- Three States Traveled (California to Arizona to Nevada and back to California).
- 1300 Miles traveled by car; probably another 20 by foot
- About 8 hours of sleep until I got home last night and put myself in bed by 730pm because my eyes would not work to stay open any longer :)
- Deserts, Casinos, National Monuments, Big Horned Sheep, Mountains, and an Ocean - We saw them all
- Roller Coaster's ridden, race's run, new friends made, greater bonds formed in existing friendships
- 1000's of pictures taken
- 100's of memories made
One of the things I was most looking forward to on the 1000 Challenge was organizing a traveling running group. This weekend marked the inaugural run of "The Supers (this is the tentatively working group title)." And what a weekend it was.
Leaving Santa Barbara at about 10pm on Thursday night our group of eight "runners," (I use quotation marks here to emphasize the word runners as we really aren't "runners" we just enjoy the experience of it), ages 21 - 70, set off for Sedona Arizona - approximately 600 miles by car
The experience was nothing short of amazing. The road trip there was a blast; lots of laughs, lots of jokes about who was more tired, lots of junk food snacks! Sedona, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The desert is home to some of the most famous rock formations in the world. They have have these amazing redish color's to them. If you ever get a chance to visit there, please do yourself a favor and do it - it is magical.
After driving through the night on Thursday, Friday was a free day. I am two others spent the day exploring and experiencing some of the things on my list. A few took a long, well deserved nap, and the others went and did some shopping and hiking. We all met back up for a great time at dinner. Back at the hotel, we sat around and made super hero capes, personalizing them so they all fit the cape bearer's personality. Written on the back of mine, I put, you guessed it "Carpe Diem... 1 Year 1000 Challenge."
The race was highlighted by Justin finishing his first ever half marathon (13.1 miles). Justin, has lost over 120 pounds in the last year and a half. Appropriately he had written on the back of his cape, "120 pounds later... here I am." He finished the race in under three hours and with a smile on his face - one of the greatest moments of my life was watching him cross that finish line. When I met Justin, he could not run more than 20 seconds without having to stop, now 13.1 miles, in the desert, at elevation, in the cold air - simply amazing.
Post race we piled into the car and set out for Las Vegas and a night of celebration for all that we had just accomplished. The drive there through the desert was beautiful. The scenery presented some amazing contrasts: there would be snow covered hills on one side, filled with greenery, but on the other side would be just barren save for a few cactus and rocks. A stop at Hoover Dam was very special to me as it was one of the underlying reasons why I wanted to make this whole trip happen. My Dad had always spoken about his love for that place. He was mesmerized by it and the desert surrounding it. He talked about it often and every time he went to Las Vegas, he always would make a trip out to see the Dam. With this trip falling so closely to the one year anniversary of his death, it was extra special for me to be able to experience the Hoover Dam in person.
Next stop was Las Vegas. We had a group dinner at the "Top of the World" restaurant in the Stratosphere (on the list), it is world famous for how high up it is, and as you dine, the restaurant actually rotates around so you are treated to ever changing panoramic views of the Las Vegas skyline.
After dinner, Rollar Coasters were ridden, "black jack's" were had, money was lost, drinks were drunk, and myself, in the midst of probably the worst allergy attack of my life, went through about two boxes of Kleenex and saw the inside of just about every bathroom in every casino that we went to trying to get the swelling down in my eyes. It made for quite the sight, you might even say an eye sore (hahaha pun intended), we all had a few good laughs at my expense.
Sunday started the day with a walk from one end of the strip to the other, pausing in the middle for a tasty brunch. I randomly ran into a friend who lives in London and was in Vegas on business. Him and I have only met once. What a "it's a small world encounter" (on list). After that everyone piled back in the car for the 350 mile car ride home.
I insisted on one more stop, Buffalo Bill's casino at the California/Nevada state line to ride the "Desperado" roller coaster which, in 1996 Guinnes Book of World Records recognized it as the fastest and longest roller coaster of its kind. I have driven by here on many trips before to Vegas, but never stopped because I have always been terrified of roller coasters. It was not until last year I finally decided to face that fear. Don't get me wrong, I am still a nervous wreck when I get on them, but at least now I CAN get on them. What a ride that was... check out the video at the end of blog.
Making it back to Santa Barbara at 730pm on Sunday night, I was wiped out and put myself to bed - falling asleep thinking about what a great weekend and all the great experiences I had just had. We did, saw, experienced so much in such a short amount of time it just goes to show you on what can be done when you set your mind to something.
The theme of being a tourist in your own town keeps coming up for me throughout this Challenge. I have been to all the places I described above, save for the Hoover Dam, but I have never slowed down to really experience them. Las Vegas has always been a place to go, drink myself into a stupor and party. Sedona was a place my Grandparents drove me through when I was 16 and I was annoyed at having to stop and look at "some rocks (my attitude at the time)" on an already long car ride back to their house in Prescot Arizona. I was excited I was lucky enough to get to experience Sedona's beauty without my crappy teenager attitude.
Slow down, be a tourist in your own town. Take some one to place you have been, but they haven't and experience it with them. Stop and appreciate the beauty in the world around you. If you do not live in or have the opportunity to travel to a beautiful place like Sedona right now, slow down and seek out the beauty nearby. Start by looking for flowers, a few blades of grass, a bird perched on telephone wires - whatever it may be, seek it out, enjoy it and experience it. Remember that all our lives, your life, is what you make of it - do your best to make the most of it.
Enjoy the pics,