Thursday, June 17, 2010

Welcome to Las Vegas

I used to love coming to Las Vegas. So many lights, the casinos, the all day party atmosphere it was continuous fun. “Was” is the key word in this sentence. I am just returning from 3 days in a desert town that I think was Las Vegas at least that is what they told me when I landed at McCarran International Airport. Of course I was there on business and I’ve been there before on business but this time was in a class all by itself.

I’ve heard it said that if you go a block or two off the Las Vegas Strip you can’t tell it’s the same place. Try 5 miles away and it could very well be Anytown, USA. I was there for meetings all day so it really didn’t matter but still the excitement from travelling to Sin City was gone. The hotel didn’t even have a slot machine in the lobby.


The last time I ran in Vegas was last summer. We went with my kids and we even took the running stroller. I ran off Strip from the MGM Grand and I explored the areas in and around the UNLV campus. By doing so I was also able to scope out places to buy groceries, bottled water, and of course diapers. In August the temperature hovered in the high nineties and one day broke a hundred for one of my runs. It was fun, I imagined myself running the Badwater and it was only beginning to warm up.

I run before in Vegas up and down the Strip which from a tourist perspective is kind of fun because at 6 in the morning the streets are empty and you get an unobstructed view of the city. I can only imagine what the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon would be like. I think you actually get to run down the middle of the Strip. Just imagine it no sidewalks, no escalators and walkways, that sounds like fun. Bucket list are you listening?

On this trip I was down to business, I am in week 2 on my marathon program and I had to get in 3 miles, 5 miles and then another 3 miles.

The first run I had to squeeze in between meeting end and dinner plans. Three miles, the prescribed distance fit in perfectly to the allotted time. At this point in the program I didn’t want to skip any workouts for any reason. I found a park right across the street from the hotel. What strikes me as odd is talking about going for a run in a park in Las Vegas. I saw trees and plants I even saw a rabbit scurrying into the sagebrush.

The second run was a five miler. The park was small and doing loop after loop in the park didn’t seem to inviting so I ventured into the industrial park right next to the hotel. Like I said this was an atypical visit to Las Vegas, industries, warehouses, and parks.

Run three I went back to the park for three. I don’t know if it was the heat or the elevation (2000’ above sea level) but my easy pace went from a typical 10 minute pace to just over 9 minutes for all three runs. I never focused on pace. I never focused on anything. I recorded my thoughts on one run but for the most part I ran by feel and ended up too fast. My HR was too high for all three runs. The saving grace was they were shorter runs. I recovered well but I’m going to have to pay better attention to the HR zones.

Tomorrow is my Tempo run. A 40 minute run of increasing effort to a tempo just below 10K pace and then back down again for the final minutes. Question is “What is my 10K pace if you haven’t run one without a running stroller in front of you?”

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