Monday, December 7, 2009

From Vegas. The Road. To Hellgate.


Had a really fun long weekend in Las Vegas with the girls. Pam, Kami, Susan and I flew down Friday... my first trip there... all of the girls had been several times but not all recently so much had changed. Seems like 3 or 4 old hotels get torn down every year and 1 mega hotel goes up in it's place! I had a great time hanging out with the girls... gambling, partying, shopping... and cheering them on in the marathon yesterday. And then partying some more. We left the gambling to Susan at that point who was the only one having any luck. I ran a few miles of the marathon with Kami, tried to find Susan but missed her... and then watched Pam cruise by at mile 23 a few yards behind the 3:10 pace group - only to pass them soon after and finish in 3:07 and change. Holy crap! Way to PR having run a then PR of ~3:15 at TCM just two months ago! It's been a stellar year for Pam and I look forward to more of the same next year. No pressure :)

Las Vegas was pretty much what I expected. I thought Caesar's was the neatest of all the hotels we were at. The Luxor pyramid too - that light is pretty cool. The fountains at the Bellagio were beautiful. We had some great food, finishing up with a fab meal at Sushi Samba last night. No end of places to spend money but I managed to not lose too much in the slot machines... and if I hadn't just switched from playing 10 cent to 2 cent when I hit five 7s I would have actually came out on top. By quite a bit! Yeah - that's the kind of money I'm talking. If I have to part with serious cash I'd better be walking away with some goods. Typically in the form of yet another completely unessential purse. But THIS one's from Vegas and so I'll always think of the fun time I had hanging out with the girls when I wear it. There's no purse I cannot justify...

Happy to have seen what The Strip is all about (or at least the 1/10th of it that we covered). A total feast for the eyes. But I can safely say not a town I need to rush back to. And it probably feels much the same way about me.

The Road

If you only ever read one more book please choose The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I started it almost a year ago but only made it to about page 50. I was enjoying it (though it doesn't seem the right word to use) but I ended up not bringing it on my trip to Argentina, opting for a few lighter books instead. And I just never got back to it. I picked it up again Friday morning as I was packing my bag and decided it was coming to Vegas - quite the antidote.

It is a phenomenal book in my opinion. But don't take my word for it. Read it. It's not so much the actual story - many books have covered similar ground. The storytelling is faultless. A father-son relationship at it's very purest "... each the other's world entire." The language simple for the most part, mirroring the bleakness of the landscape, but interspersed with biblical vocabulary that captures the immenseness of the story. To quote the Bookforum's review - "The Road is a deeply imagined work."

McCarthy's style of writing can take a bit of getting used to but having read No Country for Old Men last year I knew I would be adding his other books to my collection at some point. The Road was number two. They made a movie (of course) that came out a few months ago though I have not talked to anyone who has seen it. I probably will not go to see it. But I think I will watch No Country for Old Men over the winter. And at some point I'll start on book number 3 - All the Pretty Horses - which will then lead to number 4 and 5 - a trilogy set in the southwest spanning a century or so. But first I want to read a book I got for Christmas last year (seems rude not to read it before the next Christmas don't you think?) - The Angel of Grozny (Inside Chechnya) - by Asne Seierstad, the Norwegian journalist who also wrote The Bookseller of Kabul - another good read. My sister gave me a signed copy that she got after a lecture the author had given at her college. I'll bring it on my trip to Virginia this coming weekend. Given the story it will probably make Hellgate seem like heaven. Speaking of which...


I am so excited about this race. I have wanted to run it ever since hearing about it while running Mountain Masochist in Nov 2007. I entered last year but couldn't go when I injured my shin. Luckily the annual shin injury happened back in September this year. October and November were solid training months so I'm feeling as ready as I'll be. Of course, I could have done with more hills given the long climbs ahead of me. No injuries though my right ankle is still a bit weak since the Duluth run. And I am probably about 8lbs over what I'd like to be. Maybe more - I've stopped talking to the scales. Hardly surprising given the last few weeks of late evenings in the office which resulted in many many trips to the candy jar. Along with all of the travel in the past two months - and associated eating habits - the many miles logged were just not enough to keep things in check! But not to worry - I tell myself I'll need the reserves for a 100K...

My goal is 14 hours. We shall see.