Dan Wheldon

Dan Wheldon: How his Death Affects the Las Vegas Speedway

Dan Wheldon was an international Indy Car Series driver. He was originally from England, but he travelled all over the world, racing and winning. In both 2005 and 2011, Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500, the biggest race in the Indy Car series. He was also the 2005 Indy Racing League Indy Car Series champion. For those of you that don’t know much about Indy cars, they are very different from the popular NASCAR Series vehicles. Indy cars are low to the ground, thinner, and lighter. Dan Wheldon was a very talented driver, he “won 16 races in his storied…career”, but unfortunately his career and his life were ended when he raced and crashed on the Las Vegas Speedway on October 16th, 2011 (Little, 2011).

Before the race, comments about the track were made on the Indy Car website, saying things like “this race could be the wildest race of the season” (Gregory, 2011).  A rookie driver, James Hincliffe commented that “The racing is so close and when something goes wrong it can really go wrong” (Gregory, 2011). Those commentators did not know just how right they were. The racers might have been expecting some wild racing, but they could not foresee what would happen that day. Twelve laps into the race, two cars made contact with each other causing a chain reaction. The crash ended up involving 15 cars. Many drivers were injured and Wheldon’s car turned over as it went airborne and sailed into what’s called the catch fence, which sits over a barrier that’s designed to give a bit when cars make contact. After the crash, Oriol Servia, a driver that was involved in the Las Vegas race said “We all had a bad feeling about this place in particular just because of the high banking and how easy it was to go flat” (Gregory, 2011). To “go flat” means to accelerate quickly and freely and the “high banking” refers to the degree at which the turns are set. “The Las Vegas Motor Speedway changed the banking of its turns, from 12 degrees to 20 degrees, which increased speeds on the track,” something that is now being considered unsafe for the Indy Series (Gregory, 2011). Dario Franchitti, another driver also commented “I said before we even tested here that this was not a suitable track for us, and we’ve seen it today” (Gregory, 2011).

The Indy Car Series and the NASCAR series are both very popular events in Las Vegas. People enjoy getting to see their favorite drivers race. I know I love the noise the Indy Cars make as they zoom around the track, and I love getting to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. (a NASCAR driver), even though he rarely wins. Due to the accident, us fans might not get that chance anymore. This year, the Indy Car series was investigating “to [determine] if the series can continue racing on high-banked ovals such as the one at Las Vegas” (Los Angeles Times, 2011). The set schedule for 2012 is on the official website and Las Vegas is not on the list. Will Indy Car ever return to Las Vegas or has the death of one of the Series most popular drivers scared drivers away from racing the track? According to Eric Smith, “the series has announced they won’t return to Milwaukee, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Las Vegas next season…it’s looking like there will only be 14 races on the circuit…if there’s only 14 races, … this may be nearing the end of the best racing out there” (Smith, 2011). The Indy Car event is a very popular event with seventy-five thousand people attending at Las Vegas speedway that weekend. It is a shame that such a talented man died on the track, and that the event might no longer be held in at our speedway.

 

References

Gregory, S. (2011, October 17). Ominous signs: Track conditions questioned before wheldon’s death. Retrieved from http://keepingscore.blogs.time.com/2011/10/17/ominous-signs-track-conditions-questioned-before-wheldons-death/

 

Indycar will not race in las vegas next season. (2011, December 8). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/08/sports/la-sp-newswire-20111209

 

Laberge, R. (Photographer). (2012). Nascar sprint cup: Will dan wheldon’s death loom over the kobalt tools 400?. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1095087-nascar-sprint-cup-will-dan-wheldons-death-loom-over-the-kobalt-tools-400

 

Little, J. (2011, October 17). Dan wheldon dies after indycar crash. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/racing/indycar/story/_/id/7111712/dan-wheldon-dies-following-indycar-crash-vegas

 

Smith, E. (2011, December 8). Indycar: Effect loss of las vegas motor speedway and other tracks will have. Retrieved from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/975117-does-recent-loss-of-tracks-including-vegas-mean-indycar-is-taking-steps-backward

http://indycar.com/schedule/

 

 

 

 

 

 

How-To Prepare for a Hiking Trip

How-To Prepare for a Hiking Trip

Jenna Yocum

 

Before you head out on a hiking trip, make sure you are prepared with the proper essentials. Everything from your shoes to your pack is important when going out hiking, especially for inexperienced hikers. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth, worry-free hiking trip.

Step One: Choose the Proper Gear.

Take note of the weather conditions where you are going hiking and dress accordingly. Winter may make is necessary to wear thermal underwear, thick socks, gloves, a hat, and a scarf in order to ensure that you will stay warm, but keep in mind that doing some hiking can work up a sweat, so make sure you have room in your pack for items you may need to take off. Also, be sure to choose appropriate shoes that are the right size and will help support your feet.

Step Two: Pick a Suitable Bag.

You are going to have to bring a few essential items on your hiking trip, so make sure you pick a suitable bag. If you’re interested, sporting good stores sell packs specifically for hiking with a built-in place for water and a long straw so you don’t have to stop to pull out a water bottle all of the time. Otherwise, sticking with and old-school backpack works just fine. Just make sure it is big enough for the items you want to carry and not so big that you’ll over pack or it will be too heavy.

Step Three: Pack your Pack.

Choosing what you are going to bring can seem difficult when everything seems important, but leave what you don’t absolutely need at home. I would suggest bringing the following: plenty of water, food/snacks, wallet, keys, camera, phone, small first aid kit (with band aids, sanitizing wipes, medication, and other essentials), a to-go container of toilet paper (for the women), and hand sanitizer. Sunscreen is also an important item to bring. If you are going on a relatively short hike, you might be okay with only applying sunscreen beforehand, but for lengthy trips it is best to bring along a travel size container. You may need a few extra items during the winter, but this list should cover the needs of a majority of hikers. Also, make sure you put your liquid items, like sunscreen and hand sanitizer, in a plastic baggie so nothing opens and ruins any of your other items.

Step Four: Planning a Route.

Planning out where exactly you are going can be just as important as bringing water. While you should leave yourself a bit of leeway room to change your plans, you want to make sure you know where you are going to reduce chances of getting lost. Besides, you can research the trails to see what each one has to offer and to make sure that the difficulty level matches what you can handle. After your route is mapped out, it is a good idea to tell a friend or family member where you’ll be going and check in with someone before and after your hike, especially if going alone. Even with a group, though, it is possible to get lost or in another dangerous situation, so having a buddy that’s staying in civilization could be helpful.

Once you have all of these figured out, you are ready to embark on your hiking expedition. Just remember to choose the proper gear, pick a suitable bag, pack it, plan your route, and have fun!

 

The Caves

The Caves

On the corner of Fort Apache and Warm Springs there is not much going on—there are no familiar corporate businesses or anything that has the potential to attract many people except for one thing: caves. When I first heard about the caves up there, I was unsure of what to think. I mean, how many people have you heard of that went spelunking this past weekend?

My first experience there was in August of 2011. I’ve wanted to revisit again and again, and since then I have developed a unique relationship with these unnamed caves. Once I stepped foot on the short hike (short by distance, not time), it opened my eyes to the reality that it had been a while since my last hike and my body soon began feeling the effects of failing to keep up with my workout regimen. I laughed to myself and continued trekking onward.

Once I was up there, I saw a vast area that needed exploring. I was not the first person to do this, which was apparent by the trash left behind by previous explorers.  Some had left wood from an apparent bonfire, others left paint from firing their paintball guns, and some even left behind art on the cave walls. It was then that I realized the potential for this place: a few of my gun-owning friends would jump on any opportunity to go to a place that is relatively close to the main area of town and have fun with their guns and rifles. The caves also have potential to be the perfect place for dirt biking, riding ATV’s, camping or can even be one of the best spots to view fireworks from.

Perhaps it could serve as a place to go hiking or climbing to get a good workout in. Believe me, I’ve hiked at Red Rock Canyon but this is a completely unique challenge in its own way. The caves offer a combination of trails, rocks, light areas on the mountain, dark spaces, and nooks to crawl through that I haven’t experienced elsewhere. There is little to no light once you step inside any of the six caves so it is extremely crucial that you bring a flashlight or some sort of portable lighting to see inside. For the less adventurous of you, exploring the outsides of the cave is also very satisfying. You can still picnic or do some exploring, but to be safest, it’s best to stick to the outskirts of the caves.

Another activity I have tried on two of my trips to these caves was picnicking. As I am the complete opposite of a bug-enthusiast, I was thrilled to find out that there are practically no pests up there either. Although it is relatively close to the strip (about a 10-minute drive via the I-215), it feels so remote in a relaxing way. To me it seemed like I left the city when in reality I could still see its panoramic view.

In all, there are 6 caves on the mountain you can trek through. The first is visible from the street and is conveniently located by the road. This is the second-biggest cave of the six and absolutely worth the effort. If visitors go to the caves at least 3 hours before sunset, they can still catch a glimpse of sunlight in this cave. This can help navigate cave-dwellers as they explore the rocky area. The remaining caves are scattered around the upper-side of the mountain. Some of those caves also connect with each other which would be an impressive feat to travel through.
There are no designated parking areas for visitors so people who go there either take their cars up to the mountain itself, or like me, leave it on the safe, flat ground a few yards from the road.

 

Top Ten Running Spots near Las Vegas, Nevada

Top Ten Running Spots near Las Vegas, Nevada

By Theresa Schill

     Being an athlete in Las Vegas may seem impossible with all of the partying, but locals know otherwise. There are all different types of athletic groups in Las Vegas, which includes avid runners. Even beginners can find a niche here. For those who are tired of running around your neighborhoods, here is a compilation of ten of the best spots to run in Las Vegas. Some of the routes below were created using MapMyRun (website: mapmyrun.com), which is a free, useful tool for any runner. The runs listed below are ordered from least challenging to most challenging with distances and elevation taken into consideration.

  1. Parks (0.5-2 miles, zero-light elevation gain): Many parks in Las Vegas host nice walking/running courses. Normally, the course has a sign detailing the length and sometimes explaining different routes to take. Below are two examples:

 

-Sunset Park: Sunset Park is home to two courses. One, currently under construction, is the mile long course surrounding the pond. Second, is the new addition on the South side of the park where a paved course winds through the underbrush and splits off in different directions. Both courses are relatively flat, dog friendly, and are excellent choices for beginners and seasoned runners.

Route Instructions: Park in the parking lot on the South side of Sunset Park. The entrance to the trail around the underbrush is at the South end of the parking lot. Make sure to read the sign near the entrance describing the routes to take. Then, enjoy a beautiful run.

http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/depts/parks/Pages/parkslocator.aspx

 

-Wetlands Park: The Clark County Wetlands Park is a beautiful place for a sunrise run. Home to many birds and other wildlife, the trails around the Wetlands are paved and well kept. It is a great place for a relatively short run with your camera. All of the trails are half of a mile long, and dogs are only allowed on the Duck Creek trail.

Route Instructions: Start at the trailhead and continue following the paved pathway, stopping to take pictures and enjoy the scenic view. Make this your fun run!

http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/Depts/parks/Pages/wetlands-park.aspx

  1. Fremont Street (2.2 miles, zero elevation gain): Fremont Street is one of the most cultural parts of Las Vegas where a wide variety of people can be found. Running Fremont would be a fun experience at night during the lights show. Dodging people will be a constant during your run, so make sure to bring plenty of patience and the desire for a great time.

Route Instructions: Start at Stewart and Main Street. Run down Main St. to the Fremont experience. Continue on Fremont and turn left onto 13th St. (right after Maryland Pkwy.). Take the first left onto Ogden Ave. Turn right onto Las Vegas Blvd and left onto Stewart.

http://www.vegasexperience.com/

  1. City of Henderson Running Trails (varying distances and elevation gain): There is an extensive trail system throughout the City of Henderson where bikers and runners alike are welcome. The trails are paved and have some lighting for evening runs. The trails are also wide enough for a group of people and are of varying distances with access to the main streets for runners who prefer to run in a loop. Below is one example of a trail along with a link to the City of Henderson: Trails and Bike Lanes website.

 

-Pittman Wash Trail: The Pittman Wash Trail is a 4 mile trail stretching from Pebble Road to Arroyo Grande Blvd. It is probably no surprise to say it runs alongside the Pittman Wash. It is easy to access with parking at three spots: Pecos-Legacy Park, Silver Springs Recreation Center, and Arroyo Grande Sports Complex. It is well paved, dog friendly, and wide enough for larger groups.

Route Instructions: Park at any one of the above parks and start running along the wash. When you feel tired, either turn around and run back or hop onto the main streets and loop back to the start. Make sure to look at the routes ahead of time since there are many directions to take.

http://www.cityofhenderson.com/parks/parks/trails_and_bike_lanes.php

  1. Railroad Tunnel Trail (4.4-7.4 miles, light elevation gain): The trailhead is located at Lake Mead, SE of the entry to Boulder Beach, between the visitor’s center and Hoover Dam. The Railroad Tunnel Trail is another great sunrise run. Dogs (on leashes) are welcome on a gravel walkway. Runners will travel under five tunnels before reaching the Lakeview Point scenic outlook. This is a great place to rehydrate before running back the same direction. Due to the location of the trail, it can get extremely warm during the summer, so many do not recommend running after 9am.

Route Instructions: Directions to the trailhead can be found in the last three links below. Once you have parked at the trailhead, follow the trail from the beginning to the end (after the fifth tunnel). If you want to add an extra 3 miles to your run, continue through the gate after the fifth tunnel. It will take you further around then force you to double back.

http://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/hikerr.htm

http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/LAME/Railroad/_Railroad.htm

http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/RailroadTunnelTrail_4120.asp

http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/LAME/Railroad/rrtunnel.pdf

  1. River Mountains Loop Trail (varying distances and elevation gain): The entire trail is 35 miles long and circles through City of Henderson, Boulder City, and Lake Mead. If you’re looking for an in-town weekend getaway, this is one place you consider. There are camping spots on the Lake Mead area of the trail, so grab your sleeping back and lace up your shoes for the perfect athletic weekend.

Route Instructions: This one is up to the runner. There are too many places to begin this trail to be listed here. The link below is a map of the entire trail, including parking and camping spots.

http://www.rivermountainstrail.com/trail%20map/images/32miles.gif

  1. Seven Hills Loop (3-8 miles, 174-285 ft. elevation gain): Think hills and lots of them! The Seven Hills Loop route will challenge any runner to pick up their feet and keep going. There are a couple of parks along the way if you need to stop for water or the restrooms, but the fountains do not always work so be prepared to carry some water.

Route Instructions: The 3 mile run starts at Allegro Park on Seven Hills Drive, continues around the Seven Hills Loop, and ends right back at the park. This route can easily be made longer by moving the starting point further away from the loop. Otherwise, a more challenging route can be seen in the map to the left where the run starts on the corner of Coronado Center and Horizon Ridge Pkwy. If you want to add a few extra miles and more hills turn onto Grand Hills instead of completing the Seven Hills loop. Beware of steep drops!

  1. The Strip! (10 miles, zero elevation gain): Many locals stay as far away from the Strip as possible, but runners know this is prime training grounds. Running the Strip at 5am includes dodging cleaning crews, stairs galore, random tourists cheering you on, taking elevators, and witnessing “the walk of shame.” Starting before the sun rises gives you the best of both worlds: seeing the Strip lit up in the dark and watching the sun rise over the casinos and hotels.

Route Instructions: Park in the Mandalay Bay parking garage, then run North on Las Vegas Blvd until you reach Charleston. Cross the street and run back on the opposite side of Las Vegas Blvd.

http://www.visitlasvegas.com/

  1. Bristlecone Trail, Mount Charleston (6 miles, higher elevation): The Bristlecone Trail was featured in the Las Vegas Track Club Annual Forest Challenge. There are no paved pathways during this run, so it is important to watch where your feet land. If you are looking for a run with clean air away from the city, this is the place for you. Plus, you will get the added bonus of elevation training!

Route Instructions: Park at either the upper or lower trailhead. Directions to the trailhead can be found in the links below. Run from one trailhead to the other (about 5 miles). Then take the paved road back to your car (1 mile). Use the last mile on the paved road as either a cool down or an addition to your run.

http://www.eatstayplay.com/html/nv/a3643p1062c2079.html#

http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/Mt_Char/Bristlecone/_Bristlecone.htm

  1. Valley of Fire (11 miles, will be hills): Rocks have never looked so beautiful as the do in the rising sun until you have been to the Valley of Fire. Another place for a weekend getaway, the Valley of Fire has campsites with a beautiful view, including a few free spots if you get there early enough. There are several great hiking trails and wonderful photography locations to explore. Plus, the Valley of Fire is the perfect location for a scenic run. This is a fairly challenging route filled with hills and pleasing views.

Route Instructions: Start at the visitor center parking lot and run up the scenic drive to the top (White Domes) then turn around and come back to the visitor center.

http://parks.nv.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/2012-VofF-screen.pdf

  1. Red Rock Canyon (13 miles, difficult): Anyone training for a marathon should consider running the one-way scenic drive in Red Rock Canyon. The route is composed of sharp inclines and declines to prepare anyone for major hills. If you want a shorter route, most of the easy-moderate trails are decent for running. It is extremely important to watch where your feet land since it is fairly easy to roll an ankle on loose rocks. Depending on the time of day, some of the trails can get busy. Early morning is less busy and very beautiful as the sun first hits the rocks. Enjoy the sights and breathe in the fresh, clean air of Las Vegas without the smog.

Route Instructions: Park at the visitor center and run the entire loop. The end will take you out to the freeway. Turn left and walk back to the entrance using the time to cool down from the long run. Otherwise, choose a trail from the link below, park at the trailhead, and enjoy.

http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/hikes_trails.php

Now that you have all of the routes you need to keep you busy, grab your shoes and a good friend, and let’s go!

Geocaching in Las Vegas- Fun off the strip

Link To Infographic: Geocaching Infographic

What is geocaching:

Geocaching is an outdoor, navigational treasure hunt where the clues are coordinates found at websites such as http://www.geocaching.com and http://www.nevadageocaching.com.  Once participants have obtained coordinates they plug those coordinates into either a GPS  (Global Positioning System) or a mobile device that has GPS capabilities and a geocaching application.  Once a participant orients themselves to the coordinates it’s as easy as hiking, biking, or driving the cache destination.  After a cache is found it is customary to either take the cache and leave another cache or just leave the existing cache, noting it’s discovery.

Geocaching in Las Vegas:

Contrary to popular belief, mainly be tourists, there are other exciting adventures to be had off the strip.  The best place to get started on your Las Vegas geocaching adventure is to visit the website: http://www.nevada.com or http://www.geocaching.com, in either website participants can look-up coordinates, view maps and caches (refer to infographic).

How geocaching got started:

Geocaching, a now favorite past time, got started on May 2, 2000 when the US stopped intentionally degrading the Global Positioning System (GPS) signals.  This directive that came from the president was a decision that allowed civilians to be able to use GPS to pinpoint locations and items up to ten times more accurately, and also had positive implications for military utility of GPS (http://ngs.woc.noaa.gov/FGCS/info/sans_SA/docs/statement.html).  Once the directive was implemented Dave Ulmer, a computer consultant decided to test the accuracy of GPS by hiding a navigational target in the woods.  He dubbed this idea “Great American GPS Stash Hunt,” and posted the coordinates on the internet at sci.geo.satellite-nav coordinates: N 45◦ 17.460 W 122◦ 24.800.  He then established the rules for geocaching, “take some stuff, leave some stuff.” (http://www.geocaching.com/about/history.aspx)   Due to negative connotations of the name  “GPS Stash Hunt” was eventually changed to “geocaching.”

Variations in geocaching:

Since the inception of geocaching a variety of types of geocaching have come into existence, transforming the traditional type of geocaching.  Variations in geocaching include: 1) Multi-cache that includes multiple locations, 2) Mystery/puzzle cache whereby participants must solve puzzles to determine the final location of the cache, 3) Night cache which use reflectors to follow at night to the cache, 4) Letterbox Hybrid cache is a mix between a letterbox, which contains a letter stamp and log book, and a geocache, 5) Earthcache, which teaches participants about an educational lesson about the earth sciences of the cache area, and is maintained by the Geological Society of America, 6) Event cache, where different organizations come together and caches are often only for that specific event (http://www.geocaching.com/about/cache_types.aspx).Geocaching Infographic

How I Stopped Surfing the Web Long Enough to Run a 5K In Las Vegas

Introduction:

I’m going to be honest: I used to hate running. To me, the idea of a running 5K race (3.1 miles) in the middle of a scorching desert was best avoided like the plague. If this sounds familiar, you’re probably like how I used to be. I avoided running, or exercising in general, because I found it to be exhausting, boring, and redundant; I would rather surf the web or watch television than break a sweat running. As a result of my aversion to exercise, I was overweight and it became a health issue for me; I had developed high blood pressure and high cholesterol. My story wasn’t unique; obesity is a health problem for a most Americans.  Locally, Las Vegas is ranked the sixth fattest cities in Nation, according to Men’s Fitness. This growing problem is important for Americans because it can lead to medical conditions: such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. After training and running a 5K, I am proud to say that I am in shape and actually enjoy running.

You may be asking yourself, how could I now find something that I hated an enjoyable experience? Well, in all seriousness, I realized that running a 5K was enjoyable because the rewards of running far outweigh any of the difficulties, and pains, that are associated with it. It simply came down to me realizing that training for 30 minutes a day provided me with the obvious benefits of losing weight and getting in shape, but also because it became relaxing and motivational. So if you are how I used to be, averse to running, I’d strongly recommend that you train for and run a 5K: running for 30 minutes a day will change your life.

Running 3 miles may seem like a simple and easy way to exercise, but most people avoid running a 5K because it is so problematic. From personal experience, I found that there were three problems with running that built upon each one another: inexperience with running, boredom and lack of motivation issues, and the Las Vegas heat. These problems, however, can be overcome, and simply at that. The following steps explain how I overcame these three problems to successfully run a 5K. Just like the problems, the steps build upon one another in order to help you get out there and run your 5K. Steps one through four will help you adjust to your inexperience with running, from picking a race to the training you will do. Once you’re better at running, steps five and six will give you some interesting ways to make running more fun and avoid getting bored. Steps seven through nine will help you adapt to running in the Vegas heat. Finally, steps ten and eleven will provide some tips and advice for your race day and beyond.

 

Inexperience:

            For most of us, I believe that a major reason why we are afraid to exercise is because we are inexperienced at it. Personally, I would be discouraged to run because I would almost instantaneously run out of breath. How could I be expected to run 3.1 miles if I could not even run for 45 seconds straight? If you’re inexperienced as I was, then the following four steps will you develop your newfound experience in running.

 

Step 1: Pick a 5K Race: Committing to a race will provide you with an end goal!

  1. From big name races that draw hundreds to small local community races, 5Ks take place almost every weekend in Las Vegas. With races occurring every month, there are three key factors that you should use to find your ideal race: time until race day, the location, and the price to compete in the race.
    1. Time until race day: When deciding on a race, being realistic with your fitness level and goals are essential. I decided to run my first 5K about two weeks before race; it had to be the worst idea imaginable. Unless you’re a seasoned athlete, live in the gym, or a superhero, you will need to train for a 5K. For this reason, choosing a 5K that will provide you enough time to train is the most important factor. If you’re moderately fit, you might need just four or five weeks. If you’re a couch potato, like myself, then err on the side of six to ten weeks to train.
    2. The Location: As with real estate, an important factor is location, location, location. Choose your battlefield wisely as it can either make or break your race day performance. For your first 5K, make sure that the route is preferably flat, with zero elevation all the way through. Streets in Las Vegas are generally flat, so there shouldn’t be too much cause for concern. If you’re location does contain a hill, or other elevation change, you should train accordingly on a similar elevation.
    3. The Price: “Wait, there’s a cost to run a 5k?” Most 5Ks are now run as fundraisers for various causes: multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, and autism to name a few. These races donate registration fees, ranging from $20-$35 dollars, to the fundraisers. If you’re a little light on cash, I’d recommend researching local running clubs, such as the Las Vegas Track Club, as they host bi-weekly races at local parks with fees ranging from $3-$15.

Step 2: Finding your baseline: Not everyone is a naturally runner; just like everything else, you have to start somewhere and build from it.

  1. During this step, you will find your baseline running speed, endurance and fitness levels. If you’re like most inexperienced runners, this step should be painful and exhausting, but it is essential.  To find your baseline, you will need to run a mock 5K, or 3.1 miles, as fast as you can. Plain and simple, just run. If it takes you a little longer than you expected to run, or you can’t complete the run, don’t fret. After finding your baseline, the next step is to find a training plan to help you set and meet your expectations.

Step 3: Finding the Right Plan: from books, personal trainers to Smartphone applications, training plans can be found almost anywhere.

  1. Using a training plan is an excellent way for you set targeted goals, such as time, distance, or pace and they allow you to gradually develop your running skills. A training plan will include a regime that you are expected to follow every week. The best of plans will feature simple running intervals, such as a 1 minute run and a 2 minute walk, and will gradually increase from there. You can find hundreds of training plans very easily by Googling it, although it is a little more difficult to find a great plan. A great training plan should reflect your fitness level, schedule, and goals. Once again, be realistic. You don’t want to use a plan designed to win an Olympic Medal. Personally, I think the easiest and best training plan is the 5K Runner iPhone App.
    1. There’s an App for That:

i.     Simply put, the best running App on the iPhone is 5K Runner. It’ a free and easy training app that provides a beginner regime for all fitness levels. Featuring a 3-run-per-week schedule, it prepares you to run the 5K in less than 35 minutes. I used this schedule to train and it comes with my highest recommendation. It’s extremely easy to start the plan; all you need to do is simply press “Run Now”. While you begin your run, the App will provide you with verbal cues when to begin and stop your intervals. To me, it’s the easiest training program because of those reasons.

Step 4: Train, Train, Train

  1. Now that you’ve found your training plan, all you need to do is follow it and train for the next six to eight weeks, plain and simple. Training normally takes about thirty minutes, but those will be the toughest and most difficult thirty minutes of your life. During this step, you will take your out of shape body and mold it in to a 5K running machine.  Over the next couple of weeks, you should see improvements in your overall health: you will lose weight, gain muscle definition, and see your running speed and distance increase. A great way to gauge your improvement and performance is through the use of another App: Runkeeper.
    1. Runkeeper is an superb app that collects data for numerous activities (from swimming to skiing) and by using the GPS technology, collects specific details about your run: total distance, average pace, route info, and even heart rate. Runkeeper can also serve as a personal trainer with built in verbal queues that motivate you to run. After your workout, Runkeeper will provide you with a detailed summary of your run, as a sort of report card, so you can better examine your run in greater detail. The App also allows you to post the details about your run to social networking sites.  Now your friends on Facebook can either like your running accomplishments or laugh at your horrible runs, either way you will be motivated to keep on running. This social ability will come in handy as you will most likely run into the second general problem of running during this step: boredom and lack of motivation.

 

Boredom and Motivation:

Trust me, running sucks. During your weeks of training, it will be a physically exhausting experience that hurts during and after your runs; side stiches (agonizing pain in your sides) and sores will become your enemy. As you train for your 5K, you may feel inclined to skip running sessions because they are boring and tedious or because you generally lazy and lack the proper motivation. During my training sessions, I found that by listening to music and running with a friend were ways to overcome these two problems.

Step 5: Fighting Boredom by Listening to Music:

  1. Just like traveling, you’ll find that running can be made less boring by listening to music during your run. In addition to using Apps, listening to music is another great advantage of running with a smartphone. When selecting your music, I’d strongly recommend that you listen to music that you find appealing and that has a really strong and upbeat tempo. It is an important step to consider because running to a song with an upbeat tone because it motivates you to keep up your pace when running. Honestly, I’ve found that running to a song with a slow beat, such as Somebody I Used to Know by Goyte relaxes me to the point where I begin to walk, instead of run. While an extremely upbeat song, such as Koyto by Skrillex, keeps me in the running mood with its dubstep beats.
  2. Another advantage of listening to music is because it is great way to pace your run. Since most songs are about three to four minutes long, you should be able to monitor your progress by seeing how many songs you have listened to. For instance, I created a 27-minute playlist so I could estimate and gauge my progress based on how many songs were played. Also, another advantage to music is that you can play a power song when you’ve hit a rut and need a boost of energy.

Step 6: Make it Social:

  1. Running sucks, there’s no doubt about it. After a really intensive training session, you may feel extremely demotivated to run again. Training with a friend is a great way to overcome any motivational issues you may be having. Living in Las Vegas, it should not come as a surprise that a great way to keep you and your partner motivated is to gamble. Whether it is losing money or being forced to do humiliating and humorous acts, get creative with the bets because the fear of losing should enough motivation.
    1. For me, running with a friend was sufficient motivation for me to stick to my training schedule. For my first 5K, a friend signed me up for a 5K that I was completely unprepared for. I attempted to train for the race, but with two-weeks notice, it was futile. The results of 5K were eye-opening, my friend managed to complete the three miles in less than 19 minutes while it took me fifty minutes. While my friend jogged the race with a breeze, I struggled painfully. Needless to say, I was the punch line of many jokes afterwards and even to this day. Humiliated and disgusted with my performance, I was motivated to do better, and I am proud to say that I have done better.

 

Beat the Heat: I dreaded running in Las Vegas was because of the heat. With night temperatures reaching 93 degrees, it comes as no surprise that I avoided running. By running at the most opportune times, staying hydrated, and selecting the right gear, you will be able to beat the heat!

Step 7: Run during opportune times:

  1. Most 5Ks will begin during the mornings when the heat isn’t in full effect. One of the best ways that I recommend training for a 5K is to run at this time. It will allow your body to become adjusted to the race temperature and it will stimulate your metabolism for the entire day. If you’re not a morning person, I suggest running either during the evenings, when the temperature is lower, or running at a gym. If you plan to run at a gym, I would advise against using a treadmill, to instead use an indoor track. I found it more rewarding to run on a track or outside, compared to a treadmill, because you are able to visually monitor your programs.

Step 8: Stay Hydrated

  1. If you live in Las Vegas, you know that during the summer, water is your best friend. If you are preparing for a 5K, you should keep your body hydrated throughout the day; be prepared to drink at least 3 liters of water each day. Keeping your body hydrated will give you optimal performance come race day.

Step 9: Selecting the perfect gear for your run:

  1. I could write a whole separate article on how to select the perfect running gear, but I will keep this section short and simple. The strongest recommendation I can make for your clothing and shoes is to pick items that are light in color and in weight. There are many different brands with hundreds of various products, but I recommend researching the Nike Dry Fit clothing and Nike Free Run shoes. Dry Fit clothing is specifically designed to allow for increased air circulation in the clothing that cools the body much more efficiently than a conventional shirt. Nike Free Run shoes are designed to emulate running barefoot: the shoes are created with the same Dry Fit air circulation and a lightweight sole that feels great; it feels like you are running on a cloud. If you are not interested in the Nike gear, there are many other brands to choose from. Regardless of this, avoid dark colors, as they tend to absorb heat much faster than their lighter counterparts.

 

 

Race Day:

You’ve done it! You’ve signed up for a 5K, trained for it, and now you are ready to run it. During the week of the race, you should keep your body well rested, fueled, and ready to compete. The wait is over.

Step 10: Rest leading up the race:

  1. As a rule of thumb, keep the days leading up to the race relatively stress free and non-intensive. Having ran for a good 6-8 weeks, this is the time to rest, relax, and prepare for the race. I’d recommend going to the race location and briefly jogging the track so that you can get an idea of what you’re in for. On the night before the race, I’d recommend that you go to sleep hydrated and wake up well rested. On the morning of the race, get up at least two hours before the race so that you can eat breakfast and rehydrate your body. It will also give you enough time to get to the race on early. Once you have arrived at the race, perform a brief warm up jog and prepare to put your training to good use.

Step 11: Race!

  1. Judgment day has arrived; this is the moment that you have been training for the past couple of months. You’re more than ready enough. Just remember to keep a steady pace, don’t over exert yourself, and finish strong!

Beyond

Well, you’ve done it! You have successfully finished running your 5K. You’ve become an experienced runner having trained for eight weeks, you have overcame the hurdle of boredom and motivated yourself to continue running, beat the Las Vegas heat, and completed a 5K. Take the time to congratulate yourself on the major accomplishment. Starting from having very little experience in running, you have made it running 3.1 miles. While its great to pat yourself on the back, I wouldn’t rest too soon. Don’t stop with just one 5K; no, you should go out there and sign up for another one and try to beat your time! Personally, I took my second 5K as a way for me to cement my dedication to fitness and a way for me to increase my running speed. Whether you decide to run another 5K or not, you should try to stay fit and exercise more frequently. There are many other ways to stay fit besides running, such as picking up another sport or lifting weights at the gym. For what it’s worth, motivating myself to run a 5K has changed my life for the better. Hopefully, after reading this article and running a 5K, it has changed yours as well. Just remember, thirty minutes a day will change your l

TPC Summerlin Golf

 

 

TPC Summerlin

TPC Summerlin, is a par-72, 7,243-yard private course that is extremely challenging for any golfer at any skill level, and at the same time has an ambiance that one will not experience at a normal local course.

What truly stands out about TPC Summerlin is the wonderfully managed staff. Everyone that was working had knowledge about the course, down to how they set up the course that morning.  The TPC staff goes out of their way to make every guest feel like they are the only people playing, while having full attention to every detail that a player could conceive.

Walking up to the front of the clubhouse, we were met by a clubhouse attendant who greeted us saying, “Good morning gentleman; it is a beautiful day for a round, let me take those bags for you.” The sweet smell of fresh cut grass still wafted in the morning air.  It gave the feeling that you were transported into a Leonardo Di Vinci painting, if he were to paint a golf course

The clubhouse is one of the most beautiful clubhouses I have ever seen. It had gorgeous oak woodwork; behind the check in desk were large windows to see the backdrop of the course.  The attendant behind the desk gave the run down of the amenities that were available to use.  He directed us to the cart area where are bags were already on a cart, he pointed out the bar area so we could have a morning cocktail before we got started on the round and the different practice areas where we could warm up.

We headed up to the front where our cart was and was informed by the cart attendant that the range is open and that we would find a pyramid of Nike balls for us to hit. I am not going to lie; we took a few of the balls, that is how good the balls were, not the typical dented balls that you get at a regular driving range.  Truly TPC is not sparing any expense for their patrons.  After warming up and taking some practice putts, the starter Don came up to us and asked if we would like to start early.

We stepped onto the first tee and Don began with the rules for the day (where to drive the cart and where not to, things like of that nature) he also informed us about the pin location for the day and told us the history of the course.  This was an experience that I have never had before.  I am use to the starter sitting in a cart, yelling out a last name to let you know your group will hit next.  With Don it felt like I was in the beginning of a tournament and the announcing of players, it was very nerve racking, but regal in many ways.

Don turned around and pointed at the 18th green and let us know that this is the hole that Tiger won his first PGA tour event on, and on the left of the tee was Andre Agassi’s house. When we get to the 3rd hole we saw where the owner of the Venetian, Sheldon Adelson’s new mansion was being built.  Don had an amazing wealth of knowledge about the course and the area.

We teed off and the first two holes went as expected, not very well, but it was the first two holes on a PGA course that really kept things in perspective.  However, I was not expecting the events that I was about to experience on the next hole.

 

The third hole is a par five, about 473 yards to the green.  The first shot is fairly straight, butmost likely; you will end up working right to left. Then to make it to the green you need to hit over what seemed to be the “Grand Canyon”.  I tee off and hit a great drive, about 280 yards, leaving my self 200 to 220 yards to go to the green.  I pulled out my brand new Taylor Made Rocketballz fairway wood that I was hitting real well up on the driving range.  I lined up for the second shot and top the ball.  It went maybe 100 yards right into the “Grand Canyon.” I dropped another ball and I ended up curving the ball right into the side of the “Grand Canyon.”  Seriously, the ball didn’t get above three feet off the ground, just a rocket right into the side of the rock face.

I can tell you so far that I have lost two balls on this hole.  So as of right now I am shooting a four on a par five.  I went to the other side of the canyon and hit from there, it seemed at the time a good choice.  The next shot needed to make the green to at least save bogey.  My next shot landed on the very back of the green, give or take 70 feet away from the hole.  I take aim, putt, putt again, and putt again and on my last putt, finally the ball went home in the hole.   So the final score for the third hole that was supposed to be a par five, took me nine shots to finish.

Overall the course was amazing, it played like a pro-course should.  It was challenging and at times unforgiving. I have now learned why pro golfers get paid what they do and also practice as much as they do.  The bent grass greens were tight, and the ball rolled like it was on carpet. The course was a little brown, but that is because of the early warm weather that Las Vegas was having and that happens when the cooler weather grass gets a heat wave but the staff did an amazing job having the course ready for play.

I wish I could tell you that I hit a hole-in-one or that I shot even par (72) for the day but that was not the case.  I am pretty sure that they do not have to fertilize the course for a few weeks because that is how bad I played. The chance to stand where so many pros have, and to experience an actual PGA course, but most of all to have experienced the professionalism of just an awesome staff was the biggest highlight for me.

If you would like more information about upcoming events or tournaments, stop by their website http://www.tpcsummerlin.com.   The site gives a breakdown of services that the course offers and also if one is curious about the lay out and design of the course it has that information as well.