Thursday, November 3, 2016

Spontaneous combustion, et al

Taking a break from the Alaska travel recaps to talk about some random buzz in Chicago today.

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs on winning the 2016 World Series! A 108-year championship drought has been broken, just like that! They made it look easy, right? ;-) It's hard for me to comprehend the magnitude of what just happened. I am very happy for the team, the city, and all the fans who thought they might never see this day, including the millions that never did.

I can only imagine the partying that is surely still going on as I type this more than 12 hours after the final out. This guy's face just says it all:

In all seriousness, it was like Independence Day in Chicago last night. Car horns were blaring, people were cheering at the top of their lungs, fireworks were lighting up the sky in every direction (even the south side, which is traditionally White Sox territory!) One of my colleagues lives a mile away from Wrigley Field and she said folks were spontaneously firing M80s. That'll get the temporary hearing loss going for sure.
I just learned the championship parade will occur tomorrow, very appropriately. The rest of this workweek is pretty much already shot anyways. Might as well keep the celebration going to kick off the weekend in style, right?

Speaking of the weekend...

This Saturday, I'm headed down to my dear alma mater (the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) with Adam and my brother-in-law, Marc. My nephew, Reid, is a junior on campus and this weekend is Dad's Day Weekend.

I haven't been back to campus in two and a half years so I am very excited for this day! The weather forecast looks absolutely perfect for an early-November game. I'm already scheming to load up on Illinois gear, and to go take photos at various iconic spots on campus.
Illinois Alma Mater
Adam and I are planning to catch the Illinois-MSU football game.
Afterwards, we'll join the gang for a Dad's Day gathering at Reid's fraternity house. Ahhh yes, this means I'll be on campus partying on a Saturday night!!!! ;-P Obviously it won't be the same as when I was a student, but it'll be fun to evoke some of the old memories.

Side note: My friend Nhan is an MSU alum and diehard fan. He's also journeying to UIllinois on Saturday for the game. Traveling MSU fans are typically extremely passionate, so I requested he not go overboard with his Spartan shenanigans on my old campus. His [edited] response was basically, "Have a camera ready!" 

Oh boy... Here we go.
Which of these headshots is worthy of potential replacement with Nhan's photo?
Speaking of photoworthy opportunities...

America's Playground
Rock N Roll Las Vegas is next weekend! I've been looking forward to this race for months, and it's finally almost here! Plans are slowly starting to shape up for the weekend's dining and entertainment choices.

My flight is on Thursday night, and of course my calendar is a complete disaster that afternoon. It'll be quite the mad dash leading up to departure.
I'm starting to research all the logistics of getting to/from the race expo, the start line, and the finish line. I'm trying not to get stressed since this is supposed to be fun, but the transit process is going to be lengthy and cumbersome. Hopefully nothing explodes or catches on fire, etc.
The Mirage volcano erupts on demand!
From where I'm staying at the Mirage, it's about 2.5 miles to the start line south of Mandalay Bay. I know the Strip is notoriously difficult to walk because of all the bridge crossings that lead into casinos, et al. Everyone is recommending using the monorail, but it's still a long walk just to get to the monorail. Then, the word on the street is that it's about a 1-mile walk from the monorail at MGM to the starting line. Plus, I hear the monorail gets jam-packed during the pre-race rush, so you have to allow a LOT of time.
The monorails don't have very large passenger capacity
To make matters worse, gear check closes almost an hour before my wave is scheduled to start. If the weather isn't bad, this won't be a big issue - but if it gets cold, that's a long time to be standing around waiting. Looks like I need to pull together some throwaway clothes, plus bring along some food/drink. All in all it sounds like the pre-race process could end up being an adventure all by itself.

Viva Las Vegas!

What plans do you have for the upcoming weekend? Favorite parades? Any races in the horizon? Las Vegas tips or suggestions?


  1. That's strange that gear check closes so early. Hopefully they aren't that strict. Maybe it would be a good side business to start a non-sanctioned gear check for 59 minutes until race start. $5/bag! Ha, ha. Have fun at the Illini game! :)

    1. Yeah, I was surprised gear check closes so early, too! There are three waves that start 30 minutes apart, and I'm in the second wave. The third wave will have almost 90 minutes between gear check close and their start time, which is ridiculous!

      I like the way you think with a side gear-check business!!! Imagine how much money you could rake in! Then you could double or triple it all at the blackjack table. =D

      Thanks Pete!!! Go Illini!!!

  2. I remember when I ran Vegas there was a shuttle from our hotel where the expo was (the Venetian) to Mandalay Bay. I guess they're not doing that this year? I didn't have the waiting around problem, though, because I was in the first corral! I'll have to tell you that story sometime if I haven't already. Regardless, I'm sure you'll end up having a great time once the race starts!

    And have fun in CU! We're going down for the last autocross race of the year on the 12th & 13th but we rarely go on campus. I know it has changed a lot, though.

    1. I read some old race recaps which also referenced the shuttle. That would have been a lifesaver!!! But you are right, they aren't doing the shuttles this year. =( Would love to hear the story about you being in the first corral as I have not heard it! Thanks Erin, I am excited. =)

      Thanks on the UIUC visit this weekend, too! I hear the campus has changed almost as quickly as the West Loop has, so it'll be interesting to see how much it has evolved in just a few years! The last time I was there was for the Illinois Half Marathon. =)

  3. Those logistics would mess with my head! But this race is all about fun and that's what you should have! I can't wait for the recap.

    Have a fun time at UIUC!

    1. The logistics are totally messing with my head, too! It can be challenging to have so many wrenches thrown into the prerace routine, but very few people come to Las Vegas to run a goal race anyways, right? Thank you so much, Wendy!!!

  4. I'd say layer. The desert can get cold at night. Maybe even cut up some soccer socks and make some arm warmers if you don't want to keep them.

    1. You are right on the temperature swings in the desert! Currently daytime highs are in the 80s, but the overnight lows are dipping into the 40s! Good idea on using old socks to make arm warmers, that would be a perfect throwaway accessory!

  5. Way to go Cubs!!

    I always find it so exciting to go back to visit my college! you are right, one has to get pictures in all the sights and special spots. At PSU, we have to see the Lion, and back in the day, we had to go see the Joe Paterno statue.

    wow! 2 miles to get to the star line? it sounds stressful! good luck!

    1. Thanks Ana! I think I've mentioned that Adam is a proud PSU alum, just like you. I went to visit Happy Valley with him once, and we definitely took many pictures with the Nittany Lion and the Joe Pa statue. =) I think Illinois and PSU are very similar universities!

      Thanks again, Ana! Yes, I am a bit stressed but am trying to remember that very few people go to Las Vegas to try to PR - so I shouldn't make this a big deal. =)

  6. I'm so excited about the Cubs! The parade is about to start and I was debating about going out into the madness but I think I'm going to watch from a highrise near by instead. Best of both worlds I think ha

    1. Go Cubs Go! If you have the ability to watch from a nearby highrise, then that definitely sounds like the way to go!!! My office is on the west side of downtown so I won't even be attempting to go into the madness, unfortunately. Can't wait to hear about your experience watching from above!

  7. Completely agree on the pre-race hassle of the enormous races! I've definitely decided that mid-size races are my favorite, since logistics aren't such a pain but you still get a decent crowd. Thank you so much, Kelly!!! Based on what I've read from other blogger recaps, I'm thinking RnR Las Vegas may require a two-part recap! TBD. =)

  8. Have a great time and race in Las Vegas! That sucks about the whole pre and post race logistics. I like races that it is easy for me to get to. I am already nervous before the race so why stress me out beforehand?

    1. Thank you, Zenaida!!! I am bummed that you won't be there, but we'll find another race to run together soon. =) Yes, I actually went back to your old RNRLV recap and to some others to try to read about the logistics, and it seems like everyone has to deal with the transit hassles either before or after, if not both. Ah well. We'll try it once, right?