Giving Thanks – Disney Superhero/RNR Las Vegas 2016

On this week of Thanksgiving (and two weeks post-race), it’s finally calming down at work and home. One of the things I like about November is the look on people’s faces when they ask me what our plans are that weekend – “Do you have another race coming up soon”?

“Yeah, we’re doing the Disney Superhero half on Sunday morning, hopping on a plane and doing the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half that night.” This is where you separate the people who’ve known us for a few years from the people who are just hearing about this kind of thing for the first time. This brings me to the list of things we’re thankful for this year.

I’m thankful that we got into the Disney Superhero registration. Even though it didn’t sell out (except for the Infinity Gauntlet 10K/Half challenge), it’s nice to know that we got in early.

I’m thankful that we bought a timeshare a million years ago. The Desert Rose is located just a block and a half from the start line festival so we can stay indoors when it was cold or just take a quick stroll when it was nice.

I’m thankful that I chose to skip the usual gambling day on Friday to volunteer at the expo. With Darlene deciding to skip San Antonio and finally going into a real retirement, I didn’t want to miss saying goodbye.

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I’m thankful for the friends I’ve met on this journey, like Sherry. She was running her 100th Rock n Roll event on Sunday. She’s the 4th person to reach this milestone and the first woman. She’s also a cancer survivor and an inspiration.


I’m thankful for friends like Drew who wandered Vegas with me for lunch, dinner and shopping for some of the weirder stuff in small shops. Drew also brought money to Vegas, but instead of gambling, he made it his mission to give it away to people who needed it – either as cash or as meals.

I should have just bought the shirt.

I’m thankful that even with a few bumps and aggravations, we’d be doing our 15th Rock n Roll for the third year in a row. Three Hall of Fame titles. Only two other people (Joe and Mitch) have done that so far. We also had three years (2011 – 2013) with 10 races for the Rock Idol. We’re the ONLY ones who’ve had 3 Rock Idols and 3 Hall of Fames.


Saturday, November 12th.
I’m thankful for Southwest Airlines. The schedule from Oakland/Chicago to Las Vegas to Orange County to Las Vegas to Oakland gives us plenty of options on all legs. The flight to Disneyland let Susan sleep in after a long week in Chicago for her company quarterly meeting.


On our jetway, Jericho was entertaining the folks on the Jetway singing and playing his ukulele. Did I mention how thankful we are for Southwest?


I’m thankful that even as I’m pushing 50, I can still behave like a kid. I even still appreciate the naps when I can get them. I’m thankful that Al brought a revive for me.

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I’m thankful for good friends like and good food. Dinner at Tutu Tango ended in S’mores and liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream. It was a late, but relaxing night with Jeff, Jen, Leny, Juan, Fred, Hollie, Melinda, Caryn and Kamika.

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Sunday, November 13th.
I’m thankful that we’ve been in good enough shape to get a starting corral in the first few waves. That buys us time to make the flight back to Vegas.

The view from C/D

I’m thankful that Caryn and I were about the same pace that morning. I got a personal tour of all things Disneyland and I’m seriously considering coming back, just to see the park without worrying about the lines at the rides or a pesky race. I’m thankful that Al’s breathing issues seem to have subsided as he got through Disney unscathed (and a full Pokemon bag).

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I’m thankful that my wife is in good enough shape to come within a few minutes of her half marathon PR so she could finish with us. Even though we got shooed away from taking a group selfie with the hero characters at the finish line, I’m thankful that race 1 of the day went off without a hitch.


I’m thankful that we know a lot of A-List flyers on Southwest. We were able to grab extra leg room in the exit rows and chat the 65 minutes away.

Wesley, Martin, Susan, Ron, Caryn, Al, Kamika and Juan. The last time we were on a flight together, people got married.

I guess I’m thankful for the new start corral system. While it made it a little confusing, it was pretty easy to mark a meeting place at the entrance to the green waves.


I’m really thankful for the cool technical race shirts that Al designed. Champion System shirts are super-comfortable and having a singlet, short sleeve, long sleeve and a jacket let us prepare for any weather (and not stink up the plane!).

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I’m thankful for Pokemon, even though not everyone in my life is (heh). Nalani, Drew joined us at the start line and we stuck together for the whole race.

Catch ’em all

I’m thankful (and amazed) that Ann made one last trip with her due date only two weeks away. We heard later that she had a beautiful baby girl (Juliana Rae) shortly after flying home from Vegas. Mommy, daddy and Thor are enjoying the new addition to the Wessling household.


I’m thankful that I had a charger for my phone. Vegas has a weird RF concentration in the atmosphere that drains power even faster. I’m looking forward to next year when I have a better phone for low light.

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I’m thankful that my knee held out. There were some points where I wasn’t sure it would, but we crossed the finish line. It wasn’t a fast race. With one exception in the last five years, it usually isn’t.

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I’m thankful for the Mastro’s Ocean Club at the Crystals. They were gracious enough to seat us even though we hadn’t changed.. or showered. We had plenty of good food and saved room for their legendary butter cake. The leftovers went to a good cause. Drew brought them to Tricia who had just finished the full.

Monday, November 14th
I’m thankful for friends who stayed one extra day so we could celebrate a finish that not a lot of people were there to see. It was a long day. After hearing how things ended, I wish I were out there. This was the scene at the end of the full marathon. Sherry had a strong first half, but the second 13.1 was a struggle. She came in just under the cut-off to finish her 100th Rock n Roll. She’s done the maximum distance for every RNR weekend this year.


I’m thankful for cupcake ATMs. Not so much that just about every restaurant we went to had the restrooms UPstairs.

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I’m thankful that the weather was nice the morning after. The view from the High Roller was stupendous and we’re thinking that might be a good post-race activity next year. Because there’s going to be a next year. Thanks, Hollie, Tricia, Fred and Gary for joining us for the ride!

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I mention it a lot, but I’m so very thankful for the friends we’ve met on this journey. The people we’ve kept in touch with over the years are points of light in our universe. Every trip we take we learn more about them, what drives them, and how they also take advantage of these races to learn, live and give back to the sport they love and the world in which we live.


We have one more race to close out the Rock n Roll season next weekend in San Antonio. After that, Susan and I leave for Honolulu to celebrate my 50th birthday.

And a marathon.


I’ll get working on the list of things I’m thankful for as I complete my first half century.


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