Viva Las Vegas ( and the Mustang Half Marathon! )

This past weekend was our long awaited datecation to Las Vegas! I’ve been to Vegas over a dozen times in the last two years, but this trip was my first time with just Brian. Needless to say, we were both super excited to embark on this adventure together.

Day 1:

We left for Vegas at around 1pm on Friday, after making a stop at our favorite boba shop to kick off our 3-day cheat weekend. There was a bit of traffic leaving LA, but for the most part the ride was smooth and quick, and we got to Vegas just after 5pm.

Driving to our hotel and walking through it’s parking lot was like playing the easiest game ever of ‘Spot the Mustang!’ You could tell there was an event this weekend – everywhere you turned, another beautiful Mustang sat, waiting to be appreciated.

Shelby Super Snake!

After checking in at the Luxor (where they, very luckily, got confused about which rooms we reserved, and gave us a room with a single King bed instead of 2 Queens) we headed to Brio Tuscan Grille for our pre-run carb load dinner!

The restaurant is nestled in this super cute shopping center called ‘Town Square’, and it definitely looked the part! There was even a grassy park in the center with a play area for the little kids. We shopped and walked around for a bit before AND after dinner, which may have been a bad idea… I definitely spent WAY too much money.

Brio Tuscan Grille has AMAZING bruschetta. The risotto we ordered was undercooked (you could chew on the individual grains.. blech) but… the bruschetta made up for it. The tiramisu that we ordered for dessert and didn’t have room in our stomachs to try much of was delicious too! We both knew we were too stuffed to finish it.. but what the heck – cheat weekend!

After dinner we pretty much just went back to the hotel to sleep, since we had to get up at 4:30am the next morning to make it to the race.

Day 2:

WAKING UP EARLY WAS SUCH A STRUGGLE! Someone outside our room was playing really really loud music for at least half an hour, and for some reason (maybe all of the sudden carbs after 3 weeks of minimal carbs) Brian and I just could not fall asleep. Luckily Brian had the foresight to lay everything out the night before, so we were up and out of our room in less than half an hour. We even had time to stop by the convenience store for some bobby pins and water!

The Mustang Half Marathon took place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which was a 30 minute drive north of the strip. The drive wasn’t what you’d call scenic, as Vegas outside of the Strip is pretty bleak and run down 😦 Surprisingly, the parking was not crowded at all, which I took to either mean everyone arrived via shuttle, or we were super early / late.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway!
Obligatory ‘We Were Here!’ picture

I have to be honest – at first I didn’t think that the race would be all that enjoyable. The emails sent by the race director didn’t make it sound like the race would be very well organized, and the claims that this would be an ‘once in a lifetime event’ did more to worry me that the organizers had little experience with planning a race, than they did to excite me about the specialness of the event.

But I must say, I was very positively surprised. Sure, the course was missing a few mile markers, and course support was limited to water and VERY concentrated gatorade, but overall, I had a lot of fun. Everyone running the race was very enthusiastic and supportive, and the MC announced everyone’s names and cities of origin as they crossed the finish. It was pretty amazing to hear that there were 48 States and over 20 countries in attendance!

This race was when we discovered that carbing up with risotto the night before was a terrible idea. My stomach was dancing unhappily for the entire last 4 miles! I already knew I didn’t do very well with dairy to start with, but we had told our waitress that we wanted to stay away from cream, and she didn’t warn us when we ordered 😦 Lesson hard learned – for future runs, I will be carbing only with paleo-friendly carbs.

We were a bit too tired and achey to look for the Mustang exhibition afterwards (it wasn’t very well advertised.. no one had any idea where to go). However, we had probably seen enough classic and aftermarket Mustangs just in the parking lot of the Luxor that we didn’t feel like we were missing out on that much. So we went shopping 😀

Around 2pm, we decided to head over to Wicked Spoon for buffet, since it was the only famous buffet in Vegas that I hadn’t been to yet. We got there right at 2:59pm, and the lovely cashier hurried us over so she could ring us in for the breakfast price before the clock struck 3, and the computers switched to dinner pricing.

Plate 1
Plate 1
Plate 2
Plate 2
Dessert!
Dessert!

Paleo shrunk my stomach so much! I used to be able to eat 3 or 4 plates even after eating breakfast, but this time, even though I hadn’t eaten since 6:30am (and I had only eaten half a bagel) I could barely finish 2 plates and a bite of each of the desserts. So weak 😦 Or maybe it was the all-you-can-drink wine that we ordered.. I had 2 glasses of champagne and half a glass of white wine, which probably took up quite a bit of room in my tummy. After 3 weeks of barely drinking at all, I was pretty sloshy after 2 drinks :X

After lunch/dinner, it was finally time to go back to the hotel room and take a well deserved nap.

At 7pm, we woke up to rush to Absinthe, which according to our research is one of the most highly recommended shows in Vegas. And for good reason – I was continuously entertained throughout the entire show, whether by the variety of stunning acts, or by the constant bantering of the Gazillionaire and his big-mouthed assistant, Penny. Absinthe’s humor was rowdy, caustic, and very very offensive, and their jokes are not for the weak-spirited. It was worth every dollar I spent on the ticket (and the ticket was not cheap 😦 )

For our nighttime activities, Brian and I decided to explore the hotels on the Strip, instead of going clubbing (like we do every time we go to Vegas with friends). He had never been into most of the hotels, whereas I had been to almost every one with my parents when we visited on family vacations. Our original plan was to stop at every hotel and buy a drink, but we were WAYYY too full from dinner still to fit anything in our tummies. The only drinks we ended up getting was a Fat Tuesday, which is completely essential to every single Vegas trip ever, and some vodka rose drink from the Chandelier at Cosmopolitan (super delicious!).

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When Brian FINALLY started getting hungry around 2am, we made our way to (not so) Secret Pizza, which everyone keeps swearing is amazing.

The entrance of Secret Pizza
The entrance of Secret Pizza

Honestly, I don’t understand the hype about this place. It was decent pizza, but as Brian always says about pizza: “When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” Not worth 5$ a slice, but at least we tried it before we knocked it :p And at 2am on a Saturday night, it’s difficult to be too picky.

We finally made our way back to our hotel room around 3:30am, after stopping at Bellagio to look at the butterfly house and the chocolate fountain. It was really amusing observing all of the drunk people on our walk back to our room 😀

Day 3: 

We were supposed to go to Bodies at Luxor on Sunday, but as both of our legs were still pretty shaky from the half marathon and walking around all day afterwards, we decided to go to lunch at Mon Ami Gabi in Paris instead.

French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup
Sandwich of the Day - Duck and Brie
Sandwich of the Day – Duck and Brie

I think I’ve found my favorite restaurant in Vegas! Especially since I went to Bouchon for brunch during my last visit and was thoroughly unimpressed / unsatisfied. Everything at Mon Ami Gabi tasted perfect, and as usual, we ordered way too much food.

After lunch, it was finally time to head home from Vegas. The traffic out of Vegas was absolutely terrible, as usual, so we stopped at Primm to do some more shopping, and to wait out the traffic. Luckily by the time we left, about 4 hours later and many many dollars poorer, cars were moving at a relatively normal speed again.

It still took us almost 5 hours to get home ( 6 if you count the hour to Primm). I think I may just fly from now on..

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