Channeling a little Jay-Z for today’s post…
Jason and I made it back from Chicago late Monday night… and we promptly signed up for our first marathon.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Friday night after work, we came home, grabbed a bite to eat, then headed to the airport. While there were some storms headed for DFW, we only ended up with a 20 minute delay, which still got us to Chicago before midnight. We hopped on the shuttle to our hotel and went to bed after watching an episode of “Virgin Diaries.” [A whole other post for another day... but WOW. Just WOW.] Two fun things about that hotel? They only offered liquor by the liter (what?! You can’t order just a cocktail? The liters of booze also came with a liter of mixer… I don’ t know about you, but a 50-50 ratio is a little strong…) and had interesting breakfast offerings…
We slept in a little on Saturday, then headed downtown to check into another hotel and meet up with my mom and sister for lunch. After having a quick panic attack when I realized that we hadn’t yet picked up our race numbers, we rushed over to the most gorgeous convention center (ever) for the race expo. [McCormick Place is gorgeous. WIN for Chicago.]
The race expo was great… there were dozens of samples, from Snicker-flavored protein bars to Jamba Juice energy drinks. (Delicious.) Once we wrapped up our tour de samples, we headed back downtown to meet back up with my mom and sister, and we scoured TJ Maxx for race-day hats. We both ended up with red hats… like a bunch of dress-alike nerds.
After some deep-dish from Lou Malnati’s (not our best decision), we hit the sack and woke up much too early. By 6 am, we were on our way to the start line, and already sweating from the terrible humidity. [I curse your humidity, Chicago.]
By 6:55 we were on our way, and we managed to keep up a decent pace for the first hour. After that, I was pretty pissed at myself for signing up for another half marathon… my back was hurting, my feet were blistering, and I was hungry. Luckily, soon after mile 9 my spirits improved drastically, and the rest of the race seemed to wrap up much more quickly than the final two miles in Dallas.
Being done was fantastic. I couldn’t sit down fast enough, and Jason consumed his weight in chocolate milk, bananas, and Snickers protein bars. Soon, it was time to trek back to our hotel… it seemed like the .9 miles back was longer than all of the previous 13.1. When we finally made it back, it was time for a shower and relaxation. I elevated my legs to ease some of the swelling, and watched bits and pieces of “The Adjustment Bureau” and “Knocked Up.” [That movie is hilarious... Kristen Wiig's character is one of my favorites ever.]
Later, we met up with Joe and Molly for an amazing dinner from Pizano’s (their baked mostaccioli was the best I’ve ever had) and several rounds of coffee at Starbucks. Once we were finally awake, we headed to Park Grille for some drinks. The view was amazing… the bean is one of my favorite things about Chicago, and having it right there made me really happy. Jason and I realized that we rarely made it to Chicago during the summer, and I’d be happy to head back there again over the warmer months.
Monday was purely relaxed. We slept in, hit up Einstein Bagels for some breakfast, tried out Argo Tea (twice), watched The Dark Knight Rises, and headed to the airport. One of my favorite stops over the whole trip was Argo tea… they have an amazing selection of tea and signature drinks. (My favorite was the “Mojitea”– perfectly refreshing on a muggy day in Chicago.) And their wall of tea is impressive. (Don’t mind the two random dudes.)
Once we made it back home, I was pumped to sign up for another race. Jason and I were deciding between going to Portland and New Orleans, and ultimately decided to head to New Orleans because then we could do both the New Orleans and Dallas races. And since registering for the marathon only cost $5 more than half a marathon, we signed up for the full.
BAM. Luckily, the half we’re doing in San Antonio in November will fit in perfectly with our training for the full. I’m a little (okay, a lot) nervous to do a full marathon, but completing it will be so AWESOME, and I have no doubt that it’ll be worth it.