Friday, August 5, 2016

Five Things Friday

1.) I am excited yet apprehensive about the Olympics kicking off tonight in Rio. On one hand, I love the spectacular skill, competition, and sportsmanship of the Olympic games. On the other hand, I've been hearing more and more about the corruption, debt, and human rights violations that occur behind the scenes. (Side note: In 2007 when Chicago bid to host the 2016 games, I was disappointed to get voted out of the selection process rather quickly. In retrospect, I think the result was for the best.) It'll be interesting to see how things pan out in Rio.

At least the Rio Olympic mascots are cute:
Source
2.) Tomorrow, I'm running the BTN Big 10K. This race is popular for the Big Ten school-specific race shirts that all participants get to pick. Of course, I will be proudly representing my alma mater, the University of Illinois. Some of my fellow runners have talked about running races for the swag, versus the opportunities to test your limits as a runner. I hereby proclaim that I signed up for this race purely because I wanted the shirt.
Go Illini!
3.) I'm already starting to plan ahead for Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon weekend in November. Forget the race itself, I'm looking at the dining/entertainment choices!!! Since Adam and I will be staying at the Mirage, we're planning to see Cirque du Soleil - The Beatles LOVE. I want to hit up the onsite Carnegie Deli. And post-half marathon, I want to go stuff myself, er, refuel, at a buffet. (Doesn't everyone?!?!?)

I've already done way too much research on the various buffet options in the vicinity. Obviously the Mirage buffet is a consideration, but I've also heard great reviews about the Paris, Caesar's, and Bellagio buffets. There are so many choices! (Side note: Ocean's Eleven is one of my favorite movies, so I have a mild obsession with the Bellagio.)
"You of all people should know, Terry. In your hotel, there's always someone watching."
All Vegas suggestions welcome!

4.) I'm considering adding another half marathon to my fall racing schedule. My running mojo has started coming back a little bit, and the fall is by far my favorite time of year to run and race. Normally the Prairie State Half Marathon is a classic for me, but unfortunately the date conflicts with the Army 10-Miler. However, I just heard about the Save the Beans Half Marathon on October 23. It starts at the same forest preserve as Prairie State, and has a nearly identical course. Talk about perfect substitutes, right? But at the same time, I am thoroughly enjoying the break from focused training. So I keep going back and forth.
5.) My inspirations for my workout playlist can come from many places. Here are two classic old songs I've recently added:
Blackhawks fans who go to a lot of games at the United Center may recognize these songs. They are played when the Hawks are coming back out onto the ice to start the second and third periods. Hearing them reminds me of the team/fans' energy during games, which helps keep me going during a workout. (Yes, I am looking forward to hockey season starting back up!)

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Linking up with MarCourtney, and Cynthia for the Friday Five.

28 comments:

  1. I'm jealous you get to do the BTN race. I've been wanting to run that for the last few years ... As a badger, of course. Maybe next year. For now, I'll live vicariously through you. Catch a few badger picks for me on race day! ;-)

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    1. I have heard some rumors that BTN might start rotating where they host the race each year. That would be cool, right? I've only been to a handful of the Big Ten campuses so I'd enjoy the opportunity to visit more of them. I'd be happy to get some Badger photos for you tomorrow! =)

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  2. Mirage buffet. Don't miss it. Don't. MMMMM ha Also, I'm with you on the Rio stuff (and being glad we didn't actually get that bid - can you imagine how much extra construction Chicago would have? UGH). It'll be interesting to see how it goes...

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    1. You've been to the Mirage buffet!?!?!?!? Ahhhh!!!! Oh god - I can't even begin to comprehend how insane the conditions in Chicago would be if we were hosting. It's bad enough even without any kinds of major events! I'll just enjoy watching the games from the comfort of my living room. You too? =)

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  3. Goodluck in your 10k tmrw. Vegas is so fun. Never too early to be planning for it. I have never stayed at the Mirage. I went to the steakhouse at MGM while I was there last time and that was amazing!

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    1. Thank you so much!!! This will be my first time staying at the Mirage, too. RnR is offering some fantastic event rates, which is awesome. Wow - I can only imagine how amazing the MGM steakhouse must have been. Yummy!!!!!

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  4. If I went to a Big Ten school, I would be all over that race! And yes, just for the shirt. My sister and I went to LV a few years ago and had a blast. Loved the fountains at the Bellagio!

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    1. All hail races with great swag!!! =D How cool that you and your sister went to Vegas together and had such a great time. It must have been an amazing bonding opportunity!!! Yes, the Bellagio fountains are so mesmerizing. They are one of my favorite attractions in Vegas - I could sit and watch them all night!

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  5. I really don't know why cities fall over themselves to host the Olympics. They get saddled with the bill when everything's done. Boston was in the running for 2024, but the city ruled themselves out before anything was serious. There's one city where construction never gets done.

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    1. I agree - the Olympics have gotten to the point now where it's questionable whether the benefit outweighs the enormous costs!!! I read an article yesterday about what happens to the Olympic venues after the games are over. A lot of them end up being abandoned or under-used. Considering how much gets invested for just a few weeks' prime usage, it's very sad.

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  6. I signed up for a race this summer solely because I wanted to medal (which was also a bottle opener) and then didn't end up running because the course was really awful once I looked at it. I've been thinking about doing a Hot Chocolate race too just because the sweatshirt/fleece looks nice.
    RNR Vegas looks like so much fun! I've always wanted to do that one and now my brother lives in Vegas so... Maybe next year! I love Cirque du Soleil and have heard great things about the Beatles show.

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    1. I think it was smart to skip that race with a really awful course. It's not worth putting yourself through that kind of torture unless you really want to challenge yourself. Likewise - I was planning on running Hot Chocolate this year for the first time! But they revealed what the fleece looks like and I don't like it - so I'm not signing up this year. So cool that your brother lives in Vegas! What a great opportunity for future editions of RnR Vegas or other Vegas events!!! Maybe next year, indeed. =)

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  7. As much as I love the Olympics, I was very much against Chicago hosting when we were bidding! I thought it would be a nightmare for traffic, existing infrastructure problems, etc. Of course, I didn't realize I wouldn't live there by now, so it's moot :)

    I'm still waiting for a MAC-themed race! Have fun this weekend!

    Terry and I got the Buffet of Buffets pass the last time we were in Vegas - the best one we visited was Paris. We both seriously stuffed ourselves there, just about until it was painful, because everything was SO GOOD. I've gone to Bellagio's buffet and I didn't think it was anything special. I've heard the one at Caesar's is really good too, but we didn't make it to that one.

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    1. You were smart for knowing in advance all the problems the Olympics would potentially bring here! In all seriousness, though, I do wonder if former Mayor Richard Daley is watching all the disasters in Rio and thinking, "Told you so!"

      Thanks so much, Anne! A MAC-themed race would be really fun. =)

      OMG. There is such a thing as a Buffet of Buffets pass??? Thank you so much for the tip because I've never heard of it before. I would love to hear more details about your experience using it. In the meantime, I am off to research it further (and also to invest in a few more pairs of stretchy pants for that weekend)!!!!!

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    2. I just hate anything that makes traffic worse :) And I didn't know how the city could realistically support all of the events! I'd hope everyone who wanted the Olympics here is just thinking "oh, thank goodness we didn't win!"

      Yes, such a pass exists! And YOU NEED TO GET IT! I think we got a slight discount for being Total Rewards members (which is free - I signed up like 5 minutes before buying the pass), and it's good for 24 hours. We made it to 3 buffets, but could have done a 4th if we didn't have non-buffet dinner plans one night. We had breakfast at the Flamingo, an afternoon snack (which was appetizers and gelato) at Harrah's, and then the gorging at Paris. Which I will do every time I go to Vegas. Mmmmmm.

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    3. That pass could be really dangerous. I could realistically spend the entire 24 hours at a buffet just waiting for more room to open up in my stomach so I can fill it back up again, LOL.

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  8. My fiancé was telling me about the corruption at the Olympics... And it's sad! As a kid, I used to love watching the opening ceremony and the gymastics !

    I haven't been to Las Vegas in 8 years, but there used to be a really cute patisserie in the Bellagio that had amazing crepes! I'm so jealous !!

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    1. Isn't it horrible to hear about all the shady business that apparently goes on behind the scenes at the Olympics? To this day, I still love watching the opening ceremony and the gymnastics. So mesmerizing!

      Ooooh - thanks for the tip on the patisserie in the Bellagio!!!!! I'll be on the prowl. =D

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  9. I've been to both the Carnival World buffet at the Rio and the one at Caesars. The one at Caesars had better quality food I would say but was also more expensive. I've always wanted to do the Big 10k. I think it started one of the last years I was there. If I was closer I would definitely do that race...looks like a lot of fun!

    I love watching the Olympics but yes I believe there is a lot of corruption and it seems like a big waste to build so many new venues that rarely get used after the fact.

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    1. Thanks for the tips on the Rio and Caesars buffets! The Caesars buffet ranks very high on a lot of the reviews I've read, but yes, it is pricey! The BTN Big 10K is a festive race and I was happy that they changed the location from Soldier Field to Grant Park this year. =)

      It's sad that so much effort goes into building the Olympic venues only for many of them to only be fully used for about 2 weeks! Such a waste!

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  10. How did the race go on Saturday? The lakefront was kind of empty. I think most of them were running the race. :-)

    I cannot wait for Las Vegas!!!

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    1. Thanks for asking - the race was a good time and the weather was excellent by August standards. I liked the Grant Park location MUCH better than Soldier Field! Very cool that the lakefront trail was empty, and not surprised. The BTN race had bib numbers in the 50,000s, so it must have been huge!!!

      I can't wait for Vegas, too!!!

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  11. You know, I don't think I've ever eaten at a buffet any of the times I've been to Vegas! After the marathon I was feeling so icky and it was so late that I found somewhere in our hotel serving matzah ball soup and that's basically all I ate. I feel like I need to go to Vegas with someone who will show me what to do!

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    1. I've only eaten at maybe a couple Vegas buffets, myself, mostly at the lower-tier hotels. I've certainly never done any of the super-fancy ones! Ah yes, I am reminded of how I've finished a few races feeling so awful that I didn't want to eat anything. Hopefully Vegas will NOT be one of those instances. Matzo ball soup is the perfect cure for any ailment!

      I've never completely lived it up in Vegas, either. I've been there twice with my parents, which automatically negates too much craziness. The one time I was there with Adam, it was in January and it was FREEZING cold (even by Chicago standards) so it was hard to be super active. Maybe one of these days you and I can plan a Vegas weekend getaway where we can both figure out how to paint the town red!

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  12. I was one of the people who was happy when Chicago didn't win the bid. We didn't seem ready. Maybe in the future!

    A few years ago someone gifted me the Beatles LOVE album and I really liked it! I bet the show is great!

    Did you see that the course for Prairie State got moved to Long Grove? Jen told me that. That's cool that other course is so similar! Maybe you can wait and sign up when you know you'll feel like running it! :)

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    1. You had the foresight to realize, too, that hosting the Olympics would be an enormous challenge! I've heard a lot of major cities are starting to shy away from bidding. It's apparently so bad that the IOC is trying to encourage cities to reuse existing facilities instead of feeling like they need to build brand new ones.

      Wow - I didn't know the Beatles had a LOVE album! Note to self!

      I didn't know Prairie State's course got moved, either! I wonder why? Too bad the course map isn't available yet. Long Grove would be a beautiful area to run through. On that note, let me know if you would *potentially* be up for running Save the Beans with me this year to honor our annual tradition. =)

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