May 142014
 

Saturday morning I woke up about 7:30am. I got a good solid 6 hours of sleep and apparently that’s all I needed!  Anna was still asleep so I got dressed and went down to the gym. The Bally’s gym was SO NICE! One of the best hotel gyms I’ve used (The Monte Carlo being my other favorite). They had half a dozen treadmills, about 7 ellipticals, some stair-masters, exercise bikes and TONS of weight machines and free weights.

I was one of three people in the gym that early. My friend Debby and the people she went to Vegas with were on their way to Red Rock Canyon for a hike (which sounded awesome to me). I warmed up on the elliptical, did some body weight exercises (burpees, jumping jacks, crunches, etc) went through the weight machines, did some free weight stuff and finished up with a half mile run on the treadmill.

My legs were tired from all the walking we did on Friday. I knew I should take it easy with the lower body cardio because we were going to do even more walking on Saturday. I got a fantastic workout in, burned some calories and then checked out the spa that guests could use. They had a body temperature hot tub, a hot hot tub, a dry sauna, a steam room with eucalyptus and then your typical spa services. The men’s and women’s spas were separate and there were a bunch of ladies in there waiting for massages. I told Anna that we should make good use of it (especially since we were paying $20 per night for the “resort fee” to use it) but sadly we ran out of time and didn’t get to it.


I got cleaned up and then Anna and I went out in search of breakfast. I was staving! We walked over to Paris (which is right next to Bally’s) and the fancy Parisian outdoor cafe was packed! The line just to get to the hostess to get on a wait list was at least 20 people deep. We decided to keep walking. Next door was something called The Sugar Factory and they also had a huge outdoor patio.

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While we waited we sat at their bar and got some coffee and Bloody Mary’s. :D Their coffee was AMAZING!!! The best coffee I’ve ever had. We asked the bartender, waiter, waitress and no one seemed to know what brand of coffee they served. I was disappointed because I totally would have bought some if I knew what it was! Their Bloody Mary’s were fantastically spicy. They used a spicy infused vodka in the bloody mix. The salt was huge, flavorful crystals that clung to the glass, there was a hint of lime and cucumber in the drink and there was a cucumber and olive garnish. So tasty.

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It took about 20 minutes and then we got our table outside. There was a gorgeous breeze and it was about 70 degrees so far. We were across the street from the Bellagio. It was a peaceful, relaxing time as we lounged on the patio. It was hard to decide what to get. I REALLY wanted the carrot cake pancakes but I knew the cream cheese frosting would just be too much sugar first thing in the morning. The blueberry pancakes sounded great and let’s be honest, so did the Fat Elvis Waffle (ok not really).


I decided to go for the croissant sandwich. It was ham and cheese and came with crispy potatoes (that were exceptional). The sandwich was big and honestly half would have been the perfect portion. The croissant was heavenly–flaky, buttery and perfect. Dang, I want another!

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After breakfast we walked over to the Bellagio and caught the bus to Mandalay Bay. We walked around the gardens, checked out their AMAZING pool (it was packed!) that had a lazy floating river, and then went to see the Shark Aquarium (which was kind of expensive so we skipped it). Then we saw MICHAEL JACKSON!! Woot!!! The street performer was great! He sounded, looked and danced just like the real thing. It was great getting a picture!

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We meandered down to The Luxor and then decided to take a gambling resting break in New York New York. Our feet, legs and calves were aching. I could have used a massage. :)

We decided to hop on the bus back to Bally’s (our poor feet). Thankfully our bus pass was still valid! I have to admit, we stopped for more $2 tacos at Bally’s (they were that good) and then went down to the pool. We stayed out fairly long and the sun was hot hot hot! It was around 88 degrees on Saturday. It felt like heaven. For months I’ve been craving that exact thing–sitting poolside in the sun with a cool drink and a book.

After the pool we got cleaned up and dolled up and we were ready for the night! First we did some gambling at the Bellagio and got lucky! It was nice! We had an hour to kill before meeting up with my friend Debby and her party at Excalibur for Thunder From Down Under!! Debby goes every single time she’s in Vegas and talks about it all the time so I said, sure why not? It could be fun. We liked the movie Magic Mike. :D

It was a huge auditorium packed full of women of all ages. There were a ton of brides-to-be with the veil and tiaras. There were a bunch of girls there for birthdays. There was this one girl that was called onto the stage because it was her 21st birthday and her mom had brought her! Awesome! Debby and her family were sitting over on the other side of the room and Anna and I were at a table with a bunch of adorable little old ladies that were doing Jello Shots. LOL!!! My friend Debby:

Hell ya we did Jello Shots! It’s been like 10 years since I had them. Haha! So the show…It was totally awesome. It was worth the money for the ticket and the guys definitely looked great–just like the photos. Afterward we could get pictures with the guys. :D We all got a free pass to a nightclub in the Luxor and free drinks til midnight but the line to get in was kind of long and I was starting to get tired (and blisters on my feet). Debby and her people ended up dancing til 2am! Anna and I walked back to our hotel, enjoying the nightly sights on the way.


Why I decided to book us a flight so freaking early on Sunday morning is beyond me. UGH. Coffee was needed. We had a few minutes to hit the tables before leaving and we both left winners! I got a hit on #29 and won $35 buckaroos. I was happy to leave after winning. Debby had rented a car (a bright blue mustang convertible) and she kindly offered to take us to the airport. It was so AWESOME riding through Vegas in a convertible! One of the highlights for sure.

Our flight was super turbulent — like the first hour of the flight I felt like I was going to barf and then die–and that sucked. The winds had started late Saturday night and Sunday was just as windy. I guess that was the cause of the turbulence. Dang it was not comfortable and I spent most of Sunday feeling nauseated. I was glad to be home and on LAND. Bella gave me lots of kisses, Fat Kitty gave me lots of love nibbles and it was so good to see Michael again.

I had a fantastic weekend. Everything was great and it was SO good to spend time with Anna. We were travel buddies for a really long time and then she moved to Morocco for the Peace Corp and was gone for about 4 or 5 years. We were still in sporadic contact (email and phone calls) but not seeing her for a long time made us drift apart a bit. It was nice to reconnect. And lay by the pool. And drink some umbrella drinks. :D

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Oct 232013
 

12beers

Staying fit while on vacation is always a struggle. You’re out of your element, your schedule is different, you don’t have your usual equipment, you probably want to be lazy and skip it. But you don’t have to. I firmly believe that continuing my routine on vacation is how I avoid the dreaded vacation weight gain.

When I’m traveling I do my best to pick hotels that have a gym. I do my research and book accordingly. It doesn’t always work that way. When there isn’t a gym option and maybe the weather is a little iffy, I have two choices. The first is to suck it up and go for a run in the rain anyways or to do a workout in the hotel room using the Nike Training Club app.

What are the woes of a traveling athlete? Sometimes it can be a hassle to make it work. First, you have to plan ahead. This could mean figuring out gym access, running routes, researching places to hike, etc. Second, sometimes you DO need a break. So plan that accordingly, too. What are some of the other challenges I’ve noticed? See below:

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Vegas

All of the casinos I’ve stayed in have had pretty decent gyms in the hotel.

The woe of Vegas?  BESIDES the decadence and overindulging…You almost always have to pay extra to use the gym. The last time I went to Vegas I paid to use the gym and was glad I did. Michael was usually staying up late playing poker and I’d get up at my normal time and have a good hour or so to kill. I headed down to the gym and got my workout out of the way.

Vegas is a good place to stay fit, ironically. If you don’t want to spend the money on the gym access, you can always go for a run on The Strip. That was a GREAT experience for me! So much fun! We were staying at The Palms and I just went for a run around the hotel. I got to see things I normally wouldn’t see by doing this. If you’re not a runner, don’t worry. You will get TONS of exercise simply walking everywhere in Vegas. The Strip is deceptively long and you end up walking probably 10 miles a day.

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Hawaii

Running along the beach in Kona was amazing–one of my favorite memories of our trip to Hawaii beside swimming in the ocean (so much better than the pool at the gym). If running and swimming aren’t for you, what about kettle bells?

The woe of Hawaii? Michael decided to bring his 20 pound kettle bell to Hawaii with the intention of working out in the morning, which he did a few times. He packed the kettle bell in his carry-on and had no issues going through security on the way to Hawaii, but returning, the Hawaiian TSA was very concerned about it. They wanted to know what it was, why he brought it and eventually made him take it out and check it like a suitcase. He was annoyed at having to pay TWICE for the luggage when he could have put the kettle bell in his suitcase and save $20 and he was also worried that he wasn’t going to get the kettle bell once we arrived in Portland. We stood at the baggage claim for a long time before it finally came out. A lone kettle bell with a tag on it.

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Texas

I love Austin. What a cool city. The culture, the food, the sites. There is so much to do and see there and I definitely felt like I was “at home.” People say that Austin is just like Portland, but hotter, and I felt like that was a pretty accurate statement the few times I’ve been there.

The woe of Austin? THE FREAKIN’ HEAT. Wowza. It was so hot every time we’ve been there (which is twice, LOL).  The last time we went there for our anniversary after Michael’s sister’s wedding it was in 107 degree territory. That was way too hot for me to go for a run, or for us to really go for a hike (which we did do a small hike once), so I had to think of something else I could do. I found Barton Springs, which was a natural spring they turned into a “pool.” It was a nice alternative to a sweaty, dizzy run in 100 degree heat.

Make It Work

The good news is that you can usually make SOMETHING work. It may not be ideal (like doing crunches in your hotel room) and it may not be what you wanted to do (like weight lifting, but there’s only cardio machines available). My motto is that something is better than nothing. Even if it’s an evening walk or a quick swim in a hotel pool, doing something to move your body will make you feel better.

So what are some of the fitness hassles and challenges you’ve encountered while traveling?

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