vegas vacation

I’m sure you’re sick to death of all things Vegas, but I don’t care.  I’ve got more stuff to share, and I’m in charge around here.  Required reading.

Time to learn about Vegas eats!  (Sorry/not sorry I don’t have pictures.  I eat my food, not stage it.)

Our flight from Chicago arrived late, so all we did was go to Pub 1842 in MGM Grand.  We each had a beer and split an order of the pork chili nachos.  They were as good as I remembered them!

Jakre and I ran to the expo, spent as little time there as possible, then walked back towards our hotel.  I expected to stop somewhere in The Venetian, like we did last year.  But Jakre had a little surprise up his sleeve.  We went to Tacos El Gordo, a little stand in a strip mall between Encore and the Riviera.  The food was DELICIOUS.  The carne asada was good, but the spicy pork was the clear winner.  With lunch for the 2 of us costing less than $14, we will be back!

We had a snack at the new bar in MGM Grand, Tap.  (For those of you familiar with Vegas, this is housed in the old Lion Habitat.  So it is automatically @OrtonPants-approved.)  The cheese curds we had were AMAZING.  The best I’ve had in quite some time.

For dinner we went to our old standby, Ellis Island Cafe.  This place boasts an $8.99 steak special for players club members, and it is legitimately good.  It’s hard to pass up a steak, potato, veg, salad, and draft beer for $8.99.

Jakre and I walked to Paris, and had lunch at one of our haunts, La Burger Brasserie.  Sadly, the menu has changed since last year, and it not very good anymore.  We won’t be back.

For dinner, we went to d.Vino in Monte Carlo with Eric.  The boys each had $50 food credits, which covered both bills.  The food was unexpectedly good, and we would definitely go back.  I had the homemade shell pasta with vodka sauce and bacon.  (Duh, obviously I got the one with the bacon.)

You already know about our brunch at America.  Croissant french toast and more bacon FTW.

After the race, I wanted nothing more than 1) to not have to walk anywhere, and 2) steak.  We met up with Eric and Jessie and went to Wolfgang Puck’s Bar and Grill.  I satisfied my steak craving with the flat iron, and it came with red wine sauce, bleu cheese, and crispy fries.  It was heaven on a plate, basically.  The fact that I had a BOGO entree reward from myVegas was the icing on the cake!  All you need to know about that dinner is this – Jakre ate the entire bread basket, and fire fucks.  The end.

Since it was my birthday, I picked lunch.  I wanted Mexican food and a margarita, so off we went to Hussong’s.  I had the flautas, and a lot of chips with green salsa.  It was magical.  Thanks to coupons, it was inexpensive as well.

For dinner, we went to Tony Roma’s.  I just learned now that this is in the Fremont Casino.  You see, I was quite drunk.  I could never find this place ever again.  I ate my own onion loaf and mashed potatoes, maybe?  Hah.  Vegas.

After getting a late start, Jakre and I met up with Eric and headed to Monte Carlo for lunch.  I still had my own $50 dining credit, so lunch was on me!  We went to 800 Degrees for pizza, a new place that recently opened up.  In one word – amazing.  I had a pizza with artichokes and olives and ham on it, and it was delicious.  The crust was chewy and crunchy in the right places.  Everything was fresh.  Jakre and I just learned that one of these will be opening in Evanston in 2015… save us spots in line!

For dinner, the three of us went to Gallagher’s for steak.  My dry-aged filet was magical.  Also, thanks to a resort credit, our total spent was minimal.

After dinner, we all went to the Bar at Times Square.  Jakre and Eric each had a $50 drink credit, so all we did was tip.  And listen to the music.  And make fun of drunk people dancing.  Good times.

For our last meal in Vegas, Jakre wanted more pizza.  So back to 800 degrees it was!  The pizza tasted even better than it did the day before.  We split a pizza and also split a huge chopped salad.  Jakre, not really a salad eater, loved it as much as I did.  What a way to leave our culinary adventures!

Can’t wait for next year!

training nov 17-23 [1]

Training Stuff:

Monday:  1 mile (9:50 min)
Tuesday:  1.02 miles (10 min, avg pace 9:48)
Wednesday:  2 miles (18:12 min, avg pace 9:06)
Thursday:  2.02 miles (18:12 min, avg pace 9:01) + 0.48 miles walking (7:40 min, avg pace 16:00) = 2.5 miles
Friday:  4 miles (35:58 min, avg pace 9:00) + 0.50 miles walking (8:02 min, avg pace 16:04) = 4.5 miles
Saturday:  1.19 miles (10 min, avg pace 8:25) + 0.39 miles walking (6:18 min, avg pace 16:12) = 1.58 miles
Sunday:  5.21 miles (45 min, avg pace 8:39) + 0.13 miles walking (2:08 min, avg pace 16:25) = 5.34 miles

Total Mileage:  17.94
Total Mileage (month):  96.41
Total Mileage (year):  1576.03

Total Time:  2:51:20
Total Time (month):  15:38:58
Total Time (year):  265:53:13

Fun Stuff:

Something Interesting:
On Saturday, I slept until 1pm.  Mostly because it was the first time since, like, May that I didn’t have to get up early for a long run.  In other words, it was magical.

Books I Read:
Brain on Fire (Susannah Cahalan)
Love Life (Rob Lowe)

New Beers I Tried:
Traditional British IPA (Sin City)
Oktoberfest (Sin City)
Apple Hoppler (Banger)
Magnanimous (Banger)
El Heffe Jalapeno Wheat (Banger)
Liquid Courage (Banger)

good things, part 4



In my last post, I did a lot of whining.  I apologize for that.  I didn’t have the best day, and I made you readers suffer through my race report along with me.  In the event that you got the wrong impression about the RnR Vegas experience, allow me to present you with several Good Things about running the Las Vegas strip:

  1. Actually running on the Las Vegas strip.  That’s pretty badass.
  2. I was able to cross off another state.  Where was I supposed to go to get a Nevada, Reno?  *snort*
  3. It was dark outside the whole entire time, and you couldn’t tell just how much I was sweating through my lighter-colored shirt.
  4. Running down Fremont Street while the light show was going on.  Only the marathoners get to do that, so yeah, we’re kind of a big deal.
  5. High-fiving drunk people on said Fremont Street, and having it photographed to save forever and ever.  Because that one is going in a frame on my mantel, folks.
  6. Seeing the old man from Pawn Stars.  Yep, that’s right – Eric and I totally saw a celebrity.
  7. Counting the wedding chapels to pass the time.  A drive-thru?  The one from The Hangover?  Scene of a Michael Jordan wedding?  Yes, yes, and YES.
  8. Snowing and bitterly cold at home and 50 degrees in Vegas?  Well, okay then.
  9. Being one of only 3,000ish people to actually complete the 26.2 miles!

This just goes to show you that even on the days running is being a jerk to you, there are still Good Things around to remind you why we even do this damn thing in the first place.

rock n roll las vegas marathon RR

You can read recaps of previous years’ races here and here.

The Short Version:  I did not make my sub-4 goal.  The end.

Pre-race:  I’ll cover the rest of my Vegas adventure in another post, so for the sake of this race report, we’ll concentrate on Sunday stuff.

Jakre and I got up in time for football Sunday.  Where to watch the games, we wondered.  We walked over to NYNY from our base at MGM Grand, found video poker machines at the Bar at Times Square, and plopped down.  The bartender fed me Diet Coke while I watched the Bears, so all was right with the world.

We met up with Eric and headed to America for brunch (aka pre-race meal in Vegas).  I had croissant french toast, which was just as amazing as it sounds.  And no breakfast food would be complete without a side of bacon!  We gambled for a little bit, then headed back to MGM Grand.  I left Jakre at a blackjack table (where he would seriously remain for over 5 hours), and went to my room to relax.  I got ready, met up with Eric, and then we were in the corral and ready to go.

(I wonder about the fate of the guy I saw – he had the instructions for the timing chip on his shoe, and the timing chip on his bib.  Reading is hard, yo.  I hope you got a time, bud.)

After about 10 minutes, our corral (8) was OFF!

Mile 1:  The first few miles are REALLY crowded.  Yes, there are waves.  However, RnR does a very poor job at this race of regulating the corrals (as in, checking the bib numbers as people enter said corral).  We saw 48s and 38s and 29s.  So basically we weaved around walkers until after the Wynn.  Just terrible.  9:22

Mile 2:  Still slow, but we got into a little groove where nobody was walking in front of us, haha.  8:49

Mile 3:  1st 5K came in exactly at Jakre pace, which was right where we wanted to be at that point in time.  8:59

Mile 4:  This is the point where I said to Eric, “I feel like I’m flying, but then the mile splits are soooo slow.”  In other words, what the hell is happening with my body?!  9:03

Proof that I actually did run with Eric.

Proof that I actually did run with Eric.

Mile 5:  I felt good during this mile, because there was Gatorade, but that faded once I finished my drink.  Sigh.  8:47

Mile 6:  I really thought this part of the race was darker last year, but they seem to have done a great job with making sure there is plenty of adequate lighting.  I remembered there being far more potholes last year!  As it turns out, I remembered wrong.  But we’ll get there.  9:01

Mile 7:  This is the point where I seriously considered dropping down to the half.  I knew that this wasn’t my day.  My legs felt really, really dead.  Kind of like jello.  And once the pain sets in later in the race?  I’m going to die for sure.  8:53

Mile 8:  Dreaming about my comfy hotel bed, a hot shower, and a steak dinner.  It could all be mine, way sooner than planned.  This is starting to sound better and better.  8:59

Mile 9:  I did not get stopped by a traffic cop like last year, so that’s a good thing!  Also got some other cool pics on Fremont Street, which was again one of my favorite parts (okay, THE favorite) of the whole race.  Best mile of the day.  8:39

Being awesome in front of the D.  LIKE I DO.

Being awesome in front of the D. LIKE I DO.

Mile 10:  The split was just ahead.  I stayed with the marathoners, thinking that I could just hop over a couple of cones.  But for whatever reason, feeling as terrible as I did, I stayed.  I didn’t take the turn.  I decided to run the entire marathon.  I might crash and burn, and it might take me awhile, but I decided not to quit.  Looking back, I know what it was a good decision.  9:02

Mile 11:  The fun part on Fremont is over, and now there’s nothing but darkness.  And not a whole lot of people.  In a race with over 45,000 finishers, there were only a little over 3,000 of us who finished the marathon.  Yeah.  So while I’m grateful for the extra elbow room, it’s also a little lonely.  And dark.  9:06

Mile 12:  Right before the mile marker, I separate from Eric.  He looks fresh and all second wind-y, and I feel like my legs are going to fall off.  At mile 12.  Derp.  I know that I have to switch to the run/walk, because my legs can’t handle a 9 minute pace anymore.  Guess that cold fucked me up more than I was willing to admit.  8:53

Mile 13:  Run 4 minutes, walk on the 4s and the 9s.  Repeat for 14 miles.  Derp.  9:48

Mile 14:  I hit the halfway marker at 1:59:20.  Yep.  If I had been running that last mile, and came upon a 1:58:big number when I crossed 13.1, I would have cried.  Instead, I’m taking my time and doing it right.

There was a weird trippy light tunnel during this mile.  At least I didn’t have to run under the crotch of the Brooks guy, so that’s something.  9:46

Mile 15:  There are spectators out this way, but they are few and far between…  9:47

Mile 16:  We made a turn!  A turn!  So I guess now we’re maybe heading back soon to civilization?  I can see bright lights, and they look soooo far away.  9:55

Mile 17:  There’s a group of spectators.  One of the guys is shouting at everyone, telling them they are going to break 4 hours.  This is where I cry a little bit.  10:03

Mile 18:  Last mile in the 9s.  My walking isn’t quite as swift as it was 6 miles ago.  I can’t believe I still have 8 more miles to go.  In my head, I’m imagining telling people that this race was basically a death march.  Because it was!  9:54

Mile 19:  I have to poop.  Badly.  But I just tell my stomach to STFU, have another couple of Sweet Tarts to stave off nausea, and keep on moving.  I don’t stop.  10:12

Mile 20:  I’m bored.  It’s dark and lonely and stuff.  But there are only 6 more miles to go, which seemed impossible an hour ago.  10:23

Mile 21:  Getting closer to Fremont.  There are more lights, and actual cars.  And people cheering.  So close.  10:03

Mile 22:  I had to poop.  But it was the world’s quickest break, and then I’m back out there running again.  I also feel lighter, as if I have lost several pounds.  Like maybe 40.  11:17

Mile 23:  Back to Fremont Street!  This was my favorite part of the whole entire race.  I high-fived everyone.  I smiled a lot.  WHYYYYYY did it take me 22 miles to feel awesome???  (My splits from here on our don’t really reflect that, but it’s the truth.)  10:15

Back to Fremont...

Back to Fremont…

I got my picture with the lady last year, now this one can complete my collection!

I got my picture with the lady last year, now this one can complete my collection!

High-fiving the field!

High-fiving the field!

Mile 24:  My favorite band of the race was during this mile, right after we ran a couple of circles through the ghetto.  When I ran by, the ladies were wearing poodle skirts and the men were singing Buddy Holly songs.  It reminded me of Saturday outings to Superdawg with my dad in his ’77 Mercury… we listened to a lot of oldies when I was growing up!  10:42

Mile 25:  I walked a couple more minutes during this mile.  I feel pretty good, but the bottoms of my feet hurt a lot.  I want to finish strong, and run as much of the entire mile as I can handle.  So this one was slow to make the next one fast.  At this point in my marathon, this is how I do math.  11:12

At the very least, that guy is impressed.

At the very least, that guy is impressed.

Mile 26:  I run the whole rest of the race, as quickly as my legs are capable of at this point.  I actually feel pretty good.  Everyone around me is walking, and I’m still running.  As a result, I’m weaving a lot.  But still upright, and ready to be done with this beast.  10:13

DONE!  Almost done!

DONE! Almost done!

Mile 26.51 (so. much. weaving.):  I’ve gotten a lot of high-fives and a few “wow you look great”s.  Maybe this race wasn’t where I was supposed to rock my time.  Maybe I was supposed to look like a rockstar and finish strong.  The tough ones make you tougher, kids.  4:28

FINAL TIME:  4:15:31
MEDALS/FINISHER AWARDS:  Medals!  They glow in the dark, too.
NEXT RACE:  Edison Park Turkey Trot, 11.27.2014

Post-race:  It took me forever to get out of the finisher chute.  Not only is the chute humongous, but I kept getting cut off by half marathoners.  At one point, I went off to the side and took off my socks and compression sleeves, then wore my shoes barefoot for the rest of the walk.  Oddly, I felt much better.  I felt bad for the beer guy, though, because I was trying to get a beer while holding smelly socks.  He must have not known what else to do, so I got 2 beers.  I drank one sitting down by the Bellagio Fountain, and drank the other one while I walked all by myself back to MGM Grand.

State #7 is complete.  While it wasn’t the ideal race I had dreamed, it was still something to be proud of.  I’ve said it a hundred times, and I’ll say it again – FINISHING IS WINNING.










3 things thursday [102]

1.  I’m back from Vegas!  So obviously I did not win the big jackpot.  BUT I also didn’t have to make an emergency visit to the ATM, so basically, I win.  I also tried several new restaurants and used a lot of comps.  Full recap to come.

2.  Very sad to hear of the passing of Mike Nichols.  I’ll be watching Working Girl this afternoon.

3.  THANK GOD there is hockey on TV tonight.  That Thursday night football game looks like a real snoozer.  (Raiders-Chiefs?  PASS.)

training nov 10-16 [18]

Training Stuff:

Monday:  1.16 miles (10 min, avg pace 8:38) + 0.33 miles walking (5:10 min, avg pace 15:41) = 1.49 miles
Tuesday:  3.68 miles w/ Anne (42:03 min, avg pace 11:26)
Wednesday:  1.11 miles (10 min, avg pace 9:01) + 0.12 miles walking (2:02 min, avg pace 17:02) = 1.23 miles
Thursday:  1.21 miles (10 min, avg pace 8:16) + 0.14 miles walking (2:11 min, avg pace 15:40) = 1.35 miles
Friday:  2.65 miles w/ Jakre (25:30 min, avg pace 9:37) + 3.1 miles walking (50 min, avg pace 16:07) = 5.75 miles
Saturday:  2 miles (18:52 min, avg pace 9:45)
Sunday:  26.51 miles (4:15:31, avg pace 9:38)

Total Mileage:  42.01
Total Mileage (month):  78.74
Total Mileage (year):  1558.09

Total Time:  7:11:19
Total Time (month):  12:47:38
Total Time (year):  263:01:53

Fun Stuff:

Something Interesting:
On Sunday, I ran my 12th overall marathon.  It was my 7th state, and the first time I’ve done a full marathon at a Rock n Roll event.

Books I Read:

New Beers I Tried:
Easy IPA (Flying Dog)
Super Bier (Lake Effect)
Inspiration Pale Ale (Lake Bluff)
Oktoberfest (Fort Collins Brewery)
Indica India Pale Ale (Lost Coast)
Door County Cherry Wheat (Shipwrecked)
Pivo Pils (Firestone Walker)
Ichthyosaur IPA (Great Basin)
Golden Monkey (Victory)
Citra Rye Pale Ale (Joseph James)
Saison Diego (Green Flash)
West Coast IPA 2014 (Green Flash)
Oktoberfest (Ellis Island)
Hop Ottin IPA (Anderson Valley)
Amber (Abita)