Thursday, December 22, 2011

(There's No Place) Like Home for the Holidays

December brought a slew of non-stop busy-ness.  It's been party, party, party... sort of.  I can't remember the last time Hubs and I were invited to a grown up party together until this year.  After Las Vegas, we had four holiday parties last week, plus our wedding anniversary of 29 years on December 11th.  This week was a little calmer but busy with baking and trying to remember what we did with certain Christmas decorations.  I went old school this year and used most of the Christmas decorations from the years when my kids were in grade school.   We also put up the tree in the living room this year. 

The dining room where the tree usually goes is, uh, having issues...  

Like last year, the Kiddo was my decorating buddy and helped me with the majority of the decorating.  Hubs put one ornament on, and and my son put a few up high were I couldn't reach, and my daughter was oblivious to other life around her while busy with studying for finals.  

Living room fireplace.  
I would so love to have a warm fire, but this fireplace needs to be repaired or torn down and rebuilt.  I put candles in it but there's no damper, and the air coming in through the top blows out my candles. *sigh*    The kiddo pointed out that since we can't burn anything in this fireplace that Santa won't get burned when he comes down our chimney.

The Kiddo

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas because I got this surprise delivered today:

Nothing says Merry Christmas more than socks, holiday peppermint Gu's, and Stingers from  blogger Tara - Colorado Runner!   Yay! 

The packages were shipped from REI.  When UPS delivered the boxes I was wracking my head trying to remember what I had ordered from REI.  Then it clicked that these were from my Secret Santa from the Bloggie Gift Exchange.  One box contained the great pair of Smartwool running socks, and the other box contained the Gu's and Stingers.  The timing is perfect because I'm out of any type of gel/goo electrolyte and I just might have to save a couple for the Carlsbad half marathon next month.  The socks are on my feet right now:

Warm and cushy!  I can't wait to run in these! Thanks so much, Tara!

On the running front, not a lot of running has been happening.  Somewhere between the parties and work, I caught a cold.  It's not a bad cold, but just enough to mess up the flow of day-to-day life.   I know I had the cold before I had to deal with the bratty snot-nosed kid patient and his clueless mother.* Gross. I hope to do a slow, longish run this Saturday morning, which happens to be Christmas Eve.

In other news, for the first time in YEARS (2000?) I received a cash bonus at work.  I honestly wasn't expecting much of anything, maybe a box of candy, but since I'm part-time right now I felt the bonus was rather generous.  I had plans for new Ugg boots and have change left over for an outfit, BUT one of my cats became rather ill yesterday and my bonus went towards paying the vet bill. Merry Christmas to my vet. Oh well.   At least I had that cash to help lessen the blow of that hefty vet bill, and for that I am grateful.    FYI, it was my little girl cat, Luna, the little bitty 8 pound cat who can beat up our 75 pound dog.  The vet thinks it's a thyroid issue.  She's doing much better now and will be on meds for a week.  Good times.

This year we didn't send out Christmas cards.  I suppose we could have, we just didn't.  I'm thinking of New Year's cards.   Just in case, consider this picture of the Kiddo and me your Christmas card from me:

Wishing you all lots of Christmas cheer!

Song from Thursday, December 8, 2011:  
Good Intentions - Toad the Wet Sprocket


*On the scale of one to ten in snotty-nosed grossness, this kid was a 10, plus he sneezed all over everything.  It was so gross that I felt the need to wipe everything down with rubbing alcohol when he and his mother left the building.  I'm not a germophobe, but felt gross dealing with this obnoxious kid.  I just don't understand parents who let their kids run a muck in a medical office, or any professional office.  Sheesh.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Good Intentions

You know what they say about good intentions?

I'm sure the race coordinators at Competitor had really good intentions when planning the new night race for the Las Vegas Rock N Roll marathon and half marathon. I'm sure it all looked good on paper. The reality was another story.

The expo was pretty straight forward and the same as any other race expo, such as retrieving  race numbers, d-tags, swag bag, t-shirt and freebies (mostly food) at the expo, plus peruse the expo for the latest and greatest gear.  Hubs and I attended the expo on the Friday before the marathon/half marathon, so it wasn't too bad as far as crowds and getting out of there with in a reasonable amount of time.

This year the race was a night race. It sounds kind of fun to run the strip at night with all the lights, right? The marathoners started around 4:00 PM and the half marathoners started around 5:30 PM. With the wave starts, I think we stared around 6:15PM-ish.  The corrals were rather tight, and it was hard to get into our appropriate corrals.  I was supposed to be in corral 9 and ended up being good with starting in corral 13. I've started other races that were quite crowded and just started in the wrong (higher numbered) corrals because I couldn't  move due to crowds, so I really wasn't too surprised that this was the case.  I figured it would ease up and become less congested once the race started.  It did ease up a little, but, due to the fact people couldn't get into their appropriate corrals, there were walkers in front of runners, which made for slow going in some parts of the race where I felt good enough to kick things in gear.  After the sun went down the temps dropped down to the low 30s and the wind kicked up in spots. It's also really dry in the high desert and you tend to get thirstier. With about 44,000 people running total, they did not prepare for running out of electrolyte, gels, and water cups. I carry a 20 ounce water bottle with me, and might need to refill it once. I refilled it 4 times at water stations. There was one stretch of the course where they ran out of cups and there was no water for 3.5 miles. The marathoners were mixed in with the runners at a several points, which screwed up those marathoners who were trying for a BQ or PRs.  There were about 20,000 MORE  people this year.* I was unintentionally elbowed and bumped several times, and have a pretty good bruise on my arm from someone's elbow. I was often stuck behind groups of people who were much slower, and it was hard to get around them.  As much as I tried, I couldn't speed up at the end, because I just could not navigate around people.   After the finish line the water seemed like long ways away, and I had to ask someone where she got her water. I know there were tables with bagels, bananas, fruit, bars, etc, but it was so crowded I never made it to those tables. It also took me a while to get a mylar blanket. I was FREEZING. When I ran I was mostly fine. Stopping was another story. I was shivering while I waited for Hubs, who was about 10 minutes behind me, and that seemed like an eternity. My gloves got wet at the water stations and my fingers were freezing.  I really wanted a hot beverage like hot tea or hot apple cider. Even hot chocolate would have sufficed, and I'm allergic to dairy. Heck, a cup of hot water would have been great. We didn't stick around for our post race beer, we just wanted to get our gear, use a restroom, and go back to our room, but that took about two hours total. Mandalay Bay, where the race ended, is connected to two other hotels and an overpass walkway to the hotel we stayed at.  We thought we could walk through the hotels and overpass to get to our hotel room at New York, New York, which should have taken 10 to 15 minutes.  We never made it out of Mandalay Bay.  We got stuck in a cluster f*** of people trying to do the same thing.  People were getting sick and passing out around us.  The EMTs had a hard time getting to people in need. It looked like a war zone.  It turns out part of that walkway area was blocked off for some Las Vegas premier for a Michael Jackson tribute show.  Talk about bad timing! It took us well over an hour to get back to our room, which was less than a mile from the finish.

Edit - Check out this article as to why so many people got sick!

We missed the after parties because it was so late when we got back to our room, but we were too tired to go anywhere. While I showered, hubs went into the hotel lobby area to get food and bring it back to our room.  The hotel restaurants were OVERWHELMED with post run people just trying to get something to eat. A couple of places told hubs that they were no longer seating people or placing to go orders.  He managed to find a place that had pasta, which turned out to be fantastic, but maybe because I was so hungry by the time he made it back up to our room at midnight. 

The next morning we didn't have time for much more than packing and catching the shuttle to the airport.  While at the airport we heard stories from other runners who had the same experience.   I'm sure Competitor has heard an ear-full by now. I'm also sure they saw everything that happened from their heated and catered VIP viewing section... I guess they were initially too busy paying attention to their bottom line and not the finish line.

There were some high points.  They actually had women's sized t-shirts this year, finally, and it FITS.  Hubs and I attended a pre race carb load dinner at the condo one of our track club buddies, and we saw a lot of friends there. I also met up with my blogger friend Dawn (Dawn on the Run) from Canada at a Tweet-up. I also met Mary (The Running Green Girl), Carrie (Family Fitness Food) and a few other bloggers (who I can't for the life of me remember their names, but they are wonderful people!!!) I also did better than I anticipated. My mile splits weren't that great, but I was happy to see the finish time of 2:36:48 because it felt more like a 3 hour run running at night, plus it was hard to pace myself with so many people.  I'm generally happy with my run.  I did  chat with a few (a very few) people who enjoyed every aspect of the race, and I'm glad to know it was enjoyable for those people.  I'm guessing they were either uber fast and got out of the race area before the chaos hit, or they were walkers who were at the back of the pack and missed the bulk of the chaos.

The medal is pretty nice. It even glows in the dark. 

The skyline is actually a sparkly green, but it didn't photograph that way.  I didn't know it glowed in the dark medal until someone mentioned it to me once I returned home.  Of course I tested the medal for it's glow in the dark capabilities.  All the yellow coloring on the medal does glow in the dark, and even though it's a novelty, it's still pretty cool.  

Besides the race, hubs and I did enjoy a night out.  We caught a show, Zumanity, and had a fabulous dinner and drinks on Friday night.  Sure, we could easily have a nice dinner out in our hometown, but sometimes a change of pace can do a relationship some good, and being in Las Vegas for some time with hubs was worth the effort of being there. 

I'm not sure why, but I have DOMS in both forearms. I'm guessing I was tensing up after the race while trying to keep warm.  I dunno. 

Now it's back to normal and continue training for my next race (my favorite) The Carlsbad Half Marathon in mid January.

Song from Monday, November 28, 2011
Monday Morning - No Doubt - Run-DMZ


*The 2010 Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon/Half Marathon event had 24,403 participants listed as finishers.

PS...  Any one else having issues with Blogger?  I'm having issues with comments and showing my full list of  followers.