Week 3, 2013: Vegas Baby!

Overall very good week. I started off on Tuesday doing a faster training on Baylands Park loop; my average was 10 seconds per kilometer slower than my fastest run in December, but that was to be expected, as I'm still rebuilding form after the Christmas break. After the training my shins were hurting, so I was in doubt whether I should follow up with an easy run on the same evening but eventually I did.

A typical view on the Baylands Park loop.

Then on Thursday I went for the Mission Peak climb. Oh boy, this is one hell of a climb, really. The only time I run it before was at the beginning of December, when

At the top of Mission Peak.

I run it twice in a row. So I thought now it would be easier. Probably it was, but it was still a super tough workout. And I had to give up on my resolve of running it from the beginning till the end -- the last bit I just had to walk. Still, I managed to shave off almost 3 minutes from my December time; not too bad.

I was too tired in the evening to follow up with another training so instead I did it the following morning. I run my usual route in the Baylands Park and in the morning it looked magnificent. I wished I had a camera with me!

Then came the long weekend, which I was about to spend with a friend in Las Vegas. On Saturday I had to wake up at 3:45am in order to drive and be on time at the airport. Once there I discovered that I forgot my passport! Actually, it's not so much that I forgot it but, used to travelling with my ID all around Europe, it didn't really occur to me that I should take it with me. Big mistake. Luckily after some fuss they let me through and at 7:30am in the morning I was in Vegas. There I rented a car and went for a delicious breakfast at Egg Works.

View from the Mission Peak.

My friend, David, was only coming in the evening so what was my idea of enjoying myself in Vegas? You betcha -- I went for a run! :). First I drove to the Hoover dam. It's located by Lake Mead, where I was planning to do my running. On the way there I stopped in the Visitor's center where I hoped to get some good hints and maps. The lady there was very friendly but seemed to be a bit lost when it came to recommending me a good 20-mile route, as most of their hikes were much shorter than that.

So I just took the maps and decided to figure it out myself. I picked a certain loop (route 71 on the map on the left) that looked promising and of approximately the distance I wanted. Drive there was quite pleasant... until I hit the unpaved road. My Nissan Sentra seemed to be out of its elements and I was afraid that at some point it would refuse to cooperate further, which would not be much fun, given that I was in the middle of nowhere. So at some point I stopped by the side of the road and started running.

At the Hoover Dam.

After covering 1.5 kilometers I started having doubts whether I locked the car. (If your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere is no fun, then imagine the same car disappearing with your passport... eee, ok, I forgot the passport, but with your wallet and all the remaining documents in it). So instead of worrying for the following 4 hours, I decided to turn back and check it (of course it was locked). For some reason -- possibly not to repeat the same stretch of the road for the third time -- I decided to begin with route 74, leading down to the lake.

Time to drop the car and do some running!

It was fairly pleasant but when I came back I realized that I don't have time anymore to do the loop that I wanted. So it was time to change plans. I decided to try to reach Mount Wilson (route 130). So I came back to my car, drove for a couple of miles and started my run. The landscape was quite impressive (which I hope you can judge from the photos), if perhaps a bit monotonous.

Unfortunately I grossly miscalculated and there was no way for me to reach the top of the mountain. Basically I climbed over hills to its base and had to turns around as it was getting dark, not to mention that I had to start my journey back soon if I wanted to make it to the hotel, take a quick shower and pick up David from the airport.

Running down to the lake.
A photo taken, quite literally, on the run.

At the hotel an unpleasant surprise was awaiting me. It turned out that the reservation was in David's name and there was no way I was able to check in. So I didn't have my choice and, still in my running geat, I headed for the airport. I felt quite ridiculous walking around in shorts and my Five Fingers (I didn't have enough space in my backpack for proper running shoes).

The following day we were taking it easy. We again drove to the Hoover Dam and then explored Lake Mead, this time on its northern shore. I was afraid that my legs would hurt from running almost 30K the previous day; and essentially barefoot! But they were fine, including my shins, only my heels were hurting from pounding on the rocks in Five Fingers.

In the evening we went for the musical Rock of Ages. I liked it a lot! I almost forgot how much I like musicals and this was a good one. Not so much dancing unfortunately, but the singing was great and some of the characters were just phenomenal :) (lead by Mark Shunock as the narrator).

And then on Monday... but hey, Monday is a new week already, so you will have to wait for the next report to read about it :). Until then!

(See more photos from: Baylands Park loop, Mission Peak, Lake Mead).

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