Category Archives: Vacation Runs

Tamara’s Post – Vacation Over…Boo!

We are heading back to Maryland today after 5 days in Wisconsin…it was a fun trip with a great weather and a packed agenda. I got 3 runs in – once with Jeff and twice by myself.  Samantha surprised me by wanting to run a few “miles” with me after my run yesterday – so she got ready and we headed out down my Dad’s driveway. Jeff followed us as our official photographer. She made it to the highway and back which is 1/4 mile each way – this picture was taken just as she shouted “Pick it up Mommy!”

Not only did we get to Six Flags, the State Fair, and the Lake – I also got to spend time with my Dad and some of my family that lives in Wisconsin. I wish we had more time – it flew by and there was still so much more I wanted to do and see. Even though I lived in Wisconsin for 10 years, I still love to visit. My favorite thing was…ummmm…embarrassed to say…fried cheese curds! Now I need a vacation from my vacation! 🙂

Wisconsin scenery

Me and my Daddy

At the Wisconsin State Fair

Cream puff from the Wisconsin State Fair…yup, I ate it…all….

Fried Cheese Curds – my fav!

Family…

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Jeff’s Post – Wisconsin Follies!

We are wrapping up an eventful week in Wisconsin and will be leaving tomorrow for the 12+ hour road trip back to Maryland.  Running while traveling is always difficult so I’ve been fairly happy with my runs this week and I always love running in new places.  My running recap for the week – 6 miles in Ohio (after driving 8 hours), 6 miles in Waterford, WI (after driving 5 hours), 6 miles on Monday, 4 miles with Tamara on Tuesday – then we went to Lake Michigan for the day and I couldn’t resist running another 4 miles at the lake – just beautiful.  I got another 6 in yesterday and have decided to take a couple days off.  I’m still dealing with a nagging shin pain and I’m hoping the couple day rest will help.  Our vacations are over and I need to get super focused over the next couple months.  I basically have a race every month ending with Marine Corps in October.

This trip was really about visiting Tamara’s Dad and making sure that Samantha got to as many amusement parks, water parks and ice cream shops that we could find.  I think we accomplished all of those.  I even had my first ever Cream Puff from the Wisconsin State fair.

I’m writing this post while Tamara is out running and she just called me.  We always carry a cheap flip phone when we run and she has never called before (scared me a bit) but she just wanted me to check on a road she was running to see if it connects to the highway.  I tend to run more up and backs when I travel just to make sure I can find my way home.

I have shared a few pics below and will add more once we get home.  I also ran on the track for the first time last week and want to recap that over the next few weeks. I really enjoyed it and hope to get on the track more.

Have a great day and Happy Running!

Jeff’s Post – It’s My Birthday!

Today is my birthday and I began my birthday celebration with a nice leisurely 5 mile run with Tamara.  As I get older my birthdays are less about getting old and more about being thankful for the things in my life.  I’m so very thankful for my wonderful family and Tamara’s incredible love and support.  I’m also thankful and feel fortunate every day that I’m able to go out and run.  I often wish I discovered the joy of running earlier in my life but also realize it found me at a time that I needed it most.  Running – the gift that keeps on giving!

Running also allows me to eat cake on occasion and Samantha made sure we celebrated some cake before we left for our trip!

Have a great day!

 

Jeff’s Post – Year in Review #5 –Jungle Jims!

In June Tamara and I went to Delaware to celebrate my 40th birthday.  What did I want to do on my birthday? – Run!  So a few days before we left I saw that there would be a 5k near our hotel.  We signed up and we both took home a trophy!

Another great memory! – Tamara and I both posted here and here

Have a great day and Happy Running!

Jeff’s Post – Year in Review #4 –In a New York State of Mind!

In February Tamara and I went to New York City and on the top of our to do list was a run in Central Park.  We had a great time and a great run.  I loved our New York trip and can’t wait to go back!

Read our recap here

Have a great day and Happy Running!

Central Park Run

Jeff’s Post – Year in Review #2 – Hello New Jersey!

Tamara and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey.  We had a great trip and did lots of running!

We wrote a few posts while we were there – you can find them here and here and here.

Have a great day!

 

 

 

Tamara’s Post – RnR Vegas Race Review…Been There, Ran That!

Wow! Despite the tons of negative posts I have read on the RnR Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon and experiencing a bit of my own personal race drama (read on) I still gotta say – (don’t hate me…) I loved the race! Jeff did a great recap of the race, so I’ll try not to repeat a lot but will give my perspective of a few things that stand out in my mind.

As we made our way to the corrals at 5:10pm, I began to get nervous we wouldn’t get in corral 5. The amount of people swarming out of the gear check area was overwhelming – and I wish I had a picture of Jeff’s face, he looked mortified we would miss the start…and a little mad perhaps because I used the bathroom one too many times which caused us to go out later than planned! I’m little…and bold (is pushy a better word?), so I had no problem making my way through six corrals to get to corral 5 (I did say excuse me!). We were ready!

I loved the wave start (understand this didn’t happen for everyone), it allowed us to immediately start running after our wave was released. Running down the strip was…incredible…amazing…memorable… the lights, the spectators, hundreds of runners around me…I was smiling from ear to ear as I darted in and out of people (yup, I love being able to pass a ton of people in big races and I don’t mind running in crowds!).

It took me awhile to notice the lane for the marathoners…and I will admit, I had a hard time staying out of it. Jeff hollered at me a few times (in a nice way, I guess), but with so many runners I found myself darting in and out of their lane often…sorry (I was running a decent pace and there weren’t many marathoners, so I’m begging for forgiveness…please!).

It seems like the first 6 miles flew by…I don’t look at my Garmin when I run (only after I stop) and know now that we were running between a 7:20 and 7:45 pace, no wonder it seemed quick! When Jeff pulled away around mile 6.5, I didn’t mind…I was still feeling pretty good. I remember not seeing as many bands as I recalled from other RnR events. I do have a vivid memory of a man playing a saxophone just before mile 7…I tried to move over to get ready to take a corner I could see up ahead and got so close to him I could smell his over abundance of cologne (Old Spice?!). Eek!

As we made our way closer to the bright lights of the strip, I enjoyed the sights. The cool little wedding chapel (no, we didn’t stop…Jeff was too far ahead!), the older casinos, the souvenir shops…and the thousands of runners on the other side of the road making their way down the boulevard.

I continued running a decent pace…and soon I was catching the 1:45 pace group! I knew I started 2-5 minutes after the first corral – so figured if I could keep them in sight I may PR (my old PR was 1:48 and I was shooting for a 1:45). I was carrying a small bottle of G2, but the flavor wasn’t my favorite…it was too strong…so I grabbed water a few times. And I let the 1:45 pace group out of sight by the time I hit mile 10 – darn it! Quickly my legs began to feel like bricks, my brain was trying to get them to move and they were slowing down…I had 3 more miles! As I passed the Venetian I began to think about walking…or just stopping right there. Would Jeff walk back and find me eventually? I kept moving…my mind was racing…I wanted to walk…the people lining the streets became a blur…the miles were slowly passing. I kept slowing and figured I wouldn’t PR at this point. By the time I hit mile 12 I was…a complete wreck. I had no clue how fast I was running (still couldn’t look, against my rules). With just over a ½ mile to go I had to pull out my earbud (I only run with one), I was becoming confused…I was hearing a lot of shouting (the spectators?) and talking (other runners?) and music (from the finish?)…and the lights were playing tricks on me also. I can’t stop, I can’t stop…I would rather fall over then stop (yup, I’m crazy like that). It felt like thousands (wasn’t really) of people were passing me (all those people I passed for the first 9-10 miles!). As I got to mile 13 a Christmas song was playing on the loudspeaker (huh?! Not motivating me!) and the last .1 seemed to take me forever! I saw the clock…1:49…I hit my Garmin…I see Jeff waiting in the finish area. I finished!! Now where the heck is my SALT!!! I had a very minor incident at RnR Va Beach with being a bit disoriented at the finish…and I was feeling that again…Jeff helped me get water, my medal (woohoo!), and we found a medical tent which had the salt (yummy!). I note that my Garmin reads 1:45, yup – I PR’d…go me!!! I was super excited (still am!).

We didn’t stay at Mandalay Bay very long, but it also didn’t take me long to realize my stomach was having issues…ugh…dehydration (still think that is what my issues were). We walked the 2.5 miles back to the hotel (took forever as I was dragging and felt awful). Jeff tried to make small talk as we watched hundreds (thousands perhaps) still on the course. As soon as we got back to our room, I laid down immediately…my stomach was cramping….my hopes of dancing the night away to celebrate were crushed as I feel asleep. I woke up frequently from the time I laid down until 3am (felt a bit better then), each time I woke up it was because of stomach cramps. I had a decent case of dehydration earlier this spring (I won’t go into details on the affects that happened 7-10 days after) and this felt like the same thing. My hydration prior to this event was horrible, I blame myself.

I was semi-fine the next morning (after sleeping in and eating). My only regret was that I didn’t eat dinner and I didn’t dance the night away! The rest of our trip was wonderful! We met and had lunch with a crazy (in a fun way!) fellow blogger Stephanie and also met her hubby who personally agreed with her craziness by the saying on his shirt (very cool, by the way!).  Thanks for meeting up with us guys! Jeff and I hung out at the outdoor heated Rhumbar one evening – loved this place! And I did get to dance…I would have liked to hit a few more nightclubs, but after hitting the XS – I was done…we had a blast and hung out there until 2am (hmmm….that’s 5am EST).  Very fun place…also met some fellow runners there.

I was super-sad to leave Vegas – the time seemed to fly by! My summarization on the race – great experience, no issues. I completely support those that are upset with the fact that the race ran out of medals – seems that could have been corrected, and the overcrowding issues at Mandalay Bay (I did not witness) should not have happened. I enjoy RnR races (this was my third…first was the inaugural RnR Marathon in San Diego circa 1998!) and I will do more RnR races…next up – RnR DC ½ Marathon in March. I have confidence that the Competitor Group has listened to all issues and will continue to improve their events (sure I got some haters out of that comment!).

Vegas – been there, ran that, rocked that, danced that, drank that, ate that – ahhhhhh…it was an awesome time!!!

Jeff’s Post – Rock N Roll Las Vegas ½ Marathon Review – A Tale of Two Races!

Wow this is way longer than I wanted it to be – I have broken it up in sections so you can read what you like!

As I write this Tamara and I are in the air on our way home to Maryland.  We are three days removed from our last big race of the year – Vegas Baby.  We both PR’d and I personally had a good overall experience.  This was our second Rock N Roll event of the year (We ran Virginia Beach in September).  I knew going into this race there were approximately 44k registered so I was preparing for crowds, lines and everything else associated with pushing that many people through one area.

Expo

We flew in to Las Vegas on Saturday morning.  We stayed at the Venetian and the expo was connected to that building so we had a short indoor walk from the hotel.   I still enjoy the expos but find them somewhat repetitive after attending so many.   We went around 11:00 and noticed a decent crowd but getting our race bibs, shirts and goody bag went off without a hitch.  We then went through the Brooks merchandise area.  I love Brooks stuff and always like to see them at an expo.  We gathered our handful of race items and headed to the checkout.   When I first saw this line I thought they might be giving away a car at the end (soooo many people) but everyone was in a good mood and the line moved amazingly quick.  The rest of the Expo was a bit of a cluster it was just too crowded.  I made the comment to Tamara that I felt sorrow for some of the vendors because we would have bought more if it wasn’t so crowded.  We actually ended up going back later in the day (around 6:00pm) and found that experience much more enjoyable (this was easy for us because we stayed so close).

Race Day

This was our first night race and we changed time zones so we were both a bit nervous about what to eat, when to eat, when to sleep and yep we are runners so were also worried about the whole bathroom thing.  I basically reversed my eating schedule and ate what I would normally eat for breakfast (oatmeal) in the afternoon.  I also packed a few energy bars and my old standby princess gummies!  I called earlier in the day and found out that shuttles would be leaving our hotel on the hour – somehow I missed “on the hour” and when we left to get on one I found out we had missed the 2:00.  So we decided to walk the 2.5 miles to Mandalay Bay.  This isn’t really ideal before you get ready to run 13 miles but we really had no choice.  The walk seemed to take forever and it seemed like every escalator in the town was out of order.  So we walked and walked and ended up getting to the start line around 3:30.  Our event didn’t start until 5:30 but we were so worried about the crowds that we thought it would be best to get there as early as we could.  I also figured we could crash in a hotel for a while if needed.  Tamara and I took a few minutes to take a couple pictures then headed towards the finish area to see where everything was.  I wanted to find bag check and after asking a few people we were directed to the convention area of Mandalay Bay.  It was interesting walking in because we ended up walking through some sort of Western Wear convention.  All these runners mingling with all these cowboys gave us a good laugh.

We finally found bag check but more importantly found a really nice area that we could sit and stay warm inside the hotel (we also found a couple secret bathrooms on the floor above – score!)  We wanted to see the marathon start but we both decided to stay put, enjoy the warmth and rest our legs.  This comfort almost got us in trouble.  We didn’t leave to head to the start line until around 5:10 (the race started at 5:30).  We moved through a very crowded hallway towards the starting corral.  I was a bit panicked at this point because I wasn’t sure we would get to where we needed to be corral 5.  Tamara and I were in “game time” mode though – which means we both get a bit grumpy and focused at the same time.  We found a small shortcut thru some bushes/trees and worked our way up to the street but we were at coral 11.  We had a long way to go and a short time to get there!  Tamara and I took turns darting through the crowd (and boy this was a crowd) each thinking we saw a better way.  I would let Tamara push her way thru (then I just said I’m with her) and I tried to squeeze through and that actually worked very well and we got to the back of coral 5 with about 5 minutes to spare.

They used a wave start (really had no other choice) and this actually gave us a little time to get focused it also gave us a time to look at each other take in this amazing moment and wish each other luck.  Tamara and I run great together and we know in a race of this distance we will run together until the other one says go and then we run our own race.

Race

We finally got to our wave and we were off.  It was not nearly as crowded as I thought once we got going.  I notice some things right off the bat.

  • Running the strip was amazing.  During the first couple miles I allowed myself to take it all in.  I was focused but I was also enjoying the experience.  Tamara was doing her normal darting and I was right beside her.
  • It wasn’t nearly as cold as I thought it was going to be – I started to get hot early on.
  • It was dark!  I know we were running the strip at night but it was darker than I thought it would be.  I was definitely paying attention to where I was stepping .  The strip wasn’t as smooth as I thought it would be.
  • I saw these little cones and it took a little while before I realized these cones were trying to create a lane for the marathoners.   I knew this was going to be tough on them.

Tamara and I were running strong and fast.  I was surprised I felt as good as I did.  I had a point at around mile 5 when my legs starting to feel a bit tired but I had experienced this before and didn’t really let it worry me.  I would later find out that Tamara wasn’t feeling as good as I thought she was.  We ran together until around mile 6 then I noticed her slowing a bit.  I had thought about a PR coming in but wasn’t counting on it due to the size of the race but it wasn’t as crowded where I was and I was running fast so I pushed away.   The middle of the race was interesting.  We went through places in Vegas I probably wouldn’t go and the course had a few more turns than I expected but I still enjoyed it.  I will cut to us back on the strip.  I was still feeling really good when we got back on the strip.  The hotels along the strip are so deceiving.  You think you are close but you are so far away.  When we went past our hotel (The Venetian) at mile 11 I could only recall how long this really was.  I quickly pushed that thought out of my head and started running.  I was hoping to finish at around 1 :39 but realized I was a little slower than that but I could still PR if I pushed – and that is what I did – I pushed.  It seemed to take forever to get to the finish line and I wasn’t a fan of how it twisted and turned at the end but the end was in sight.  I run to the finish and I PR with a 1:41 yeah!!  I cross the finish, get my medal and sneak into a side area so I can wait for Tamara.  About 4 minutes later I see Tamara cross the line and I also know she has a PR.  I love and worry that she lays so much out on the course because she was a bit groggy when she finished.  We quickly grab a water and an energy bar (I skipped the green bananas) and head back to bag check.  We sit down for a while grab our gear and decide to walk back to the hotel.  It was a long cold walk back and I was amazed at the amount of people still on the course.  We made it back to the room thrilled with our PR’s!

Facebook/Twitter Frenzy

When I woke up the next morning I went to the facebook page for RnR and was shocked to see all of the negative comments.  I felt like we were at a different race.  Aside from one possible issue (I will let Tamara address that) we really had a good experience.  I felt like I paid for the opportunity to run on the Las Vegas strip at night and that is what I got.  My expectations tend to be a little lower in the big races and I also go into a bit of a survival mode.  I print all my registration stuff before, I run with my own water, I bring everything else I think I might need and I don’t try to PR at big events (if it happens that is a bonus).  In all honesty I don’t really rely on the race organizers for much.  Finishing early and leaving early gave us this good experience.  I really do feel for all of those who had such a negative experience later on….but we had a really good race experience and a great time in Vegas!

We Rocked Vegas – We both PR’d!

We will have a full race recap in a few days but we both had great runs and we both PR’d.  I need to see what the official times are but my Garmin was showing a 1:41 and Tamara had a 1:45.  We are exhausted after long cold walk back to the hotel room!  Looking forward to relaxing the next few days in Vegas!

A few pictures!

Before!

Tamara Getting Ready!

Done!

Waking Up in Vegas! – Working out the Logistics!

Well, I’m still on East Coast time and had trouble sleeping in this morning.  Hope to sneak in a power nap around noon Vegas time.  We are heading to breakfast soon and will be trying to figure out the rest of the day – When to eat, what to eat, when to leave, what to put in the bag check, what to wear, where the bathrooms are – all the normal things runner think about.  We are going to try to get to the start line area about 3:00 so we can see the full marathon start at 4:00.  We will be starting at 5:30.

Good Luck to all those running – We will post updates later!

Hydration Vegas Style!

A Beautiful Morning!

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