Good morning fabulous people. I hope all of my Canadian readers are soaking in this fabulous Thanksgiving weekend. I keep forgetting that the great white north is celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend because I’ve been so focused on the race! Speaking of which… if all goes as planned, that is exactly what I am doing as you read this! AHHHH! Before we get to talk about how that went, I got to spend just over a day in Chicago before the race!
Let me first say, having never been to Chicago before, this city is beautiful. Lots and friends and family kept telling me that it was a really pretty city, a little tough and rough around the edges, but nice. They were completely right. Like most places, I don’t know if you can really appreciate it until you’re in it, but it is absolutely wonderful. The architecture is amazing and if you just stop and take a look at the buildings you realize how detailed and spectacular it is. The people of this city have been so friendly and helpful thus far. It really comes across how proud people are to live in Chicago. It’s neat.
I traveled with my running friend and his wife, and we’re staying in the same hotel, so we’ve spent almost all of our time together. It’s been really nice having people to hang out with, especially when it takes three brains to figure out directions in Chicago! We’re staying at the Virgin Hotel Chicago and if you get a chance STAY HERE. I have been blown away by this hotel as so much attention is paid to detail and modernism. I can turn my room thermostat up or down with my phone, the mini bar is customized for you, and there are SUCH friendly people working here. I highly recommend it!
On Friday when we flew in, by the time we checked into the hotel and grabbed dinner it was almost 8:30pm and we were EXHAUSTED. I know, party hard right? We parted ways close to 9:00 and I was in bed by 10. King size bed to myself with the comfiest duvet? OMG.
We met up at 7:30am in the lobby to go for a quick shake-out run. My running friend is SUPER fast (aka aiming for a 2:45 marathon today) so I knew his shakeout running pace was like my speed work or tempo pace. I felt pretty good at the pace we were going and for 20 minutes I knew I could stick it out. We did 2.52 miles at a 7:58min/mile pace and finished up our run at the “shiny bean thing” also known as Cloud Gate.
After we showered up we caught the shuttle to the race expo. The expo is held at Millennium Place, a few miles away from downtown, so the marathon organizers had shuttles running every 15-20 minutes from about 5 different locations around the city. Chicago really knows how to do race expos. It was HUGE and full of every single brand related to running you could imagine! I was constantly converting the american prices to our Canadian currency and it was terrifying so I left without ever opening my wallet. #proud There were a few nice shirts that would have been cool as they said “Chicago marathon” or “Run Chicago” but none that I really fell in love with so I decided not to buy anything. We picked up our race bibs and after a couple of hours wandering the expo we took the shuttle back downtown for lunch.
We had lunch and then my friend wanted to get off of his feet for the afternoon so they headed back to the hotel while I headed to State Street for some shopping. It’s a good thing I only brought a carry-on bag as I would have spent SO MUCH money while out and about shopping. Nordstrom rack and Target would have emptied my bank account. All I ended up buying was a new purse, which I immediately loaded by stuff into and tossed my other one as it was literally falling apart! Next time I’m in the US I will bring an extra duffel bag for shopping!
When my feet started to hurt and my phone told me I was almost at 15,000 steps for the day, I decided to wander back to the hotel, stop into the cafe in the lobby of the hotel, sip on a decaf mocha, and do some photo editing and people watching.
I have nothing but good impressions of Chicago so far and I am really excited I choose this race to participate in. Heads up… this post was written before the race so if my race goes terribly wrong I will probably tell you that Chicago is a hell hole you should never visit. 😉 In case you wanted to track me during the race tomorrow, my bib number is 10572 and you can see live tracking on the Chicago Marathon website HERE.
Lastly, thank you all so much for your words of encouragement. I have been terrible at replying to comments but just know I read each and every one of them and am humbled by the support. XOXO