Monday, February 27, 2017

Laughlin Nevada - Weekend Recap


While my blog is mostly about running, I do like to recap my adventures of my trips to races.  Mostly I just like to capture these moments for myself.  However, maybe you are bored at work or something and you like to read about my adventures (or maybe you are my mom and like to hear these stories).

Either way, on my way down to the Lost Dutchman Marathon we passed through Laughlin Nevada.  I've been to most gaming towns throughout Nevada but I have never made it down to the southernest part of the state.

Laughlin itself has fallen on hard times since the Great Recession.  And when I got there it sort of showed.  A lot of the hotels were in dire need of updating and it just struck me as worn out and tired.

To me, Laughlin is a place where senior citizens go where you don't want the expense and the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas, and yet you still want the Vegas experience.  Hot weather, gambling, and cheap buffets.  Just like Vegas used to be.

I am 47 and I felt like I was one of the youngest ones there.


We rolled into Laughlin, making the epic drive from Reno to Laughlin all in one day.  On the way in, we had stopped at the Suncoast Resort for a delicious buffet.  By the time we rolled in it was pushing 9 pm (if not later).

I was worn out and tired of driving -- as it takes over 8 hours to go from Reno to Laughlin.  

Also, the last 90 minutes I was driving in pitch darkness and almost swerved off the road when a raccoon or something jumped into the middle of the road.  It is so easy to lose control of your car going 75.  Luckily, the varmint saw me coming and got out of the way, but it was white knuckle driving.

Finally, after passing through Searchlight NV we reached Laughlin.  We came down a massive hill and it was a joy to see the lights of their "strip" below.

We quickly found Harrah's of Laughlin where I had scored some $21/night rooms.  I was feeling horrible -- I had a touch of bronchitis and I was just exhausted from driving.

We made the long walk from the parking lot to check-in.  There obviously was a problem with our room as the lady checking us in was talking with her supervisor.

The last thing I wanted to do was wait ... I just wanted to clean up and go to bed.  

The check-in lady explained that there was a hole in the ceiling of our room and that the room was under repairs.  Uh oh.... then she said she would give us a free upgrade to a suite.  Score!  

When we got to the room, it was an epic upgrade... it was at the top, with a view, and it was huge!  Normally the room goes for close to $80 a night, so I was thrilled.

Harrah's -- like the rest of Laughlin, needs some updating, but overall it was a pleasant stay.

In the morning, we had two free buffet passes for the breakfast.  Harrah's definitely has a premium breakfast that we enjoyed.  It was nearly noon by the time I felt like eating and the place was a ghost town.  They have a good variety of food and it looks like the buffet, much like Laughlin, was once used for bigger and brighter things.

I had talked about doing some hiking, but I felt like garbage -- like crawl into a hole and die garbage. So we tried to find me a doctor.  There were only two in town -- and one didn't take our insurance.  Both wouldn't take an appointment and both said it was at least an hour wait, possibly longer.  I even rolled into one office and looked at the other sad sick saps and decided no way.

I wound up buying some cough syrup (expensive!) from the hotel gift shop.  Luckily, it helped immensely.

So I wound up walking around the city and poked around in the half a dozen or so casinos.  I tried to  to enjoy the atmosphere but I felt drained and horrible.  I sounded like an asthmatic smoker -- even walking at a good clip caused me to cough and wheeze like crazy.  Luckily, I didn't have a temperature, but I just felt drained.

I wound up gambling some but I had zero -- and I mean zero -- luck.  Insert money, press a button a few times, and walk away with pennies.  Seriously.  I saw people winning but clearly I was having no luck this trip.  Eventually I just sucked it up and continued my moaning and watched other people play (which isn't much fun)...

We wound up eating at Harrah's for dinner.  We were already at the hotel and I didn't feel like moving.  The buffet was pricey for dinner but not too bad.  There was also an army of Koreans there -- obviously touring the state and I wound up chatting with a few of them (I am fascinated by their pop culture) 

In the morning, we wanted to try a different buffet.  Shari had heard that the Tropicana had a free buffet when you signed up for their player's club card.  Turned out that was false -- you got 10% off.  The buffet, at best, was average.  We should've gone back to Harrah's.

I felt horrible -- despite having a decent night's rest.  I was still coughing up a storm, I was broke, and to be quite frank, I didn't see how I was going to run anything this weekend.  I could hardly walk with coughing and hacking up crazy amounts of yuck.

We talked about simply returning home.  I was leaning towards just leaving that day and driving until I felt tired and getting a room.  

After some serious hemming and hawing we opted to continue to Arizona.


First off, Laughlin's rooms are cheap.  There is free, covered parking (unlike Vegas now) and the food was actually fairly reasonable.  They weren't exactly giving it away, but it wasn't a ripoff.

I had had much higher hopes for the gambling.  Neither one of us had any luck.  Most of the casinos had newer games though.  We didn't have any problems finding games we wanted to play.

I'd definitely stay here again especially if I wanted something more quiet and cheaper.  It looks like there is some hiking and I was dying to run to the California and Arizona borders so I could claim running in three states in one day.... but I could hardly walk down the hallway let alone run.

I also would've loved to have seen Crystal Gayle -- she was playing.  But I would've ruined the show with my incessant coughing.  Maybe next time!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

This Week in Running 2/19 - 2/25

Me, running in the Winter Striders 10K

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday13.25Lost Dutchman Half Marathon (photos of me here)
MondayOffTravel Day
Tuesday7Easy Day
Wednesday6A few good miles, then easy
Thursday4Felt Drained
Saturday7.5Winter Striders 10K
Total miles for the week: 37.75; YTD: 298.5

Week's Summary

Despite being sick for most of the week I actually turned in a decent volume.  Unfortunately, most of it wasn't very good quality and it was all about burning up some calories that I had taken on during my trip to the Lost Dutchman Marathon.

As I write this, my cold is a lot better.  However, I am still blowing my nose and I find myself tired a lot.  What I would've figured would be a 2 to 3 day cold has turned into something lasting about almost 3 weeks.  It puts a huge damper on your enthusiasm for running as well as your energy level.

Me, running in the Winter Striders 10K


I am still torn as to what to do with my marathon training.  I am looking at the Sand Hollow Marathon down in southern Utah in a few weeks.  I've done that twice before though and it is sandwiched between a bunch of other races and trips.  How far do I want to push my racing?

I suppose I should see how long this cold lingers but right now that is a blip on the radar.  I have some other choices for the March 11-ish weekend as well.  I may just hold off on marathons until the Salt Lake City one in April.  The marathon distance always takes so much out of me but I really find an emotional payoff associated with them.

Weight Loss

Surprise surprise.  I got back from my week-long trip indulging in endless buffets in Nevada and I only gain about a pound or two.  Not too bad.  I am at 184.5.  Time to get it together though. 

Upcoming Races

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)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

2017 Winter Striders 10K Race Recap - Ogden, Utah

Official Time: 55:18
Placement: 7th in age group, 90th overall
Results: Here
Race Website:Here
Weather: Lower 20's, slight southern wind
Garmin Dump:  Here

Mile Time Comments
1 8:28 Sluggish start but second half of this mile is downhill
27:39Couldn't jet down the massive downhill.  Slippery conditions
38:29Some climbing here mixed with downhill. Felt flat though. Nice mile
48:57Some climbing here. Mostly flat but conserving energy
510:30This is where things get tough. Nearly 200 feet of climbing
610:02Another 140 feet of climbing. Tiny bit of downhill at the end
6.171:13Mostly downhill here. Not much left in the tank
Total Miles: 6.17


Like last year, I signed up for the Ogden Marathon Winter Race Series.  This is a race series designed to get you race ready for the Ogden Marathon or Half Marathon.  For one low price, you get 5 races, a 5K, 10K, 10M, Half marathon and 30K.  So it works out to be a pretty nice deal.

Today's race was the 10K.

I had hopes I'd do well.  I felt like I've turned the corner with my cold and despite a lackluster week of training, I felt like I could make a decent showing.

I was a little worried upon getting there though.  The week had started out fairly warm and spring like, however, as the week wore on, it got colder -- like 21F-ish colder.  Couple that with the fact that it had snowed a bit.

Being that this course is hilly I was worried about slipping.  Even on the way into pick up my bib I slipped a little on the driveway around the Dee Events Center.

About 30 minutes before the race. Looking slick

The Race

The 10K is really not an easy race.  Like the 5K, it has a lot of hills.  The race starts with a gentle ascent that if you aren't ready for, will leave you breathless (also considering you are at 4500 feet).  However, once you get to about the half mile mark the fun starts.  You are greeted with a fantastic downhill.

I was really nervous about taking the downhill fast.  By the time the race had started, the road conditions weren't as bad as the picture above, but it was still slick looking.  While I wasn't feeling any slipperiness underfoot I didn't want to be the first to fall flat on my face.

So I was definitely braking on the downhills.

I ran the first 5K in about 25:19, which for me was about where I wanted to be.  I felt good for the most part, but I think last week's half marathon and the fact that I am still struggling to breath a bit from my cold.  

I dialed it back a bit but I felt like I was making okay progress.  I knew the hardest part of the race was coming up as well.  All the downhills we had would now have to be made up.

Starting at about mile 4.5, the monkey is on your back and it is almost a straight climb back to the starting line.  I knew it was going to be tough, and I felt a little empowered by passing some of the people who were walking (or those who had run the short course).  But I really didn't have a lot here and even at the end, when it is mostly downhill, I couldn't turn on the jets.


After crossing the finish line, I grabbed a cup of coffee and thankfully they had a few donut holes (thanks JS!)  My hands were frozen due to me wearing paper-thin gloves, but the rest of me was fine.  I was definitely chilled though and I was one of the few in shorts.

I was really disappointed with my time.  I do realize the conditions were tough and I was under the weather, but I was really hoping to get very close to last year's time (52 and change).

I lingered around a bit a trying to figure out what to do with myself.  I had visions of going hiking or going to Crystal Springs.  I wound up going out for breakfast at the Cafe Ville Bella.  I had wanted to go there last time I had raced in Ogden but they hadn't opened.  Had a huge breakfast and it was close by to the race.  Always fun trying something new!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Rhyolite Nevada Ghost Town


Ever since I heard of Rhyolite Nevada I knew I had to visit it.  The problem is, is that it is a bit of a haul to get there.  It is about a 2 hour drive from Vegas and quite a ways from just about everything else.  Since I was driving from Reno to Laughlin along I-95, I made it a point to pay a visit to this historical town.

It is about 5 miles west of Beatty Nevada and super easy to find. Just take Route 374 out of town and look for the signs for Rhyolite.  From the entrance, it is about a mile or two to the actual ghost town.  There was no cost associated with visiting.

Rhyolite was started in 1905 and pretty much had a boom to bust history.  It grew up quick and had a host of colorful characters and a lot of wealth was generated there.  However, by 1911, it had clearly reached its peak and people soon left as the minerals they were mining were exhausted.

What is left of the town are the shells of some of the houses and buildings.  Also you can check out some of the mines that dot the hills.

I think there was a group tour going on, but I just parked the car and did some exploring.  Be mindful of rattlesnakes.  I didn't see any but Rhyolite is definitely snake country.

Also, there are some statues depicting the last supper of Christ. Also a house made of glass bottles exists.  Sort of weird seeing these items here but they added a certain charm to the town.

I spent about an hour exploring.  It looks like you can do a fair amount here.  Clearly, though, you'll want to visit this place outside of the hottest parts of the day in the summer.  I visited in February and it was quite comfortable.

Enjoy the photos: