Chicago Part 1: The City

Chicago. Wow. I have never been until this past weekend (to run the Chicago Marathon, duh) and I did not realize how quickly I would fall in love with the city. As soon as we landed I felt a connection. Chicago has soul and character that I connect with. I’ve been telling everyone that I would move there in a second over San Diego, where I currently live. Some people said I was crazy, but some Chicagoans I talked to totally got it. The community, diversity, food, art, parks, history…I can’t say enough great things about my experience there. I will be back for sure. This first post will be about my experience in the city, and my next post will be about the race. So let’s get started!

Once we settled into our Airbnb (that had 4 cats, a dog, 2 birds, 2 turtles and a lizzard – I made LOTS of friends) we headed over to packet pick up. I never stay at expos for very long so we got my bib, shirt and headed out. But not before getting some cool shots of the Chicago skyline and the building where the expo was. The architecture in Chi-Town is AMAZING.

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After packet pick up we headed out to dinner then back to where we were staying. It wasn’t too eventful of a night, but I did make a few new cat friends.

 The next morning we were up early for our shake out run with the peeps from Fleet Feet, Runner’s World and Bart Yasso!  My bf, who is not a runner, saw him come in and a ton of people start getting pictures with him and he said, “Is that old guy famous or something?” – haha. Um, yes. This was my first time running in Chicago and while it was only 3ish miles I was LOVING every second of it.

We had to stop to get a view with the city in the back ground.

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After the shake out run Cory and I had breakfast then played tourist.

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I knew Chicago was famous for its architecture, but I had no idea how much art was around the city. It is truly a beautiful city. Our first stop was Millennium and Grant Parks. We had to go to The Bean – which is really called Cloud Gate. I learned that on the bus tour we took. I used to think tourist things were lame, but you learn so much and they are actually really fun. Perhaps this is what happens when you get old. All I know is, I had a great time touring Chicago.

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Most of our exploring was on Monday, after the race. I won’t say too much about the race until the next post, but I will say I was worried that exploring the city on Monday, after 26.2 miles of running on Sunday would be a bad idea. Luckily it wasn’t. Post race we took a river/architecture tour, which was a good way to rest my legies. On Monday we took a bus tour; I highly recommend the bus tour because it is a great way to see the city and you can hop on and off at any of the stops.

When I asked for suggestions of what to do in Chicago, everyone said I had to take the architecture tour. They were right! I found a tour that took us along the river and Lake Michigan, both were beautiful. I know I live by the ocean, but rivers and lakes are where it’s at! We had a great time seeing the city from the boat.

Views from the lake.

Monday was our bus tour and waking around the city time. As I said before, the parks and art around the city are beautiful and you can find something interesting/beautiful every where you look. We started out going to a local coffee shop and walking over to Wrigley Field. As you probably know, the Cubs are doing quite well so Chicago was ALL about it. I kept seeing “W” flags and signs all over the city and found out it is because their Cubs are winning. This city loves their team, and I loved seeing how excited everyone was. There was even talk of adding a 5th star on the flag if the Cubs win the World Series.

Monday ended with exploring more of the parks. We wanted to check out the local brewery scene but the ones we really wanted to go to were closed. I guess I didn’t take into account that it was Monday and Columbus Day – stupid Columbus ruining my plans. But we still enjoyed our time being tourists and I can’t wait to be back.

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My next post will be about race day!!! Chicago is now my favorite marathon I have run (sorry CIM, but you still have a special place in my heart). I can’t wait to share with you about race day. I learned a lot about myself at this race; running and finishing when I highly doubted I would be able to finish. Again, I don’t want to say too much just yet, but I was once again reminded how strong I am – much stronger than I give myself credit for.

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