Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weekend in the Windy City

Todd and I drove to Chicago early Saturday so I could run the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon on Sunday morning. The 5.5 hour drive went by quickly and our first stop was the expo so I could pick up my race packet.  I've been to plenty race expos before and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of booths and free samples.

Arriving at the expo

Race map

Starting to get real that I was running a 1/2 marathon the next morning (in 17 hours to be exact)

Highlight of the weekend: Meeting Dan and his mom from the Biggest Loser

Race swag 

My favorite thing from the expo was the nuun water bottle...I've looked everywhere for one so when they had them at the nuun booth, I asked (okay, begged!) for one and they obliged

Also scored some P.F. Chang's gift cards and free smoothies from McDonalds

After the expo, we checked into the Westin on Michigan Ave and walked around the city a bit.  No trip would be complete without a visit to Sprinkles for some pre- and post-race treats.  Luckily the line out the door moved rather quickly and we only waited for about 15 minutes.  Well worth it in my opinion!

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Too many to choose from

I ended up getting two cupcakes: Salty Caramel and Peanut Butter Chocolate

We walked back to our hotel and relaxed for a bit before venturing out for dinner.  Our dinner plans fell through a few days before our trip so we didn't have reservations anywhere.  We decided to take a cab to the Navy Pier (I know, such a tourist thing to do) and ate at Capi's Italian Kitchen.  It wasn't too crowded when we got there and the food was decent so there wasn't much to complain about.  Plus, we had a great view of the city.

We sat outside to enjoy our dinner

Spending some quality time together

Gorgeous view

With an early wake-up call on Sunday for the race, we got some ice cream and then hung out at the hotel before heading to bed.  And wow, did that 4:40 AM alarm come early!  The big difference I noticed between Columbus and Chicago is how early the sun comes up there.  Since Columbus is close to the end of the eastern time zone, the sun doesn't come up until about 6:15 AM but in Chicago, it was already up at 5:15 AM.  I definitely wish this was how it was in Columbus because I would never have to run in the dark!
Beautiful sunrise from Grant Park

The race started at 6:30 AM and I was done shortly after 8:00 AM.  Full race details will follow in my race report in a couple days but it was humid and I'm very happy with gutting it out and still running a 1:40.  I had goosebumps (which means I was dehydrated) by mile 4 and still managed to average 7:39 pace.  Huge pat on the back for that one.

Post-race bliss

One of Todd's friends lives in Chicago and also ran the race so after hanging around in Grant Park for awhile and then cleaning up and checking out of the hotel, we went to lunch in Bucktown at Hot Chocolate

Outside the restaurant

Loved the atmosphere inside

We started with doughnuts for breakfast....

Todd got a duck scramble for brunch....

and I got a burger with a fried egg for lunch (the bacon came on the burger but I always get it on the side to give to Todd)

We left Chicago around 1:00 PM, almost spending exactly 24 hours there, and took the 5.5 hour trip back to Columbus.  I was glad to be back home but was glad we were able to take a short trip away for the weekend.

A van we saw on the drive back home....umm, yeah, I think we get the point that you've run a half marathon before

1 comment:

Meghan said...

Congrats on an amazing race! And I love that you went to Hot Chocolate! It's one of my favorite dessert places!