, being stuck behind slower runners/walkers, and running out of water towards the end. Most of these people were in a later corral, but I happened to start in corral 8. While it WAS crowded, there was still room for me to dodge around slower runners. I passed through the course early enough so that there was plenty to drink. This also helped me a lot after crossing the finish line. My sister finished a while after me and she said it took her forever to walk through the back of Mandalay Bay, back into the hotel, and up to the room. A ton of people said they didn’t move once they got into the hotel. I didn’t have this problem AT ALL. I walked along the tables, grabbed some food, and got to the place where I told Emily to meet me. Super quick. No problemo.

3) I didn’t run the full! I felt SO bad for the people who ran the full marathon. They ran the first (boring) 13 miles with plenty of room to run their pace. Then BAM! they meet up with 39,000 half marathon runners! The full marathon lane was hardly marked and the faster paced full runners (3:30 pace) met up with the 2 hr half runners — not a good combination!

So, if you feel like running the strip at night (it’s definitely worth it!), do NOT run the full, stay at the start/finish of the race (or close to it), and try to get into the earliest corral as possible. The race is flat so, even though it’s crowded, you CAN PR! And you CAN have a fabulous race 🙂

-D

Welcome back to the Vegas recap!

SUNDAY:

I woke up at 8ish feeling super nervous. My stomach didn’t feel right and I felt anxious for the race. The girls eventually woke up and we went on a trek to find breakfast. We totally should be planned ahead because it took over an hour and a half (!) to get breakfast!!! All I wanted was a bagel with peanut butter. Should be simple. Not so much.

First.. we called the front desk to see if they knew a bagel place. They said Starbucks had bagels, which was awesome because it was in the casino of our hotel! Buuuut, no pb. And there was no way I was having dairy (butter or cream cheese) so it was on to plan 2 — explore breakfast places downstairs. There were a few places but the lines were psycho everywhere! And no one had peanut butter. Messed up. Eventually, I agreed to wait in line at Starbucks for just a plain bagel. This was the line:

While I waited, the girls decided to check Red, White, and Blue where we ate the night before. And guess what? Success!!! They had exactly 3 plain bagels left and plenty of PB. Phew!

After eating, we kind of just hung around the room and watched tv until it was time to get ready. Afterall, can’t use up whatever energy we had, right?? I agree, we were lame.

Anyways, I loved our hotel room because we were able to see the full marathoners start at 4!

It got me SO excited and pumped!!

I knew it was cold outside, so I suited up with capris, a cold wear long sleeve pink shirt, and my “Twinning 2 Stop MS” t-shirt over. Completed with my Run to Stop MS headband to cover my ears.

The shirt:

I couldn’t stop jumping up and down — we were finally running the strip!!!!

We headed downstairs around 5:15 (the race started at 5:30), jogged a little to warm up, and then found corral 8. It was PACKED with people. I felt really claustrophobic and couldn’t wait for things to get going.

Em and I planned to try to run together as long as possible so we linked arms as we started moving towards the start. And before we knew it, we crossed the start line!

I ran the entire thing with my phone plugged into Cardio Trainer. (It’s about time I get a Garmin, don’t you think?). The race was extremely crowded so Em and I tried to weave together as much as possible. It worked pretty well and we were going pretty fast in the beginning. The cold was getting to Em.. she’s from Florida and isn’t used to running in cold weather so it was bothering her lungs and eventually, she also got side cramps, probably from breathing differently. She was a trooper though and stayed with my for the entire first half of the race! But it got to be too much for her and she ended up hanging back more.

I took a Clif shot blok at 6.5, but it didn’t settle well with my stomach. So I ditched the 2nd one that I had brought with me and decided to stick with water for the rest of the run. I felt really strong through the whole race until the end. I’m not sure if my phone was off or if the course was longer than 13.1, but I started getting frustrated when I saw 13.2, 13.3, 13.4 tick by with no finish line in sight! Finally, I crossed at 13.6 and the phone said 1:57:36! YES!!! I felt so happy and relieved and ECSTATIC!! I finally beat 2 hours and it didn’t even feel that bad. I wasn’t dying. I finished strong and felt so alive! But it was a little depressing having no one to celebrate with at the finish line.

I made my way back into Mandalay Bay and waited for Michelle and Em to finish. Em crossed the line at 2:01:29 (awesome, since she didn’t really train AND she ran a half marathon 2 weeks earlier!). And Shelly crossed at 3:01:35 — a PR for her!

After tracking down the girls, we went upstairs to shower (ice baths for Em and Michelle.. I tried but couldn’t handle it) and get ready. I kind of wanted to go out, but Mich wasn’t feeling great so we stayed in Mandalay. They had a little bar with only frozen drinks so we went there. I got a huuuge pink drink to share with the girls and we actually had a good time — the bartender put on a crazy show to music and it was awesome. Flipping cups and bottles all over the place. Plus, free shots! Can’t complain.

The night was a fun laid back time, but I was sad that the trip was ending :(.

MONDAY:

The day I dreaded. Time to leave.

We got up early, packed up the room, and headed to the airport. In the cab, I realized that I didn’t have my phone! I called Mandalay on Shelly’s phone, but they said they had to send house keeping up to my room to check for it. Bummer. I had plenty of time to go back if they told me it was there right away. Instead, it took them an HOUR to call me back and then another 30 minutes to transfer from the main desk to fedex to the front desk again to lost & found to the front desk AGAIN. Then, I got hung up on and it took another 10 minutes to finally get confirmation that my phone was being shipped home. Ridiculous. I loved Mandalay Bay until I had to coordinate my phone haha.

At the airport, we grabbed a quick breakfast with Emily before she had to go to a different part of the airport. It was sad to say goodbye to her :(.

The flight home was a tad bumpy again and our landing was super foggy, but we got home quickly.

GREAT race. And I cannot wait for another Vegas trip when I can actually go out and enjoy TYPICAL Vegas haha.

My splits according to my phone:

With an official time of 1:57:22! Can’t believe I had a 7:42 mile!

Aaaaand, that’s Vegas!

D

Hola!! D here.. hope you guys are having a great weekend so far.

Time for a Vegas recap! This was my first time in Vegas and it was a TAME trip. Can’t wait to go back for a true Vegas experience!

FRIDAY:

The weekend all started on Friday morning. Michelle and I stayed at my fiance’s house on Thursday night and he drove us to the airport bright and early! Check in was a breeze and we were so pumped for Vegas to finally be here — we signed up for this race MANY months ago!

Our plane boarded perfectly on time, but the flight was terrible. So much turbulence the entire time. Michelle hadn’t been on an airplane since 2008, which made this flight even worse for her… HORRIBLE! We couldn’t wait until we touched the ground. And 5 hours later:

Safely at the gate :). Landing in Vegas was amazing because you could see all of the gorgeous red mountains and I loved that we could see our hotel (Mandalay Bay) from the runway!

Also loved that slot machines greeted us the second we got off the plane. Michelle convinced me not to lose all of my money.. yet.

Gotta love big Vegas signs and fake palm trees in the airport 😛

We quickly got into a cab and headed for our hotel. We had a great room on the 14th floor.. my lucky number! Shelly and I were waiting for my friend Emily to get to Vegas from Tampa so we unpacked and grabbed some lunch at a Mexican place. No bueno. The chips were awesome but the veggie burrito gave me the worst stomach ache. Not good on 1/2 marathon weekend! We headed to the strip after that.

Vegas is great for people watching — so many interesting characters! But one of the cool things about our weekend was that pretty much everyone was either a runner or a cowboy!! There was a rodeo event the same weekend. I had never seen a cowboy in person before so I loved it.

Kinda blurry but that was a cowboy carrying a lasso!!

We walked from Mandalay to the Venetian to check out a little bit of the expo before it closed. It was pretty dead when we got there around 7:15 so we got our bibs (couldn’t get Emily’s though 😦 ) and checked out some merch.

Finally, Em landed!! The plan was to grab dinner with her and her dad who was there on business and then see the Cirque du Soleil show “O” in the Bellagio. We had a little miscommunication with the scheduling of the show so we had a HUGE time crunch. Luckily, Bellagio had a pretty good buffet so we got some eats there before seeing the amazing show!

I’ve always wanted to see a Cirque show and “O” was the perfect one for my first! The stage was a big pool and there were tons of cool effects with the water. I loved it!

By the end of the show, we were all exhausted so we took a cab back and passed out!

SATURDAY:

Although I would’ve LOVED to sleep in on Saturday, my body naturally woke me up around 8 so I decided to do a shake out run in the hotel’s gym. I guess I’m not that stealthy and I ended up waking the other girls up! So they joined me. The gym was PACKED! All 8 treadmills were taken — I guess that’s what happens when a running event is scheduled for the next day! Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long and I was able to get in a slow 2.5 mile run in. It felt awesome to run! This was the point where I really started thinking about my time goal (sub 2) and freaking out!!! Ugh.

The run left us all .. starving! So we headed to Denny’s (there are a million of them on the strip!). I had never been there before and it was not a good first experience. When we sat down, I noticed that the water glasses were teeny tiny so I asked the waitress for a big glass. Nope. Can’t do that. What about a pitcher? Nope. Not that either. She seemed distracted the whole time we were there so breakfast took forever AND I didn’t get the hydrate at all.

After that, more expo time for us and Emily. This time it was packed! We had fun checking out the Brooks and Moving Comfort gear. We all bought a cute shot glass:

And I also got a 13.1 magnet for my car finally!

On the way back from the expo, we picked up some $1 frozen margaritas despite it being fuh-reezing outside! Seriously.. the high was 51 and super windy — that’s worse than NJ! Chilled in the room for a bit and then got dinner at Red, White, and Blue in our hotel. I was nervous about my stomach for the next day so I stuck with salmon and potatoes. And TONS of water. The food was pretty good and I kind of geeked out when I noticed HRG. Decided NOT to be creepy and say hi. But I thought it was awesome to spot a blogger <3. Somehow, it was really late by the time dinner was over so we headed back to the room to hang out (and watch Hangover!) before bed.

Stay tuned for the big day :). I’ll try to post part 2 tomorrow.

D

Guess what?

I DID IT!!!! I PRed in Vegas and I feel great! 😀

Previous PR — 2:00:42 in the Hamptons 9/24/11

New PR — 1:57:22 in Vegas 12/4/11

I will post a full recap soon. Life is a little insane.. I got MORE exciting news at work which will keep me extra busy. And it’s finals time in school. Meh.

But, I am one excited, sub-2 hr half marathon runner!!!!

D

I have a lot of exciting things to post about (i picked my dress!), but I am without my laptop until AFTER Vegas! Soooo hopefully when I write my next post, I will be a sub-2hr half runner! Hehe :). Can’t wait!

D

FROZEN YOGURT 15 MINUTES FROM MY HOUSE!

Hehe :). I’m not going to write a post about all the things I’m thankful for because they’re the same as every other person… family, friends, health, my fiance, etc. Buuuut, I am very thankful that my sister and I found the ONLY fro-yo place near our house last night!

Last night, my sister, our friend Jen, and I went to see Breaking Dawn (finally!). The movie theater is in a mall and the three of us worked at AMC for years during breaks from college. We got to the theater a little bit early so Michelle and I wanted to explore the food court for dinner. As we walked, Michelle spotted something new… something bright… and something that looked oddly like… fro-yo! We got SO excited (cause we’re dorks). So we grabbed dinner, drooled over the 24 flavors :), and agreed to go back after the movie if it was still open.

I thought Breaking Dawn was pretty good.. a little slow in the beginning but it perfectly sets up Part 2 and I can’t wait!

Then came…. Frozen Peaks!

The decor was amazing. Lots of bright orange, green, and pink. They were playing current music and you could even pay to play your favorite song if you wanted. Again 24 flavors! I had no clue what to get but ended up getting some pumpkin, mint cookie crumble [absolute favorite], and peanut butter chocolate. Yum!

The toppings were incredible.

Lots of fruit on the right and then a TON of chocolate goodies on the left.

They also had every sauce under the sun (peanut butter, marshmallow, caramel, fudge, white chocolate, etc). And, of course, Captain Crunch (my fiance’s fave).

Remember how I said 16 Handles was my favorite place? Well.. it’s been replaced!

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Now, onto the workouts of this week.

Monday and Tuesday were treadmill days. I took Wednesday off because my gym was closed for repairs, and I went on a run this morning.

MONDAY:

TUESDAY:

Today’s run was great. I ran 5.9 miles and didn’t pace at all. I went out without a time or distance goal so it was just laid back and fun.

My family is going out to dinner for Thanksgiving. We usually have the whole family over for a big traditional dinner but my parents don’t want the work. Not a fan of breaking tradition, but I can understand why they chose to do a restaurant instead. Then, HOPEFULLY heading to my fiance’s house for dessert. His family has 20 people over :). Can’t wait!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hope you have a great holiday with your family and loved ones.

D