March Fourth

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4 March 2015

For some odd reason it took a trip to Las Vegas to rediscover running. I did a 5K with Cara on January 1st, but otherwise my winter has thus far been fairly devoid of running. I've put on weight and gotten out of shape. In town to exhibit our company booth at LeadsCon I can't help but ponder the geology of this desert state: How the Humboldt and Truckee rivers flow toward the center of the state and disappear in sinks in the desert - a desert, that, before it was uplifted and folded into basin and range, basin and range, housed an inland sea. How Las Vegas draws all it's life from the Colorado - power from damming it and water to fill the fountains like the ones I can see out my window on the 24th floor of The Mirage. Walking around the Strip from casino to casino and encountering the conspicuous opulence and knowing that empty desert is but a few miles away I couldn't help but think of Frank Herbert's description of Arrakis after the Harkonnens left it. I remembered their tradition of messily washing hands, to purposely spill valuable water on the floor. This water was dried up with towels the "squeezings" of those towels given to the poor. Clearly this was a tradition designed to show the local populace their place under a brutal rule. Obviously that's a bit melodramatic to compare to Las Vegas, but the mind wanders.

In my suitcase I packed my running shoes. Looking at the map from the airport to the hotel after we landed yesterday I also noticed that there was a Museum of Atomic Testing just a few miles from the hotel. It seemed like a good place to run to. Despite staying out late last night and getting a less than spectaluar night's sleep I found myself awake a little before 6AM. I was excited about going for a run! Being 2 timezones to the west probably didn't hurt either. So I got up, turned off my alarm (it was set for 6), and threw on my running shorts. Then it was down and out through the casino to the crisp morning air. The dry air of the west does not chill one's bones like the cold of the east does.

On the Strip there are pedestrian bridges over the roads which substitute nicely for hills. I was not as excited about them as the guys repeatedly doing stadiums on one I passed though. Of all the stores I've seen the only one I thought about going in wasn't open yet: Zara. Sharing a name with my youngest we like to pick her up things from there when we're in a town that has one. Not today apparently, I thought as I passed. As I ran down Sands away from the Strip the grass and plants grew less frequent, the sidewalks less clean, and the signs switched to Spanish. This was more the real world: 7-Elevens and old motels converted to apartments. The desert was evident here in the weedless gravel of empty lots.

Eventually I wended my way to the vicinity of the aforementioned museum which announced its affiliation with the Smithsonian. There was a brief moment when I entertained the thought that it might be open at this hour (it's Vegas, right?) and free like the Smithsonian museums we visited not long ago in Washington. A quick look at the door was sufficient to dispell both illusions and I headed down Flamingo back to the Strip. Running is good.

Today will be another day at LeadsCon before flying back to the ice & snow in Nashville later tonight. But there will be more running.

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Last change was on 5 April 2015 by Bradley James Wogsland.
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