Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Las Vegas, Day 5

Last night Paul (my new friend and the only one of our sales reps who doesn't like to gamble or party and isn't afraid to go for a long walk) and I wandered the strip and found this amazing place at the Venetian Hotel and Casino: St. Marks Square I think it's called. Incredibly, the clouds and sky are actually the ceiling...this photo was taken at about 9pm at night but the place totally feels like a tiny Italian square at dusk, complete with a canal, live music and gondoliers! It was really wild. Check it out here. We almost missed it and walked on by but a wrong turn left us in the valet parking garage and when we turned back, we stumbled upon it. We had dinner in this square (in the pic, the cafe is on the right side at the back of the frame and it was on the "sidewalk" so it really felt like we were eating in an open air café at dusk (see below) but it was 9pm) at one of Wolfgang Puck's restaurants, Postrio, that was sensational...and totally affordable by Vegas stardards. I bought a liter of water for $5.75 in the Luxor lobby yesterday. Glad it's all expensed...

Plus, I gotta say - I have an excellent sense of direction but this place has me completely turned around. It must be intentional - there's no other explanation...they want you to go in and never come out...and they pretty much succeed because not only does everything go on FOREVER - like slot machines as far as the eye can see - but it's nearly impossible to find an exit. I thought I was in pretty good shape but my feet are SCREAMING at me. I'm pretending the two are not related...I've resorted to wearing my running shoes because my other footwear leaves me in agony. We're talking barking dogs with blisters and hot spots...and I'm very much a sensible shoe kind of girl. I don't know how the folks in heels are holding up. Brutal...

So we walked all the way from Mandalay Bay to the Venetian - it has to be at least a mile and a half one way - and on the way we passed Caesar's Palace:

The Bellagio - which has just about the most amazing fountain out front that does this incredible show every few minutes and the water appears to be choreographed to music - was totally my favorite part of the night. It's the one in the closing scene of "Ocean's Eleven" when they've successfully stolen all that cash and are about to go their separate ways. I could sit and watch it for hours... when we walked by in one direction, it played and danced to "Viva Las Vegas" and on the way back it was doing "All That Jazz", the opening number in Chicago. So cool. Here are some pics of the hotel and fountain...they're kinda blurry but you get the idea:

On the way back, we zoomed thru the Paris Casino and got a souvenir Eiffel Tower for Milkshake Girl. She went to Paris for her anniversary last year and wanted a tree ornament of the tower but couldn't find one anywhere...mission accomplished. She'll be pleased.

I hope I haven't bored any of you who frequent this town with the basic layout of The Strip. I'd like to say I'm not a country girl - I did grow up just outside of Boston - but I've pretty much been wide eyed and gaping at the scale of things and the disgusting excess. It's just too surreal in a Disney World kind of way. Unbelievable really. I would not want to vacation here unless I was taking day trips to Hoover Dam and/or Bryce Canyon etc. Too much cigarette smoke to start but just TOO MUCH in general....of everything. BUT, it's my job and I gotta say that now that the pressure is off, I love it.

Going to try and get to the treadmill and lifecycle tonight but there's a Salmon and Aquavit party for all the Nordic dealers that I think I need to go to and the spa will be closed by the time it's over. Too bad because I hate both smoked Salmon and Aquavit. Maybe I can get out of it. If not, I'll be getting up tomorrow to go. Although, with all the walking I've been getting plenty of exercise. Sadly, the pool is closed...it's kind of cold anyway but I'm going to be very unprepared for the meet on the 5th when I get back. Perhaps I'll do some lifting too. Two more days here and then it's off to SLC for a few more at the Outdoor Retailer Show. Then my Honey will join me and we'll spend a few days skiing in Park City to celebrate our 11th anniversary. HOLY COW that's a lot of years. Sweet sweet years....

More to come...stay tuned... OH, and planning on listening to Get Your Geek On Podcast with my next workout...can't wait!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

3 Week Fitness Report

Well, I made it thru a month of getting ready for this trade show and now I'm sitting in my 10th floor room of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada having finally managed to grab a moment for myself. This city is INSANE. I'm going to write more about it in subsequent posts but I thought I'd catch you up on the fitness front over the past three weeks:

The Good
Despite my CRAZY work schedule of trying to get two catalogs designed, laid out and printed and designing and printing about 300 ft. of giant murals, I managed to run and swim for almost all of my planned workouts. I did miss two swims and one early morning run but for the most part I held it together...enough that I felt good about getting it done and not slacking. There was a morning run in there where I felt like several of the snowbanks looked quite cozy and I wanted to curl up in them...but the urge passed.

I managed to NOT get sick thru all the lack of sleep and sick people around me. It was touch and go for a day or two but gallons of juice and water combined with one whole weekend of rest did the trick. And, I've started to wade thru Going Long and I'm excited and a little afraid to take inventory of where I am and make a plan for where I want to go. It's up to me to make it happen and I feel pretty psyched to get there. Now that work will calm down, it's time to really focus.

US Masters swimming does what's called an Annual Postal Swim where you swim for 60 minutes and someone counts lengths for you and records your 50 yard splits and then you mail in your times and get to see how you stack up to other masters swimmers across the country. I knew I was going to do it this year but the rules say you have to swim during the month of January. With my trip to Vegas, I had run out of weekends and had sort of resolved that I would just do it on my own and not "officially" send it in since I wouldn't be able to get it done in time...but I could still compare my times. Well, I totally lucked out because last Thursday only 5 of us showed up to swimming so coach offered to take my splits for me while she ran practice for the other 4 folks...see, she's an unbelievable multi-tasker. So I swam freestyle for a WHOLE HOUR without stopping. It was a really good experience for several reasons...here are the highlights:
1.) I learned I could do it and by pacing myself, I did it pretty comfortably.
2.) I swam 3300 yards in an hour which is almost two miles...so that puts my half iron swim time well under an hour...much better than I expected.
3.) My first 1500 yd. swim last year was 27:45 and both of my 1500 yd. marks (1500 and 3000) were under 27:30.
4.) I held a very steady pace thru the whole hour...started at about 0:52/50yds. and didn't waver more than 3 or 4 seconds/50yards. It felt really solid.

Onward and upward....

Christmas 2005

Going Long: Training for Ironman Distance Triathlons by Joe Friel and Gordon Byrn AND a subscription to Swimming World Magazine from Mom: $$$ Dollars

Nathan & Co. Reflective Twilight Vest, bright yellow 500 candle watt power reflectivity with 360˚ visibility up to 1200 ft. and a Black Diamond Zenix IQ LED Headlamp designed specifically for runners who run in the early hours of winter days from my brother: $$$ Dollars

A chunk of cash that will go toward race entries and health club membership fees from Dad: $$$ Dollars.

Having a family that totally supports my triathlon endeavors: PRICELESS

Friday, January 06, 2006



The worst is over. The last proof pages of the second of two catalogs are finishing up right now and I'm headed home for a weekend of catching up with my wife and dog, who I have been neglecting since about Dec. 15th. Phew... Two more weeks of crazyness and then we'll head to Las Vegas for a week for the SIA Ski Show. Never been to Sin City and I'm looking forward to it...I just hope that I can get everything done that needs to get done between now and then! It'll be fine... Now that I know a little more what I'm doing, next year's catalog will go much more smoothly... deep breath...

I did manage to get my two swims and a run in this week and I'm planning a 5 mile run either tomorrow or Sun...so it's all good. Now if I can just squirrel out of this threatening bout of the sniffles, I'll be golden...

Thanks for all your words of encouragement...I'm hoping to catch up with everyone's posts next week...while the teeth marks are healing... If you're going to Vegas, let me know...I'd love to find someone to train with while there...

Happy New Year!!!