Sunday, May 11, 2014

My week in Las Vegas!

For those of you who don't follow me on Instagram (which you should...) the reason I haven't written in the past week is that I've been doing a bit of traveling and haven't had a real moment to sit and recap!  I have a problem being brief and have trouble posting if it isn't a full blown entry.  Last Sunday I flew out from Albany to Las Vegas where I stayed until Thursday for a work trade show.  It was my first time in Vegas and it was a ton of fun but my main observation was that it is... weird.

It's a whole mix of a little bit of everything and a little bit of every kind of person all mashed up here in the desert with nothing else but man-made adult enjoyment type things all around.  Alcohol, gambling, over the top shows, bright lights, food, and all of it costs tons and tons of money.  No lie, I forgot a hairbrush and had to go to my hotel's convenience store to try and purchase a cheap little plastic comb or something and the only hairbrush they had in the store cost $72!!!  INSANE.

Anyways, although I was there for work, as you probably know by now, I always try to squeeze in fun when I am traveling for work.  Although I leave that stuff out... trust me, the week was a culmination of many, many months of work and the days were long and busy but totally fun to see the work pay off.  So in addition to the work stuff, I was able to see a couple of shows (including fulfilling a lifelong dream and see a Cirque de Soleil show!), soak up a little Vitamin D at the pool, check out the Bellagio fountain show, and have some enjoyable meals with coworkers.

The pool was really nice and I wish I had been able to spend more time there, but unfortunately that's not what this trip was about.  Plus, once more of my coworkers arrived, I avoided that thing because nobody needs to run into coworkers when bathing suits are involved, amiright?

The first night we were there, we were able to have dinner at one of the restaurants in the Bellagio hotel with a view of the fountains.  We had the most perfect night to walk around and check out the Vegas strip!  It's a pretty great thing when you have coworkers who you enjoy spending time with outside of work and even better when you get to do it in cool locations.  The Bellagio hotel was pretty neat to see inside, as well as some of the other hotels on the strip.  They are very elaborately decorated all with a theme.  The New York, New York hotel was impressive from the outside.  As well as the Parisian hotel (especially after just seeing the Eiffel Tower in person!) and of course, I had to check out the Venetian.

Another amazing thing is that as part of my job and my company's role at this conference, I organized a 5K race for conference attendees.  We have been running registration for a couple months now and I hired a race organizing company to help with an actual chip-timed, registration needed, 5K race here in Las Vegas!  I had about 120 people up at 5:30 a.m. to run 3.1 miles before the start of the conference yesterday and it was such a fun and great time.  I love sharing my excitement for running and attempts at being healthy and was really proud/excited that I could work something I love into my job and convince even one other person to wake up at the crack of dawn in the city of sin to run!

Aside from the 5K, which took place in a park, I also did a morning run up and down the strip, which was pretty cool to do.  I am starting to rack up quite the list of places around the world I have run and I kind of like it!  It is helpful, but not entirely, in helping to make up for the extra amounts of food I consume while traveling.  I still haven't recovered from the extra weight I put on while in Europe (which WAS worth it, but I want it gone now) and I have a lot more travel coming up so it just keeps packing on.  I am struggling to keep up the running & exercise & resist food urges but it is tough.

We celebrated Cinco De Mayo while in Vegas.  Which, who can say no to that?

And for the first time in my life I ate at a Johnny Rockets.  Johnny Rockets is not unique or special so I probably should have done better there... however, it was comfort food I allowed myself after I faced a fear and had adrenaline rushing through my body.  In addition to the shows and gambling in Vegas, there is also some thrill-ride type activities that you can partake in.  And I somehow found myself taking a quick lunch break with my boss and a customer to jump off the top of the 108th story of the Stratosphere building and plunge to the ground, only to be caught 15 feet before the ground.  Ahhh!$%!

Can you believe I did that?!  To be honest, I really cannot.  A warning to you all -- be careful what you agree to while drinking!  However, I must say I am really proud of myself for facing this fear and doing the SkyJump.  My coworkers were pretty proud of me too; it is fun to prove people wrong and do things that are not expected of you.

It's also fun to do things that are silly and cheesy and take you back in time -- which is exactly what I would say about one of my other Vegas activities, which was going to see the Britney Spears "Pieces of Me" show!  My coworkers and I all went together on one of our evenings off and although it was not a miraculous vocal performance (lip sync...) the show was a great visual performance with amazing dancing (although not from Britney), spectacular sets, and of course the music of my middle and high school years -- Britney!

If you can't tell, to sum things up, the week in Vegas was great.  I am not regretting any of the decisions I made because there is no point in that, but just trying to get back on track now as best I can.  I heard an interesting quote from the keynote speaker at the conference who said, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time to plant a tree is today."  It's a bit abstract, but I like it.

My time in Vegas wrapped up on Thursday, when I hobbled my way to the airport to jump over to the city of angels where two of my best friends in the world were waiting for me for a fun couple days.  But in wrapping up Vegas, let me just say that when I wrote "hobbled" I meant hobbled.  Somehow between the conference, airplane swelling, wearing of summer shoes for the first time, running, and being on my feet all day long at the trade show... my feet got torn apart with blisters and pain.  I was in rough shape at the end of the week but fought through.

Another random quote I recently heard had to do with runners and their tolerance for pain.  In a study that was done, it was determined that runners feel pain at the same time as others, they just don't do anything about it, whereas others stop whatever is causing the pain.  I definitely saw that as true for myself this week as I kept fighting on with my heels and sandals whereas others were walking around in sneakers at the end of the week.  Stubborn me.

So this is all I am going to cover in this post as I have got to get to bed.  I will fill you in on the second part of my trip later, but want to get to bed so I can get up in the morning to get a run in before my work day.  I am still not back in Albany and living out of my suitcase, however, this time from the completely opposite side of the country.  I'm blogging from Cape Cod with a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean tonight -- gotta love the beach!!  Hope you guys have a great start to your week!

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