Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CHICAGO, CHICAGO--that toddlin' town!

WE DID IT! Bank of America Chicago Marathon is finally checked off my bucket list.  So much to tell you and not quite sure where to begin...

We flew up to Chi-Town Friday morning to see all of the fun excitement at the Expo, and get settled so that we wouldn't feel rushed before the race.  First things first, we took a cab from O'Hare to the Westin River North and checked into our hotel.

 I wish I took some pictures because it was a gorgeous hotel, and we were definitely spoiled.  After getting settled, we ate lunch at a delicious restaurant along the river right by our hotel called Bridge House Tavern on the river.
IT WAS DELICIOUS! Andrew, my dad, and I shared bruchetta and pork wings, each had a salad, and split 2 burgers and a side of mac'n'cheese.  THANK GOODNESS for that, too, because each burger was a double cheeseburger!  IT WAS HUGE! We definitely left rolling ourselves out of the restaurant.

Andrew had to get some work done, so my dad and I decided to go to the expo to pick up our packets while Andrew worked.  The concierge told us the expo was only 3 miles away... BOY WAS SHE WRONG! An hour and a half later, with black feet (LITERALLY) since I was wearing sandles and tired legs, we arrived at the expo. (Very dumb if you are going to run a marathon in a day and a half!) The expo was AWESOME!  I got a few goodies, ate a bunch  more goodies, picked up our packets, and took a Taxi back to our hotel.

Dinner was enjoyed at Coco Pazzo Italian Restaurant.  We were all still so full from lunch, but still managed to eat enough for two each. Here is a picture of our anti-pasta dish.
The lighting wasn't very good to show you exactly what was on there, but it sure was DELICIOUS!

When we finally got back to our hotel, we all crashed!  I woke up Saturday morning with very sore calves from walking the 4.5-5 miles in sandles to the expo. I quickly regretted it.  We ate breakfast at the hotel, got dressed up for the day and watched the first half of the UT vs OU game. SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT. We decided to take it to one of my favorite restaurant/bars in Chicago, Sweetwater Tavern and Grill. If you haven't been there, I would highly recommend it.  They have a huge selection of beers on tap and pretty good food!  It was a great place to watch the last half of the game. We drowned our sorrows in beer! Not really.. I just wish we did. We had a race the next day so we had to be careful! It was tough, but I didn't even finish a whole beer! WOOHOO!  Moderation = Success!

After the game, since Andrew didn't get to see the expo Friday, we (intelligently) grabbed a cab and went back.  This time, I enjoyed looking at the fitness athletic clothes side of the expo and even purchased a few new items I decided to wear for the race. (Writer's Note: Don't do what I did!  They say you should know exactly what you are wearing for the race ahead of time so that you don't have any wardrobe surprises for the marathon!  I had an outfit, but fell in love with some shorts, a sports bra, and new running shirt that I really wanted to wear for the race.  Luckily, I only got chaffed in one spot, it could have been A LOT worse!) After finding our names on a GINORMOUS wall filled with all the racers, we decided to head out and rest up before dinner.

We met up later that evening at Volare Italian Restaurant with my dad's running group, Champions Fit, that flew up to Chicago for the race (20 of us total!). Of course, the food was delicious there, too! My dad and I each had a salad and split pesto fetuccini, and Andrew had their homemade lasagna!

Feeling like we were about to pop (yet, again), we decided to walk back to the hotel.  We said our goodnight's and went back to our room! There was much to do to prepare for the race!  I was so nervous and excited, and filled with mixed emotions about this race.  I knew I needed to sleep, so at 10:30, I plopped my head down on my pillow and closed my eyes...

(to be continued...)

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