The Final Encore – Double Live 2017

Two states. Two Half Marathons. One Day. Seemed like a good challenge in 2013 when Rock n Roll San Antonio and Las Vegas were on the same day. Beth, Jim, Kamika, Caryn, Al, Susan and I were part of the group of 87 who completed the SA2LV challenge and Beth nicknamed the event the “Double Live Album” tour. In 2014 and every year since then, the Disney Avengers (renamed Disney Superheroes) fell on the same day as Vegas. Kamika, Al, Susan and I did it every year and Drew joined us for 2017. Earlier this year, Disney cancelled all of the California races for 2018, citing construction at the park.

Each year the blog for this weekend got longer, so this time around, fewer words. More pictures. 2017 was a bittersweet ending to a November tradition.

Two states. Two expos. Pretty much the same calm but excited mood.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. One awesome vendor. Two themes to show off your goods.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. Two meals. Both with tortillas and drinks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. Two medals. And something to carry our bling.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. Day one. Take in a movie and a show after dark.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two States. Off to bed, but first a churro in the park.

IMG_9555

Two states. Day 2. At the Disney start line for the last(?) time.

Two states. Feeling good. On the field at mile 9.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. Different corrals, but we come together at mile 10.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. A Coast to Coast medal. But he couldn’t get a churro again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. Hop a flight. Take time to relax and smile.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. On the Strip. High security at every mile.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. Wall to wall crowds. We’re still able to find our friends.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. The fireworks start. We’re off to the races again.

Two states. Race number two. After the tragedy, we celebrated under the lights.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. The finish line. The perfect end to a perfect night.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two states. Two Races. Hall of Fame year Four.

Two states. Two races. One Day. What a way to end the Tour.

IMG_9708

So ends the Disney/Vegas double run. I’m not certain we’re going to try to replace it since I actually like spending time in Vegas. It’s usually the weekend Susan usually flies back from a quarterly company meeting in Chicago. Having one destination would be actually a relaxing trip for once, but who knows? We may want to find another challenge when we get closer to the fall season.

~//~

The Disney Superhero race was in its fourth year in 2017. The cancellation for 2018 is a real bummer because it would have been year 5 of the Infinity Gauntlet challenge. People who did the 10K Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday earned the bonus medal and an Infinity Stone for the first 4 years. The fifth and final stone may be lost to the ether for all time. This year, the course didn’t have a lot of the typical Disney cheer stations we’re used to seeing. Absent were the army outside Angels Stadium and the classic cars. There were even fewer cheerleader squads. I hope for the runner’s sake that Disney makes a comeback. Even with the high price, Disney races have a very loyal fan base.

Rock n Roll Las Vegas was in its 9th year, the 8th time it was held at night. After the Route 91 Harvest shooting, the starting area had to be moved to the T-Mobile Arena. Spotters were monitoring the numerous hotel windows and the side streets were blocked by city buses all along the course. Even the corrals were lined with law enforcement vehicles. Security was a priority with such a large crowd and we didn’t hear about any incidents.

After Vegas, the Hall of Fame inductee total for 2017 got to triple digits. The unofficial Pannell Report numbers put us at 101 people with 15 or more Rock n Roll races for the year. We’re assuming that the 74 people with 14 races all showed up in San Antonio, making this year the biggest Hall of Fame group ever.

This was also the final Rock n Roll event led by the staff of Competitor Group. Starting in San Antonio, the new owners will be organizing the races. While we hope to see some familiar faces there and in 2018, we do thank the CGI Staff for all the love, support and memories they’ve given us over the years. Without the event, we wouldn’t have met so many amazing people. And without all of the amazing CGI people, we never would have the events. We hope our paths cross again in the miles ahead.

 

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

img_6394

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.

41q0erdbp1l
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.

img_6403

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.

img_6410

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?

img_6411

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

img_6435
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).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

img_6470

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.

15037242_10208070174335244_6979360442967703958_n-1
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.

img_6490

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!).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

img_6499
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.

img_6500

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

15170942_10153955473070843_2492251733381108209_n

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

IMG_4955.JPG

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.

#marathoningforlife