I don’t like Vegas. Oh, sure there are truly unique features of this desert locale that are curious, amazing or even wonderful. The surrounding geography is so much different from my norm, that I am intrigued, or even awed by the beauty and diversity of the creation. The amount and variety of entertainment options amazes me. The food options are equally diverse and wonderful.
Unfortunately, the rest of the stuff that goes with it is rather unappealing to me. Excess and depravity coexist in ways that made me uncomfortable yet extremely grateful. Thursday morning’s pre-dawn run down the Las Vegas strip caused me to wonder how and why people got to this place in their life. I really tried to not be judgmental, but at the same time I felt the need to be aware of each person’s actions for my own safety.
There were enough open spaces, smooth sidewalks, bright lights, buildings and landscaping to make the run enjoyable and to keep me pushing on. Five miles was enough for me considering the heat, the optional stair climbs and the full day of trade show walking that was ahead of me.
Friday morning, I started running before 5:00 AM and found myself a little more concerned about the human element on the street. There were more people out with several groups leaving casinos, lounges and other establishments. I always approached cautiously, but deliberately as alcohol-fueled groups aren’t the best decision makers.
I took a slightly different route and took advantage of more stairways and some less-traveled sidewalks around Caesars Palace and the Mirage. The buildings jacked with my GPS and music streaming, but I continued in hopes of getting in at least 6 miles. Shortly after my final turnaround I was encouraged at the sight of another runner heading towards me. He smiled as he nodded and then gave me a strong fist-pump. I returned an affirming smile and thumbs-up.
In that brief encounter we validated each other’s commitment to do what is right for us, regardless of the community surrounding us. Soon, I met a second runner and we greeted each other with a wave and a smile. Returning to the Venetian I met a young man in running clothes who asked if I was getting started or finishing. We agreed it was a great way to start the day.
I stayed at the Venetian because of its location adjacent to the convention center. My daily life gives me few reasons to use the word opulent. But I think that best describes the accommodations of this property. I felt secure and comfortable in the oversized suite. There was a 24-hour Walgreen’s attached with fresh fruit, yogurt, milk and somewhat healthy snacks to help fuel my mornings. I needed these options to start the day, because of the progressively decadent dining experiences throughout my stay.
I felt at home with the burger and fries at In n Out, but had no problem adjusting to the chicken parmesan at Buddy V’s and bone in filet at Morel’s. Food and friends were the high points of my trip. Early to bed, early to rise was my jam, giving me opportunity for a couple pre-dawn runs. The exercise helped me offset the nutritional excesses. Not a great long-term plan but very necessary for me during this trip.
So, Vegas may not be my choice of locations. But since my work had brought me to this place, I was pleased to have persevered and stayed true to who I am and what I want to be. Getting in a couple decent runs made the rest of the trip more enjoyable.