nye on the strip AKA DON’T DO IT

Hi, hey, hello there!

If you’re reading this post you are either:

a) interested in visiting the Las Vegas Strip for New Year’s

b) already planning on visiting the Las Vegas Strip for New Year’s

or

c) are staying far away from The Strip and want to laugh at my mishaps

Either way… Enjoy my chaotic adventures from the ONE and ONLY time I ventured out to The Strip on New Year’s Eve.

If you know me, you know I’m the type of person who has no fear of doing things by myself. Concerts, movies, you name it. If I want to go, I am GOING.

Apparently New Year’s Eve is no different and if I get an idea in my head, I execute. So after some (a lot) of wine, I decided I wanted to go down to The Strip for the festivities. Never mind the fact that all of the people I knew in Vegas at that point were opting to stay home. “I’ll just make some friends!” I thought. Ten minutes later I’m in an Uber and en route.

New Year’s Eve is one of two occasions when The Strip is completely shut down to traffic during the calendar year. The other being the Rock N Roll Marathon and on that night The Strip manages to reopen by 10pm.

By the time my excursion had begun, The Strip was already closed and I had to be dropped off behind The LINQ Promenade. Which was no problem because this is where I made my first “friends” of the night. Since I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do with my night I just followed all the fish in the stream toward the shut-down road.

Originally I played around with the idea of going to see Calvin (and then gf TSwizzle) at OMNIA. But let’s be real here…who really wants to/should go to a club by themselves? I decided I wasn’t going to be “that girl” on this night and a few months later I was so glad.

(Side Note: Liv and I went to see Calvin a few months later and we met a girl who had come to the club alone. She was in town for a month coordinating an event on contract. We hung out for half the night until she started hissing and meowing at all the boys that approached. We PROMPTLY ditched.)

Anyway, in the stream of fish in the sea that was this crowd, I met these two very nice kids walking around with water bottles full of vodka in a drawstring backpack. Because they were 18. We bonded because I also look like a child. And because one of the first five questions I’m always asked after “Do you live in Vegas?” is “Do you go to EDC?”

With EDC as our common denominator, we pondered what we could do with our night besides walking around and making fun of people. We made our way into Caesars Palace for a beverage because I was not about to drink illegal, plastic alcohol if it wasn’t necessary.

I hate to make generalizations, but most of the 18-20 year olds I encounter out usually want me to buy them alcohol. As stupid as I find the drinking age to be, I’m not about to put my ass on the line for some random dudes I just met. Nope, sorry, bye. And these dudes were no different, so naturally they suggested I pick them up a little something at the bar along with mine and we would “meet back at the spot.”

What is this? Neighborhood capture the flag? Again, no thanks.

I selected a spot at the bar farthest away from “the spot”, placed my order and proceeded to make my next “friends”. They were some young, hotshot, high roller tech guys from Silicon Valley in Vegas for the party. At least they were all of legal age.

We started conversing and they invited me to hang out in the High Roller buffet room. This is totally a thing and it is awesome. Especially because at this point I was starving.

Honestly I don’t remember much of our time together because they were so boring. No impression left whatsoever.

Finally it was time to go outside and watch the fireworks. They looked like fireworks and it was officially 2016. Whoo. My tech friends were staying at the Rio and they were going to walk back to their room and they invited me to “hang out.” Yeah no thanks. I lied at said I had parked at Caesars and I was going to go home. Ditch #2 complete.

This is the time when I learned how insane NYE on The Strip can be. Everyone who had been watching the fireworks from the front of Caesars tried to go back into the hotel. However, unless you had a room key (or in my case an employee ID) you were not allowed back in.

And that sucked for everyone not staying there because my next surprise: it was FREEZING. Honest to Jesus it was in the low 40s. Again, lucky for me I had my employee ID on me – and a jacket!

I also needed to get back inside to get a burger because it was absolutely necessary at that point. I figured if I took 30 minutes to find, acquire and consume said burger, The Strip would be back open to traffic.

I. WAS. WRONG.

I spent about 45 minutes acquiring and eating the burger while also having a nice conversation with Caesars Palace employee from Massachusetts (surprise, surprise ha!) By the time my burger was done and he was leaving to go home, I thought I had convinced him to offer me a ride home.

Spoiler Alert: he did not.

I ventured back out into the frigid night and to my horror I saw the Caesars valet line. It was RIDICULOUS. I was NOT going to wait in that line. Plus, The Strip was STILL closed.

By this point in the evening, I reached that mood you get when you’ve been drinking and are so sick of being out that all you want is for everyone to leave you alone so you can go home. Aka I was grumpy. In my head it made total sense to walk across the street to The Cromwell to catch a cab. (The location has easier access to off-Strip roads.)

Guess what? THE CAB LINE WAS JUST AS RIDICULOUS. Nicki Minaj made an appearance at Drai’s (the club in The Cromwell) for NYE and everyone was leaving. I decide to go sit in a bathroom stall to stay warm and take a social break while waiting out the cab line. Unfortunately, Vegas bathrooms are watched by the staff like crazy so my “adult time out” was very short-lived.

This is the point in the evening that I broke down and just went to stand in the damn cab line. Luckily, the girl in front of me was a friendly stripper from Texas. She told me how she had gone to Drai’s with her sister, but her sister couldn’t handle her alcohol and ditched. I told her my saga in return and we huddled for warmth in the cab line for TWO AND A HALF hours. Finally around 2:3oam, The Strip re-opened, but we didn’t get a cab until 3:30am. The Texan Stripper was nice enough to share a cab with me. We dropped her off at The Wynn and then the cab driver took me home. I texted her when I got home to let her know I was safe, but of course forgot to include my name in the text so we fell out of touch. I hope she goes the Cardi B route TBH.

Of course, the minute I stepped foot in the heated cab I thought “Wow this was a fun and adventurous night! Let’s do it again next year!” I get over things, usually, super fast. Even when it causes me to get home at 4am.

Looking back, however, this experience was necessary for a couple of reasons. First of all, I think I needed to be initiated as a Vegas Local and being stupid enough to venture to The Strip for New Year’s was what worked. Second, it has given me the opportunity to raise my standards for New Year’s, especially on The Strip.

And even though I loathe the “holiday” itself, I would most definitely reconsider if someone took me to see Bruno for NYE this year. JUST SAYIN!

In short, here are my tips for NYE on The Strip:

  1. Get a room on The Strip – you do NOT want to try to get transportation to and from.
  2. Attend a show or go to a club. Basically, have a game plan. It’s a lot more fun than running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
  3. Prepare for it to be in the 60s or in the 30s – the weather here has a mind of its own.

Happy Blogmas! Stay tuned I’m attempting to blog everyday this month! Whee!

rock n roll marathon las vegas recap | marathon monday

Never have the words “your race, your pace” applied more to my running life than they did last Sunday at the Rock N Roll Marathon in Las Vegas. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I originally committed to run my first Marathon (26.2 miles) during this race. However, in the last month or so, my hip started to give me problems and I decided I needed to stick to the half-marathon. Since I had run three prior to last Sunday’s, I felt comfortable with the distance and I knew I could adjust my pace and have time for stretch breaks if needed.

Due to the events of 1 October, the race course was altered. This meant moving the starting line from Las Vegas Village (where Route 91 took place) to The Park further North up The Strip located in front of T-Mobile Arena. I knew it was going to be an emotional race, but the turnout was still shocking. It was PACKED getting into our corrals before the race and the amount of Vegas Strong gear was truly amazing.

Another change from last year? The police presence. Metro was out in full force with a helicopter flying over the course for the entirety of the race and snipers with long-range rifles on top of man-lifts and buildings. A difficult sight considering the reason for their being there, but comforting to know that Vegas doesn’t back down.

Since I originally committed to the full course, my corral was close to the front (#9) and I got to begin my race shortly after the official start. I met a few locals who hadn’t considered racing before 1 October happened. After that, they said there was no way they couldn’t. A beautiful example of our community for sure.

When it was Corral 9’s turn to take off, I knew I had to go slow and easy to start. I knew it was important to see how my hip and knee were going to handle the movement. I also made sure to tell myself it was okay to stop and stretch if I needed. (I have this issue where I always have to endure through the pain, so I have to constantly make an effort to forgive myself.)

The first two miles were emotionally and physically painful. We made our way South, past Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas Village, Rock N Roll’s memorial for the victims and to the Welcome To Las Vegas Sign. At this point we turned around and made our way North up The Strip – making another pass by the emotional block of our city.

Once I hit the two-mile marker, I think my body started to relax. (The night before, I started having lower back spasms that in turn were causing my hip to spasm. Now, looking back, I really think the stress of the race and the security precautions were manifesting physically in my body. I’d been icing, stretching and putting natural Icy Hot (aka Deep Blue) all over my pelvic region the whole day leading up to race time.)

My body relaxing was a very good thing. Seeing all the people who showed up to cheer and support the runners was an even better thing. I knew this wasn’t going to be my best half-marathon, so I decided to just chill out and enjoy it. And let me tell you, I enjoyed the fuck out of it.

It was so fun to see the little kids cheering with their signs, to run up one of the most famous streets in the world and to take it all in without having to worry about beating a time. And of course I cried because I’m turning into an emotional bitch in my old age. Of course.

All was well until the last two miles of the race. My hip was getting sore, but I really, really did not want to give up and walk even though I had already told myself that was okay.

In the end, I powered through and ran the whole damn thing. It’s a proven fact that your brain tries to get you to give up wayyyy before your body does. You have to practice finishing what you start. I say you have to practice it because it doesn’t come easy to everybody. Trust me I know.

I ended up completing the half in 2 hours 29 minutes 48 seconds – yes, the slowest half I’ve ever done and I don’t care because I had a blast and finished what I came there to do.

My family even joined in on it! They completed the 10K and we all agreed that it was such an amazing time! We also all got to attend the weekend headliner performance on Saturday night by the Goo Goo Dolls. The 90s child in me was thrilled. My dad is also a major fan so I think his life was made.

In the week after the race I can honestly say that I miss it and I wish I were running it again today. Although, I think my body is happy that we don’t have another race for a couple of months.

Speaking of…stay tuned for next week’s installment of #marathonmonday. I’ll be discussing my running plans and races for the next year!

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thankful friday week #1

A while back, on another blog, I did “Thankful Friday” every Friday in November leading up to Thanksgiving. I think it’s important to focus on the blessings we have in our lives, especially this time of year. I list something I’m thankful for for each day in November.

Here we go!

1 – My Home…Las Vegas

I am so thankful and happy and proud to live in Las Vegas and to call myself a Las Vegas Local. The last month has been an exhausting and tough month for our city. But as the world now knows, we are #VegasStrong.

2 – Donuts

Someone recently asked me what my favorite treat was – and I said donuts. I’m obsessed with donuts, I love them. I know this is silly but I’m just really glad donuts exist.

3 – My DAWG!

This is Kassie and she lives in Idaho. This is us last Thanksgiving. We’re very happy together. The end.

change of plans… | marathon monday #25

Let’s just get this out on the table here at the very first: I am no longer running the Rock N Roll Marathon.

: (

However, I still WILL BE RUNNING the HALF marathon on November 12th.

So why the sudden change of plans? Well, the change wasn’t so sudden.

On and off for the last month, I’ve been having weird pains in my right hip that have made it painful to run while also causing shin splints. On the other side of my body, my ankle has started giving me problems. What the hell why am I falling apart?? Good question – very good question.

Unfortunately, I have no solid answer to this question.  I haven’t taken a trip to the doctor (I know, I know – I need to), but I have consulted with runner and trainer friends. The general consensus and my personal decision is that I need to hang back and focus on what I know.

I know I can complete a 13.1 mile race, because, I’ve done it before three times. The distance is familiar and I know what to expect at various times along the course. If my hip starts acting up, I know how I’ll need to handle the rest of the course.

What I don’t know is how my hip and ankle will handle a 26.2 mile course. Will I push myself and cause damage? Will I collapse in the middle? Will I have to pee and get stuck in a port-a-potty at the wrong time and find myself on a moving truck?

Obviously the last scenario is highly unlikely, but you know me, I had to add some humor to this less than ideal decision.

And it sucks. It really, really sucks to spend time preparing only to have your body say “Nope not this one.” I’m the type of person who believes that things happen for a reason and this is no different.

Not only do I want to compete in future races (my goal is three next year!), but I also want to be able to keep up my active lifestyle for decades to come. Part of this decision comes from the fact that I’ve already had an ACL/MCL surgery on my left knee and an insane sprain in my right ankle at this point in my life. And I’m trying to avoid any further medical issues if possible.

Even though it’s a terrible feeling, I know this race is for something bigger. Regardless of the distance, the most important thing about this year’s race – is to run it. This is the largest event on The Strip since October 1st and all that matters is to show up and be Vegas Strong. To show the world that nothing stops us.

Not even a hip. (I feel like a Grandma.)

 

vegas strong | marathon monday week #23

the morning after. spreading some #VegasStrong love

 

Holy shit. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and on the afternoon of October 1st, I sat down to write my first Marathon Monday post in weeks. My world had been crazy with moving, work and life in general so I was glad to find some time to update the blog on my running progress.

Then, at 2am, I woke up to my neighbors screaming, the wind howling and no less than ten texts from an assortment of people. I quickly learned about the tragedy that took place five minutes from my house shortly after I had fallen asleep.

At that point, and for the last two weeks, everything non-essential has fallen away. Time spent on social media, time watching reality tv and time focusing on bullshit. Because the only thing that we could focus on was how we were going to move on from this nightmare affecting our city.

My focus has been my family, my city, working and running. In times like these, you begin to see what really matters in your life and what things make the cut. And I think the only thing that has really kept me sane these last two weeks is my hour or so everyday to escape it all and run the city.

And yes, this race is still happening and I will still be running it. There’s no way in hell I was going to let a sub-human scare me away from running one of the most famous streets in the world. Together with all of the other Rock N Roll Marathon participants, we are showing up to continue to show the world just what #VegasStrong means.

It would be easy to default to fear, stay inside, never do anything ever again. But that’s ridiculous. It’s not the way to live a life. Let me put it this way: I went to see The Grateful Dead five days after the Manchester Bombing at an Ariana Grande concert. Last week I saw Kings of Leon, five days after the 1 October shooting. Because fuck fear. I won’t let it stop me from doing absolutely everything I want to do.

kings of leon has been one of my favorite bands for forever ❤

So this is where I’m at. The events and the aftermath over the last two weeks have changed my mind and put into perspective so many things. I’m not sure where we all go from here, but I do know we just have to keep going.

WE are the lights of this city.

#VegasStrong #BattleBorn

GENDRY DIDN’T GIVE UP | marathon monday week #15

Hey guys I am BACK! I was packing and moving all of last week and that shit got stressful so I had to drop everything and work on getting prepped for the movers. Regardless, I did manage to get my running in and of course all the thinking that comes with it. Lol.

my parents were in town for my move and this was their view at planet hollywood. like HELLO VEGAS!
desert smash @ Hexx Kitchen – gin, blackberries, rosemary agave, lime juice

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So last week I did this amazing 5 mile run. I felt so relaxed and confident the entire time. The music was bumping and I was throughly in the groove. When I find myself in a good groove like this, it allows me to actually enjoy the run, which is a nice touch.

Once my run was complete, I looked at my pace and I wanted to faint. I was looking at thee SLOWEST 5 miles I have ever done. Talk about deflating that ego. What happened? Why didn’t my pace match how I felt about my run?

I’m here to tell you folks, sometimes the numbers do lie.

We’ve all heard stories about friends who are working to get into better shape. They feel so good, yet, their weight is slow to drop. There are stories about rich men and women who are the unhappiest people on the planet while some who are not-so rich are living full, blissful lives. One donut is perfect, yet seven of them produce unpleasant consequences.

You see what I’m getting at…the numbers aren’t always indicative of our level of success.

As a runner, I get so caught up in beating my pace from the last run or how fast I have to run to qualify for Boston. (It’s really fast.) In life, we get caught up with our weight, the amount of zeros in our bank account or pairs of shoes we own (so guilty).

What if we had no concept of the numbers? If weighing ourselves wasn’t such a falsely inflated milestone on a weight-loss journey? If we unsubscribed from those Nike Store emails?

Would we ignore what the numbers were telling us and determine success based on how we feel about our work? I’m guessing we would. Perhaps we would celebrate our success and that would only inspire and drive us to go out and do it again.

Now, I’m not saying that achieving big things is pain-free – not even a little bit! What I’m trying to convey is that it doesn’t (and probably shouldn’t) be a 100% dreadful experience. Where’s the fun in that? Doesn’t leave much room to enjoy the journey.

I’m also not saying we should ignore our Amex limit and buy the new Gucci sandals in every color possible. Or that money doesn’t matter in terms of being able to fulfill goals such as travel or charity.

What I am saying, at the bottom of everything, is – none of it means shit unless we are happy and fulfilled by our achievements. What use is the house and the money and the glory if we wasted our soul and body away to get these things? In my opinion, not worth it at all.

While numbers can and do matter (especially in athletics), it’s important to listen to our bodies and take stock in how we feel. Even if that means slowing pace and not feeling like a lung will burst throughout that 5 miler. Like they say, slow and steady wins the race! You can’t finish if you give up halfway through!

And…GENDRY DIDN’T GIVE UP LAST NIGHT.

I cannot with Game of Thrones last night, how are we going to wait a whole year for the next season. How.

Happy Monday!

lord love a duck | marathon monday week #14

“Lord love a duck” is one of my mother’s favorite sayings. I don’t really know what it means, except that she uses it when exasperated.

I personally think the literal interpretation of this phrase would be hilarious. I feel this way because I’ve had a recent obsession with ducks. I know, random. It started with a post on the Passenger Shaming Instagram account. For those that don’t know, it’s an account that features submissions of people being terrible airline travelers. The photo I’m talking about featured a very adorable service duck, on a plane, in BOOTIES.

See?

Guys…BOOTIES!! Obsessed.

From there, I did some research about the feasibility of owning a pet duck in Las Vegas. Guess what? It’s not feasible. On to Plan B, which entailed setting my text tone to the duck quack and going to Sunset Park to visit the ducks. I talked about my return to this sport a couple of weeks ago.

On Saturday morning, I let myself sleep in before embarking on the run of the day. The longer I sat in my chair drinking my coffee, the more time I had to attempt to talk myself out of running. But then I thought of the ducks. My ducks. I needed to go see these damn ducks. I couldn’t let them down.

To clarify, I am fully aware of the fact that I do not own these ducks. They are wild, majestic creatures that dwell in the lake at Sunset Park and I have no claim to them whatsoever. So why am I attached to them?

Maybe it’s because while I’m sitting on the side of the lake, post-run, watching them swim around doin’ their thang – I feel so peaceful. Perhaps it’s because this is the next best thing to making an irresponsible life decision to acquire one as a pet.

Either way, I learned this weekend that I LOVE the ducks. I don’t know what this has to do with running or even life for that matter. If I could pull anything from this revelation, I would say that finding a quiet moment is so important to balance out our busy, stressful lives. Discovering a place to come to peace could be a crucial step in the process that is getting through a week without threatening to murder a coworker (you know which one).

There’s a reason so many of our favorite authors went out into nature. To be a witness of such perfect stillness and beauty is nothing short of satisfying – and inspiring.

I hope you find a place of peace this week, especially if things start getting crazy. Or, like me, you are having a mild freak-out after seeing both this week’s and the preview for next week’s GAME OF THRONES. OMG.

Happy Monday!