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!

 

 

17 thoughts locals have on the strip

Once again, we find ourselves at the end of a beautiful day called Thursday. And once again, I have some snarky, Las Vegas experiences to share with y’all.

Today I present to you, some thoughts locals have on The Strip. Because we don’t all experience utter joy when a rather large, foreign tour group with a flag engulfs us while on our way to sushi.

1- Could you walk ANY. SLOWER???

2- Could you please put the selfie stick back inside of your car and actually drive to the hotel before trying to film every single inch of The Strip?? I don’t want to be a victim of your unintentional off-roading as you attempt to capture the majesty of The Bellagio Fountains.

3- I could so easily steal that wallet sticking out of your pocket and/or open purse.

4- Do you NEED to STAND in the middle of a WALKway to take that photo?

5- The Fountains erupt every 15 minutes. Please calm down. I’m not trying to block you from this rare opportunity.

6- I hope you and your obnoxious child know that cockroaches reside in the bushes in front of said fountains. (This is true, I’ve witnessed.)

7- Contrary to what your overpriced well vodka is telling you, she’s waayyy out of your league, bro.

8- Don’t even waste your time politely telling the stripper card people you don’t want one. Sometimes you cannot be polite to strangers. It’s not rude, it’s self-preservation. This isn’t Nebraska anymore.

9- Oh no, do not speak to that dirty, life-size Spongebob.

10- Well look at your dumb (drunk) ass stopping to talk to the poorly dressed showgirl and/or dirty cartoon character lurking nearby. Now you will get finagled into taking a $50 photo.

11- Yep there goes that next round of drinks.

12- GIRL. PUT YOUR SHOES BACK ON. At least make that married guy you met two hours ago in the club carry you back to his hotel room.

13- Oh honey, do not get into that limo.

14- Why do people even come to The Strip? This isn’t that cool.

15- Dammit…I live here.

16- This is fucking awesome.

17- Awee yeaahhh. I live here.

holy shit halfway check-in | marathon monday #13

this patron prickly pear marg was muy perfecto!
i got to see the killers last week live on jimmy kimmel! AMAZE.

“Holy shit.” Yeah, those are my exact thoughts on this topic. How did we get here so fast?! In 13 weeks, the big day will be real. So I thought it was time to check-in and see what I needed to adjust during this last half of training.

I’ve come to the realization that I do need to make this a more prominent part of my life because this is where the mileage begins to increase. In the coming weeks I will start running distances I’ve never reached before. I’m not afraid to admit it – that’s intimidating!

The only thing I can do is become obsessed with my training and do everything I can to contribute to this process and set myself up for success.

This is what I see looking back on the last thirteen weeks:

– Summer has been hectic! Between traveling and moving and music festivals, sometimes it’s been difficult to get all my workouts completed. Now that my schedule is clearing up, it’s going to be a lot easier to make this marathon a bigger priority.

– SLEEP. For sure, I need more of this shit. Then again, I could always use more sleep. This scenario is a little bit out of my control (I have some WEIRD ASS sleeping issues), but I can work harder to contribute to a better night’s sleep.

– Stretching. I can tell you right now that I do not make enough time for a proper warm up or cool down stretch. All I can tell myself about this one is…just DO. IT.

The marathon is a whole new distance, one that I’ve never run before. That means I need to constantly check-in and tweak my training and my approach. Which is a thing I can do.

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I want to close my “Holy Shit Halfway” Check-In with a quote that my Mom found in her local paper yesterday:

“Too many of us mistake the edges of our comfort zone for the limits of our endurance.” – Chris Huston (Journalist)

cheers bitches!

concert diaries | one night with dead and co

Ohhhhh boy, where do I even start with this one. I get excited all over again just thinking about this show.

If you listened to Episode Six of the Pod, you heard me talk allll about seeing Dead & Company a few months ago. Now that I am an official Deadhead, I figured I needed to revisit the topic since I can’t shut up about being a Deadhead. Haha.

I knew I had to witness John Mayer and his guitar playing again, because I felt like it was such a spiritual experience the first time around. However, I didn’t really do much in terms of finding tickets for this show until, oh I don’t know, the day of the show. What can I say? I work well under pressure.

So I found these tickets, but wasn’t sure exactly where the seats were until we got there. Surprise, surprise…Jess had secured a lovely spot in the pit. That’s right, we witnessed the glory of Dead & Co with John Mayer from relatively close. Riiighttt abouuuttt hereee…

And everyone there seemed to have about 30 years on us…talk about slightly intimidating. But if we’re being honest, I would not have wanted to be inducted into the Deadhead cult in any other way. (Don’t get me wrong – I say that with great love and admiration.) Everyone was so friendly and the vibe was the closest thing I’ve found to the Bonnaroo vibe while not actually on The Farm. Plus, it’s pretty amusing to watch hundreds of people my parents’ age smoking joints so freely in public while also wearing tie dye. Just sayin’! Everyone I encountered at the show was so excited that the next generation actually knew who The Dead were and wanted to see the latest version of them live.

A little history…

I grew up listening to good music. Like reealllyyy good music (thx Mother and Patricio!) In fact, my very first memory in my life  is riding in the back of my dad’s old truck on our way to our annual family camping trip in Sun Valley and “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles is playing. That moment has shaped my entire life since.

Naturally in junior high, I went rogue and got obsessed with Lil Wayne (sorry not sorry). Then at one point in high school all I cared about was rock climbing, tie dye and old school rock music. (I feel like now I’ve found a solid balance…for the most part).

This is when my Grateful Dead listening adventure began. I specifically remember driving to a local coffee shop after school, windows down, blaring “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire on the Mountain” and “Casey Jones” the whole way there. At this time, I threw them in the pile of bands I could never see live along with Bob Marley and Nirvana. Regardless, I still listened and loved.

I even used the line “What a long, strange trip it’s been” in my last editorial piece in the school newspaper during my senior year.

So when Dead & Company manifested and John Mayer was invited to play, I saw the slight chance appear. But really, are there any Deadheads in Vegas? Turns out yes, yes there are.

The concert experience itself was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed outside of a festival. It was refreshing to be around people who wanted to focus on seeing and experiencing the show rather than Snapping the whole damn thing.  I was in awe to be able to see all of these legendary musicians performing in front of me. This was one of those shows where you close your eyes and literally feel the music. It was truly amazing.

I found myself swaying along as the band jammed out and led us on a journey. So far out that, at certain points, you couldn’t even remember what song they were playing. I barely touched my phone and I found myself truly lost in the music. I wasn’t ready to leave, I didn’t get impatient for the song to end and I felt so peaceful the entire time. Plus being able to see the band when I wanted was so nice. Frequent concerts when you’re 5 foot nothing means you don’t usually see any of the action. Such is my life.

After it was over, I found myself wishing I could go back again. I could see why people have literally followed this band since day one. Most importantly, I finally felt like I could call myself a true Deadhead!

I promptly went home and subscribed to Amazon Prime so I could watch “Long Strange Trip”, the six episode documentary on the history of The Grateful Dead. The doc is so carefully and deliberately done and it offers a fascinating look into The Dead and what they have meant to fans over the years. I highly recommend.

So if you can…go see Dead & Co. Watch the documentary. Both are essential if you even like one song from this band. Truly a life changing and magical experience.

 

donut bar aka the best donuts in the world | where to eat in vegas

Let me tell you something… I am SO GLAD gourmet donuts are trendy right now because they are my absolute favorite dessert. I don’t need a pie or a cake or a cupcake. Just give me the damn donut and no one gets hurt. Kidding…kind of.

Now, allow me to introduce y’all to one of my favorite donut spots in Las Vegas: Donut Bar! Located in Downtown Las Vegas.

I don’t really know how or when I discovered this place, but I can tell you it’s been my go-to donut spot for the last two years. That is, as long as I wake up in time because they go FAST. Yes, they are that good.

The shop itself is small and features the donut counter, an espresso bar, a cute little fish tank with fake donuts inside and a small counter area that offers seating. Head out back and you will find a courtyard shared with a few other downtown businesses where you can sit and enjoy your selection. 

the courtyard is shared by donut bar, a tattoo shop, a restaurant and a yoga studio

Ok, let’s get to the actual donuts. Donut Bar has been featured on Thrillist, USA Today, Ellen and is on the list of the Best Donut Shops in America. Clearly, these guys are legit. Not surprisingly, they tend to sell out fast – usually around noon or 1pm, so make this place a priority regardless of the hangover.

Real talk, these are the largest donuts I’ve ever seen. Most are as big as my hand and will leave you full for an entire morning. Maybe longer. Mmmm carbs! But worth it…so very worth it.

Since I frequent this shop quite a bit, I decided to ask the staff for a recommendation on my most recent visit. I should mention here, the Donut Bar staff is super friendly and nice. They have always been willing to answer questions and are ready to give a suggestion when needed. They are also super patient when you’re ordering which is a nice touch since they are a plethora of donut varieties from which to choose.

These are the two they recommended for me:

#1 – Blueberry with Meyer Lemon

First, you must know that I am NOT a fan of blueberries, unless they reside in my pancakes. When this donut was recommended to me I was hesitant, but willing to give it a chance. The cake donut turned out to be very tasty and the lemon frosting added a complimentary, tart flavor that really balanced the donut. I definitely recommend if you want something less sweet.

#2 – Chocolate Vegan

A vegan take on a classic donut. This cake donut does not seem vegan at all (for all those not into the vegan thang.) It’s not too sweet and it satisfies that chocolate craving.

Here are some of my other recs:

Homer’s Donut

Oh My Birthday Cake Oreo

Maple Bacon

Chocolate Bacon

In conclusion, the donuts here are big and sweet and provide an amazing amount of flavor. You probably won’t need another meal until dinner and/or your pregame snack for the evening. Probably. The varieties are unique and change everyday, so there is always something new to try.

This is my favorite donut place in Vegas and I highly recommend you go!

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Prices range from $1-$4

Address: 124 S 6th Street, Downtown Las Vegas

Hours:

Monday – Friday: 7am – the donuts are gone

Saturday – Sunday: 8am – the donuts are gone

Website: https://www.donutbar.com/