Next Stop: Las Vegas

Dear person who decided the week would include 5 working days and 2 weekend days:

You suck.

Love, Ali

New shirt! Yay shopping!

Do I like coming to work every day? Yup. Sure do. But do I love the weekends when I don’t have to work? Why yes, yes I do.

After last weekend’s Marathon Mania, this weekend was exactly what I needed: relaxing, gluttonous and carefree.

Brian and I spent the weekend in Short Hills, NJ, where we shacked up in sin at a very lovely Hilton…that had a hot tub…and a bar…and a giant mall next door. We ate — a lot. We ordered room service — more than once. We drank — so long, delicious bottle of wine from Wolffer Estates. We swam, we slept in and we followed one very important rule all weekend: no cell phones.

I loved this pool. I felt like I was in Greece. Even though I have never been to Greece.

This rule worked especially well for Brian, who managed to lose his phone on the way to the hotel. Oops.

I turned my phone off as soon as we arrived on Saturday, and despite turning it on once to text a certain friend, I was very technologically well behaved.

I’m kind of considering making this a new weekend rule in general. It was nice not checking up on Twitter and Facebook constantly, not reading blogs and not updating my own blog.

Turns out, as much as I love this little online world, I can survive just fine without knowing how many miles each of my virtual friends ran on Sunday morning. My guess? Everyone ran a lot. And then ate something warm like oatmeal or French Toast for breakfast, maybe with pumpkin in it, and then took an ice bath and foam rolled and watched football. Or baked. Am I right? Not at all? Damn.

So, the weekend was wonderfully relaxing and I got back to the city last night feeling ready to get back into my life routine. Since the marathon, I’ve been running around like a crazy person, and I’m hoping to reel it in a bit this week. Back to eating better. Back to the regular workouts. Back to a clean apartment. Maybe.

Since I didn’t have cell phone access over the weekend, I wasn’t able to follow through on my “Get drunk and register for a marathon” plan.

Luckily, however, I’ve still got my next race lined up: the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.

Not the full. “Just” the half.

I ran this race with Team Challenge, the half marathon training program affiliated with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, back in 2009. It was my second half at the time and I loved it.


I had never been to Las Vegas so running the Strip was the best possible way to see the city. I spent the weekend with great runner friends and definitely appreciated the very flat course.

Alex and me, ready to run all over the Strip. Also dressed as twins.

This year, CCFA is the charity sponsor for the race.

Remember that time I busted my butt (and you all helped) to raise $20,000 for CCFA?

Running for Crohn's. That's apparently what I do.

Well, in addition to coming in second place in the Run For The Rabbit competition, I also just found out about another little perk.

CCFA has invited me — and Brian! — to run the Las Vegas Half in December as “VIP” guests of the charity. They are generously covering my travel expenses (not his), putting us up in a VIP suite at the Mandalay Bay resort and paying for my race entry. I am so honored and so, so, so appreciative of this offer.

Reasons, other than the obvious, that I’m pumped about this:

  • The race happens to fall on Brian’s birthday weekend. I’m not positive, but I think this can count as a birthday present. I’ll have to look into it. (Kidding, Brian. Kidding.) But we’ll get to celebrate his birthday in Vegas!
  • I have a new running goal! Yay! Something to train for!
  • Celine Dion has a show in Vegas. And I will be in Vegas. (This brings me back to the birthday present comment above…)
  • I’ll get to run my first night race. The race starts at 5:30 pm. Crazy.
  • Brian will run his first half marathon — and I’ll get to be there for it.
  • I love slot machines.
I've got a golden ticket!

My next step is coming up with a training plan and formulating some race day goals. I’d obviously love to go for a PR, but I am, as usual, filled with self doubt on that front.

My half marathon PR is from the National Half Marathon, which I ran back in March.

My favorite race ever. Ah, the glory days.

I finished that race in 1:44:48. I was fast then.

Magical leg warmers are the secret to a fast race.

I definitely want to focus on speedwork over the next few months. I want to get fast again, since marathon training has slowed me down a bit. I’m secretly hoping a certain former coach of mine can be coerced (or, you know, nominally paid) into helping me out with a training plan. I could use a good ass kicking.

This morning I stared at — OK, obsessed over — my splits from the National Half.

As usual, I am terrible at running the tangents. A half marathon is not 13.3 miles, Ali. Strong work.

So yeah. There’s the time to beat.

For my next trick, I will sprint everywhere I go. I will also stock up on my leg warmer collection.

December in Las Vegas isn’t warm, you know. It’s chilly. Like, short shorts and leg warmer chilly.

See you in Las Vegas!

(That last note is for you, Celine, if you’re reading, which I know you are.)



51 Responses

  1. How fun that you had that weekend getaway!! I’m jealous–Hubby and I are finally getting away this weekend. I think I’m going to steal your no cell phone rule. It’s a goodie.

  2. Hi Ali!
    That’s so awesome that you get to run the Rock n’ Roll half as a VIP. Would you mind sharing your training plan online? I am thinking of treating myself to a birthday race Jan 15th, 13.1 marathon Los Angeles. I want a speedy race and your splits are very admirable.

  3. Hi Ali!
    It’s so awesome that you get to be a VIP and run the Rock n’ Roll half. Would you mind sharing your training plan? I am thinking about treating myself to a birthday race on Jan 15th for 13.1 marathon Los Angeles. I want to run it fast and your splits are very admirable.

  4. Awesome! CCFA VIPs!!!!!
    Since Brian should be training for the half, too, does that mean we’ll get to see the two of you running in the park? 🙂
    I <3 Celine. That shouldn't be Brian's birthday present, but he can't deny you Celine!!!!

  5. what an excellent plan! And you totally deserve CCFA VIP status and then some! Your marathon fitness will definitely help you kick some major ass and and achieve your goal. Hooray for having something to train for again – I know how exciting that is 🙂 I hope to run with you soon, fingers crossed!

  6. OMG – you’re like a CCFA celebrity. Maybe Dancing With The Stars will do a charity season and they can ask you for CCFA (and me for Cookies) because, obviously, I spend my days scheming ways I can get on DWTS. Wrong? I think not.

    Also, you MUST go see Celine – I saw her in Vegas. It was fab. DO IT. Get tickets for you and Brian the not-so-caterer-but-good-cook and say “look what I got you for your birthday!” YAY!!!

    Also, seeing you on Sat in the race x 2 made my day. I may need a repeat jazz hands at NYC.

  7. I’m running the Vegas Half with the South Texas Chapter of Team Challenge and am fundraising for CCFA for the first time ever! I was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s and decided to do something for it! Any tips for a newbie fundraiser?

  8. Congratulations.
    How did other people from “Run for the rabbit” campaign did in their half/full marathon attempt?

  9. awesome news! i never ran the vegas half but i always hear good things about it.

    i’m also training for a half right after my marathon, which was 3 weeks ago. it keeps me from getting lazy…and how fun is it to just train for a half after logging so many miles over the summer?!?!

  10. That sounds like a fun race! I have never been to Las Vegas…but maybe I can tell my husband that I HAVE to run a race there, so he’d HAVE to take me. I don’t know if that’d actually work though! How lucky for you to be a guest runner, though! That is so exciting!
    I, too, want to work on getting faster for my next half, but I doubt I’d see times as fast as your National Half Marathon…those are awesome splits that I’d die for!!!

  11. That is *awesome!* What an awesome race and new goal.

    (Also, that is the race that I’m most likely to get drunk and register for in the next month. I reeeeally shouldn’t. But I almost did it twice this weekend.)

  12. That’s awesome that you guys get to run the Vegas half! Can’t wait to hear all about it! Your weekend sounds amazing and that pool looks so nice!

  13. That’s great that you are going to be a VIP guest at this race! They must have been extremely grateful for all the hard work and dedication that you put into fundraising to get them $20,000. I can’t wait to see what kind of training plan you have in store!

  14. That is so exciting! I am running the half as well! I signed up with Team in Training because I have Crohns as well and I have met so many amazing people during the training. I am a little nervous about a night race and figuring out how to fuel, but I think it will be lots of fun! Congratulations on your marathon, you are an inspiration and I look forward to reading your blog everyday! 🙂

  15. What an awesome weekend getaway! That is really exciting to be a VIP runner in Vegas-you guys will have a blast. Fingers crossed that you get to see Celine too!

  16. That’s so awesome! I ran the Vegas full and my favorite part was the first half on the strip. Very jealous of the half-marathoners. I love that this year is a night race and I need a half marathon! I have had thoughts of signing up…just hard to commit to anything yet…

  17. Ugh, I have such heartache over a Vegas race! I keep trying to find a race that fits into a weekend I can get away from work/find plane tickets that aren’t insane. Oh drama! 😉 If that’s my biggest worry, I suppose I’m a lucky girl.

    PS – that is awesome that you’re going to be a VIP guest!! Eeek!

  18. Your weekend looks like so much fun!!! I need a relaxing weekend for sure. Okay..just a massage will do! I’ve got a groupon to use soon!

    Vegas will be such an awesome time! A perfect destination half!!!

    I am thinking of running another in 2 weeks…but am not completely sure it is the smartest thing to do. Not to pr. Just to run. This one will give me a medal. Haha

  19. that is awesome Ali!!! What an honor on so many levels and to have Brian run it for his first half? awesome! Vegas at night for a half would be super fun!

  20. I hate to be the bearer or bad news, but your Garmin will never say 13.1 after a half marathon or 26.2 for a full, unless the course is short! The way that the course is measured is very difficult to run, so you’ll always be several tenths of a mile off. It kind of sucks, but it happens to everyone! After my first marathon I was so confused as to why I ran 26.7 miles!!! Good luck in Vegas!

  21. I love leg warmers. I love how they are a universal accessory and can go from warming up ballerinas at the barre, to hardcore marathon runners like yourself 🙂 I’ve always wanted to go to Vegas but have sadly never been….

  22. Yay see you in Vegas! I almost wrote catch you, but clearly that wont happen since I dont have speedy legs. 🙂
    I think it’s awesome of CCFA to grant you VIP access to RnR LV!

  23. Wow that sounds like an amazing weekend! You definitely deserved to relax in style.
    Yay Vegas 1/2!! I think all the cool kids are going to be there, I may need to crash the party. 🙂

  24. A) If Brian likes celine, too(or if Brian is a good sport), go see her!! She rocks live! Granted, I saw her circa 1997, but still! My dad was even willing to potentially see her again (granted, the other option was a second round of the spice girls…but still…)

    B) you could totally PR! You still are fast- think of your speed pacing yourself for a full marathon! You for sure have it in you for a half!! And, vegas is flat!!

    C) way to be a VIP rockstar! So famous.

    1. Brian is pretty cool about almost everything (he hugged me post-marathon when I was covered in sweat…and also pee) but somehow I don’t think a Celine Dion concert is his idea of a birthday good time. So sad.

  25. That is so awesome they are sending you to Vegas, you certainly earned it! Glad you have your next goal to train for, you’re gonna kill it!

  26. So nice of CCFA to recognize you like this! I love it. I wish I had a weekend away in a hotel like you did.. sounds perfect. But I had a really, really great Sunday of going to Target and watching football and, yes, eating my challah french toast (that’s what happens after Rosh Hashana). Mmmmmm. Also, you are fast.

  27. 1) CCFA should probably send all of your family members with Crohn’s to Vegas as well…..
    2) Celine tickets would be a birthday present for Brian? I FOUND A FAULT WITH HIM!
    3) you had a lot of negative splits in that half marathon – pretty sweet, I love negative splitting! In fact, my ideal day would probably involve negative splitting on the bridle (happy Mrs. Coach Cane?) path!
    4) you MUST eat at Spago when in vegas (best meal I’ve ever had, ever)….and you can get discounted meal coupons for 20-30% off your bill.

  28. That pool does look like it fits right into Greece! I’m glad the weekend was fantastic and brought you the rest and self-care that you needed! It’s so fantastic that you have another race lined up, and that you’ll be the VIP guests! YAY!!!

  29. yay!! how exciting for you!!! Way to bust your butt in raising lots of $$ and now you get to train for something else! 🙂 You’ll have a blast running the strip at night!

  30. I’m so excited that you found a new goal to, literally, run to! And what a nice present you can give Celine! She’ll have the pleasure to meet a Marathoner! 😉
    PS Share your plan ASAP, please!

  31. What fun! That is so great that you’re getting this trip taken care of – you deserve it, after all that hard work. =)

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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