Forget the hotel gym; hit the stairs and start sprinting.
“Ma’am? You know we have a very lovely gym upstairs, right?”
The security guard stared at us in disbelief as I dropped to the floor for another burpee.
“Ma’am, you need to do this upstairs.”
“Hey, she’s with me!” A sprightly blonde came to my aid and flashed her staff badge. “It’s cool.”
The security guard raised an eyebrow and shot me a sideways glance. I paused, offering up an awkward smile and a wave.
“HEY! I didn’t say stop!” The blonde yelled, snapping a finger in my direction. “Burpees. Go.”
I admit, I’ve done a lot of really stupid things on the Las Vegas Strip. Most of them involve rum drinks served in four-foot-long souvenir cups. I’m sure people stared at my idiocy, but I never really noticed (See: rum drinks served in four-foot-long souvenir cups). Besides, such experiences made for good stories, even if they are deemed unfit for publication by my handlers at Competitor.
But this time, I was not drunk. I was on a hike. Honest.
On paper, the hike sounded relaxing. Offered by the spa at the Aria Resort, the activity was billed as a brisk walk through the resort’s giant art collection. It wasn’t what I’d normally do in Vegas, but perhaps it was time to try something new. I like spas. I like walks. I like art. Sign me up.
So when my docent, Sara, handed me a yoga mat and a towel, I was confused. What, were we going to lie on the ground and look at sculpture?
“The mat is for the core work we’ll be doing,” Sara explained, “and the towel’s for the sweat.” Huh? Sweat?
As it turns out, Sara is not only a docent, but a personal trainer. And that, my friends, is how I ended up doing burpees in the lobby of the Aria Resort. The security guard was only the beginning — as we sprinted up stairs and lunged our way from one art exhibit to the next, I got a lot of strange looks.
“Mommy, look at the funny lady!” A chubby child pointed as he walked past me trying to hold a plank position. “Her face is all red!”
The mom, carrying a souvenir cup taller than her son, shot us a look of bewilderment: What the hell are you doing? I shot her a look in return: Hostage situation! Send rum!
“Hey!” Sara snapped me back to reality. “Let’s go to the next art piece! Sprint up those stairs!”
When I crested the top of the four-story sprint, a horde of drunken frat boys were boarding the escalator to the ground floor.
“Dude,” one of them bellowed, hoisting his beer in my direction, “They have gyms here, you know.”
In spite of being completely winded, I couldn’t help but laugh.
In an hour, we covered 2 miles, 20 flights of stairs, and a dozen art installations, each one more breathtaking than the last (I mean that for both the art and the stairs). It wasn’t the lazy art walk I was expecting. It was, surprisingly, much better. Keep your four-foot rum bombs! I have a better Vegas story now, one I can actually share in this family publication!
As a runner, you’ve probably learned the best way to see a new city has been from a pair of running shoes. Yes, your hotel probably has a very nice gym with a treadmill, but who wants to say they went to New Orleans or Seattle and stared at bad wallpaper for six miles?
Lace up. Get lost. Try new things.
And just in case … carry a towel.
About The Author:
Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke