Fried Chicken, Towering Heels, Massages: How to Recover from a Race Disaster

I woke up the day after the half marathon STARVING. Not surprisingly, since I hadn’t eaten the night before. There was only one place that I wanted to go: Hash House A Go Go. And the nearest one was at the Imperial Palace about two casinos away.

Hash House, Las Vegas
Is that a stairway (ok, escalator) to heaven? Why yes. Yes it is.

This place (which the famous M&M have been begging us to go to forever) is famous for its humongous portions of down home grub. With empty stomach a grumbling, I felt pretty confident that I was about to take down some unsuspecting food. Somebody bring a bib.

I started with a pint glass sized bloody mary. After all, I was probably electrolyte depleted, what with all the running and whatnot. I needed that salt.

Bloody Mary at Hash House, Las Vegas

I went with the sage fried chicken and bacon-stuffed waffles, which were phenomenal. It came out stacked like a tower of sweet and salty goodness. The chicken breasts were savory and juicy. The waffles were dense and delicious. The fried leek strips gave each bite a slightly onion-y flavor without overwhelming. The syrup reduction was sweet and salty. My one note is that there could have been a lot more of the syrup.  But I was far too busy stuffing my face to even request a side of syrup.

Chicken and Waffles at Hash House, Las Vegas
Bring. It.

I ate an entire large fried chicken breast and a little more than half of the other one. I inhaled two of the four enormous waffles. I left Hash House A Go Go in pain.

Chicken and Waffles at Hash House, Las Vegas
Next time, chicken and waffles, you better bring it harder.

In fact, I was so uncomfortably full, I took a cab about 4 blocks to Neiman Marcus to go shoe shopping. Don’t judge. They were long(ish) blocks. AND, I just remembered, it was totally freezing! So all my blood and heat were diverted into heavy breakfast digestion mode, making me even colder. It really would not have been safe for me to walk those four blocks. (Does anything feel more pompous than driving up to Neiman Marcus in a cab? Maybe showing up in a limo or valeting?)

There was a promotional catalog/advertisement of sorts in our room that had a pair of burgundy suede Rachel Zoe heels. My personal stylist XFE really, really liked them. He must have mentioned them about 4-5 times. Finally, he told me to go the Neiman’s and buy the damn shoes.  They’re hot and totally impractical and impossible to walk in. But they’re hot.

Next year, I’m just going to skip the half marathon and do the stiletto dash. I’m ready.

So they came home with me (good thing I always bring a half-empty bag on trips. Between scuba masks and shoes, I was sitting on bags to zip them up).

I studiously avoided looking at anything else. With the exception of the Kiehl’s section which was right next to the shoes. An additional $50, but this time out of my own pocket, not XFE’s.

Damage done, I went back to the Venetian for my massage at Canyon Ranch SpaClub. CR is kinda famous, so I was definitely looking forward to it. Massages and other services in Vegas are hella expensive, so I just went with a basic massage.

Canyon Ranch Spa, Las Vegas

I went early so I could enjoy all the facilities. They had a sauna, steam room, herbal laconium, hot tub, the usual. The sauna and laconium (another type of sauna) were nice, but not hot enough. I like to scald my skin. The steam room was nice and hot though, with twinkly lights in the roof. I laid in there forever.

The hot tub was the usual. Nothing unexpected there. And, for the reason that will soon be apparent, I did not stay in there very long.

Ladies, when a spa says clothing optional, the option there is always, always, always opt for some sort of clothing. It’s not that big of a deal in the sauna or steam room when you have a towel wrapped around you. BUT, it’s a much bigger deal when you and I are sitting in a roiling cauldron of hot water and your pubes are on display. For example: I always bring a swimsuit when I travel, just in case. It’s small, doesn’t take a lot of space and then if a hot tub situation arises, you’re ready. Nobody wants to see your ass naked.  It’s the quickest way to send sensible women retreating. So if your intent was to have the whole damn 12 person hot tub to yourself, well played.

After that trauma, I went into the lounge area to await my masseuse. The lounge area was awesome. All the latest magazines. Lots of chaise lounges, and big round circular bed/lounging things piled with pillows. I rolled around on one of those until I was called in for my massage.

canyon ranch hall

The massage was pretty basic. I don’t like deep tissue massages, so this was more about relaxation than working out any kinks or issues. I felt calm and relaxed. My technician was good and not too talkative, which I always appreciate. She gave a great scalp massage, without tugging on my hair. I’m very tenderheaded and when masseuses do that at the end of a massage, it totally hurts and undoes the whole massage. It’s the WORST.  But this girl (Nia) didn’t do that, so we’re all good. Also: it gave me the best idea for a special massage business. Just scalp and foot massages. I’d call it something cheesy like “Tops and Toes” or something lame like that. I could honestly be quite happy just having my feet and head rubbed.

Canyon Ranch Spa, Las Vegas
OK, yeah, that’s a good start, but what about the head?

The one odd thing about the massage was that you pay for it up front, which is kinda nice because then you can just breeze out after your post-massage shower. But it becomes awkward when it’s time to tip. You’re like, “uh, ok, I already paid. Do I really have to stop back by the desk to tip?” The answer is yes. And they have tipping envelopes, obviously.

So that was my last full day. Oh, I did have dinner that night at Nobu at the Hard Rock, which was amazing! XFE had a work function that night, so I went with my running friends and their families and we had the best meal. Sexy space, great food, good service.  The lotus chips with tuna, yellowtail sashimi, the sea bass and, especially the sake, were particular standouts. Last by not least, the flourless chocolate cake “bento box” was the I swear, I could eat sushi every damn day.

And no, I did not wear my new ridiculously tall shoes. XFE gets to see those first. And, my feet were killing me after the race.

We asked our waiter if anyone famous frequented the restaurant, and he told us that Jesse James (that cheating asshole) had been there the night before.

Also: I just heard that Kate Gosselin ran the marathon! Dangit! I missed all my potential celebrity spotting opportunitities! If I had known, I totally would have looked for her and heckled her with something like “Get a job,” or “Go home and take care of your kids!” But that would have been a bit mean, so maybe better that I didn’t know.


Three Weeks Till Certain Humiliation

It’s three weeks until the Las Vegas Rock N Roll ½ Marathon and I am pooping one of those small, rectangular units of building material, often made from fired clay, and secured with mortar. I’m shitting bricks is what I’m trying to say.

You have to love Google Images. Everything you're looking for is there. Unbelievable.

I don’t know if I’m ready. Or if I will be ready. I’m afraid I’ll make a fool of myself. Or worse, injure myself. I actually may already be a success at that second one.

A few weeks ago, the balls of my feet started hurting anytime I would run over an hour, especially the left foot. Now, the smart, reasonable thing to do would be to not run for over an hour. Alas, alack, I’m not fast enough to complete a half marathon in an hour. Or, maybe even two hours.

So last Monday, thinking that perhaps the newish pain was caused by old shoes, I stopped by the running store and purchased new shoes. New, same shoes. As in, the brand and style I’ve been using for the past two years or so. Mizuno Nirvanas, which are oh so ironically named since there is nothing “Nirvana”-like about either the price of those shoes or training for a half. But, those were the shoes recommended by the running store when they analyzed my gait and whatnot, so those have been what I have used.

The old shoes on the right are looking fairly busted.

New shoes always have the same initial issue: blisters. I’m quite blister-prone. Especially when breaking in new shoes. And, of course, I had blisters on my right foot all last week. But the bigger issue was the continuing ball-of-the-feet pain. And, in the mornings, I noticed my feet would hurt for the first few minutes after getting out of bed. I had tender feet and had to pad around carefully.

I ran 6 miles on the treadmill on Saturday (acquiring this lovely new chafe mark – seriously, I do all kinds of contortions to make sure I get Body Glide ALL OVER and the one place I have never had any issues and therefore don’t lube up, gets chafed.) My feet definitely hurt, but I figured I’d just stretch it out.

Please ignore my awesomely flabby white arm and let's just focus on the red angry welt caused by my shirt sleeve. Apparently.

I started out on my 10 miler at around 3 yesterday, fortified by a waffle and side of bacon ingested at 10:30 and a celebratory glass of champagne with newly-engaged running buddy Amy at around 2:30. I’ve heard that this is how running dynamo Skinny Runner fuels. Oh wait….she drinks Prosecco AFTER a race, not before? Hmmm.

Sure enough, right around the hour mark, my left foot started to throb. It’s like running on a very deep bruise. It almost feels like a bone spur or something, it’s so localized. And, I’m MILES from home. I have no choice but to keep going, or lay down on the side of the trail like a wimp, which was my first choice, but since it wasn’t that busy (ie: no audience), I had to keep going.

I ran 8 miles, then hobbled/ran/walked the last two. And went straight to the running store. They think it might be plantar fasciitis. I got fitted for some new inserts, bought this cool new spiky ball to massage my feet and spent the evening icing and stretching. Fun, glamorous times at my house last night, let me tell you.



So that’s how I spent my weekend. Anyone else do anything fun?

Also: final note. XFE reminded me that the term “soy sauce” came about the other day after he almost bit it on the exact same two steps while clearing dishes. After almost taking a dive, he said, “whoa, I almost soy sauced.” Which is waaaaay funnier than my lame story. And which just proves that (a) he’s funnier than me, and (b) I’m not really “a revisionist” when it comes to my stories, I just have a crappy memory. Because seriously, why would I leave that out if I had remembered it?