Viva!

Viva Vacation!

Viva Life!

Viva Running!

Finally after 9 days of work in a row, I can now say that I am officially on vacation!  I haven’t had time off like this in nearly six months.  Don’t worry, I won’t let that happen again.  

I haven’t even begun to pack, and I don’t even care.  I have my feet up right now, basking in the vacation glow.  I tied off things at work, and now I don’t have to think about that place until a week from tomorrow.  Yep, it feels pretty damn good.

Question to myself now, and thoughts on my mind the last few days….  should I pack my running shoes and clothes?  I swore I was going to take time off to rest and rejuvenate my legs.  I don’t know now.  I am beginning to wonder if it’s a good thing to take a week off this close to a marathon.  I know I am tapering, but no running at all?  Not sure that is the right thing to do.  Maybe a few two or three miles while I’m gone would do me some good.  I guess I will throw my gear in the suitcase just in case the running mood strikes.

I really would like to head out for one final 5k before I start packing, so I think I will.  It’s my vacation, right?  I can do what I please.  The laundry is going, the plants have been watered.  I think a celebratory 5k is in order.  

I may blog intermittently while I’m away, that is if I find some down moments, but no promises. I intend on enjoying this time to the fullest.  

This is where I am off to in case you were wondering.

 

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VEGAS, Baby!

It’s the final countdown!

Everyone around me is gearing up for Fall.  You see, I am originally from upstate NY, and up there, you could just about bet on a change in the weather come Labor Day weekend.  It would be 85 degrees the day before, and 60 the day after.  I’m sure it wasn’t that drastic, but Labor Day up north meant the end of Summer.  The start of school, the end of sleeping in.  

That is really not the case here in NC.  We will continue to have sticky, hot weather sometimes right up to near Halloween.  Fact of the matter is though that one of my kids is already a week into college, and my younger is starting his Junior year in High School tomorrow.  I’ve already hear the complaints, but I explain it like this….  As a kid/young adult you get to have Summers off.  That’s like three months of rest, relaxation, sleeping in, etc..  As an adult in the working world, you may get two, three or four weeks off a year.  Quit the complaining already, right?

Summer means more daylight hours to get my training runs in.  Sure it means more heat, but I think that training in the heat makes me more ready for nice Fall weather racing.  As we inch closer and closer to Labor Day, what does that mean for me?  First, another run in just a short bit.  Yes, training continues.  It’s winding down, but still moves forward.  Five more days until vacation remain.  A week off, then a week of work and my first Marathon of the Fall season.  Big Cottonwood is only 20 days away now!  It’s creeping up fast.  

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Summer is always a mixed bag of emotions for me.  Due to where I live, and the heat, most of the time I chose not to race.  As a result, I get really antsy, and look forward to those race days.  I haven’t raced now since June 6th.  Two and a half months ago.  That’s a long time without racing for me.  Last year I mixed in a July 4th 5k, and a Half Marathon in August in NY to keep my race legs satiated.  This year, I held back.  

Fall season is packed with racing excitement.  I’ve tried really hard all Summer to push myself, but not overdo it.  I don’t want to get injured before or during the season, so I have really listened to my body, and have maintained a good regime, yet not too extreme.  

The countdown is getting exciting.  As I near vacation and race days my mind fills with the anticipation of running, and running a great race.  I will take them one by one, focusing on having fun, but also pushing my limits.  So excited to see Utah for the first time, to run Chicago for the first time, and to run some tried and true Fall favorites here close to home.

What exciting Fall races do you have planned?  Do you get antsy when you haven’t raced in a few months? I sure do.  

Vacation Request

I made a really big mistake this Summer.  All good intentions behind it, but it ended up being an error.  Back in the early Spring, as my kids were winding down their school years, I imagined a nice Summer trip to the beach for us.  Maybe the Outer Banks, Wrightsville Beach, Myrtle or Hilton Head.  A great idea that went up in smoke.

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Due to a busy work schedule, and an even busier social schedule for my sons, our vacation never happened.  As Summer approached we had graduations, a few races, parties, yada, yada yada.  You know how that goes.  All of the sudden my oldest now is in college, and my youngest is starting 11th grade on Monday of next week.  We didn’t make the time, or make it a priority.  Something happened.  

So, as a result, I have not been on vacation since March.  Far too long!  I am in crazy need of some time off. Luckily, that time is soon to be here.  Without the kids, finally vacation looms just around the corner.

Officially just 9 days away now, I am chomping at the bit to get the hell out of here.  I have spent the Summer working hard, and training hard.  It’s time for a well deserved break from the madness.

Thankfully Fall will be filled with some much needed time off, play time, relaxing time, and races galore.  First up is a trip to Vegas.  I like to go at least twice a year.  Looking forward, let me tell you.  Once back from Vegas, a few days of work, then my trip to Utah for Big Cottonwood Marathon.  From there, the Smoky Mountains for a long weekend.  A local race at the start of October, then a monumental trip to Chicago for a little thing called a marathon.  It will certainly be a whirlwind six weeks ahead, and I SO need it!

Did you get to enjoy a Summer vacation this year?  Where did you go and what did you see?  Maybe your stories will tide me over during my lengthy nine day stretch at work I am starting today.  You see, my next day off is vacation on August 30th.

…I Need A Vacation

What I am in serious need of is decompression time.  Time to sit, time to ponder and not have any obligations.  Time to do things for myself, and enjoy the things that mean the most to me.  That means family, that means running…. and cooking, hiking and breathing in the clean air.

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I haven’t been on vacation since March.  Contrary to popular belief, even though I was at the beach last week, I worked about 46 hours, and barely had time to even see the ocean.  

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What I need is some serious time in the mountains.  Time away from the terrible, oppressive heat and humidity.  It makes me think of the many times I have been to the mountains, and had the most relaxing vacations.  I’ve rented cabins or homes mostly, because we like to have the space to spread out, and also be able to cook.  A fully equipped kitchen is a must while on vacation.  I know, some of you may be saying, “there is no way I am cooking on vacation”.  I love to cook though, so I find it a necessity while on vacation in the mountains.  I would much rather cook than go out to eat constantly.

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What I look forward to are the crisp, cool mornings.  A nice run, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.  A good hike with family.  Taking pictures.  

Yeah, now I’ve got myself all worked up, yearning for the day this a Fall where I will be able to get away and enjoy “me time”.  Family time.

Luckily for me, I have time away planned for September.  A few months back I signed up for a Half Marathon in the Great Smoky Mountains.  This will be the weekend following the Big Cottonwood Marathon (another mountain getaway, yeah!) so extending my vacation to a full week and a half, and including two runs will be just amazing.  Vacation Races has several great National Park Half marathons on their event list, so check them out.  I am really excited about it.  I am now in the process of finding the perfect cabin to rent for a few days so that I have time to relax while in Tennessee, as well.

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While I am enduring long, tedious training runs in the North Carolina heat of Summer, I guess I just have to dream about my upcoming vacations, and hold tight, knowing that they will be here before I know it.  

Do you run while on vacation?  Maybe you plan your vacations around a race?  I like to be able to do it all while on vacation.  Relax and run.  How about you?

Vacation Races

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There is a relatively new race company out there providing racing opportunities in several of our nations biggest, most majestic and beautiful parks.  Vacation Races seeks to provide runners with new experiences, new venues to run and new vistas to explore through running.  Check them out online, or on Twitter.

They have several races coming up, that I bet you would be really excited to run.  It’s a Half Marathon haven to experience.  Turn your hobby into a vacation in one of our National Parks.  Zion, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Great Smoky Mountains National Park to name a few.  Get away to somewhere beautiful and run a Half Marathon while you are there.

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This being a holiday weekend in the United States, thousands of folks from around the country will head to our National Parks.  I have to admit that I haven’t seen many of them, but plan to through racing.  What a great opportunity to enjoy what our country has to offer through natural beauty, all while running.  After the race, visit the parks, hike, fish and explore.

I am signed up for the Inaugural race in Tennessee.  Have you ever been to Gatlinburg?  The Great Smoky Mountains are a mere five hour drive from where I live, and I love going there.  I am already excited to have an extended weekend in the Park.

Vacation Races – Can’t resist

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Imagine walking up to a race start line in one of our National Parks.  How about a view like the one above when you start your Half Marathon journey.  It’s breathtaking!  Vacation Races is a company out there, offering Half Marathon races in several of our National Parks.  We all love destination races, but this company is taking it to a whole new level here in the United States.

They are currently offering races that can draw you right into a trip to one of our beautiful Parks.  I, for one, can say that I would love to race each and every one of these races.  Here is a shot they posted on Facebook of the finish line area for today’s Zion Half Marathon.  Again, just breathtaking!

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Look them up online, or on Twitter.  @vacationraces, and learn a little bit about the group that’s setting out to give runners the experience of a lifetime.  Take in the beauty of a variety of National Parks, and get your running shoes ready, because you will be running right through the incredible scenery that the beautiful landscape offers.  Talk about eye candy.  With these views, I would barely know I’m running 13.1 miles.

Here are a few of the race options….

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I’m am going to try to make that Rocky Mountain Half marathon fit into my schedule this Summer.  It’s quite a journey away from home here in North Carolina, but I’ve never been there, and mixing a race into a trip to a place like that would be priceless.

Here is a race that I plan on attending this Fall.  Have you ever been in this National Park?  It is an incredibly beautiful place, and currently the only race at this point being offered in the eastern U.S..

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I can’t wait.  This race in September will be awesome!  Good luck to all of you runners out there running the Zion Half this morning!  Wish I could be out there running along side of you.

Vegas High Roller

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Due to open soon, the new High Roller, in The Quad development of Caesar’s Entertainment.  It’s impressive.  The light show at night with 2,000 LED’s is quite something to see.  This will be the world’s tallest Ferris Wheel.  Here is a view of it from my room….

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See?  Pretty big, huh?  Can’t wait to ride it on my next trip out here.  Maybe sometime in the late Summer, or Fall.  I snapped another photo from the side as we headed out to dinner and gambling tonight.

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Yeah, I think it’s kind of cool.

The day overall was a bust as far as gambling is concerned.  Had a good time though.  Went to a swanky resort on the south side of Vegas tonight.  M Resort is a great place.  Never stayed there, but have eaten there and spent some time in the casino.  It’s a nice change to get off the strip for a bit.  Quieter for sure, but still loads of fun.  That is, if you’re winning, which I wasn’t tonight.

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Hoping for some better luck tomorrow.  Marathon at the beach just six days away.  Gotta pick wiser at the buffets, and try to get a run in tomorrow.

Vegas Day 1

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Yeah, I managed a few hours of sleep, and was ready to take this day by storm.  Nice, easy and relaxing morning, followed by a late brunch (comped) at Harrah’s.  It was ok, I have had a lot better.  Was free though, so hard to complain too much.

The weather is absolutely beautiful today.  About 75 degrees right now.  Wearing shorts, and flips.  My kind of day!  Walked around a bunch, and tried my luck in several casinos.  The Venetian, Palazzo, Treasure Island and Mirage, along with a favorite small joint Casino Royale.

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Not sure what’s on the plan for tonight.  Not even very hungry yet.  Back in the room for now, regrouping, and restocking the gambling cash.  Here are a few pictures of the view from our room here at Hard Rock Hotel.

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Love that we can see the new Sky Wheel at The Linq.  Also the Stratosphere in the distance.  The mountains too, which are such a teat.  Snow capped peaks can still be seen on many of them.  Would love to take a ride up to Mt. Charleston sometime this week before heading home.  It’s a real gem.  So pretty.

Well, here’s to a successful evening, and plenty of wins!

Wide awake in Vegas

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After a morning of packing, we headed to the airport just before noon today.  East coast flight of 1:40 minutes from the relative warmth of NC, to the frozen and snowy tundra of Ohio for a layover.  Two hours later, boarding the plane for another four hour flight to Las Vegas.  We arrived at 10:20pm east coast time.  Long day.

After getting our bags and grabbing the rental car, we headed to Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.  Staying for five nights in a beautiful suite, we freshened up and hit the casino floor for a few minutes before heading to get a bite to eat.  Just what I needed after a long day of travel.  Then back to the casino, where I won $100.  Now that it’s 4:18am, east coast time, 1:19 here, I am wide awake.  I guess just overtired.  I would do anything to be able to catch some good winks about now, but I just can’t.  I could get dressed and head down to the casino again, but then my body clock would really be messed up tomorrow.

I wish I had some Ambien!

Goodnight, hopefully, from Las Vegas……

Heart Health & Panic

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You know that moment when you wake up on your last day of vacation, and it’s almost too depressing to enjoy it?  I’m sure you do.  Knowing that work life and the realities of every day life are blindly tossed back in your face after days of rest and relaxation…  We all know how it feels.  Well, today is not that day!  Right now, this moment, is the beginning of a nice long ten days off in a row.  I haven’t taken this much time off at once in a few years, so this is extra special.  I plan on enjoying every moment.

These past two weeks have been filled with stress.  Mainly a trip to the doctors office for a routine physical, which turned into test after test, and utter messing with my head.  My blood pressure was high, my blood sugar was high, my EKG was abnormal.  My Vitamin D was practically non-existent.  So, more tests put me in a panic.  When a doctor asks if you’ve had chest pains, it really is eye opening.

I have already gone back for an echocardiogram, and more blood tests.  I am on a high dose Vitamin D regime for 8 weeks, and I am waiting on the results of my heart ultrasound.  I just had the echo yesterday morning, so I guess if it were anything real serious I would have gotten a call by now.  My fingers and toes have all been crossed that I am ok.

So, I really need this vacation.  To unwind, and relax.  I have to try not to think about potentially getting bad news while I’m gone, as you see, I get on an airplane tomorrow.  If I get test results on Monday, I will be on the other side of the country.  Let’s just hope all is good, because after my return from the west coast I have a marathon to run.  Quintiles Wrightsville Beach is a week from Sunday, two days after I fly home.  I have have one day to rest, then pack up and drive to the coast the following day for the expo.

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Registration closes today on the race.  I’m cautiously optimistic that the doctor will say that it’s ok to run.  The whole thing has just been such an unwelcome surprise and has floored me.  I’m used to bring told that I am in perfect health, that my heart is strong and that I am in great shape for my age.  All of these things coming to light when you least expect it, just so surprising.  Isn’t running supposed to be good for your health?

I have to focus on the positives.

I am heading to the airport tomorrow, and going to enjoy this vacation.  It’s my time, and my time away.  My time to relax, have fun and not be stressed.

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I have this race to look forward to when I return, and then after successful completion of the race, I have this to look forward to….

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I will remain hopeful.