Latest reviews by Laura Orange

(2014)
"The Las Vegas strip at night is surreal!"
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‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!’ Except when it comes to sharing all the deets on running the strip at night! Rock n’ Roll series is the only race that shuts down Las Vegas boulevard to put on a spectacular run to experience all the lights and magic that Sin city holds.

I made SOOOO many mistakes on this run, so I feel this Nevada run is my most informative blog. I hope that you can successfully complete your run and enjoy the night life after!
This race takes place in mid-November each year and hosts more than 40,000 runners! As naive as I am, I assumed that since the run was in the Nevada desert, it would therefore be HOT! So I came to the race in a cute tank top and little booty shorts. Well, long behold, it is (more often than I realized) cold in Las Vegas, and in November 2014 I stood outside in tiny little runner clothes while the clouds spit out snow (mistake #1). Luckily I found a long sleeve shirt.
ADVICE #1- ALWAYS CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST BEFORE YOUR RUN! DUH, RIGHT?
Rock n’ Roll half marathon series holds true to it’s name and puts on quite a pre-run entertainment show! This year Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the start line on Las Vegas Blvd between Harmon and Park avenue. However, before we get to the main event, you have to actually GET to the venue (mistake #2). We stayed at Caesar’s Palace (as it was closest to the finish line) which is a 1.1 mile walk to the start. I learned after the fact that there is a monorail that can get you closer to the venue. However we heard this was also quite packed full of runners, so plan ahead.

We had also planned on eating a big, carb-loaded lunch at the venue once we got there, so we passed many opportunities to eat along the way (mistake #3). Well there is NO food at the venue. so we started our half marathon at 5 pm with only eating half a bagel for the entire day!

ADVICE #2 ALWAYS PLAN YOUR MEALS AHEAD AND PRACTICE RUNNING THE TIME YOUR EVENT WILL BE HELD

Again, duh, right?! But I had never practiced running a long run at night, despite signing up for “run the strip at night”! It never occurred to me that running 13.1 miles at 5pm would be any different than running 13.1 miles at 7am (mistake #4). Well it is a LOT different depending on the time of day, so train your body accordingly.

This brings us to the start of the race, the corrals. This was my least favorite part of this grand event. Hosting 40,000 people, I’ll admit the rock n roll series does a fantastic job organizing that many runners; but that will never take away the fact you honestly feel like cattle. It took 35 minutes shuffling along, just to START the race!! The only benefit of these corrals was the warmth that they provided in the surrounding freezing weather. To be completely honest, I was already physically and mentally drained before I even started the run.
THE RUN ITSELF WAS QUITE INCREDIBLE; IT TRULY IS AMAZING TO RUN THE INFAMOUS LAS VEGAS STRIP WITH ALL THE LIGHTS, WITH YOU BEING THE MAIN ATTRACTION.

But remember the strip is only a couple miles long, the rest of the run is through residential (slightly sketchy) neighborhoods. There were many times during this long run that I was ready to quit and call a taxi back to the hotel, but I was forced to finish due to the fact that no street traffic was allowed so I couldn’t get a car and Jenn would not let me quit.
THE RUN ITSELF WAS QUITE INCREDIBLE; IT TRULY IS AMAZING TO RUN THE INFAMOUS LAS VEGAS STRIP WITH ALL THE LIGHTS, WITH YOU BEING THE MAIN ATTRACTION.

But remember the strip is only a couple miles long, the rest of the run is through residential (slightly sketchy) neighborhoods. There were many times during this long run that I was ready to quit and call a taxi back to the hotel, but I was forced to finish due to the fact that no street traffic was allowed so I couldn’t get a car and Jenn would not let me quit.
THE RUN ITSELF WAS QUITE INCREDIBLE; IT TRULY IS AMAZING TO RUN THE INFAMOUS LAS VEGAS STRIP WITH ALL THE LIGHTS, WITH YOU BEING THE MAIN ATTRACTION.

But remember the strip is only a couple miles long, the rest of the run is through residential (slightly sketchy) neighborhoods. There were many times during this long run that I was ready to quit and call a taxi back to the hotel, but I was forced to finish due to the fact that no street traffic was allowed so I couldn’t get a car and Jenn would not let me quit.
THE RUN ITSELF WAS QUITE INCREDIBLE; IT TRULY IS AMAZING TO RUN THE INFAMOUS LAS VEGAS STRIP WITH ALL THE LIGHTS, WITH YOU BEING THE MAIN ATTRACTION.
But remember the strip is only a couple miles long, the rest of the run is through residential (slightly sketchy) neighborhoods. There were many times during this long run that I was ready to quit and call a taxi back to the hotel, but I was forced to finish due to the fact that no street traffic was allowed so I couldn’t get a car and Jenn would not let me quit.
It finally came time to cross the finish line. I was overwhelmed with feeling proud that I actually accomplished this run (5 months postpartum and still breastfeeding I may add), and joy that it was FINALLY over! My legs seriously ached and all I wanted to do was to sit down, yet as we crossed the finish line there was no exit for another half mile!! (1.1 + 13.1 + .5= at least a million miles that day). We were again corralled to where we could finally exit and I nearly wanted to cry as we limped back to our hotel and crawled into bed. Needless to say, we ordered room service dinner and did not get to experience the night life of Vegas. Our husband’s joked that next morning, that was the most sober they had ever left the Las Vegas airport!
ADVISE #3 DON’T MAKE PLANS AFTER YOUR RUN

Being that this was my husband and my first trip away from our 5 month old daughter, we had planned a fun ‘grown up only’ dinner, dancing and gambling in fabulous Las Vegas. Well I was quite disappointed when I couldn’t fathom getting out of the warm bed and went straight to sleep at 8.
THE LODGING, NIGHTLIFE AND FOOD

I.e. The REAL reason we came to Vegas!! Although I did not get to experience many of these on this trip, I have a few recommendations that are definitely worth mentioning.

Lodging: Stay on the strip! There are many off the main strip, discounted hotels that are worth the savings with a quick taxi away, however I recommend actually staying on the strip- it’s worth the experience.

Nightlife: The Foundation room on top of the Mandalay Bay. A cocktail, dancing and spectacular views! This lounge was nothing short of incredible.
Food: There are SOOO many great restaurants in Las Vegas, which I will share on my next adventure. But if you make the trip, there’s one stop you cannot miss. M&M world! FYI: Running a half marathon burns at least 337 M&M’s
Overall Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, Las Vegas is a once in a lifetime experience! And by once, I truly mean that will be the one and only time I will participate in a race that large! But hopefully you’ve learned from my mistakes and enjoy running the strip at night!

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(2013)
"Redwood Beauty!"
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Avenue of the Giants was my first (and hopefully only) full marathon. To be honest, I couldn’t have asked for a better location or weather. I think fate was in place on that day, because if the conditions weren’t as perfect as they were, I don’t know if I could have finished those 26.2 grueling miles. And yes, that many miles in my experience is definitely considered grueling. I remember by mile 21 my sister and I were throwing pebbles at the beautiful redwoods, as we spitefully yelled “stupid tree! I’m here running these terrible miles and all you’re doing is growing and photosynthesizing!” Let’s just say your mind grows weary after 4+ hours of physical activity. Best advice is train for your run!
This is a double out and back run on paved roads that is covered by redwood trees providing stable shade the whole course. Since it’s an early run, the temperature was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but as you can see in the picture, I wore shorts and a tank top and never once remembered being cold. One of the perks of this run is how remote and beautiful the location is, but at the same time somewhat of a downfall as there is not a whole lot for lodging or food. The run is located about 5 hours from Sacramento and San Francisco.
You actually can’t miss the sights of this race, as the Humboldt Redwoods surround you as you drive to and run this course. But please take the opportunity to stop and appreciate just how BIG these redwoods are! It’s an absolute amazing experience to stand underneath a forest of trees. Most of which are over 300 ft tall and over 1000 years old! As for recommendations for food and wine, uh pack a lunch! There aren’t a whole lot of options that I even remember. But if you head up highway 101 you can find a good chocolate milkshake within 30 miles or so.

Overall recommendation: This race is for you if you’re looking for a run to appreciate nature or a pretty flat course with stable weather. This may not be the best choice if you’re looking for busy city life with lots of food choices.

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