Friday - Flight was uneventful which is always a good thing. Didn't have any annoying passengers around me. I was staying at the Hilton Chicago in the Grant Park area. It's a historic hotel and it was beautiful and very charming. I like old historic hotels so this was a plus in my book. Although they had the cheapest point redemption at the time of booking, if I stay in Chicago again I'll book a room closer to Millenium Park where most of the action is. I arrived at the hotel around 4ish and check-in was quick since I have Gold Status with Hilton and there was no line. I was upgraded to a partial lake view room from a standard room. You can see the Navy Pier with the ferris wheel off in the distance. Room was your standard king bed. It was clean and quiet.
I was starving so I decided to get deep dish pizza for dinner before I went to visit the John Hancock tower. I made my way up Michigan Avenue and stopped at Cloud Gate (aka The Bean). It was a really cool structure and I loved the reflections of the Chicago skyline.
Dinner was at Labriola Chicago. I ordered a salad and the smallest deep dish pizza they had which was still ginormous!!! Toppings were pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and peppers.
I managed to eat two slices. I was falling asleep in my dinner so I opted to skip the John Hancock tower and head back to the hotel. I took my leftovers and gave it to one of the many homeless people camped out on the sidewalks. I stopped into Walgreens to grab water and Powerade and the hotel store for some hard boiled eggs. I was out cold by 9pm!
Saturday - I had set my alarm for 6am and ended up waking up around 5:15 and couldn't get back to sleep. I got up and started getting ready for the race. I made some tea and got dressed. Had some water and checked the news. I ate oatmeal and my hard boiled eggs around 6:30. I was worried about lines for bib pickup so I decided to grab a cab and get to the start area right at 7am when they opened. I also got my finisher shirt and reusable shopping bag at that time. It was a mistake getting there so early. There was no line so I ended up having to hang out in the chilly weather until the race started at 8:30. I was glad I had packed a mylar blanket and gloves. @roxymama was early too so we hung out. I had a few people ask me where I got my mylar blanket and @roxymama said selling them would have been a good idea! Maybe at Disney...I could probably make my race fees back....
I took no photos of the race start area I was a bundle of nerves. I ate a banana and a honey stinger waffle about 45 minutes before the race. Bag check was self service. We pinned our race bib number onto our bags and put it in the correct pile according to big number range. Hit up the porta potties twice and before I knew it it was race time. It was a self corral race. There were no actual corrals. Just signs for 8min, 10min & 12min pace. I centered myself in between the 8 & 10min corrals. The race started promptly at 8:30. Honestly, the course was just one big hilly blur so I have no split breakdowns. Now, for locals I'm sure this was considered flat, but I'm a Florida girl. My hills consist of stepping on and off curbs. Apparently I didn't screw the top of my belt's water bottle on correctly so it leaked all down the back of my skirt. I had no idea until I went to grab it. No wonder my butt was icy cold. I did okay with the tangents up until mile 5. It was an out and back and not a closed course and it very curvy. It was empty for the first half so I didn't have to stay on my side of the path to hit the tangents or weave around people. Coming back was a different story. I had to do a lot of weaving and started missing tangents which quickly added extra distance to my Garmin. At one point the waves from Lake Michigan came up over the breaker walls and soaked my shoes! I kept moving though. I kept chanting 1:32 in my head the entire course and that I was not missing my son's first Homecoming Dance to fail. The last hill in mile two I thought I was going to die. It was my slowest mile, but I still think I did pretty good. My legs were moving as fast as the could go and I knew I was well under to make the 1:35 cutoff for the WDW Marathon Corral C. That was my priority. I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:32:41! Garmin had me finishing 10:09mi in 1:32:40. I grabbed my medal, some water then went to the finish line to wait for @roxymama to finish. We grabbed our macarons and headed out of the park. We said bye at the parking garage and I walked through Grant Park on the way to my hotel and stopped at the Buckingham Fountain.
I was absolutely freezing from my wet running skirt and wet shoes so I hustled back to the hotel, turned the heat in the room way up, made a cup of coffee and took a nice hot shower!!! These are the delicious macarons!
Plans today were to visit the Field Museum, Willis Tower and John Hancock Tower plus fit some food in there somewhere. I wasn't feeling very hungry, but I ate a small snack of a protein bar and a banana just to get some calories into me before I left for the afternoon. I walked to the Field Museum just after 12pm and got to see most of everything in there. It was much bigger than I had anticipated. I spent the most time in the Egyptian, Dinosaur & Photography exhibits. I skipped the Bug Encounter exhibit It was around 4pm when I decided to grab myself some dinner. I really wanted pasta so I pulled up Google and found an Italian restaurant called Victory Tap. I decided that was perfect since I just ran my Victory Lap. It was a good choice! I sat at the bar and enjoyed a glass of Pinot Noir. I ordered Caprese Salad & Saffron Cheese Stuffed Ravioli in a saffron cream sauce with asparagus, tomatoes and spinach. The servings were huge and I could not finish either dish. The atmosphere and "wise guy" accents of the owners reminded me so much of being back in Massachusetts. We have Italian restaurants here in Florida, but they just aren't the same. The bartender was super nice and we chit chatted quite a bit. He was making up a batch of some sort of pink drink (can't remember the name) and poured me a glass. It was so very tasty, but that extra drink made me so very sleepy. I went back to the hotel for a nap instead of going to Willis Tower.
It had started raining as soon as I got to the hotel and it was still raining when I got up from my nap. I took a Lyft to the John Hancock Tower. I went to the 360 Observation Deck and also went on Tilt where they lean you in a glass box over the side of the building. The view was simply breathtaking! Visibility wasn't the best, but I still enjoyed it.
I went to the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor and had a Margarita. Yes, the views from the bathroom are just as nice!
I was feeling snacky and the snacks coming out the kitchen didn't look so good. There's a Cheesecake Factory in the building. I ordered a slice of Salted Caramel Cheesecake then took Lyft back to the hotel. My legs had enough walking for the day.
Sunday - I can't believe I have to leave already. There was so much I didn't get to see or do in Chicago, but it was a short whirlwind trip. I still had to visit Stan's Donuts. I finished packing then walked there. I couldn't decide between a blueberry jelly donut or coconut so I bought both along with a large coffee.
I stopped by the Begin Route 66 sign on the way back to the hotel. My flight was leaving at 11am so I really didn't have time to do anything else.
Flight home was again without issue. No annoying passengers around me!!!
Chicago was in full swing setting up for the marathon. Flags were up, tents were being assembled, fencing installed and porta potties were being set up. You could already feel the race vibes in the air even though the marathon wasn't for another week! The Chicago Marathon is on my bucket list and now having seen Chicago it has only increased my interest. Debating if I should just go the fundraising route for 2020. There were a couple of military/veteran charities I looked at for this year's race.
Next up are all three Wine & Dine races, maybe a 5K in December and the Goofy Challenge in January.
Love your fountain pic and glad you decided to walk back that way to see it.
I can never finish more than 2 slices of deep dish. If you do end up running Chicago I’ll make sure to come help you eat your next pizza.
The marathon course is way flatter than the lakeshore path because it’s all on city roads. If that helps you decide.
Congrats again on the great finish! Fun recap, too!
This line made me laugh. I generally am a bit bummed to have to travel alone for a race, but I do appreciate that I can arbitrarily turn the heat WAY up if I want to. Those after-race chills are no joke, especially if you're wet!
Sounds like a short but successful trip to Chicago. I also went to that same pizza place this summer as it was a stone's throw from my hotel but ended up somewhere else. I loved your views from the Hancock Tower. I went up at sunset but now I want to return at night. I also loved my whirlwind trip to Chicago and want to go back soon.