Sunday, August 30, 2015

8/30 West Wendover Trip Plus Desert Run


Shari, her mom and I were looking for something to do this weekend and during midweek I logged into the WendoverFun website and read that they were having 5x comps on Saturday night.  Normally 5x is almost an instant given we'll be there.  We looked at prices of the hotel and it was about $130.  Ugh... too much.  

Then we had my mother in law call and she plays more aggressively than we do.  Turns out they were willing to throw her a $30 room for Saturday night.  So we booked it.  I later checked the calendar on the website again and discovered I had misread the day -- no 5x comps.  Womp.  We decided to go anyways and just enjoy the time out there.

So on Saturday at about 1pm we pointed the car west and made the 126 mile to Nevada.


Normally when we arrived in Wendover, we are ravenous and ready to eat.  However, with us arrived at about 2:45 and the buffet closing at 3pm for their lunch to dinner transition we headed over to the Rainbow and managed to check in.

Normally I have zero luck at the Rainbow, but being we had a bit of time to kill I jumped on Fu Dao Le and managed to get some decent bonuses including this gem:

Nice $60 win
By the time we took off for Montego Bay, our stomach's were growling and my wallet was a little fatter.  Since I was ahead I put $25 on the red hot Royals over the Rays and another $25 on the Cubs over the Dodgers.  Note to self: the Cubs may be hot, but they are guaranteed to lose when you bet on them.  I wound up splitting the ticket.  Fun but it cost me about $2.

I did pretty good damage to the buffet.  Shari and I ate for about $30 since we had comps we could use to help put a dent in the bill.  Shari's mom ate for $2 since she had comps too.  Wendover continues to treat us well:

After eating, and seeing someone make a killing on a Fu Dao Le near the buffet, I wound up jumping on one and nailed some pretty good bonus rounds:

The machines started to go south on me so I opted to hit the pool.  Shari and her mom wound up driving themselves back to the Rainbow.  I did some swimming and hung out in the sauna.  A pretty nice night actually and very relaxing:

After cleaning up I wandered around Montego Bay a bit more before hitting the road.  It was a really nice night to walk:

Strolling along Wendover Blvd looking south

Strolling along Wendover Blvd looking south
I popped into the Peppermill and sort of broke even before returning to the Rainbow.  I wound up finding Shari and her mom.  Her mom was doing quite well and was up about $100 or so.  I was up about $60 or so.  Around 10:30 I was starting to get tired, so I bought some snacks at the (overly priced) gift shop and went to sleep by 11.


I actually slept pretty well.  Having gone to sleep at 11, I managed to stay pretty much asleep until 8AM.  Knowing that Shari and her mom take forever to get ready, I popped on my running shorts and headed out.  

I am sort of in taper mode and running the trails north of town is a tough run.  Looking at MapMyRun.Com, I did about 10 miles total, which is about 5 miles more than what I wanted to.  As usual, wanderlust got the best of me and I thought Pilot Peak was just another quarter mile ahead.  Boy was I wrong!

Either way the run started at the Rainbow Casino, about 4400 elevation and I wound up peaking at about 5675 feet.  Wow, 1200 feet.  No wonder I was dragging.

I did get to see Pilot Peak again, but the day was really hazy, so I didn't get any great pictures.  

I didn't bring any water and time was somewhat limited so I didn't attempt to get too much closer.  Besides, I am supposed to be tapering.

Luckily, however, a friendly ATV rider saw me and while I could've finished the run without support, he did give me a spare bottle of water, which I did take and greedily drink.  I should know better than to run in the desert without water.

The run heading back was awesome, since it was primarily downhill and I fly back in nothing flat.  I did snap a bunch of photos:

Heading up the trail, you can see the Rainbow casino on the other side of the freeway

Heading north

Starting the climb, looking back at Wendover

Starting the climb, looking back at Wendover

Still more climbing to do

Finally Pilot Peak in the distance

Parts of the Salt Flats

Finally Pilot Peak in the distance

Heading back down

Once I was cleaned up, we loaded up the car and headed back to Montego Bay for breakfast.  Shari and I had a 2-for-1 pass and my mother in law earned another free buffet.  Score.

Happy me -- absolutely stuffed

Cannoli and a piece of cake
After eating, I jumped on Fu Dao Le near the buffet.  Since we've eaten at the buffet, I've seen how "hot" this machine can be.  The first twenty I put in yielded nothing, but the second twenty got me the pick'em bonus and I managed to nail a minor $119 win.  Sweet!

$119 pick'em bonus
I did okay on some other machines at Montego Bay but mostly managed to break even for the rest of the morning.  

A little bit later we opted to head over to the Peppermill.  Shari and her mom hadn't been there this trip.  I wound up getting a decent bonus round or two, but anytime I won something I chased it away in a different machine.  Shari's mom's experience was a bloodbath and anything she was ahead by, she gave to the Peppermill and then some.  


Well, I had a good trip.  I wound up coming home with a few extra bucks in my wallet.  I didn't get an accurate count before I left, but after tips, money I gave to Shari and my profits, I figure I won around $75 - $100.  I am a pretty conservative gambler and I have some trips planned in September, so I am glad to have come home with a little extra spending money.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

This week in running 8/23 - 8/29

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday7Recovery run
Monday7Quality run with some decent miles
Tuesday5Running on sludge today. Ick. No energy
Wednesday7At near tempo pace
Thursday7Easy first 5 -- cranked it up the last 2
FridayOffWalked about 4 miles throughout the day.
Saturday10.5Roughly at marathon pace
Total miles for the week: 43.5 - YTD: 1653.5

Week's Summary

I hit my mileage quota this week.  Usually about two weeks before a marathon I like to get in roughly half of my largest mileage week.  With eighty miles being my largest weekly total, I had about 40 in mind.  Sure enough I managed to get that total.

Saturday's long run went pretty well.  I didn't wear a Garmin, but it felt at about marathon pace.  It was also 70 degrees, so I certainly felt the heat.  When I run in the Jackson Hole Marathon next weekend, it should be quite cooler (I hope).  I just have to deal with the altitude... I don't think I've run at 6000+ feet before.

I was completely out of gas on Tuesday.  My mind wanted to run but my body wasn't going to have it.  Last year I had that problem on an almost daily basis.  I still don't understand what triggers it but it sort of sucks.


I did purchase a new Garmin.  It is coming in the mail -- I hope soon.  I worked with the customer support folks about getting 6 month old one fixed but apparently they don't make it anymore and wouldn't be able to repair it.  Perhaps I should've gotten pissed but I wound up taking it on the chin and just got another one.  I need one for Jackson.

Also, my Brooks Adrenaline Shoes that I bought on Aug 6th?  They already look like they've been through a war zone.  Sure, I put probably about 150 miles on them and a hike, but they broke down very quickly.  They look like they have twice as many miles on them than what they do.  Not good.

Upcoming Races

09/5: Jackson Hole Wyoming Marathon (confirmed)
10/18: Duke City Marathon (Probable. Non refundable Hotel is booked for Albuquerque)
11/15: Las Vegas Marathon (definite)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Big Mountain Hike - East Canyon


With me being a casual reader of the Fast Cory blog, I noticed that he recently did a bit of a run along the Big Mountain trail just outside of Salt Lake City.  

First off, I haven't been over to East Canyon since I've moved here and I've been itching to explore what lay over the east side mountains.

A little research and I found out that the Big Mountain trail is up I-65 about 8.5 miles north from an I-80 exit.  I studied the maps and figured out what I needed and headed out.

History Lesson

There is a lot of history behind I-65.  It appears that the first visitors to that area were the Donner Party, who came to Salt Lake City on their way westward.  One of the reasons why they were delayed was they had to come down the I-65 corridor and actually make a road of sorts.  This was one of their delays that caused a lot of destruction for them when an early winter snuck up on them when they got near Reno.

All along the I-65 there are historical markers and actual trails that were used by the pioneers.  I did make a quick stop at Affleck park where apparently the pioneers made camp for a night:

You also pass by Little Dell Reservoir on the way up, which appears to be a place for fishing:

I finally arrived at the Big Mountain Trailhead.  It is located at the Salt Lake City / Morgan County line (about 8 miles from the I-80 exit).  There is a parking lot on the east side and you walk across the street and jump on a tiny trail that appears to head north.

This trail quickly switchbacks and the initial mile or so is pretty intense.  However, after a while it levels out and the trail is actually highly runnable.  

I didn't see anyone on the trail except one hunter with a bow heading down and another silent on sitting on the side of the trail who barely acknowledged me when I passed by (it was something out of Deliverance and it made me extremely nervous).  I did see a few people when I was making my way down, but this trail is definitely one of the more quiet ones I've been on.

The middle miles of the hike made me nervous.  You go through a cluster of cedar trees and bushes and I was just really worried about a moose or a bear startling me.  Normally I am alert for such things but I also know that with lots of hikers the animals are usually gone.  However, not seeing anyone on the trail made me wonder what I was going to encounter.  Luckily, I had no run ins with wild animals.

There are no sign posts for Big Mountain.  After about 2.5 miles of hiking I pulled out my phone and was surprised I still had 4G connection up there.  Using Google Maps I determined I was at the base of Big Mountain.  There are no signs for it, other than some incredible views.

I went another .5 mile or so, but I was really nervous going anymore despite the clear trail.  The trail had split off a couple of times since Big Mountain and I wasn't terribly familiar with the lay of the land, so I opted to head back.  Until I learn the area a bit better, I'll hold off on exploring.  If I had seen other people out there, I suspect I would've gone further, but I felt oddly uncomfortable out there (could've been the "You are entering Bear Country Sign").

Either way, it was a very scenic hike and I definitely found a bunch more trails out there that I want to explore.  Enjoy the photos:

Looking down on I-65

A prairie in the middle of the 

Remnants of a burned out tree

Approaching Big Mountain

Making my way to Big Mountain

Don't look down