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PR Or No PR? Place Your Bets.

Posted Dec 04 2011 2:11am

So I’m in Las Vegas. I have arrived. Actually, I arrived at 9:30 am Vegas time on Friday. I’ve done some stuff since getting here, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Right now I’m slowly entering Race Day Mode.

Got my bib, got my sparkles, got my leg warmers — I'm just about ready to go.

I’m not feeling super confident about tomorrow’s half marathon. I’m just not. I’d really love to be like, “I trained hard, I followed my plan and I’m feeling rested and ready,” but that’s not quite the case at this moment.

The fact is that I trained only kind of hard. I had some really great long runs and some decent speedwork sessions, but I also trained for this race entirely through a Crohn’s flare-up, and that really sucked. Most of my training runs were interrupted by bathroom stops and serious stomach pains.

And I didn’t follow a plan. I ran what I felt like running. But that’s fine.

As for feeling rested — I took a rest day yesterday. My only exercise was standing up, walking to a different slot machine and then squatting back down to throw away my precious $20 bills.

Someone is getting very lucky at the slot machines. Someone else is not. You can place your bets on which of the Ali/Brian pair you think is up money and which one of us you think is getting ready to call his/her bank and beg for a gambling loan.

Hint: He's not holding onto my money for me. Those are not my bills. Damnit.

As I was saying…

Brian and I went for a little shakeout run this morning. We banged out two slow miles with a few pickups every so often.

This is me running this morning. Do you like my Race Day outfit? I think it's flattering but also practical.

Did you know that it’s windy in Vegas? It’s really F-ing windy. I hope the wind goes away for the race.

I’m not sure why I’m not feeling confident about the race tomorrow. I should be psyched, and mentally I’m pumped about the event, but I’m also worried about how my legs will feel. I’m worried about getting a cramp, like I did during the marathon. I’m worried it’s going to be crowded. There are 44,000 runners doing this race. Yikes.

I hope I wake up with legs that feel like feathers and a stomach that feels like lead. Or something. I don’t know? What does a strong stomach feel like?

Aside from the racing things, Vegas is great so far!

Yesterday was Brian’s birthday, so we did lots of celebrating. First we rode on a plane, and I let the birthday boy have the middle seat!

Hello, Las Vegas!

Just kidding. I told him to take the window, but he insisted he’d sleep just fine in a middle seat. And then he slept for two hours and I stared out the window.

We arrived in Las Vegas at 9:30 am, which was pretty stellar. Maximum playing time! By playing I obviously mean slot machine playing. Did I mention I haven’t won much money during this trip?

The energy in Vegas is crazy this weekend. These signs are everywhere:

Why yes, Brian's birthday IS a special event. Thanks for taking note, Vegas!

The rodeo is in town, too. Pretty much everyone here is either wearing compression socks or a cowboy hat. I prefer leg warmers and a sparkly headband, but that’s just me. Yee haw and giddy up.

After arriving, checking into our lovely suite at THE Hotel (part of the deal for being a top fundraiser — I’ll explain shortly) and stuffing our faces with food, Brian and I went to the expo.

Normally I’m not much of an expo girl. I don’t really need to shop at expos and they don’t typically fascinate me, but I loved this expo. Good job, Rock N Roll.

Team Challenge signs everywhere!

We picked up our bibs, got our corral assignments moved around (see you in Corral 3!) and then explored. Tomorrow is Brian’s first half marathon and I think he was a little overwhelmed by the expo in the best possible way.

Bib pickup!

We did a little walking around and shopping…

This is my new gold headband and a side-view of my bumpy nose.

…and we spotted a certain someone chatting it up with the crowd.

What up, Kara G.

After the expo, it was time to shower and attempt to look fancy for the Team Challenge VIP Top Fundraiser cocktail party.

Woo! Party time!

The party was at Mix, which is the lounge on the top floor of THE Hotel. Convenient? Yes. Open bar? Also yes.

The views were incredible. I really like Las Vegas. I think it’s pretty. I like sparkly things.

The view from Mix

We stayed long enough to snag a free drink and then it was time for our next destination: Caesar’s, for Brian’s birthday dinner.

Happy Birthday, Brian! I hope you liked your big day!

We ate at Spago, which is one of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants. My brother recommended it — good job, Ry Guy — and it was fantastic. Brian and I both loved the atmosphere, loved the food and especially loved seeing a lady walking to her table who totally tripped and bit it in the middle of the restaurant.

Does that make me a bad person? No. Because seeing people fall is hilarious, and she didn’t get hurt. I love spotting a good faceplant fall.

I also loved dessert.

Souffle for two, but just for one. Ali. Ali wants her own cake.

Birthday boy got his own dessert. Ali doesn’t share food. You all know that by now.

And then we saw some running celebrities as we walked off our dinner.

Aron, Janae and Page — but you knew that already.

And then we gambled. Brian played craps and won. I watched and got tired.

Today involved sleeping in, taking a bath and going for that little run I mentioned. Brian and I scoped out the local bathroom scene…

Very nice. Ali approves!

…and the “OMG You’re In Las Vegas Now Don’t Lose All Your Money” sign.

We're heeeeere!

We met up with two cool chicks for lunch…

This photo isn't awkward at ALL.

…and soon it was time for dinner. This trip has largely revolved around meals so far.

Tonight’s dinner was courtesy of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. CCFA is the charity sponsor for the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, which makes me feel like this disease is totally legit. That and the fact that 1.4 million other Americans have it.

So Brian and I joined Team NYC — and 1,300 other Team Challengers — for an intimate meal.

Team NYC!

The “Inspirational Pasta Party” was, as always, really amazing. And inspiring. So I guess they named it correctly.

There were a bunch of speakers, and plenty o’ carbs. Plus, we learned some fun facts, like these ones:

  • The senate passed a resolution the other day for Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week, and it’s happening now! December 1–7 will forever be the week during which we all think about digestive diseases. It’s sexy and informational! But also pretty cool.
  • There were 2,032 people at the pasta party, and 1,226 of them are running the race tomorrow as Team Challenge participants.
  • This is the largest Team Challenge group ever!
  • 40 percent of Team Challenge participants have Crohn’s disease and/or ulcerative colitis.
  • 90 percent of Team Challenge participants have a personal connection to these diseases, such as a friend or family member who is affected.
  • And the kicker: The total amount raised by Team Challengers in preparation for the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon is $4.5 million. Pretty cool, right? I was excited about it. Take that money, doctors, and go ahead and find a cure. Thank you in advance.

Also cool? I was announced as the 7th highest fundraiser in the country!

You can't really tell, but this is me accepting my VIP Porta Potty pass. Really. That happened.

I can’t wait to use the VIP Porta Potties tomorrow!

Top Fundraiser!

After the pasta party, we had a team meeting and now I’m blogging and Brian has mysteriously disappeared, so I think I need to go downstairs to check the craps tables.

My next post will either say, “The race was amazing, I PR’d, and I’m hammered right now!” or “That race sucked, and I’m hammered right now!”

Place your bets. This is Vegas, after all.

Good luck tomorrow, runners!


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