Join me as I travel around the country to fulfill my goal of running a marathon or half marathon in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Race #12: Rock N Roll Las Vegas - December 5 - Las Vegas, NV - 2:29:

Sin City. My goodness, there is just too much to say. Get a cup of coffee, it's a long one: 

I landed in Vegas and met my family at our hotel: Treasure Island. Flying in at night was awesome - Vegas really is just as cool as it seems in the movies.

I quickly learned that the National Finals Rodeo was in town at the same time as the race and I was in heaven. Everywhere I looked there were cowboys and you better believe I ran upstairs to put my boots on :)

I took my parents to the expo where I got my bag, doll-size shirt (you better believe I traded that sucker in for a large), and head lamp (pretty cool freebie!). This was their first race experience and they were overwhelmed. They had absolutely no idea how big the race world is. My mom totally got in the spirit though: 

Then I got to meet up with some of the most beautiful, friendly, and talented runners (who also happen to have some pretty cool blogs). In true blogger fashion we all met up at an ice cream shop - totally Hungry Runner Girl's idea. I blame her for making me and my mom eat this monstrosity of an ice cream :) p.s. - she is just as sweet and beautiful in person as she seems on her blog!

I met wonderful bloggers like Blonde Ponytail, Skinny Runner, Runner's Rambles, Meals and Miles, Vitamin Bee, Running for Trevor, and of course Pain, Pride and Perseverance. There are many more - sorry I didn't get everyone's names!  
So many great runners and bloggers!

SR doing something funny

Glad I found a new blog to read: Vitamin Bee :)

Love this pic with Julia.

My family and I spent the weekend doing a little gambling and shopping (a.k.a. throwing money out the window, but that's apparently okay in Vegas). We also got to see the Cirque du Soleil show Mystere. It.was.freakin.amazing. I'm not kidding when I say my brothers and I had our jaws hit the floor several times, and 19 and 20 year old guys are hard to impress. It is just unbelievable how talented (and strong) those people are!

Before I knew it, it was Sunday afternoon and time to get ready for the race. My brother Nolan was happy to cheer me on from the warmth of the hotel room :) I don't blame him.

It was pretty dang cold and I was a bit worried that I wore a t-shirt and capris when it seemed like everyone was wearing long sleeves. Personally though, I was perfectly happy with my outfit choice. I know I would have been hot and miserable if I wore more clothing. 

The excitement surrounding the race was incredible. Not really sure how it couldn't be - I mean you are running the strip at night! This is a 180 degree change from my Ohio/Indiana race where the only thing to look at was a corn field.

The only photo I took during the race was this blurry one where two women were wearing shirts that said "Cuz Sam" and "Cuz Heidi" - my name is Sam and my mom's name is Heidi. What are the odds of that?! With all those gambling junkies in Vegas I'm sure someone smarter than me could figure out the actual odds, but you get the point. 

I'm not as heated as others about how the race was executed because I thought that overall it was decent, but I will say that the design of the finish line was absolutely outrageous, actually dangerous. The medals and pictures were so close to the finish line that everyone had to immediately come to a complete stop when it got backed up. My leg muscles weren't very happy and I felt like I was going to be sick. Water > Pictures. Just sayin. I'm sure it is ridiculously hard to organize 44,000 runners, but if you're going to charge people $150 to run you should have your sh*t together. Enough said.

You all know that I am the Queen of awful race pictures. (Remember the I'm so pretty picture?) I didn't even realize it was possible, but I think I might have beat it with this one: 
WHAT?! I refuse to believe that is me. That person looks like they are about to eat someone.

The next morning my parents left and I was waiting around for my 10:30 pm flight when I learned that tickets to the American Country Awards were being sold for just $22 to a 5:00 pm show. I'm sorry, WHAT?!? I think I almost cried I was so excited - I didn't even know it was in town! I even treated myself to the lower level $60 ticket, a new dress from Forever 21, and then got my hair did all fancy-like at the mall. Yes, it was a "treat yo' self" kind of day (anybody watch Parks and Rec?).
American Country Awards at the MGM.

The gorgeous Carrie Underwood

It was an awesome show. It was too bad that I didn't  have any of my family or friends with me. I had such a good time though, even if I was by myself.

Then I headed to the airport.
Love the colors/design of this race shirt!

I was about to say adios, Vegas when I discovered this in my coat pocket: 

Noooo!!! $30 down the drain :( Oh, but wait, excuse me Mr. baggage handler man, do you ever gamble? I have a $30 casino voucher that could be yours for only $20. Score.

I don't recommend taking a red eye and then having a morning layover in Atlanta. From 5 am - 6:30 am EST I slept just like this even with Christmas music and vacuums blaring in my ears.
I just realized that 2011 consisted of 7 half marathons, one full marathon, and a few 5k races. I had so much fun, but that number sounds ridiculous. Maybe 2012 is the year I cut back on the number of races and instead focus on improving my time. Regardless, I wouldn't take one minute of 2011 back - it was phenomenal. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


There are some exciting things going on in the Webb household (can you call it a household if it's just you in a tiny apartment? I think yes).

First of all, I have some amazing pictures from my Ireland trip to share with you all:
Downtown Dublin

Jail tour

Christ Church in Dublin

Dublin Castle Tour
Countryside in County Cork

Cliffs of Moher

Standing on the edge of a 600 foot cliff

Thatched roof cafe on one of the Aran Islands

We stumbled upon a wedding photo shoot in the Burren

Old Celtic Cross

We had a lot of fun at Irish pubs

Atlantic Ocean

Second, I recently found out that on December 10th, I (along with 19 other recruits) will be sworn in by the Chief of Naval Operations during the infamous Army Navy football game being played here in Washington DC at FedEx Field. We get to go down on the field during one of the commercial breaks in the second quarter. Revenue from commercials might be more important than televising our ceremony, but I still think you should watch the game (and cheer for Navy!) just in case they show us. I am so honored to be a part of this once in a lifetime event. To give you a sense of the importance of this ceremony, here is the first part of the Navy Chain of Command: President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Navy, Chief of Naval Operations. So, in the words of Mr. Joe Biden: This is a big f****** deal. 

I might even be more excited than the time I went to an Obama rally and got a really close picture of the President's head and some random baby being handed to him: 

Or the time that Matt Lauer did The Today Show from my college campus: 

Third, on Friday I'm headed to LAS VEGAS for the Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon (at night! down the strip! sold out at 44,000 runners!) Meeting the amazing blogger/runner Julia is top of the excitement list. She even beats out the Saturday night showing of Mystere, the Cirque Du Soleil show that I am most likely overly enthused about going to see. A few of my DC running friends are headed out to Vegas as well. It should be a good time. Hopefully my wimpy ankle holds up for all 13.1 miles. Check back next week for a Vegas re-cap. 

Happy Exciting Running!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Race #11: Run for the Buds 1/2 Marathon - October 15 - Wilmington, DE - 2:25:39

Sometimes it's just not your day. Sometimes you wear the wrong amount of clothing,  get a blister on your ankle, feel like you've got lead in your legs, slept on your neck wrong, have to climb a mountain at mile 8, ate the wrong thing for breakfast, and just don't feel your best. Sometimes it's just not your day. 

The Run for the Buds was a small local race to raise money for a program that helps kids with intellectual disabilities, such as down syndrome. A lot of the kids were running in the 5k race and they were all so excited and giddy before the start of the race, you just couldn't help but smile at their enthusiasm for life. Shelling out so much money for races is much less painful when you know it's for a worthy cause. We didn't have timing chips, so the time is unofficial, but trust me, it's accurate. If I was going to lie about my time I'm pretty sure I'd give myself something better than 68th out of 87th place. When even the police (who were closing the roads for you to run safely) leave because they are tired of waiting so long for you to finish, you know you've had a bad race. 

Aside from my personal failure of the run, both the weather and course were superb. It was a perfect autumn day and the course was a challenging, yet scenic path through a park and down a main street in Delaware. Although I'm griping about my time, deep down I'm still pretty proud just to finish the race. Sometimes I get jaded to the fact that simply completing 13 miles on any given day is an accomplishment. Like they say, "Even if you're last, you're still lapping everyone on the couch!" :)

As always, for your entertainment: 

I know, I know. Sometimes it's hard to tell if Sam is short for Samantha or Samuel. Whatevs.

Black pants were a bad choice.

If that banner isn't the finish line I'll have to hurt someone.
Uncrustables and grapes for the ride home! Takes you right back to 6th grade doesn't it?
 Getting great deals at the Nike Outlet store will make me feel better:
$55 Capris for only $9!!!!! Awwww, yeahhh.

Got a problem? Just WORK IT OUT.

$20. I'm much more stylin' on my commute to work these days.
 Happy (better than me) running, 
p.s. - I'm headed to Ireland on Friday! See ya in two weeks when I will be posting amazing pictures, I'm sure! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Race #10: Wilson Bridge 1/2 Marathon - October 2 - Mt. Vernon, VA - Finish Time: 2:12:26

Oh, 4:30 am weekend wake-up calls, how I love you so.
Leaving my apartment. Yeah, that says 4:58 am

I could summarize the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon one of two ways:

a) In exactly one week I improved my half marathon time by 6 minutes; or
b) I missed my half marathon PR by 5 minutes.

For the sake of keeping a shred of self confidence I think I'll stick with the first one. Not sure what I was thinking when I signed up for back to back half marathons, but there are some hilarious pictures that are the result of that decision. I'm happy to provide a moment of laughter for you all. 

As for the Wilson Bridge 1/2 Marathon, I really liked the course, but it's not anywhere near my favorite because I'll always be partial to out-and-back or loop races. Point-to-point races require more logistics such as waking up earlier than humanly possible to provide time for loading up buses and transporting people to the start line. After the race we waited in long (very cold) lines to get back to the parking lot which wasn't super close to the finish line in National Harbor, Maryland.

I will say that the medals and the tech shirts were of excellent quality and design. I really like them. On the other hand, I despised the expo because it was ridiculously hard to find and when I eventually found it I had to wait in line because they only allowed a small group of people into the cramped room at one time to get their packet. For a $90 race I was extremely disappointed that there were exactly ZERO freebies in my race bag. Really? You couldn't even throw a mini Cliff Bar in there?!?
"The Awakening" is a sculpture of a man breaking free from the earth. It was just before the finish line.

Oh, and I can't forget to add to my "awesome spectator sign" list. Around mile 8 we were just about to cross the (large) bridge when I spotted "Chuck Norris never ran the Wilson Bridge!" and "Getting up early to make this sign wasn't easy either!" They both made me laugh and gave me a little boost to get over that bridge. Thanks, spectators!

And now for your entertainment:
WHAT are my arms doing?!

People are wearing jackets and I'm smiling...this must have been mile 1.

I'm so pretty.

Pure pain. Pushin' it for the home stretch! :)

Yay! I'm done! Where's the food?
This was the first solo run I've done in a while. Usually I have at least one friend in the race with me or someone at the finish line. For this race I decided to treat myself to a solo, very sweaty brunch date at IHOP.
This is a feast fit for a queen, baby!
I don't play around.
1. What's your favorite brunch place?
2. What type of race do you prefer? Out and back? Loop? Point to Point?