Start Spreading the News!

 

Way to go, John!

 
There always seems to be a let down after completing an event, activity, or trip that you have looked forward to for a long time. Post Princess Half Marathon weekend is no exception. 

I love to have something to plan and organize, something to work towards, train for, or countdown. Well, last night the next thing showed up. John got confirmation that he was selected to run the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon! Out of all the thousands and thousands of people who enter the lottery, he was chosen! We were so excited last night when the e-mail came through, you would have thought he had won a free trip somewhere, not the opportunity to work hard and train for the next eight months in order to put his body through more than it has ever been through before. But, we are thrilled! 

After he helped coach me through my magical 19.3, I get to be the supportive wife during his journey to 26.2. I just bought the new Runner’s World Cookbook and can’t wait to cook my way through it to help get John race ready for November. There will be many prayers, many pep talks, and many words of encouragement shared with him over the next eight months, and I can’t wait! 

I have had several people ask me if I would quit blogging now that my race is over. My answer? No way! I’ve caught the RunDisney bug and am already plotting my return and how I can earn the coast-to-coast medal, but we’ll talk more about that later. For now, we are celebrating John and the huge feat that lies ahead of him. To put it into perspective, 14,326 applicants were accepted out of 80,080 lottery entrants for this year’s NYC Marathon. Wow! NYC, we’re heading your way! 

2016 Miles to Go: 922

Running Resolutions Met: PR in Enchanted 10K

It’s Race Week!

It’s race week, ya’ll! By this time next week, I will have completed the RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge. I am so excited I can barely stand it! I’m going to put in a few more short training runs before we leave to keep my legs loose, but as John put it this morning, three more sleeps to Disney!

February has already been a month filled with all things fabulous. I spent this past week in NYC at the Receptive Services Association of America annual summit, inspiring travel to Tupelo by sharing our story with tour operators from around the globe. Usually, before I can open my mouth, they want to talk about Elvis (I mean, really who doesn’t want to talk about Elvis?!?!), but when I get to share Tupelo’s list of impressive sites, bites, events, and shops, people are truly surprised at all that our special town has to offer.

NYCSNOW

Walking in the snow with my mother in NYC

My mother joined me in the city, and In between meetings, networking events, and exploring the city, I managed to get in a couple of training runs. Since technically this is my taper week for the Princess Half Marathon, three-milers on the treadmill worked just fine. I did a ton of walking this week, too, so that cross-training counts toward all the steps I’ll take in the parks later this week, right? And, walking through the city in the snow counts double, I am certain. According to a statistic I heard today, last week was the coldest week on record in New York City, of course.

Frozen’s Princess Anna

I feel confident about my races as a result of the training I have put in and am looking forward to all that is in store. On a side note, my race outfits are all ready. Apparently, half the fun of running RunDisney ev

The Little Mermaid’s Princes Ariel

ents is dressing the part, so of course I drew my inspiration for each of my races from a couple of ginger princesses. I’ll give you a sneak peak, for now, but I promise to share the full outfits, complete with accessories, on race day! I did a practice run in my new, fabulous skirts from Sparkle Skirts, and they are amazing. Other than the fact that they have built-in shorts that don’t move at all, they have lots of pockets to hold anything you may need on race day. I will keep running in these skirts, even when I’m not dressed as a Disney Princess, and I am really looking forward to checking their booth out at the race expo.

After all of my training, it is hard to believe that the races are almost here. Miles still doesn’t know that we are leaving for Disney World this week, or that he is running in a kids’ race when we get there, so I may be more excited about telling him than anything. Thanks for your support and encouragement throughout this process. I have run three half marathons prior, but never two races back-to-back, especially waking up two mornings in a row as early as I will have to wake up, but I look forward to sharing every single fantastic detail of my experience with the Glass Slipper Challenge, when it is all said and done.

2016 Miles to go: 945

 

Gaining Confidence

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” – Joe Namath

In honor of the 2016 National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide’s celebration in Tuscaloosa today, I thought I would share a quote from former Alabama great, Joe Namath. After two really fantastic training runs this week, I am feeling confident, having fun, and looking forward to amazing things that are to come in 25 days in Disney!

I ran three miles Monday when we returned from Nashville and it was awful. I was slow, winded, and mentally just not into it. I swear 90% of running is having your mind right. The other 10% is just putting one foot in front of the other.

Tuesday, I rocked my 10K! I felt great and could have kept going had it not been after work and the fact that my boys would expect supper sooner than later. Everything about that run was amazing.

Today, I completed an eight-mile long run that was equally as fabulous as Tuesday’s 10K. It was cold, but I layered properly, and enjoyed being out in the sun. Had I had one more GU packet, I could have easily hit 10 or more. Today was a great training day!

Gaining confidence as a runner is vital to enjoying the sport. When I feel good about a run, I have fun, and I know that reaching the finish line of whatever race I am training for is attainable. Joe Namath played football at Alabama under the one and only Coach Bear Bryant, so you know that without a doubt he worked hard to hone his quarterback skills so that he would be confident on the field. He led the Tide to a National Champioship in 1964, both fun and amazing.

Our Magic Bands arrived yesterday and the excitement of returning to “the happiest place on Earth,” has us counting down the days. We aren’t telling Miles about the trip until the morning of departure, so we are just as excited about the surprise as we are the trip. I desperately needed this week of confident runs to know that I am almost fully prepared for the Glass Slipper Challenge. Training was fun this week and I cannot wait to see what amazing things are in store when the race to 19.3 begins in four short weeks.

2016 Miles to go: 965

Keep Moving Forward

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 As the bitter winter cold has finally set in and I have found myself back out on the road, I am constantly looking for inspiration to run harder and longer than ever before. The Glass Slipper Challenge is less than five weeks away and I want to be overly prepared for all that these two races will hold.

Today, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his ultimate sacrifice for equality in our country. I didn’t want to run today since it was so cold and we got up early this morning to drive home from a weekend visit to Nashville, TN, but the prolific words of Dr. King that kept showing up on my social media feeds motivated me to lace up my shoes, put on many layers, and hit the pavement. I waited until 3:00 p.m.to get out and run because it was going to be the warmest hour of the day, at a whopping 34 degrees. With the wind chill, it felt more like 27. Either way, it was cold. I was tired, but I did it. I kept moving forward and completed a much needed training run. It was a rather disappointing run, definitely not my best, but I completed it.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 This week took me to two fabulous southern cities, Birmingham, AL, and Nashville, TN. I spent most of the week in Birmingham on a media blitz promoting Tupelo as a great weekend getaway destination. We recorded a television spot and pitched editorial on Tupelo to some of the amazing publications based in the Iron City. A highlight of the trip was a dinner meeting at Chez Fonfon, Frank Stitt’s delightful French bistro in the Five Points area of the city. I highly recommend a visit to this delectable locale whether you are on business, enjoying a girls’ night out, or just looking for a scrumptious meal. Our hotel was in a very high traffic area, so I succumbed to the dreaded treadmill for my training runs, but at least I remembered to pack short sleeve shirts! Birmingham is such a quick trip from home on Interstate 22 and it was fun sharing all things Tupelo in this beautiful Alabama city.

 With my Run Disney races just thirty days away, I am close to putting in the miles I want to reach to be race ready. I am going to lengthen some of my early morning runs this week so that I am getting closer to what it will be like to run a 10K one day, immediately followed by a half marathon the next. I am confident that I could get through it now, but I know that putting in the hard work and moving forward over the next few weeks, will make my bucket list races that much more fun.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2016 Miles to go: 979

Running Resolutions

I love a good New Year’s resolution. I’m not talking about an overly broad “I’m going to be a better person this year” type of resolution. I mean a measurable, attainable goal that motivates me to actually be a better person in the process. I have made resolutions in the past to read a certain number of books or volunteer a certain number of hours, but this year I am resolving to be a better runner with a few running resolutions in 2016.

Resolution #1: Run 1,000 Miles in 2016

I am going to run 1,000 miles this year. If I were to do it all at once, I could get all the way from Tupelo, Mississippi, to New York City in a little over 1,000 miles. In reality, this is just under three miles a day. My current training schedule requires running four days a week, most days over three miles, so while it will be challenging, I look forward to tracking every mile on the road to 1,000.

Resolution #2: PR a Race 

To date, my fastest race was my very first half marathon. In training for the RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge in February 2016, I have gotten faster and know that a PR is within reach. I don’t expect to PR the Princess Half Marathon from everything I have read about the race with all of the character stops, photo ops, and number of runners/walkers who participate, but with several other races planned in 2016, I am excited about this resolution.

Resolution #3: Participate in a Virtual Run for Charity

Virtual runs can be run anywhere at anytime. You simply sign up, pay the entry fee, get in your miles, and your medal arrives in the mail. Virtual runs are a great way to raise money for a non-profit or charity organization without having to actually put on a race. I haven’t participated in one of these races yet, but plan to support one of my favorite charity groups this year by participating in a virtual run.

new-years-day-1021360_1280

I just finished my first run of 2016 and while it was cold, windy, and I could definitely tell that it has been a few weeks since I hit the pavement, it felt great! I am excited about all that this new year has in store. The RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge is a bucket list race for me, so I cannot wait for that magical weekend in February. Most of all, I love being a healthier, stronger version of myself, and that alone will make me “a better person this year.”

Happy New Year!

2016 Miles to go: 997

A Dismal December Calls for Jumpstart January

To say that December has been a less than ideal training month is an understatement. Between my travel, “the incident,” the endless rain, and a few lazy mornings thanks to the craziness that is the holidays, December has done little to help propel me to the finish line of the Princess Half Marathon that is a mere six weeks away.

Despite the fact that I despise running in the cold, I am confident that I will be ready for the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. With such a short amount of time to go until my races, I have three items in my arsenal to help me get finish line ready.

First, did I mention how much I hate running in the cold? I really cannot stand the way my body feels when I run outside in frigid temps, yet my favorite races always seem to be held in February, and I am not a fan of the treadmill. My husband, and coach, hooked me up this Christmas with an array of cold weather running gear. My favorite new accessory is the Under Armour Coldgear Infrared Reflective Beanie. It is super warm, has a hole in the back for my ponytail, and, of course, it’s pink. Being both warm and well accessorized will definitely help with those last few long runs I have to get in before February. 

Second, I always seem to eat terribly during the month of December. Once Thanksgiving hits, it’s pretty much a downhill spiral until the new year begins. Having tried all of the fad diets and miracle products out there that promise to melt away those pesky December pounds, it wasn’t until I made the decision to change my lifestyle that I became more healthy and lost weight as a result.

 I participated in the Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living program last January and truly experienced how clean eating can change everything. Sure, I lost 14 pounds during the 30 day cleanse, but the healthy living practices I learned through participating have helped me run faster, sleep better, and have a stronger immune system, thus staying well.

I am not participating in the full cleanse this January since I am in training mode, but I am using some of my favorite products to stay strong and feel great. I love the vegan protein for my morning smoothie and homemade protein bars, and I can’t live without the probiotic. With all of my travels, the probiotic has kept me well when traditionally I would catch a cold everytime I hopped on an airplane. They also have a PhytoSport line with a pre-workout, post-workout, and hydration product. We love them! As a bonus, John loves his Arbonne as much as I do, so it helps us both when training for races.

Finally, I may be the last person on the planet to discover podcasts, but I’m hooked, and I love that I can lose myself in listening to one while on a long run. I am currently listening to “Serial,” and “This American Life,” but have also discovered “Runner Academy,” which is a wealth of information on every facet of the sport of running. Running is such a mental sport and if I can focus on what I’m listening to instead of how much further I have to go, my long runs get easier and easier. Do you have a favorite podcast? Please share!

With just six weeks to go, I am getting really excited about my races. I have my Enchanted 10K running attire all ready to go (more on that soon!) and am working on the Princess Half outfit. Our reservations are made, FastPasses booked, and all that’s left are a few long runs before I’m Princess-ready. Thanks to my secrets weapons, I should be good to go!

Rites of Passage

Today, it happened. I experienced one of the true rites of passage as a runner. I fell. 

“The Incident,” as we will now refer to it, was not just a little slip or graceful topple. I’m talking a massive full on plummet to the pavement, scraped hands, and bloody knees. It happened in slow motion as I took a corner and the uneven pavement stopped my right foot immediately, while the rest of my person kept moving forward. I was booking it, at a 9:40 pace, which is actually really good for me. I felt great and was on my way to an awesome 3.1 mile start to the day…until “The Incident.”

As I sat stunned in the street, my first instinct was to look around to make sure no witnesses were present. Once certain I was alone, I slowly got up and walked a few steps to make sure everything was ok. I was 2.4 miles in and mentally I needed to hit that 3.1 mile mark, so I slowly began to run again. It hurt at first, but I finished the run and made it home to survey my wounds.

When I was able to see what my knees actually had endured, it was not a pretty sight. Had I not been wearing running tights and actually seen the scrapes and bruises on my knees and legs when it happened, I probably would have burst into tears and called John to come pick me up, despite the fact that I was only one street over from my house. I have NEVER been accused of being dramatic. 

Upon showing my battle wounds to John, I was congratulated on becoming a real runner. In fact, both my husband and my dad, the marathoner, welcomed me to the realm of running as a result of my first fall. Are you kidding me? Both shared tales of their own topples and how it is simply a part of the sport. They assured me that if I stuck with running, this would not be the last time I met the pavement. 

As the day has gone by, I have thought about “The Incident” pretty much every time I have had to bend my knees. I am proud that I completed my run this morning and hope that with the help of neosporin and ibuprofen, I will be able to complete my next long run Saturday morning. “The Incident” could have been a whole lot worse, but bottom line,  I truly feel blessed that I can put one foot in front of the other and keep on running. 

Running With Royalty

Buckingham_Palace

Buckingham Palace

Last week, I traveled across the pond to talk all things Elvis at World Travel Market in London. From meetings with tour operators and international media to special events designed to showcase Tupelo, Graceland, Memphis, and Mississippi, it was a whirlwind trip whose sole purpose was to invite visitors from across the globe to come see us and stay for awhile.

Elvis at the O2.

Tupelo Delegation with Priscilla Presley

While it seems that the world is always talking about the British royalty, this week, all eyes, and ears, were on the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Priscilla Presley was in town to promote Elvis’ latest album, “If I Can Dream,” featuring the British Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which hit number one on the UK charts while we were there. She stuck around to help us host an incredible reception for over 200 World Travel Market participants at the Elvis at the O2 exhibit. A special program on Elvis also aired on British television while we were there, truly making it a week fit for a king.

Thames River

Early morning run along the Thames River

I managed to get in one quick three-mile training run along the banks of the River Thames with my friend and colleague, Rachel Obermeier. We stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London-Docklands Riverside in the heart of London’s financial district. The constant hustle and bustle in this area was exactly as you would expect a financial hub to be, but the calm of the early morning made this run a great way to start the day. It was cool outside and we ran along the river banks sometimes on cobble stone, other times up stairs, weaving in and out, so it was a very unique training run.

Fortnum and Mason

Of course the crown Christmas decorations at Fortnum & Mason were my favorite!

In between meetings and appointments, we had some free time Wednesday afternoon to explore the city. As this was my sixth visit to London, I wanted to do something different, as I had never visited the city at this time of the year. With Christmas just around the corner, all of London’s stately department stores were decked in their festive finest and I made it my mission to revel in all of the Christmas cheer that I could find.

Tea at Fortnum and Mason

Afternoon tea at The Parlour in Fortnum & Mason

My very favorite stop was the exquisite Fortnum & Mason. Walking into this store was like stepping into the pages of a holiday magazine. It has been a London staple since 1707, and its splendid displays were enough to put even Ebenezer Scrooge in the Christmas spirit. From the moment I entered the store, the sights, smells, and sounds of Christmas enveloped me and made me all the more excited to visit this gorgeous piece of London history during the most wonderful time of the year. After perusing all of the finery, it was time for afternoon tea at The Parlour at Fortnum & Mason. A few gifts were purchased, and it was time to move on. Since I was in the neighborhood, I walked through Green Park to Buckingham Palace before heading to my next destination.

The princess at the Queen's palace

The princess at the Queen’s palace

Despite having traveled to this amazing city many times before, I couldn’t help but hop off the tube at some of my favorite stops to soak in all of the amazing history that is this great European city. I love the British people, their traditions, and the kindness they bestow upon guests in their country every time we visit. Being in the tourism industry, kindness in the form of customer service at a hotel, restaurant, or even just a nice stranger who gives directions can make or break the guest’s experience in a destination. I absolutely love my job and am blessed to travel the world telling people what an incredible place my hometown is to visit. Yes, we have Elvis, and I am thankful for that every single day, but the people in Tupelo, Mississippi, are what genuinely keep visitors coming back time and time again, and, true Southern Hospitality is something that is uniquely our own.

Big Ben

Big Ben

London Eye on the Thames River

London Eye on the Thames River

Harrods at Night

Harrods at Night

Mayor Jason Shelton speaking to the crowd at the Memphis & Mississippi Reception

Mayor Jason Shelton speaking to the crowd at the Memphis & Mississippi Reception

 

In October, We Wear Pink

 

Race for the Cure (me, Jennifer, Amanda, Leslie, and Alicia)

 Every year, my friend, Jennifer Locke, and I run the Susan G. Komen North Mississippi Race for the Cure. It is an easy, but hilly, 5K for a great cause. I look forward to running this race each year because it is always a fun event, but what it represents means the most of all.

Literally, everything turns pink in October. A friend of mine pointed out recently that no one else has managed to brand themselves as strongly as Susan G. Komen, in that everything, the NFL, Yoplait, Twitter, literally everything and everyone proudly shows support by turning pink throughout the month of October. While the sea of pink serves as a reminder to see your doctor and as a call to action for giving financially to breast cancer research, for me, it is a reminder of someone very special who passed away far too early.

My Dooka, my paternal grandmother, was an extraordinary person. She was a writer, an incredible cook, and one of the most thoughtful, caring, and kind people around. She had breast cancer early in her life, and while the disease isn’t what caused her death, it was something she went through. I miss her everyday. I know she would absolutely adore my husband, John, and my sweet, energetic almost five-year-old would be showered with love more than he can begin to fathom. I know this, because I was the constant recipient of her unbelievable capacity to love. 

It rained a lot in Tupelo this week. So much so, that I missed three training days and was actually excited when the 5:15 a.m. alarm went off Wednesday morning so I could get back out there and put in the much needed miles. The feeling of wanting to get out of the bed and run is foreign to me. Why would I leave the comfort of the covers to work hard, sweat, and push myself harder physically than I ever have before? Because, I am a runner, and it feels great to say that. 

The support of friends and family who ask me how my training is going, are reading this blog, have given to my St. Jude Heroes fundraiser for the Glass Slipper Challenge, and especially the encouragement of my coach (who patiently listens to my complaining!) are keeping me going, and while there are many training miles to go, I cannot thank you enough for cheering me on. But of course, I know that if my Dooka were still here, she would be my biggest cheerleader of all.

Even the U-5 Titans wore pink during their soccer games this month

The View from Vegas

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Freemont Experience in Downtown Las Vegas

They say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but after spending a week there for the annual Society of American Travel Writers Convention last week, I couldn’t wait to share all of the adventures that kept me “on the run” in the desert.

The conference was held in Downtown Vegas at the Downtown Grand Hotel. It is part of the updated Freemont Experience that includes multiple casinos, great restaurants, shopping, and cool attractions. We spent the first two days in professional development sessions, including a media marketplace where I got to pitch stories on Tupelo to writers from across the country. The beauty of attending this annual conference is that I have access to journalists who I otherwise would never meet face-to-face, giving me the chance to tell Tupelo’s story and personally invite them to experience all that our unique community has to offer.

Public Art in Downtown Las Vegas

Public Art in Downtown Las Vegas

Wednesday morning began with a quick 5K run through Downtown Vegas with my new friend, Christine Hopkins from Galveston, Texas. After a long flight, little sleep, lots of rain, and two days inside, it was great to get a training run in while exploring the area. Following two days of learning, networking, and business meetings, it was time to get out and explore what this desert city was all about.

My first tour on Wednesday was “Vegas: Wedding Style.” The tour promised to showcase the wedding industry in Las Vegas, including why Elvis is so popular here when it comes to saying “I Do.”  Our tour guide, Joni Moss-Graham with LV Wedding Connection, was a wealth of knowledge on Vegas weddings. The city will play host to over 90,000 weddings this year, whether in a chapel, on a roller coaster, or in a helicopter. When I say, if you imagine it, you can do it when it comes to weddings in this town, it is an understatement.

Chopper Chapel at Harley Davidson Restaurant

Chopper Chapel at Harley Davidson Cafe

We started the adventure on The Strip at the Harley Davidson Cafe. Yes, you can get married surrounded by hogs. Brides can walk down the aisle, lined with custom Harleys, and say their vows in front of a window overlooking The Strip. Of course the restaurant is equipped for any size reception before the happy couple rides off into the Vegas sunset on their bikes. The most impressive part of the venue is the massive American flag that takes up an entire wall in the restaurant.

American flag wall at the Harley Davidson Restaurant

American flag wall at the Harley Davidson Cafe

We did check out some of the more traditional options for nuptials in Las Vegas. The beautiful Alexis Park All-Suite Hotel is a non-gaming option where couples can exchange vows in a picturesque gazebo, on a rooftop overlooking The Strip, or by the pool. According to our guide, here they’ll “do anything, as long as it’s legal!”

Rooftop view of The Strip from the Alexis Park Hotel

Rooftop view of The Strip from the Alexis Park Hotel

After breakfast at Alexis Park, we ventured to the Chapel of the Flowers boasting three indoor chapels and two outdoor chapels. Truly a full-service venue, they have packages that include a wedding planner, photographer, a fleet of limousines, reception assistance, and anything else a couple can dream up.

Chapel of the Flowers

Chapel of the Flowers

The final stop on the Vegas Weddings tour made it all worth it. The Viva Las Vegas wedding chapel is a sight to see. Whether you are looking for Elvis to officiate your ceremony, incorporate vampires into your espousal, or host a Rocky Horror-themed union, this is the place for you. Ron Decar is a longtime Vegas entertainer who now owns and operates the Viva Las Vegas wedding chapel. He also portrays Elvis Presley. While we were there, he, as Elvis, arrived in a pink Cadillac and officiated a faux-ceremony for two of our tour participants. On 11/11/11 they performed over 230 weddings in one day.

Elvis at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel

Elvis at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel

After a morning full of wedded bliss, I chose the shopping tour at the Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian and The Palazzo on The Strip for my afternoon. A little retail therapy was exactly what I needed.

Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzo

Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzo

That night was our official “Night Out on the Strip,” where we enjoyed dinner and a show with other conference attendees. My evening began with an amazing meal at Tender in the Luxor Las Vegas. The bounty on our table included a charcuterie tray of meats, artisanal cheeses, heirloom tomatoes (which I tried!), a soup trio, bison ribeye, and an array of delectable desserts. We followed the decadent supper with Cirque du Soleil’s Criss Angel Believe. A master of illusion, the show was a great end to a spectacular evening under the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip.

Heirloom tomatoes at Tender

Heirloom tomatoes at Tender

Thursday was our full-day tour so I left the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas for the amazing views of Death Valley, CA. The hottest, driest, lowest national park, the “land of great extremes” was stunning. At over 3.3 million acres, it is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and is home to the greatest elevation change in North America from Badwater Basin to Telescope Peak. On average, Death Valley gets less than two inches of rain a year. They got over an inch of rain two days before we arrived so we were not able to visit the lowest point in Death Valley.

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley

We did visit the Inn at Furnace Creek that was built by the Borax Company in 1927 when borax excavation was at its hilt in Death Valley. Set in an oasis, the hotel is open October through March when the area’s temperatures are milder than the summer’s unbearable heat.

Inn at Furnace Creek in Death Valley

Inn at Furnace Creek in Death Valley

Thursday was our final night in Vegas and ended with a reception at the Mob Museum, just across the street from our hotel. This interactive institution dedicated to the history of organized crime in America was a fascinating and fun venue for our closing reception, complete with mugshots for all.

Mob Museum

Mob Museum

Following the reception, my friend, Christine, and I went out for one last round on The Strip, spending the evening at The Mirage to see Cirque du Soliel’s the Beatles LOVE.

My first trip to Las Vegas was truly unforgettable and I look forward to exploring this weird and wonderful city again very soon. In fact, I hope my next Vegas trip involves the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon. What’s your favorite Vegas memory that didn’t have to “stay in Vegas?”

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley

Temperature at Furnace Creek Visitor Center (it actually got up to 107 while we were there!)

Temperature at Furnace Creek Visitor Center (it actually got up to 107 while we were there!)

Death Valley, CA

Death Valley, CA