Team Challenge & Las Vegas Half Weekend – Part I

Friday (11/15)

My alarm went off at 4 a.m. and the weekend started! I was at the airport to meet up with other Team Challenge participants who were traveling to Las Vegas on the group flight. We took off as the sun was coming up.

take off

Temps in Vegas were in the 60s for highs and 40s for lows. Perfect running weather, but it made it really hard for me to pack. I was already in fall/winter running mode, so I went with layers so I’d have lots of options.

After we arrived in Vegas, we shuttled over to the hotel and checked in at the Venetian. I have always wanted to stay here, so I was super excited! It’s a gorgeous hotel. The rooms are all suites, so we had lots of space!

room 2

We had a little time to unpack and regroup before hoping on the monorail to head to the race expo. The expo was huge! I think this was the biggest one I’ve been to. We got our race bibs and then I ventured around all of the booths with a couple of my Team Challenge teammates, Jenny and Kristi.

expo 5     expo 1

Practicing our finish line pose!
Practicing our finish line pose!

We checked out almost every booth at the expo and grabbed a lot of free samples (some good, some not) and bought some fun gear.

So much stuff!
So much stuff!
New gear
New gear

We had some time to chill out after the expo and it felt so good to put my feet up. Lots of walking in Vegas! A bunch of us met up to head over to the Stratosphere and ride one of the rides at the top. We were going to take a taxi, but there was a long line outside the hotel, so we thought the bus would be better. Unfortunately, we waited about 30 minutes for a bus to come and then it was too full for any of us to get on. We had dinner plans, so we had to scrap the Stratosphere trip, but I did get to snap some cool pictures outside the Venetian.

venetian outside   venetian tree

winter in venice 2

We had a great dinner at I (heart) Burgers in the Venetian. They were donating part of the proceeds to CCFA. After that, a group of us wandered to a few places along the strip to celebrate our first night in Vegas. I started to fade around 10 p.m. (which was midnight central time) after the long, busy day. All in all, it was a great first day in Vegas!


I slept til 8 a.m. and took my time getting ready before meeting some people for brunch at 10:30 at the Grand Lux Cafe. I ended up going for the buffet and loaded up on fresh fruit and waffles.

grand lux

I had some time to kill, so I walked around the Grand Canal Shops for a bit to do some window shopping. This is one of my favorite (indoor) areas in Vegas. It was all decorated for Christmas too.

grand canal 1    grand canal 5

grand canal 3

I guess you could say this is festive
I guess you could say this is festive

I wanted to get in a couple of easy miles on Saturday just to get my legs ready for the race on Sunday evening, so I headed to the exercise room for a 2 mile run.

exercise rm

That night was the Team Challenge inspirational pasta party! Over 600 Team Challengers from across the country came together to carb-o-load and hear from some very inspiring speakers.

Sea of people heading in to the pasta party
Sea of people heading in to the pasta party

pasta party 3    pasta

pasta party 11

Oh, and Denis Haskins (a.k.a. Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell) was our emcee for the evening!

"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! What is going on here?"
“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! What is going on here?”

We found out that Team Challenge raised $2.3 million dollars during this Vegas season! That will go a long way to help CCFA find cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The pasta party was great and totally got us pumped up to run the race the next day! More on the race and the rest of the weekend coming soon!


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