Half Marathon Training, October Wrap Up!

So here it is, November 7th, and I am just now getting around to posting the results of our last half marathon! I have been a little preoccupied with some other things, but now I am ready to get some closure on this, my fourth half!

I am not going to post our training schedule from October because it was a joke! We did not stick to it at all. We started off ok. October 3rd and 5th went as planned.

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I got my 5 miles in amongst the swirling leaves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and October 5th was a gorgeous 4 miles on a sunny day!IMG_0087

That’s when the wheels pretty much came off the bus! We fly to Kauai and had a marvelous time, not running! Well, my hubby did manage a 4 mile run but the humidity and hiking knocked me out! So when we returned on the 12th, it was a tough 5 miles for me!

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Even though the run was hard the weather was stunning! Fall had made it’s way into Seattle while we were gone!

 

 

 

Now it was time to log some serious miles if we wanted to get ready for the half! We did 11 miles around Seward Park on a spectacular day! Mount Rainier was out big time 🙂

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It was tough! And with only two weeks to the half, I was getting worried!

I did three shorter runs on the 18th, 20th and 22nd, these would be the last in Seattle, and in the rain, before we hit the road for the 24 hour drive to Tucson.

We were trapped in the car until the 25th. This is when everything became real! We had a total of 5 days to get acclimated to the elevation, heat and hills (so many hills!).

I ran 5 miles on the 25th and 4 more on the 27th-just two days to the half!

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I have never felt so unprepared for a half marathon in my life! Training was not where I wanted it to be, I was not acclimated at all and nutrition? Forget about it! But the day came anyway!

Fortunately the organizer brilliantly had the start before sunrise, at 6:30am. The first 8-8.5 miles went really well. I was happy with the temperature and felt pretty good. Then mile 9 hit, like a brick wall! The temperature started to climb and the oxygen felt like it was gone from the atmosphere. My legs turned to lead, as they often do, and I began a strategy of walking up the hills and running the flats and downhills only. Interestingly, I was not that much slower than my worst time. I ran about the same this time as I did for my first half marathon. I did finish, and that was the goal. How did my hubby do? Only off by two minutes from his current PR!! I hate him-no I don’t-yes I do!

We were both happy to have survived! One of the cool things about the medals was that they linked up to make map of Tucson. Do you remember the 10k we ran last month? That is the medal from the 10k race on the right in the picture above. If you finished the half marathon in October, you received the medal on the left, and when you put them together you get a mountain scene. Kinda cool! We have not seen that before. There was a third medal to make the scene even larger, but that was for a 5k back in August and we were in Seattle at that time.

Since it was Sunday we got home, showered and headed out to celebrate our “victories” by watching the SeaHawks Game!

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Everything turned out great, we can still walk and the Hawks won the game! Now I am running to just enjoy it and really haven’t thought about the next race. It will be number 5 for me, so I want it to be a special location. Any suggestions??

7 Days, 7 Photos Challenge, Day 3

“Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day”.

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Today I would like to tag SunnydaysinSeattle to take up the challenge!

Whisky VS. Whiskey, How it is done in Scotland!

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I am taking a break from rustling scorpions and tarantulas in our new home in Tucson to continue my travel blogging posts. If you follow my Instagram then you know what I am talking about, and if you don’t then click on over for some really interesting photos!

Our next stop after Belfast were three ports in Scotland. The first stop was Greenock, a place I had never heard of before. But the first oder of business was a quick morning training run. Have to train while on vacation!

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We got back to the ship and cleaned up for the second half of the day. There were several options for sightseeing and we finally decided to tour Glengoyne whisky distillery. We boarded our coach that took us about 45 minutes out into the countryside.

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A beautiful church along the way

At first the distillery looked like a cattle barn to me.

 

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Once we got out and started to look around I began to notice the amazing landscape.

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It actually reminded me of the wineries we see back home in Woodinville, Washington. There were flowers all around and birds zipping through the open field.

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Then our guide came out to meet us and that’s when I knew we were someplace else!

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The kilts and the accent that I could barely understand were a definite tip off that we were in Scotland! 

To say these guys are passionate about whisky is a gross understatement! One has the impression that whisky is all they live for here. Our guides impressed a few things upon us about the production of true Scotch whisky. For off, Glengoyne is unique in that they are the only distillery to use water from the Highlands and age the whisky in cask barrels in the Low lands. The waterfall in the back of the property is stunning, and my pictures do not do it justice, but I tried to capture the irrigations system as it flows onto the property and is naturally filtered by the rocks and stones before it enters the production facility.

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They next spent an inordinate amount of time talking about how they smoke their barley-all I remember is that they don’t use peat. I am guessing that is important!

We were then treated to some free samples. This was a very popular part of the tour, for everyone except me, not a fan! They passed around the whisky, which always looks like urine to me and tastes like gasoline. Everyone loved it! The tour continued, after a short video on the history of the distillery which has been operating non stop since 1833. Our guide explained that Scotch whisky is the only “true” whisky and the only one allowed to be spelled without the “e”. So if you see “whiskey” it was not produced in Scotland and is therefore, by his definition, inferior! He was quite sure on that point!

We moved onto the storage facility.

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This beautiful display demonstrated how the whisky changes over time in sherry casks. There were several other such displays for aged whisky in other types of wooden casks barrels. 

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I loved the colorful barrels in the storage room

The tour ended with a stop in the gift shop (of course, what tour does not stop in the gift shop!) where another sample was distributed to the crowd. I took a pass as the subtle difference between unleaded and diesel are lost on me!

We hopped back on the tour bus and went onto Loch Lomond for a quick stop.

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This is the largest waterway within the British Isles, but we only spent a few minutes here. Just enough time to grab a coffee or ice cream and have a look around.

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On the bus ride back to the ship we saw this little outpost nestled in this island. It had an impressive backstory relating to strategic placement during war time, I just liked the look of it!

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That ended the day in Greenock. We next arrived at Invergordon. Again, I had never heard of this town but it was (sort of ) near Edinburgh, if you don’t mind a long bus ride. There were many sights to see and places to visit, but they were quite a ways off and we did not schedule any excursions. So, my pictures are mainly from the ship and from a run we decided to take through the small town.IMG_3199

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Looking at my run map above it appears I am running on the water. This pier is where that portion of the run took place.

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The town was quaint and quite small. Our 8 mile run pretty much covered the whole area! We should have visited a castle or gone to the Royal tattoo which is a huge festival in August, but we didn’t do our homework and missed out on that.

We set sail for South Queensferry, home of the very impressive Forth Bridge.

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The Forth Bridge was built in 1890 and was the first steel structure built in the world and is still the world’s longest cantilever bridge. It serves as a passenger railway and I was shocked that only 57 men lost their lives during construction. That is low when you consider that 4,000 men were employed and safety concerns were not what they are today. The bridge (and the other two which have been erected since) basically support the growth of the town. It is a quaint, but busy city with shops, tourism and great restaurants.

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A typical European taxi

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I love a country that has its priorities in place!

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This was as close to Nessie as I was going to get this trip!

 

These shops and buildings just screamed Scotland to me!

 

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All of a sudden it began to pour, buckets! We are told that happens in the British Isles, so it was time for lunch! We ducked into the first place we could find.

 

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Just as fast as the rain started, it stopped again and the sun came out! We went over to the The Hawes Inn which was built to house and feed the Forth Bridge workers back in 1850.

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After touring around the Inn it was time to head back to the ship. We took the tender for the short ride and I took a few last shots of the surroundings.

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Two of the tenders from our ship

 

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There is our mobile home!

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This tanker ship was getting fuel nearby

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Our departure from Scotland, next stop for me Paris, France!

Half Marathon Training, August Recap

August 2017 is in the books and it was a crazy time for us to be training as we were traveling a total of 17 or 18 days of the month. I say 17 or 18 because we lost hours going to Europe, then gained hours on the way back, and lost control of all bodily functions to jet lag both directions. Jet lag gets worse the older I get and running with jet lag is not what I recommend to anyone!  Here is a reminder of what we were trying to accomplish this month.

 

August 2017

 

Monday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 2 3 4 5 6
  Run 4   Run 4   Run 6  
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
  Run 5   Run 5   Run 7  
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
  Run 5   Run 5   Run 7  
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
  Run 6   Run 4   Run 8  
28 29 30 31
  Run 6   Run 4      
         
           

The first two weeks went great, right up to the 13th when we left for England. After we got our bearings, and survived driving on the left side of the road, we went out into Southampton for a 5 mile run. We were staying near a harbor and I tried to hug the waterline as best I could.

 

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It was a slow run, and this route resembles my lower intestines, but I got it done. My hubby ran 5 miles as well. Here is a better picture of his run!

 

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We toured the HMS Victory in Portsmouth

The next 5 miles that was scheduled had to be done at sea as we had boarded the Caribbean Princess and set sail for Ireland. Our choices were to run on a treadmill in the fitness center, or around the Promenade deck which was narrow, had two sets of stairs and 2.7 laps=1 mile. I chose the treadmill and my hubby went with the deck.

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Pretty nice view for my run

 

So far we were doing pretty good with keeping true to the plan. Our first longer run was 7 miles in Dublin. Of course, since this was Ireland, it was raining. Hard rain, pouring rain, but the temp was good (low 60s) and, more importantly there was zero wind.

The tough part about this run was that we had to start from the port where the ship was docked which meant navigating a busy, industrial area to make our way toward some sort of city. Once again the traffic was predominantly coming from the left and there were overpasses and onramps to cross. We had a basic plan, which my husband stuck to, but I decided to remain closer to the waterline to (hopefully) avoid getting lost. My strategy barely worked. I ended up running around a water sewage treatment plant which stunk, really really badly! Probably because of the backed up drains due to the heavy rain we were experiencing. And the hope that I would not get lost? Ya, I took two wrong turns and my 7 mile run was really 7.65. Oh well, we got back to the ship, showered and went back into town for lunch at a great pub and enjoyed a hot lamb stew!

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We pulled away from the dock in Ireland and made our way to Greenock, in Scotland. Once again we had to figure out a path from the port and run 6 miles into town. This was much easier and far more straightforward this time. We exited the ship and turned right, ran 3 miles then came back. Of course, I still managed to take a wrong turn somewhere and went 6.60. How is it my mistakes always cost me a half mile more?!

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Now, if you are keeping track, which I doubt you are or want to, we should have a 4 mile run to report next. We looked at the itinerary for our next stop and saw that Invergordon, Scotland was the next port of call. Much like Greenock, this was a spot where we could run right from the dock into town and felt it would be best to go for the 8 mile run and just skip the 4. It was a little tougher to fit in 8, more so than I originally thought it would be, due to the small size of the town.

 

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No, I didn’t run on the water! There was a massive pier that went straight out toward some sort of rigs that dotted the waterway. The guard on duty was kind enough to let me go out and back, which ate up a good 1 1/2 miles from my route. It was a really pretty run out there. My husband wasn’t feeling it that run and decided to cut it to 5 for his day.

Aside from a couple shorter jogs on the ship this was our last real mileage of note for the trip. The picture below sums up our training for this month. I was really happy with my total mileage for August, especially when you account for all the travel time.

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All totaled, we were pretty happy with our ability to keep training while getting in some sightseeing as well. The pictures from our travels are being (slowly) posted on the travel portion of my blog here and here.

As for running in September, here is the plan

September 2017

 

Monday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 2 3
          Run 8  
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  Run 5   Run 4   Run 9  
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
  Run 5   Run 4   Run 9 10k fun run
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
  Run 6   Run5   Run10  
25 26 27 28 29 30
  Run 6   Run5   Run10

So far so good, we are on track as of 9/4 but we are traveling again from 9/9 to 9/23. I will have to update next month with our training efforts in Tucson as we are visiting our new home and trying to get it set up. We also have added a 10K in Tucson for the 17th and will have to rearrange some training runs around that event.

I am grateful for so many wonderful things in my life right now. Running, traveling and our second home. Life is good! Hope all is well with you too 🙂

 

Where Will We Run Next?

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Now that we have decided to buy a second home in Tucson, we can turn our attention to the next running challenge. I spent some time scouring the half marathon websites and it seems only fitting that we run in the “A Mountain half marathon”.

If you are not familiar with the University of Arizona, which is located in Tucson, then you might not know about “A” mountain.

A-Mountain-Tucson

The large letter at the top stands for the University of Arizona and to get up there we will have to run a little over 700 feet from miles 5 to 7 1/2 during the 13.1 mile half marathon. Oh ya, did I mention that Tucson is 2,000 feet above sea level before the climb?

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This will be a tough run for us as the other half marathons have all been at sea level (Seattle and Vancouver BC) and in pretty much the same climate. This time we have to figure out how to run in warmer weather and at altitude. This will not be a PR for us, more of a “just survive it” mentality. I had to put together a training program that would get us ready for the end of October, so we started yesterday. Here is the plan:

August 2017

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 2 3 4 5 6
Run 4 Run 4 Run 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Run 5 Run 5 Run 7
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Run 5 Run 5 Run 7
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Run 6 Run 4 Run 8
28 29 30 31
Run 6 Run 4

I will not be doing weekly updates this time since we are traveling a lot and have followed a similar plan before, but I plan to have monthly posts about the progress we (hopefully) will be making on this schedule.

Wish me luck!

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Half Marathon Training, Week 15 Update!

This is it! My last update before we run the Seattle Rock n’ Roll half marathon on June 18th, Father’s Day. It is hard to believe that we are only a week away from the day. It seemed so far away when we began training 16 weeks ago.

This last week was really tough for me. My back is slowly, so slowly getting better, and I have been stressing over it. We got back from our Vegas trip on Monday and had a 12 mile run scheduled for Tuesday. It did not go well!

 

map of 10 mile run

I really struggled to get this 10 miles done and had hit the wall and could not go 2 more without possibly doing more damage to my back. At this point I was beginning to question if the half was a good idea. Sure, I could walk the rest but what is the point of that! Even with the struggle my time was not that hideous at 10:38 average pace. But I was in pain and dejected!

When Thursday rolled around, I hit my usual trail for the 4 mile assignment. Even though my pace was faster I still felt exhausted and it seemed like this was such a hard 4 miles-How was I going to do 13!

 

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I was dreading the 6 mile run today. I have been so down and stressed about my injury and my pace. And then I decided to change my narrative. Today is a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. The type of day we all dream about here when it is dark and raining for 3 months straight. I took a look around and saw the kayakers gliding down the slough, the bikers dusting off their cycles and all the families out enjoying the sunshine. I decided I was going to relax and just run. The pace and mileage would take care of itself! I did not push myself or set a specific goal, just ran because I love to.  It turned out to be the break my mind and body needed. I had the most enjoyable run of the last two weeks since I hurt my back!

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My pace was 10:04/mile and that is not bad for me! We are heading into the taper week and have 4-5 mile runs on both Tuesday and Thursday and then the half on Sunday! We will be carb loading both Friday and Saturday night, and have booked a Gong yoga class Saturday night to relax and stretch our mind and body.

I am hoping to have a recap of the event to post as the wrap up to this project next week.

Wish us luck!

 

 

May 2017 June     2017 July 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 week 14

 

 

May 30

5 miles

1

4miles

2

 

3

Some run

4 miles

4

week 15

5

 

6

12miles

7

 

8

4miles

9

 

10

6miles

11

week of the race

12

 

13

4-5 miles

14

 

15

4-5 miles

16

carb load

17

carb load

18

13.1 miles!

19

 

20

 

21

 

22

 

23

 

24

 

25

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

29

 

30

Poker, Pool Time and Pigging out in Las Vegas!

My husband and I recently joined three other couples for a long weekend in Las Vegas. The goals: gamble, eat good food and enjoy the warm weather for a few days. We exceeded all expectations and came home full, pink skinned and really tired! It was pretty much what one would expect of a group of empty nesters getting together and blowing off a little steam.

The four couples all had different arrival times and we arrived thursday evening.

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View from our plane

We flew in around 2pm and it was well over 90ºF. We made our way to the Aria Resort and Casino. We have stayed there several times and really like its location on the strip, the restaurants and the pools. I am partial to their fitness and spa center as well. I took a few pictures of the exterior of the Aria.

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This view is from one of the three pools,  looking back toward one of the towers

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This view is from one of the other pools

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This is the pool where we spent most of our time

 

My hubby wanted to head straight for the pool that first night, I had a hard time getting him to leave but we finally made our way to dinner.

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This was our only night that we dinned alone as our friends were still arriving from various destinations. We chose to dine at Bardot Brasserie. The food was French and delicious! bardot restaurant

We started off with the King Crab Crepe. A buckwheat crepe filled with trumpet mushrooms, sunny -side egg, and a Normandy cider beurre blanc. It was outstanding!

buckwheat crepe

My entree was the Salmon Aux Lentilles prepared with King salmon, beluga lentils with a smoked tomato vinaigrette. This trip was starting out on a great foot!

salmon and lentils

The next day was Friday and that meant that my hubby was in a poker tournament all day. He plays the WSOP events in June and it is variable as to how long he will be in the casino. If all goes well he will start at 10am and play until 2am the next morning! Or he could be out in an hour! So, I decided to get a message at the Aria spa to help work on my back injury. So glad I did! My back did feel better from the masseuse and the jets in the hot tub. Meanwhile my husband played all day Friday, until he was out. Unfortunately, that turned out to be sooner rather than later!

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No big poker winnings this year! We met up with our friends and had dinner at Javier’s, a Mexican restaurant at Aria. This was my least favorite meal on our trip. It wasn’t bad, I had the callitos mazatlan which were pan seared scallops with a chipotle sauce and the ubiquitous rice and beans found at every Mexican restaurant. No pictures, it was a typical and well executed meal.

We spent the rest of the evening in a lounge listening to live music (very good live music) and having a few too many cocktails-we had a blast!

Saturday we all had some personal time until our dinner and show reservations that evening. I decided to head to my two favorite hotels on the strip. My husband and I took the Aria tram to the Bellagio. We have stayed there several times and love the interior of this casino.

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The tram cycles between the Aria, The shops at Crystals and the Bellagio

In just a few minutes we were at the Bellagio, me with my camera in hand. The Bellagio is bright, airy and colorful. It is impossible to capture any one image that will convey all the amazing scenery. I have highlighted a couple examples that really speak to me every time I visit.

 

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This is one of many domed skylights which allows light into the long corridors

 

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These gorgeous arrangements are on every table top as you weave your way through the walkways into the main buildiing 

 

One of my favorite shops of all time is Jean Philippe Patisserie and I visit every time I am in Vegas.

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This is where you will find the largest chocolate fountain in the world. It runs from floor to ceiling and has milk, dark and white chocolate pools

And, of course, there is the pastries!

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A truly stunning experience!

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The patisserie is close to the conservatory and botanical garden that showcases floral artwork. This season is dedicated to the Chinese new year. This is just a small fraction of what there was to see!

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The detail was amazing! As you leave the conservatory area you enter the main lobby of the Bellagio. The ceiling is covered with glass flowers made by Seattle’s own Dale Chihuly. Even though he is right here in my own backyard, I marvel at this ceiling every time I visit Vegas.

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We travelled down the long corridor to the exit of the Bellagio, on our way to the Paris Hotel and Casino. There were a few more beautiful ceiling elements along the way.

We exited the building and crossed the street. We entered Pairs hotel and immediately felt the ambiance change. Where Bellagio was bright and open, Paris was darker and had the feel of Europe in the middle ages. It was as if we were in underground Paris in the 1800s.

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It is like you are at an illegal club!

 

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The sky ceiling is similar to the one in Caesars Palace

 

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The building facades look so real

 

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This could be any shopping avenue in Paris

 

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The French have there own version of amazing pastries to choose from!

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This Chinese restaurant is stunning!

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They really captured that nighttime feel.

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A bistro along the avenue!IMG_1805

This is my favorite Creperie, anywhere! I always have a crepe when visiting Vegas from this shop. Today the hubby and I split a Monte Cristo crepe. Ham, Swiss cheese with strawberry sauce, powdered sugar and basil. Just the perfect lunch!

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crepe at paris

Then it was time to head back to the Aria and meet up with our friends. There were a few sights on the way back!

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Our dinner reservations that evening were at the steak house, Mastro’s Ocean Club at the shops at Crystals. This was a fantastic meal! The restaurant is in an old tree house that now sits at the heart of the mall. It is two stories and we were seated inside this structure. More importantly the food was killer! If you have never tried Wagyu beef (and you have an extra kidney to sell to afford it) I do recommend it!

maestros dinner

We throughly enjoyed this meal and then set out to see Zumanity, a Cirque du soliel show at New York, New York Hotel and Casino. If you like nude acrobats then you will love this show!

Sunday morning I got up early and ran 4 miles. It was hot (81°F at 6:15am), hard and full of stairs but I needed to work off some of the “fun” I had been consuming! Plus we are still half marathon training! The hubby said no to accompanying me and we all reconvened at the pool for our last day of mini vacation. I posted a picture on Instagram of my shoes taking a break by the pool. I caught my husband trying to steal one of the drinks.

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This trip was a bit of a whirlwind, looking back I did not get the right amount of sleep or eat as healthy as I would have liked, but we all need a crazy, fun break every once in a while!

Oh, and as for gambling

the only time i won

This was the best result I had the entire time!

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