Vegas baby

Oh my goodness, what do I have to say about Vegas? So much I want to say, so little I am willing to put out there for the world to see…I actually wrote down my favorite parts on a sheet of paper (old school I know)! I have to find a safe place for this piece of paper…Anyways, here’s my take on Vegas: it’s amazing. Leave all your judgements and ideas of normal on the plane because they don’t work there.

First thing, get over the fact that you don’t like cigarette smoke. Every casino allows smoking (well every one we went in) and this smell seems to penetrate every part of all the hotels. If you can’t get over this, I wouldn’t recommend going because you are gonna be miserable.

Thing two, this is NOT a place to take your children (it’s called sin city for a reason).

Third, you can get pretty much anything for free, if you are a girl and at all attractive (apparently I’m adorable, I would say hot, but that just sounds cocky).

Next, in terms of taxis don’t let the driver take the interstate to the airport because it costs twice as much as the back roads.

In regards to food, I recommend splitting every meal with somebody. That way you get to try more and it makes meals cheaper. Plus, I ate very decadently and I still lost 2lbs! We ate at some nice restaurants and didn’t spend more than $30-$40 a piece. I highly recommend Gordan Ramsey’s burger (the farm burger was amazing) and the tapas restaurant in the aria, Julian Serrano (the goat cheese stuff dates wrapped in prosciutto, oh my!).

Lastly, don’t expect to sleep as much as you do at home, but this won’t really bother you (well provided you actually wanted to enjoy Vegas in the first place).

If I go again (this trip was so amazing I just don’t know if another one could live up to it!), I would love to stay at the Bellagio. The Venetian was amazing and the pool was great. The Luxor was good enough and we wouldn’t have met the awesome people we met if we didn’t stay there, but it was really far down the strip (2 miles, the Bellagio is basically in the middle) from most of the stuff we wanted to do. Plus, I love the Bellagio fountains and there are rooms you can watch the fountains from. I spent my first night watching them for over an hour, reading my book in between the shows. May sound lame, but it was great!

So, overall I had an amazing time and I got exactly what I needed: a break for the perfect white bread life I live on a daily basis!

Now for a picture of me with our favorite machine:

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Why Weekly Weigh-Ins are a Good Thing

So, I work out a lot. Let’s start with that. I run 6 miles 3 times a week and then I do the Insanity workout 6 times a week. However, I’m still overweight (8lbs left to be “normal” whatever that is!). That’s because, like I’ve said before, I LOVE to eat! I like to have two desserts a day, one after lunch and one after dinner. Now, to me dessert can range from two jelly beans to a piece of pie. I try to avoid making pies though, because I eat them (what a crazy idea!). Anyways, despite how much I workout, if I’ve had a “bad food day”, which to me basically means I ate anything “out”, then I look in the mirror and to myself I look like I’ve gained 10lbs in a day. So, for me a weekly weigh-in helps me to see myself accurately when I look in the mirror. For example, yesterday Matt and I had Chili’s for lunch and I had their Chipotle Honey Chicken Crispers (mmm), thankfully I don’t like French fries and so I got it with broccoli and the cinnamon apples, which lets be honest should be called apple pie filling because that’s what it is and it’s DELICIOUS! Then I had a cookie, a couple glasses of wine, and a steak for dinner. So this morning I wake up and look and myself in the mirror and there’s “10lbs heavier Rachael”, but today is my weigh-in day! I do my weigh-ins on Monday mornings on my Wii fit balance board, which is awesome because it keeps track of my weight (my weight for the last 3 years) and calculates my BMI. Perfect! Also, I do my weigh-ins on Mondays because its a day I work out on so if I did gain weight I am soon working out and feeling better about myself and its not my long run day (if I’m training for a long race) so I don’t get discouraged and skip my long run for the week. SO,I weigh myself and instead of gaining 10lbs, like I see in the mirror, I have lost 2lbs. So, I look in the mirror and voilĂ , I am skinny me again!

Maybe I’m the only person who has this problem, but I’m the only person for whom I need to find weight loss (and body image) solutions for!

Disney Princess Half Marathon

So one of my best friends Kim and I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon this past February and it was amazing! Here’s all the thoughts I have on it.

Resort
We stayed at the Polynesian which was amazing (we stayed 2 nights but will stay 3 next year, at $650 a night it was expensive but totally worth it) we got up at 3:30amthrew on our clothes and tutus and hopped on the monorail (no buses on race day!). The best thing about the Polynesian is that when you stay at a magic kingdom resort and you are going from Epcot (where the race finishes and starts) you have to take two monorails BUT the Polynesian is right next to the transportation and ticket center (where you change trains) so you only have to take one monorail not two each way on race day!

Race Day
You have to be on the monorail by 4am and in your coral by 5am, there was a dj with lights and music and people dancing before it was time to line up (sooo much fun, I’ll post a video on fb in a little while), the bad part is that you stand in your coral for 45minutes to an hour and a half before you start moving and so it’s kinda hard to stretch before its time to go. It was great though. There were marching bands, Celtic bands, black gospel choirs, oriental drummers, royal trumpeters and djs for most of the route. There were also characters to take pictures with along the way, however there were long lines so you have to decide if you are up for that. We only stopped to take a picture in front of the castle. They have professional photographers and you can take your own pics. It was awesome! Each character has appropriate Disney music playing so you get that music too. I brought my headphones but never used them…I wanted to get the full experience. They give out water and powerade at each mile and then around mile 8 or 9 they give cliff gel shots. My recommendation is that you carry your own energy stuff with you (I do a cliff gel shot every 3 mile intervals, so at 3, 6, and 9 but it ends up being farther than every 3 miles because I run a mile and then walk 2-3 minutes, I’ll explain that in a minute), also if you don’t know how you react to exactly what they are giving out dont try it on race day, and if you do take a gel shot don’t eat it until you have some water to drink with it. We didn’t do bag check because we knew we would quickly be back to our hotel. There are professional photographers at the end both right after the finish line and then end the rest area after you get your food. I took pics by myself right after the finish line because I was ready to eat something and then Kim and I took group pictures once she arrived. I would love to get more people together to run it next year! Kim and I will probably stay at the Polynesian again and the only complaint was that bed was kinda short so I had to sleep diagonally.

Training
So, I did the couch to half marathon training program on digitalrunning.com because I basically couldn’t run a minute without feeling like I would die beforehand. Once you get to like 5 or 6 miles though it starts having you run a mile then walk for a minute and then repeat for the distance. The minute walk wasn’t enough for me so I did walk 3 minutes in between. I eventually just switched to doing 3 or 4 mile straight runs (running between 5 and 6 miles an hour) twice a week and then I would do a long run on Saturday or Sunday. I would usually add a mile every two weeks (first week at new distance was always a struggle and then second week was a lot easier). To do 13 miles I had to do 11 run one mile, walk three minute segments so it worked out with my gel shots. I didn’t start using gel shots till I started running more than 9 miles. I did all my runs on treadmills and I was perfectly fine in the race. I did almost exactly the same in the race (once you factor in the line for the portapotty and stopping to take a picture) as I did on my last treadmill run. I never did an incline on the treadmill either. There are only two bad hills in the race and they are between miles 10 and 12 and there was absolutely no one running up them so you don’t feel bad walking. I used run keeper pro and had it tell me my distance, speed, and time every quarter mile just to make sure I stayed around the 5mph pace I wanted because I do my short runs at 6mph now and I was afraid my speed would creep up and I wouldn’t be able to run on mile 13.

Also, if you are gonna run with someone, make sure you do the same training regiment. Otherwise, it makes it harder for one or both of you.

It really is a fun race and I hope you do it next year. Kim and I will definitely be doing the tall hats and tutus again next year. The tutus were really easy to run in and the hats were a great way to find each other when we got separated. I recommend compression shorts or capris on the bottom and then make sure you get some body glide for your under arms and between your legs. I also wore a water belt with a pouch so I could carry my gels and I didn’t have to wait for water stations to do a gel or if I really needed a sip.

Next year, I’m gonna use body glide (didn’t this year and my under arms are really chaffed) and I’m gonna try to get down to a minute every mile or two (which would be a water station stop) and I want to run it in under 2 and a half hours. I would stay the day after because my legs were so antsy on the plane and I was exhausted, it was horrible and try to get in really early on Friday or fly in Saturday early and try to stay through Tuesday because maybe the parks would be less crazy (it was school break for a lot of people the week before the race).

Pictures
The pictures they sell on the marathon foto website are good, but you can get most with a camera phone (and they will let you at all the photo spots we stopped at), but if you order the DVD with all the images you get videos taken throughout the race including one of you crossing the finish line! Priceless!

Message me if you have any questions and remember its just my opinion and it’s worth what you paid for it…

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