Training, Travel


I haven’t mentioned it yet on the blog, but it’s official… I’m moving to Baltimore in February. I’m sad to be leaving Phoenix because I really love it here, but I’m starting to get excited about checking out a new city and I’m ready to embrace the change. Anyway, with my time in Arizona starting to come to an end, my mom and I decided to take advantage of my four-day holiday from work and drive up to the Grand Canyon.

The post title comes from a Ranger Program that we went to about the geology of the Grand Canyon. DUDE is an acronym for how the Grand Canyon was formed… Deposition, Uplifiting, Downcutting, and Erosion. Another fun fact from the talk was that if you take the entire life of the earth and stuff it into a year, with the earth being “born” on January 1, humans have only been around for the last 10 seconds of December 31.

The Grand Canyon was cold, but beautiful. We lucked out with the gorgeous, sunny weather. This was my first visit so I have nothing to compare it to, but I think the snow really enhanced the view. Plus, it was just fun to see snow again. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip:

In training news, I did a 2 mile run at the track a few days ago at 10:33 pace, and a 9 mile speed walk yesterday at 13:28 pace. For the walk I set my Garmin to alert me when I was slower than a 14:00 pace. At times it was annoying because it would beep even though I didn’t think my pace had changed at all. But overall it helped push me to keep moving quickly. I’m going to do one more long walk next weekend, then I’m headed up to Baltimore for a week which fits in nicely with tapering before RnR AZ.

I’ll be back to post again tonight or tomorrow to announce the winner of the giveaway.


Fabulous (but cold) Las Vegas

As you read this, I’m most likely on my way or already in Las Vegas. Woo-hoo! (I’m finally starting to take advantage of WordPress’s ability to pre-schedule posts to be published.)

I’m really excited to get away for the weekend. Although it probably doesn’t seem like it with all the shopping that I’ve been doing recently, most of the time I’m pretty frugal. But for this trip I decided that I’m going to splurge a little. Partly because I figure I deserve it after being sick, and partly because I realize it’s better to spend a bit extra rather than wear myself out walking everywhere or stressing out over a few dollars.

Some advice for anyone looking to do this race in the future, book your hotel room early! I really wish I could have stayed at Mandalay Bay, especially with the great host hotel rates they were offering. But I think it sold out months ago. The Luxor (located next door) also sold out pretty quickly too. Excalibur would be the next closest hotel, but I’ve read a lot of negative reviews about it. So I ended up choosing MGM Grand which is about a mile away from the start/finish line.

I’m not planning to do too much sightseeing during this trip. The only things on my agenda, other than race stuff, are making a trip over to Paris to hopefully find some yummy French pastries, and seeing the Cirque du Soleil show KA. I’ve never see a Cirque show before and I’ve been wanting to for a long time. I probably wouldn’t have picked KA as my first choice, except for the fact that it’s conveniently located at MGM Grand which means I don’t have to travel far to see it and I can head straight to bed afterward.

The race starts at 6:15 and I have two worries. One is the cold. Right now the forecast for Sunday is a low of 38° and a high of 53°. Over the course of the last week I’ve had to completely rethink my race outfit, hence a lot of the recent purchases of long pants, gloves, and a headband. My other worry is getting back to the hotel in time because check-out is at 11am. I’m crossing my fingers that I can get a late checkout, otherwise I think I’ll probably check-out before I leave for the race and leave my luggage at the bell stand. I can just change in the bathroom later and since I’m only walking, hopefully I won’t be too sweaty and stinky after the race.

Anyway, I’ll leave you now with a couple photos from my very first trip to Las Vegas when I went with my family around Christmas time back in (I think) 2004. I doubt these buildings have changed much since then, but I’ll be finding out soon enough!

Oh yeah, and one more reminder about the giveaway.


In the belly of a whale

This is the third weekend in a row that I’ll be away from Phoenix. First there was Orlando, then San Jose, and now I’m on my way out to Baltimore. This time it’s not for a race, although the Baltimore Running Festival is on Saturday. Unfortunately the half marathon and 5k are both sold out.

I relocated to Phoenix two years ago because of changes within the company I work for. Now they’re asking me to consider another move out to Baltimore. So that’s the purpose behind this trip… to get to know our Baltimore office and the general area.

At first when I found out about the potential relocation, I got really freaked out. I really like Phoenix and I feel a lot more settled in Phoenix than I did in Houston. I just signed another year-long lease on our rental house, purchased an annual gym membership, and have the RnR Las Vegas and Arizona races coming up this winter. (Training for a marathon in snow and cold northeast weather doesn’t sound like my idea of fun.) But as I slowly got used to the idea of moving again, I’m not so opposed to it now. I’m just waiting for the official job description and offer so that I can evaluate whether this is the right opportunity for me or not (and whether it makes sense financially).

Anyway, I’m actually writing at 30,000 feet in the air, although I’ll be posting from my hotel room later. I just so happen to be flying in one of Southwest’s Shamu planes, which I think is kind of neat. Troy and I saw one in the air once, but this is the first time I’ve flown in one. Not that there’s anything different about the flight. I only realized it was a Shamu plane because the overhead bins are painted with SeaWorld logos and pictures of Shamu. I confirmed it with a flight attendent and she’s the one who actually gave me the idea for the post title.

Overhead bins on one of Southwest's "Shamu" planes

The good thing about all this traveling is that I’m very close to finally having earned a free Southwest flight. And at least for this trip, all my expenses are covered by my company. I have my laptop with me this time (obviously) because I have to go into work on Friday and Monday. But I’m looking forward to a fairly relaxing weekend with a lot of reading and hopefully catching up on my race reports.