Thursday, May 29, 2014

Running on vacation

I had my first run on vacation this past weekend and it went pretty well! I really enjoyed the opportunity to run down the Vegas Strip. 

Here are some things I learned about running while away from home.

1. Do some research in advance - I looked up running routes on the Vegas strip before the trip and found a great write up of a route. I was able to look up the distances on map my run so I could alter the route for the distance I was looking for, 5 miles.  The write up also let me know that there would be pedestrian walkways involving stairs so I knew to be prepared for that. It also let me know that there would be a spot where the pedestrian walkway would drop me off right into a casino so I didn't panic and wonder if I was lost!

The steps were tough but provided great views!  And I'm not going to lie, toward the end I might have taken an escalator or two instead of the stairs.

2.  Keep the run in mind when packing -  Remember to take everything with you or know where you can get what you need.  I knew that I would be running for more than an hour to do 5 miles so I decided to start experimenting with fuel on this run.  I'm trying to stick with natural foods for now so took a pack of raisins and I also took a nuun sample. I also packed my water bottle, arm band, knee brace, running shoes and running clothes as I knew these would be things that would be difficult to acquire on the trip (or not the specific ones I like). I didn't pack sun block since we knew there would be drug stores on the strip where we could easily pick that up.

3. Talk to locals - I did not do this and wish I had. If I had talked to someone at the hotel first, maybe I would have realized which side of the street was shaded in the morning.  I would then have run on the sunny side first when it was cooler and come back on here shaded side so I didn't feel like the sun was baking me the later half of the run. I might have also known that I needed to leave earlier than 7:30am if I wanted to beat the crowds.  There are always people on the strip so it felt safe but it started to get crowded by the second half of my run.  Talking to locals can also help with questions about safety and good places to run.

4. Don't forget the mental game - I was on vacation, running an unfamiliar route, and in a really lax headspace.  All of which is fine, but the run was really hard on the way back and I think a lot of that was in my head.  I could see a hotel on the way back and it looked so far!  I knew my hotel was even further and it just seemed crazy all of a sudden that I had to run all the way back. It definitely made the second half of my run less enjoyable (along with the aforementioned sun and increased crowds).

Why does it look so far!?!

5.  Be flexible enough to change plans as needed - I had planned to do some weight training on the Sunday of our trip but it turned out that the hotel had a cardio room and no weights. Thankfully I happened to see a sign advertising poolside yoga on  Sunday morning and that was a perfect addition to my vacation.  This flexibility could be needed on a run too if any of the advanced information you found is dated or has changed. Definitely try to roll with the punches and it might work out better than you had even planned!

One of the views during yoga.

6. Have fun! This is the most important tip :) I was on vacation and definitely had a lot of things I wanted to do.  I wasn't pushing for any time because I wanted to just have a pleasant time and be able to do the rest of our planned activities during the weekend.  I also knew that with the stairs, crowds, traffic intersections and taking photos, a PR was definitely not a goal.  Here are some of the photos I took along the way.

We had a great time in Vegas in general.  A lot of time was spent by the pool.  We also saw The Blue Man Group and O by Cirque du Soleil.  Both shows were amazing.  We had a special dinner at Picasso at the Bellagio and it ranks up there as one of the best meals I've ever had.  

Potato cakes with carmelized apple slices, a white gazpacho, a stuffed eggplant, ravioli, and an earl grey cheesecake with fruit gelee and a blackberry ice cream.

We went to a club where David Guetta was spinning and I learned that I might be too old for clubbing since we didn't even make it past the starter DJ. And so much walking! All in all, a great weekend trip away.