Saturday, January 21, 2017

This Week in Running 1/15 - 1/21






DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday5Easy run along the streets of Summerlin, NV
MondayOffTravel back to Utah
Tuesday6Medium effort
Wednesday58:30 pace for about 4 miles of it. Nice run.
Thursday7Pretty easy effort
Friday5Just burning some calories
Saturday6Tough to run through 2 - 3 inches of wet slush.
Total miles for the week: 34; YTD: 111.75




Week's Summary


Well this week was pretty ordinary from a training standpoint.  I got some miles in, but mostly it was a recovery week from last weekend's half marathon.  I was sore / tired for a few days after the race and then the proverbial poop hit the fan at work on Tuesday that caused a great deal of stress for me.  So by the time I came home, I really needed a run but I was so exhausted it was tough to run.

I did however get in a quality workout on Wednesday.  I was in major freak out mode from work and just wanted to pound the pavement for a bit.  However I soon ran into the runner I met last week and soon my easy run became a bit of a workout -- which was good.  It was nice to talk and share race experiences with another runner and it made what would've been an ordinary drudgery run into something more fun.

I was also fully intending upon doing a long run on Saturday morning, but what should've been "less than an inch of snow" has turned into a downpour of snow.  The last thing I want to do is get a 20-miler in with wet / cold shoes.  And I am less than thrilled to do 1-mile out and backs on a street for 3 hours.  Hopefully tomorrow as I really need to get in a 15+ miler.



Weight Loss


Well, I checked in on the scale this morning.  I was disheartened to see myself clock in a 184.4 pounds.  And for the most part I've been pretty good about what I've been eating.  I dialed back the sweets and have been avoiding sodas.  My metabolism must've taken a huge hit recently.

It also doesn't help that I had two buffets while in Vegas last week and I was so stressed at work that on Friday I went and hit up the Golden Corral.


Find Your Reason



That picture above probably doesn't look like much to you, but it really is fairly significant -- at least I think so.

About 4 - 6 weeks ago I spotted a feral cat out in the field where I run.  I saw him last year from time to time and he was a scrawny, tiny thing.  He isn't used to human contact and runs away the minute you try to coax or call him over.

I normally carry dry food for my friend Snowball who has a home and responsible owners (and who regularly says hi to me on my runs).  So the day I spotted this furry feral cat I saw him run into the drainage ditch / culvert that you see above.

I immediately climbed down there and dumped some food off.  

So like clockwork, every day that I run (which is about 6 days a week), I jump down there and put about a cup or so of kibble.  And every day that I return, every single morsel is gone.  

I had my doubts as to whether he was finding it.  Maybe I was feeding mice or the ducks or a raccoon.  Who knows what.

Then this week I saw this feline scurrying across the field and you know what -- he looked a LOT bigger and healthier.  So I am pretty confident in saying that this little guy is finding my food.  It's been a rough winter too.

So anytime I think about bagging a run for the day, I think about him and lace up and head on out.

Upcoming Races


I hope to know what I am doing soon as far as a road-trip / marathon.  Everyone at work keeps asking me "What are you doing" and I reply back that I really don't know.  Argh...


02/11: Winter Striders Race Circuit 5K - Ogden UT (Confirmed)
02/25: Winter Striders Race Circuit 10K - Ogden UT (Confirmed)
03/04: Legacy Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/18: Winter Striders Race Circuit 10 Mile - Ogden UT (Confirmed)
03/18: 6 Tunnels Half Marathon - Boulder City, NV (Confirmed)
04/08: Winter Striders Race Circuit Half Marathon - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed)
04/15: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed) (2017)
04/29: Winter Striders Race Circuit 30K - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
07/07: Utah Midnight (Legacy) Half Marathon - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

Friday, January 20, 2017

St George Half Marathon Weekend Recap

Celebrating yet another Half Marathon at the Casablanca Resort in Mesquite, NV

Introduction


Well this isn't necessarily a running-related post.  It is just a recap, mostly for me and my mom to record the adventures I had on my long weekend to run the St George Half Marathon.  It is purely a selfish endeavor and I like to look back at my adventures after a certain amount of time.  It is amazing all the little details that one forgets as time passes.


Friday 1/13


I got to work super early and worked a bit of extra time on Thursday and managed to duck out prior to 3 PM.  This was to avoid any traffic and there seemed to be a hint of a snow front moving in and I've driven to southern Utah in snow before and it isn't fun.

The drive to St George from Salt Lake City is pretty much a straight shot down I-15.  Once you get south of Provo, it is pretty bleak country.  You can probably count the number of map dots on both hands and still have fingers left over.  It also isn't terribly scenic.  I usually just settle in, put the car into cruise control and away I go.

I got into St George just before 7 PM.  I made my way to the Dixie Events Center and picked up a ton of tech shirts (they were selling them for $1 apiece), a pair of $65 2015 Brooks Adrenalines, and talked to the race directors of the Ogden Marathon and the Sand Hollow Marathon.  Both were looking forward to me running their respective events.  It was nice to be recognized though.



After picking up my bib we headed over to the Black Bear Diner for a bite to eat.  It was busy there (and loud) but I was happy to try the place out.  I grabbed a delicious veggie burger.  I would definitely eat there again.

I had a mouth sore that was bothering the heck out of me.  I wasn't sure what caused it but my gum was irritated.  So I went to a desolate K-Mart and scored a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, which helped a ton (hint for gum infections, swish with it).  We opted to drive an extra mile to check out Utah's oldest active LDS temple.  For a Friday night (and late too) the temple was bustling with activity.

St George Mormon Temple at night
I then drove back across town and checked into the St George Hilton Garden Inn.  We had a really good stay there and it was so convenient to be pretty much at the starting line once I exited my room.

I actually slept pretty well and with a 9 AM start and not having to move my car anywhere, I was able to sleep in a bit.


Saturday



I woke up around 7:30, took care of business and ate and prepared for the race.  At 9 AM I ran my first race of 2017.

After finishing the race, I quickly went back to the hotel, showered and packed up and within 30 minutes or so (I am quick) I was on my way to Mesquite, NV.  

I had a 2-for-1 buffet pass for the Casablanca Hotel and their buffet closed at noon.  Thankfully, Nevada is one Pacific time, so I made it in plenty of time.  They do have a good buffet and Shari and I ate for about $9.  You can't beat that. 

Shari hit paydirt right away and won about $170.  Unfortunately, we stayed a bit too long and she wound up giving it back and then some.

Me ... I tried pretty hard and didn't get squat.  I did get some play time, but I definitely paid for the buffet.  I never win in Mesquite and I should just stop going.  You think that it is not Vegas you have a better shot but it just doesn't pay out.  I've never won there.

We rolled into Summerlin Nevada in about 90 minutes and stopped in at the Suncoast.  I've had good luck there.  I wound up playing my favorite slot machine and got a bunch of bonus rounds, but they all paid next to nothing.  Soon my investment was gone.  Just nothing.

We met my aunt there and we circled the casino some more.  After a while we ducked over to the Rampart but I realized my luck was crap and had pretty much called it quits for the day.

Tired of gambling, we went over to my aunt's house in Summerlin and settled into our "hotel" for the next 2 nights.

In the evening we went to Casa Di Amore for dinner. My uncle had posted pictures of the food he was eating there one time and I knew I had to try it.  It was noisy, cozy and a bit pricey but the food was really good.  I thought their marinara sauce was gold.





I love Italian food and this place was definitely worth the drive to the other side of Vegas to check out.

Sunday


I slept in sort of late (for me) on Sunday and woke up looking to do a shake out run.  I love exploring towns and I wanted to see what Summerlin had to offer.  So I laced up and headed out.

I kind of know Summerlin, as I've visited all of their casinos and have run their half marathon twice (each time on different courses).  I am not saying I know every nook and cranny, but I have a general gist where everything is.

I just started wandering around -- cellphone in hand with Google Maps on it in case I got lost (which I kind of did).

I did a 5 mile loop, snapping pictures at whatever tended to interest me.  It wasn't the most glorious run I've ever done but it was nice to explore.  There were a few other runners out but certainly fare less than what I expected would've been.









It was nice to run in the sunlight and not have to worry about slipping on ice.

After cleaning up and eating we headed over to Red Rock Canyon.  Just an awesome place to visit and I definitely want to explore more on my own sometime. 


After visiting the canyon, we returned back to my aunt's house and dropped off Frank, an aged Sheltie who is just adorable to have around.  

We decided we would go to the Green Valley Ranch Casino in Henderson.  I had heard about the place but never have been.  I had also read that the buffet was good.

I tried my luck yet again and didn't get anything.  It was like insert money and watch it swirl down a toilet.  Not terribly satisfying too.

We wound up eating at the buffet.  My aunt had comps there, so we would up eating for free (thanks Aunt Cathy!).  


The decor and the whole look and feel of the place was similar to Summerlin's Red Rock Resort. We would've paid about $15 for a Sunday dinner and I would say the buffet is worth that.  They didn't have a lot of premiums, but their Mongolian Grill with made to order stir-fry stuff was good.  


I was like a bottomless pit and I was there for nearly 90 minutes.  My aunt got tired of watching me eat and so did Shari.  After a while I was there by myself just shoveling in more food.  I wound up eating a bit too much though... But if I was going to lose in their casino, I'd win at their buffet.

Shari wasn't having any luck either so we circled the casino and watched the Packers beat the Cowboys.  My aunt was having a pretty good run on a machine so Shari and I wound up gambling a bit more.

I finally got my ONE and ONLY hit of the weekend.  It was my very last spin and I had about $1.70 left in the machine.  I bet $1.68 and wound up winning $160-some-odd dollars.


I wound up cashing out with a lot of it and decided not to press my bad luck any further.

We returned home and spent most of the evening talking and watching TV.


Monday



We wound up eating breakfast at my aunt's house and got a fairly late start on the road.  Luckily, traffic outside of Vegas wasn't bad at all and it was pretty much smooth sailing.

Once again, I stopped in Mesquite -- this time at the Virgin River Casino, and decided to use my free play and use the bathroom.  It was a costly stop and I wound up tossing away $80 in a few minutes.  I got absolutely NOTHING.  Once again, I am pretty much done with Mesquite.  Too tight for me and it left a bad taste in my mouth for the 4.5 hour trip home.

I wasn't terribly hungry when we were there, but about half way to St George, I looked at the gas gauge and figured I'd fill up there.  Then I figured, what the heck, it was almost 1 PM Utah time so I bet Culvers wouldn't be busy.

On a holiday Monday -- it was busy.  I've seen Culvers a lot worse, but it definitely wasn't a quick easy in and easy out.  Still it was good and I got good and greased up for the trip home.

The rest of the way was pretty uneventful and we got in around 5:30 PM.  Again, for a holiday Monday, traffic on the I-15 wasn't bad at all.

Conclusion


This trip was a lot of fun and MUCH needed.  I hadn't done anything cool for a while and I needed a road trip.  I managed to check out a new casino and actually win at a Station-owned casino (go figure).  I also got to knock off the Red Rock Canyon off my bucket list.

I had a great time and it was made a lot cheaper with the help of my aunt, who was super cool to put us up and entertain us for the weekend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This Week in Running 1/8 - 1/14






DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday8.75Meant to go for a long run but weather kept me in. Medium pace
Monday7Medium effort -- ran with a buddy for a faster effort
Tuesday9Half Marathon pace. Awesome run
Wednesday5Easy recovery run
Thursday5Medium effort
FridayOffOff -- Travel to Southern Utah
Saturday13.25St George Half Marathon
Total miles for the week: 47.75; YTD: 77.75




Week's Summary


Well another pretty solid week of training and capped off with 2017's first race.  I am so glad that I was able to do the half marathon. I had had some cabin fever the past few weeks and it was incredibly wonderful to hit the open road and get in a run.  The St George Half Marathon isn't exactly a "sexy" course, but it is different and I enjoyed toeing the line.

I totally meant to get in a long run this week... On Saturday it didn't work  out -- it was raining, cold and otherwise miserable.  On Sunday, I fully intended to get in a long run and yet again, Mother Nature cheated me.  I did manage to get in a semi long run, however.  I did start on the bike trail and it was literally a sheet of ice.  I gave up after a quarter of a mile and just started to see where I could run on surface streets.

When I ran in Illinois, I only ran on surface streets.  It was nice in that I could go on a different route depending upon what I wanted to accomplish that day (hills, flats, scenic, etc).  On the down side, you had a less than level surface to run on and you had to dodge cars.

I am so glad that I have the bike trail.  Yes I run the same route virtually every day, but I am safe.  I don't have to dodge cars or wait at lights.  There are other runners and animals that I see and visit every day.  While I had a unique run on Sunday and got to see sections of town that I was unfamiliar with, I just couldn't get into the harmony of it.

I did, however, capture a few photos that grace this post.  Sometimes it is just nice to try something different -- you come away with an appreciation for the benefits of your normal routine and you also gain insight into something new.


New Friend?


I also had a good experience of running with what I suspect might be a new running buddy.  On Tuesday I was running along and found myself being dogged by another runner, who was catching up with me.  I tried to fend him off but there was no way that was happening.  We wound up running side-by-side for about a mile, exchanging race stories and stuff.  I had seen the individual several times but never spoken other than a quick hello.  We conversed like we had known each other for a year.

It was nice because my ordinary run became more challenging (I picked up my pace) and I got to learn and meet someone new.

Running is more than an exercise, it can be a social thing too.


Weight Loss


Sorry folks, no weigh-in this week.  I was out of town and to be honest, pretty much the furthest thing from my mind.  I did behave myself, relatively speaking, in Vegas with the buffets. So hopefully I didn't do too much damage.  I'll do an official weigh-in this weekend.

Upcoming Races




02/11: Winter Striders Race Circuit 5K - Ogden UT (Confirmed)
02/25: Winter Striders Race Circuit 10K - Ogden UT (Confirmed)
03/04: Legacy Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/18: Winter Striders Race Circuit 10 Mile - Ogden UT (Confirmed)
03/18: 6 Tunnels Half Marathon - Boulder City, NV (Confirmed)
04/08: Winter Striders Race Circuit Half Marathon - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed)
04/15: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed) (2017)
04/29: Winter Striders Race Circuit 30K - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
07/07: Utah Midnight (Legacy) Half Marathon - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area - Summerlin, NV


Introduction


For a while now, the Red Rock National Conservation Area has been on my must-do list.  It is located about 25 minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip, and about 10 minutes from where my aunt lives. After I ran the St George Half Marathon this past weekend, I did stay at my aunt's place for two nights.  

So on Sunday morning we headed on over to the conversation area.

First thing to take note of: There are going to be lots of other people there.  This is no longer a secret to people.  I had been warned that on Christmas, the park was a zoo.  This weekend, being Martin Luther King Day weekend was also fairly busy.

We had to have waited in a slow moving line of cars for about 15 minutes before getting in.

The park basically consists of about 13 miles of paved road where you can pull off into various sections and hike, look at the rock formations, or have a picnic.  

We stopped at all the major locations and took pictures and I did a few mini hikes to get a vibe of what was there. 

This place is definitely a place to check out during the cooler months.  There isn't much shade here and while there are bathrooms, I didn't see any concessions or water here.  Also, the road is one-way, so the only way out is to drive the entire 13 mile circuit and re-enter.  

There are some trails that looked suitable for running but I didn't follow them that far.  Many of them were listed as difficult, so my guess is that once you get beyond the parking area (some distance) they get more challenging and rugged.

I took a bunch of photos and I look forward to checking out this place in more detail next time I am out there:















These slabs of rock were quarried and smoothed about a hundred years ago

These slabs of rock were quarried and smoothed about a hundred years ago

These slabs of rock were quarried and smoothed about a hundred years ago