On wednesday I woke up at about 4am, still jet lagged on Boston time to go for a run on the Vegas strip. I beat my host, Jamie, awake by a couple of hours, so I called up family and caught up with them since they are 3 hours head of Vegas time. I was made a good breakfast with the seemingly endless amounts of organic and natural foods they had. I chose berry flavored granola and chopped strawberries into it, added blueberries, banana, apple, and vanilla greek yogurt. Add a glass of almond milk, and I felt like I could take on anything the day wanted to throw at me.
Jamie took me out to the strip at about 6:45am when he left for work. I was dropped off at the Welcome To Las Vegas sign near Mandalay bay. The sun was peaking over the buildings and started to illuminate the area, reflecting off the deep golden windows at Mandalay Bay. It was like running through a different planet, everything so bright and shiny. I took time to admire the decoration and intricate architecture/themes that each building had as I passed. I made my way past the Luxor, taking pictures of the pyramid style building and the massive sphynx infront of it. Next was the Excalibur. I laughed a reminiscent laugh, as I spent a spring break there back in high school with someone who is now barely even a memory. It was good times, but the present day is so much better. Next, I looped up into the Aria area (haha. aria area…) and ran past the trickling waterfalls that line the entrance of the building.
As I ran across one of the boardwalks, a fleet of emergency vehicles passed under me, filling the near-silent city with the sounds of sirens.
I came to the Bellagio, my favorite of all the resorts/casinos on the strip. I sat down in front on the lake to stretch, awaiting the fountain show to go off. I once heard it costs $100,000 to put on one fountain show for about 4 minutes. I dont know how accurate that is, but, judging by the amount of money that is in vegas, it isn’t improbable. Th fountains never went off- I’m sure 7:45am is a bit early for them.
Shortly after Bellagio, I turned around, and went to the other side of the strip. As I took the escalators down, I looked out over the city, slowly descending from the overpass walkway. I entered Planet Hollywood and toured the casino, which was surprisingly empty.
I could see the emergency vehicles up ahead, pulled aside. As I approached, I saw the paramedics checking the vitals on a homeless man who was unconscious. I gave them their space, and wished for the best.
I headed back towards Jamie’s place, the guy who is hosting me. I met up with Ashley, our director there. I was introduced to our film crew; TK, Peter, and Jason. They were filming her out front, and they caught me running up to the driveway. They are some great guys, and have tons of stories of past shoots they have done for big athletic companies, some celebrities, travels to various countries, etc.
Ashley showed me around our RV for a while, and then said “here.” Handing me the keys. I was nervous as heck. the RV is 32 feet long, and is an effort to drive. I’m not used to the wide turns and using fisheye mirrors. We headed out to an RV park in Vegas to dump our tanks and fill up on water. I would consider the place to be a luxury RV park, and as far removed from camping as you can get. It had a store, a huge pool and hot tub, an entertainment center, full hook up… Like I said, it isn’t camping. The entrance of the place is an arch that you drive under, all decorative.
Our hose wouldn’t fit in the dump station, and had to move to a different spot in the park to a place where it would fit. I unscrewed the hose, and got some random grey water on my hand. Gross! Could have been worse though. I rinsed them off, and got in the RV to drive. We had to exit the park so we would have room to turn around. As I was passing under the arch, going about 2.5 miles an hour, checking my mirrors, and nervously checking my surroundings, I heard the worst sound ever. We all did. It was like nails on a chalkboard, with a thump in the middle of it. The cameras were rolling with the film crew in the back seat, and I knew it. I hit the brakes, and put it in park. I felt like I was going to die. I clearly had hit something. Ashley, in the passenger seat, was looking at me like “oh no you didn’t” and nervous. My face was the “Oh $#!^, what just happened, this is bad” face. Ashley got out of the RV. I could see her standing there in the side mirror, looking closely. She came back in. “It’s not bad. Are you okay?”
I was in a minor state of shock. She asked if I wanted to keep driving. I took a deep breath, and stared out ahead for a moment. With a shaky voice, and speaking with my hands, I replied “yes. I need to deal with this. But I want to see for myself”. I got out of the RV, and looked at the back passenger side tire. I had run over a cinder block, shattering it to pieces, as well as the hard plastic traffic cone that went along with it. It was there to prevent people from swinging into the arch while turning out of the place. It worked- I just hit the brick. There was minor scratching on the very bottom side of the RV, but no damage to the vinyl wrapping, which was my main concern. With a little spit-shining, it is un-noticeable unless you know it is there. We were making jokes about it after a few minutes, but, it was an eye opener about RV operation.
Whiskey Pete’s is basically a parking lot with a casino in it. There is a gravel pit next to it, and, well, thats pretty much it. We rented a room for the night for the shower, and to fill up some of the empty water bottles. Mac slept in there, but I took the RV… it was nicer.
I am currently crewing for our second segment runner, Mac. He is on his second to last day, and is running 27 miles today. We started in Primm, NV, which sit on the boarder of California. Our hotel, Whiskey Pete’s, is where we drove out from this morning to drop him off about 4 miles down.
After dropping him off at 6am, we chased ahead 3 miles to set up an aid station for him. The sun was beginning to rise, and It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I may have ever seen. We are in the Las Vegas valley, completely surrounded by deserts and mountains. The sun rose over the highest one, and lit up the ones to our west. The shadows from the folds in the mountains hid some of them as well.
Evenutally at mile 10 we got to LAs Vegas boulevard. Being way on te south end, the road was just a little serice road that follows some power lines. We continued on that for about 10 miles. We passed a parachuting landing zone, and watched a couple of groups parachute down from the sky while we waited for Mac.
Mac finished a couple hours later. That night, we stayed in the parking lot of the Gold Rush casino
The following day, Mac finished up his segment of the run, copleting his 204 miles in 8 days.