Last Friday we made our way up to Chicago for the weekend so I could run the Chicago Marathon. If you’ve been following the blog, you already know this. You also would know the journey that training for a marathon entails. When I got the email back in April that I had gotten in, I immediately went into planning mode. I would need to maintain a certain mileage base over the next few months until July, when I would begin to increase my mileage, including my long weekend runs, in order to get up to 20 miles a few weeks before the race.
I have blogged about several of my long training runs throughout the past few months. I remember back in late July/early August when I ran my first 15 miler…I was very unsure how I would be able to run much farther. That’s the struggle and the beauty of marathon training. It’s mind over matter just as much as it’s training your body to go further. I am grateful for the journey, even though it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Crossing that finish line last Sunday was one of the greatest thrills of my life. I think every marathon that I’ve run has felt that way.
Back to the actual weekend…as I mentioned before, we flew out on Friday afternoon to Chicago Midway Airport. It was a very quick and easy flight, which is always nice. We took the CTA train to downtown Chicago and checked into our hotel.
That evening, we met up with Naama, who is one of Rachel’s closest friends. Naama and her husband Jon are moving to South Africa from North Carolina in November! She just happened to be in Chicago visiting friends, so we were able to see her again. It was so great to have a little time with her before she leaves the country!
After spending about an hour with Naama (and her friend Kate), we made our way over to Giordano’s for pizza! While it’s super touristy, we both love their pizza! We walked down the Magnificent Mile for a little while after dinner before making our way back to the hotel for the night.
On Saturday, we met up with some of our new running friends, Justin and Devin, who used to live in Chicago and know the city very well. Justin has run the Chicago Marathon before (this was his 5th year running!), so we were grateful to have them to show us around the expo and parts of the city.
The expo was a 15-minute Uber ride from our hotel. And it was filled with tons of people, booths and merchandise. We spent a good 2 hours walking around, picking up our race number and shirt, along with a few other goodies as well!
After the expo, Justin and Devin took us over to The Pasta Bowl for lunch near where they used to live in Lincoln Park. The food was ridiculously good! I ate way too much pasta, but I was running 26.2 miles in the morning so I knew I needed the carbs.
After lunch, we walked around the area before stopping off at their old apartment and going up to the rooftop to look around. The view was amazing. Nothing like seeing Chicago from the top of a roof!
Finally, we made our way back over to downtown and our hotels for the rest of the afternoon/evening. We knew we needed to get off our feet and rest up for the next day. Rachel and I watched some college football before walking across the street to grab a few sandwiches for a light dinner. We brought the food back to the hotel so we could eat, rest and watch some more football before heading to bed fairly early as it was going to be an early morning.