Bling, Sweat and Cheers

It’s official …… the nachos love Vegas. There, we said it …… we’ve come out. Our heads have been turned with glitz, glamour and images from the dark side. We are plain nachos no more. We are now, undoubtedly, ‘nachos with bling’

This is going to be a tough write. So much went on in Vegas I could write a book about it. 50 Shades of Nachos, yeah that would work. I’ll save that for another time. If you want to get straight to the bulk of the photos then click here but read on for the inside scoop.

5am Friday morning, I get a text from Tracey ‘I can’t find my car keys’. Great start, panic sets in. ‘I’m going to catch a cab’. Oh Tracey, you are usually so calm and together. ‘I’ve found them, they were on the door step outside, must have been there all night’. Well that’s comforting Trace, you could have been robbed while you were asleep in your bed but hay-ho you’ve got them now. Bellingham here we come.

Now you’d think finding Bellingham airport would be an easy task for all these guys who’ve lived in BC all their lives, that would be safe to say wouldn’t it? Ok, we had stopped to do a bit of shopping at Haggens, but come on. Input Dean. ‘Bob’s going north on the I5, we need to go south, don’t follow him!’ What, are you sure? ‘Yeah yeah it’s south’. Not trusting these locals I quickly checked with my second wife and Siri responded with something like ‘Dean’s smoking dumbbells, follow Bob’. And there we have it. Bellingham airport.

Great flight, Alaskan Airways did us proud. On arrival at Vegas airport we knew that Claudette and Dean had arranged transport for us to the Paris Hotel which we were making base camp for our 4 night stay. As we came down the airport escalator there was a chauffeur, Adele, to greet us holding an iPad that said ‘team run4nachos’. Fantastic. She then led us to our taxi. This taxi turned out to be the biggest black stretch limo I’d ever seen! Complete with champaign on ice for the journey. These two had also organized for the limo to tour the length of the strip up to Fremont Street and back to the Paris. We felt like movie stars ….. and we miked it. What a welcome.

We quickly got ours rooms sorted then headed out to the convention centre for the expo, pick up our race numbers and buy some goodies. It was hectic as we still had a show to see and a mind blowing restaurant to go to.

Bob and Jacinta had invited Jacinta’s sister Pat and husband Wes to come and join us from Toronto. The four of them were going to run the 5k on Saturday with Bob doubling up and doing the half as well on Sunday. A really lovely couple who we enjoyed spending time with. I’m sure they thought we were all bonkers though.

3-ladies

We wanted to go to a show while in Vegas ’cause that’s what you do. We decided on ‘The Jersey Boys’ so the ladies got all glitzed up and invited us boys to wash behind our ears as well. The show was fantastic, we all came out of there singing ‘big girls don’t cry’ and ‘walk like a man’. Actually that’s pretty funny as we’d already noticed quite a number of showgirls in Vegas who walked precisely like that?

From the show it was a quick walk across to Gordon Ramsey’s Steak Restaurant. Yes we were going big on the first day. What an amazing place, impeccable service, incredible decor, inspiring food. It had the lot. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember what everyone else had as I was so blown away by my food. A 24oz prime rib steak ….. you gotta go big when in Vegas. It was far and away the best steak I’d ever had. And I finished every scrap, much to Deans amazement, as he calculated that it must have been about 25% of my body weight! From Tracey’s morning key panic to Gordon Ramsey’s we’d definitely had an ‘F Word’ day one. Fabulous.

I can’t say enough about Dean and Claudette as they had planned out the best places to see in the time we had there whilst remembering that we didn’t want to get to the race on Sunday having already walked the equivalent of a half marathon. First stop Saturday was Caesars Palace, which was breathtaking and massive. We had to stop for brunch in Bobby Flay’s restaurant, Mesa Grill. Wow, another stunning meal with morning sunrise mimosas to wash it down. Further along in Caesars was the huge Nike store, Dean and I had a wonder as the girls spent some time trying to find the most reflective jacket known to mankind. Claudette, Fran and Tracey went head to head and came away with enough reflective power to light up a small west African country.

flash-girls

Jacinta, Bob, Pat and Wes were preparing themselves for the 5k which kicked off at 6pm. The rest of us were going to go down near the start to cheer them on and then see them finish. They didn’t know this so the look on their faces when we screamed at them as they neared us was priceless. Now Pat and Wes, from their own admission, are not really runners, so they were going to power walk the course. But the moment they saw we were recording them they broke into a run …. way to go guys!

After the 5k we all got together and toured Fremont Street. What a place. You see all forms of human life pass you by here. A jaw dropping, mouth open sort of experience. I loved it, we all loved it. We saw a woman dressed up as a pirate who in a former life must have been a fruit seller as none of us had ever seen such big melons in our lives.fremont-3 If she’d have fallen forward she’d have bounced right back up again. Then there was the lady who was just happy to leave her fruit out in the open. They were lop sided and down to her waist with big sparkly cardboard stars placed appropriately. Unfortunately the stars were still not quite big enough to cover the acreage. The stars were definitely not aligned here. What a place. There were men dressed as women and women dressed as men and other things dressed as different things. There where casinos everywhere vying for your hard earned and at least 3 live bands performing. What a place. There were zip lines running the length of the street with people whizzing by high up close to the ceiling while an amazing video show was projected onto it for the full width and length of the street. Did I say what a place?

Sunday morning arrived. Race day. Of course being an evening run meant we had most of the day to amuse ourselves. We all decided to have a bit of a lay in and an easy morning. All our rooms were nice and fully equipped. Bob, not being one to complain, had a bit of an issue as he had a remote for the tv but when he opened up the cabinet there was only a fridge in it. bobs-tvHe didn’t worry about it of course as we were here to have a good time not watch tv but Sunday morning he just wanted to catch up on a bit of news. So enough’s enough he thought and phoned down to complain that he only had a fridge in the cabinet as someone had taken out the tv. ‘I’ve got the remote but it doesn’t work on the fridge’ he said sarcastically. ‘Oh really sir’ came the reply, ‘have you checked your wall?’ And there, as in every room, was a 42 inch flat screen tv. Bob needed to use all of his years as a salesman to talk his way out of that one.

After breakfast Dean and Claudette wanted to show us The Bellagio hotel across the road from us. Another stunningly beautiful and opulent hotel with 4000 rooms. Hell everything’s big here. We had a wonderful wonder around before heading out to the strip to people watch. It wasn’t long before Dave found himself in the arms of the law. Two policewomen, who from then on became know as Officer Nasty and Inspector Whip, accosted him and demanded Dean take a photo. Poor Dave, there was nothing he could do about it despite his protestations. It was probably just the pre-race stimulation the old man needed to record a good time.

officer-nasty-crop

The race ……. oh yeah that’s what we went for, right? Vegas had started to feel the effects of the polar vortex that was freezing up the east coast and the middle of the country. By the time we got to the start it was only 4c. Cold for Vegas and very cold when you’re in shorts and t-shirts. There were 25,000 doing the half marathon so the course was busy and pretty congested. We all had to navigate our way around at least 3 or 4 Elvis’s, people getting married in the chapels and a variety of crazy outfits. Fran nearly got incinerated when a huge 20 foot praying mantis blasted out real flames that seemed to lick around her ears. Things were warming up. We all found the run fine until around the 16k mark when our legs were starting to seize up. The landmark Stratosphere hotel on the strip was a never ending target to get to. As it was so tall you could see it from a long way off and we were all sure it was running away from us for at least 3k! When we finally hit the finish line we had all recorded respectable times but had the appearance of a group of extras from the walking dead. What a great experience, for four of us it was our first half and there were smiles all round. We collected our spoils and headed for the showers before regrouping for a celebration meal and a couple of bevvies.

Monday morning was slow. Very slow. All of a sudden the hotel was full of geriatrics, hundreds of them, all giving each other a wide berth and a knowing smile and nod as they passed. It was like a secret code of admiration.

For the rest of the day we decided to have a gentle walk and hit some bars. It was a good plan. Dean and Claudette’s experience paying off again. We wandered into the Cosmopolitan Hotel with its exclusive shops, one of our ladies tried on a bracelet that looked fabulous but when inquiring found it was $86,000. We left. After that we hit a cocktail bar. Total bill, 48 bucks. Oh yes we found our level.

During our stay we were all fascinated by Tracey’s photography. Whilst we were taking pics of people, the sites and the general antics we were getting up to, Tracey would wonder off and take ‘alternative’ shots. tracey-compThese would include such things as carpets, light fixtures and crown mouldings. Yes honest. I was so intrigued that I surreptitiously sneaked up behind her and snapped away as I knew you wouldn’t believe me. Here’s a small montage of what’s going on in Tracey’s artistic mind. Love her.

Our time in Vegas was coming to an end. Our last meal together on Monday night was great, we said goodbye to Pat and Wes as they caught the red eye back to Toronto. Then it was back to the black jack tables and slots to try and raise the cash for that bracelet. We failed.

Tuesday morning we all had breakfast together and waited for Adele to arrive for our Limo ride back to the airport. We’d all had such a great time with so many memories and moments of side splitting laughter.

This was the end. Back to normal now. Or was it? We had Tracey with us. Did she have one more stunt up her sleeve? You bet.ejected-tracey1 We all checked in at the airport with no problems, there were a few queues so we got split up a bit as we went through security. We put our jackets back on and picked up our hand luggage and waited for everyone to re-group. Where’s Tracey? She was chatting to a burly security lady. Turns out Tracey had fluids. We didn’t ask. Next thing we know Trace is being ‘escorted’ out of the airport. She was instructed to dispose of her fluids outside under the watchful eye of said burly lady and re-enter through security again. Fortunately I always have my iPhone handy. This was just too juicy a shot to miss.

So it was finished, we were done, trip over. We didn’t want it to end but it had to. So what have we learned on this trip? We’ve learned that around the 18k marker you swear you’ll never ever run another half marathon again and that by the next morning you’re planning your second one. We’ve learned that running on your own is ok but running together is inspiring. We’ve learned that destination races are the way to go and give you a fuzzy glow. Did I just say that? But above all we’ve definitely confirmed what we knew. All run4nachos runners are absolutely and completely barking. For sure.

Vegas Baby! View Gallery

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