Monday, October 28, 2013

Outdoors in Vegas

Immediately after taking my board exam and before annual calibrations (ie crazy weekend work hours) began, we had a few weekends off to have some fun.  The first free day we had, we went out to Lake Mead to rent a jet ski and explore.  Lake Mead is formed by the Hoover Dam and is the largest man-made lake in the US with 500+ miles of shoreline.  It's also a very short drive (or bike ride) from our house. 

Because we're Floridians and used to lakes being dark and murky, we are amazed every time we see the bright blue waters of Lake Mead.  The day we jet skied was HOT (as were most days here during the summer months) so we stayed cool by driving super fast and jumping in frequently.  We had the greatest time exploring the "narrows" which are skinny paths with rock walls on either side hundreds of feet high and canyons at every turn where people park their boats and hang out for the day. 

The views were incredible. 

We also managed to make it all the way up to the Hoover Dam.  It was one of the best days we've had and I want to take every summer visitor on a similar exploration!

hoover dam from the water

Another weekend, our planned camping trip to Bryce Canyon got stormed out so we turned to a local Las Vegas park instead: Red Rock Canyon.  The park is just on the other side of the Valley and includes a 13 mile scenic loop drive with tons of hiking trails at every point. 

We were never quite able to find the trail we planned on taking so we instead just spent a few hours exploring.  It was completely gorgeous and I'm so excited to get back out to other parts of the park!

field of crazy cactuses cacti
Before moving here, I never realized all of the awesome sights to see so close to our house!  Luckily, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous recently and we plan on cramming as much into our upcoming weekends as possible!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Life Lately

So it's been a very long time since my last update and a lot has changed!  First off, I finally finished up my residency and graduated! 


We were very lucky to have all of our parents in Nashville for the occasion and we enjoyed our celebrations with everyone. 

Immediately after graduation, we made the loooong drive out to Las Vegas. 

31 hours in the car luckily went by without too much trouble (except for a temperamental moving truck and one spiteful cat who hated every second of it).  The views in the second half of the trip were pretty spectacular. 

We were beyond excited to be able to pull up to our brand new house! 
The next few weeks were a little insane.  We spent the first week celebrating the fourth, unpacking and exploring a little bit.  
(Okay, there was also an incredibly awesome Garth Brooks show in the mix too :)

M headed to Chicago for two weeks to train for his new job while I held down the new house solo.  I started my new job while cramming board exam studying into every free second I had.  We enjoyed brief escapes from the study/work cycle for furniture shopping and dinners out. 
Boards finally took place last week and my free time returned!  The craziness has made our time here fly by and I can't believe we moved in almost two months ago.  We are so excited to finally have time to take advantage of our fun new location and get some progress made on the house.  Stay tuned!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekend in Louisville- Part II

After we'd recovered a bit from our race, we were ready to explore the city.  It was unfortunately a little rainy for the rest of the day and we weren't up for tons of walking, so we limited our fun to a few local breweries- Against the Grain, BBC, and Gordon Biersch (not local).

Around 5:30 we headed out to Churchill Downs for Opening Night of the Derby.

the twin spires
Walking in we walked right by the area where they bring the horses prior to each race to introduce them. 

We had purchased general admission tickets and had no idea what to expect.  Luckily, general admission means sit wherever you want, including front row by the finish! We claimed our awesome spot and loved every race.  I couldn't believe how into it and excited everyone gets.  We were yelling along with everyone else and having so much fun. 

walking the horses by before the race

coming into the finish

It was so awesome to watch the horses zooming right by!  We also enjoyed some of the fun classic derby drinks and attire.  I didn't realize opening night was such a big night for high fashion hats, headbands, and dresses.  Luckily, general admission didn't enforce dress code and I wasn't too out of place in my rain boots and jeans. 

M loved mint juleps!
We didn't end up betting for real but we each picked a horse for every race and kept track of who won the most.  Mike's obvious choice for one of the races (and she won):

Sunday morning we explored a little bit more of the area by driving through a giant old cemetery (it's listed as an attraction, I promise) and a big park.  Overall we had a great trip.  I loved seeing a new town by running through it and we are now both officially obsessed with horse racing.  Maybe one day we'll make it to the actual Derby!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon and Weekend in Louisville- Part I

Last Friday we snuck out of work a little early to travel to Louisville, Kentucky to run in the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon on Saturday morning.  The marathon and mini (aka half) marathon are part of the two-week-long Derby celebration in Louisville that ends with the Kentucky Derby the first weekend in May.  I've been wanting to run the race since first hearing about it but have always opted to run the local Country Music Half Marathon instead as they always fall on the same weekend.  Knowing this would be our last chance to be nearby, we decided to make a fun mini-vacation out of it. 

We arrived in Louisville around 5 and checked into our super fancy downtown historic hotel (thank you Hilton Honors points from M's work). 

We quickly hit up the expo to pick up our shirts and bibs for Saturday's race and then found our way to some yummy local pizza and liquid carbs.

Our next stop was to take part in another event associated with the Derby party: The Great Balloon Glow.  It's basically a big field full of tons of hot air balloons that stay just above the ground and light up in the dark night.  It was pretty cool!

before it got dark


Saturday morning we were up bright and early to run. 

start line

My training for this run sort of stunk- 3 months of early morning rotation at work combined with interview/house stress left me with little motivation to run (see also: lazy).  Going into the race I was sort of predicting/hoping for a time of around 2:05 but I tried to just ignore the numbers on my Garmin and run strong.  As each mile ticked by, I was surprised at how good I felt.  My usual wall at mile 8 was avoided because that was when we entered the track at Churchill Downs.  Running around the loop with 30+ horses out warming up was so amazing- definitely my favorite part of the race.  All of a sudden, I crossed mile ten and realized if I could pick it up a bit and finish the last three miles in 26 minutes, I would break 2 hours.  I ran hard for those last three miles and sprinted across the finish thinking I'd made it.  Later, I found out my official time was 2 hours and 10 seconds.  While a 1:59 would have been a bit nicer, I couldn't possibly be upset with my race and was just proud that I felt great for all 13 miles and had a ton of fun.  I found Mike who had finished in 1:45 and we hurried back to the hotel to get out of the rain and get ready for the rest of our fun day in Louisville.