Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Race Recap: Rock 'N' Roll Chicago Half Marathon Weekend

Disclaimer: As a Rock'N'Blog Ambassador, I received a free entry to the Rock'N'Roll Chicago Half Marathon. My experience and my opinions are my own.

To think I considered not running this one at all. My knees had been bothering me and my endurance was AWOL. With so many blogger friends heading to my hometown to participate in the Rock'N'Roll Chicago weekend, I had to make a decision. Do I drop down to the 10k? Drop out? Who me? I contacted my rheumatologist who recommended steroid injections in my knees. Following the procedure, Mother Nature gifted us with some cool, low humidity days which led to some nicely paced, pain-free runs.

It's funny how things work out, isn't it? With some success on the road and a boost in my confidence, I stuck to my original plan to run the half marathon. I knew it would be tough. I made a race plan to use my 4:1 run/walk intervals. I set a goal finish time of 2:11 but realistically figured I'd finish around 2:15.

I was ready.



Friday, March 23, 2018

Loving....Not Loving

Sunday, I woke up at the beach and ran my race in Florida. Monday morning before the sun came up, I boarded the train for my pediatric nurse practitioner conference in downtown Chicago. Talk about doing a complete 180! I didn't know whether I was coming or going. It was a little overwhelming, to say the least. Fortunately, as the week went on, I felt more grounded. I was also exhausted.

With most of my time consumed, I figured I wouldn't be able to run much or write for the blog. After sitting in lectures all week, my fingers were itching to write something for today. Plus I was having trouble staying awake during some of the lectures.

You know I loved my time away at the beach, but I also loved my time in the city this past week. There were some things I didn't love so much though. It's been a long time since I've done a loving/not loving post, and the time was right. Here are the things I've been loving but not loving. There's more to love than not...



Sunday, July 30, 2017

Looking for Fun and Feelin' Groovy

"Slow down, you move too fast. You've got to make the morning last. 
Just kickin' down the cobblestones, lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy..." 
~The 59th Street Bridge Song, Paul Simon

Well, what the heck? It's the end of July. How did that happen so fast?

It's been one fun summer, that's for sure. I realize that a lot of you have been sweltering in the heat and humidity, but here in the midwest, overall, it's been a really nice summer. We've had heat and humidity, we've had a lot of rain, but we've also had quite a few nice days. This week was no exception. As always, I try to make the most of the weather and sunshine--it was another busy week.



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Keeping On....

Did you hear that Lady Gaga has rheumatoid arthritis? Sure enough, she "came out" this week, giving an explanation for the "chronic hip pain" she's suffered from for many years. To most of you reading this blog, Lady Gaga's big reveal probably means nothing to you. But for me, as I continue to work on integrating my diagnosis into my self-image, this news was fairly empowering. Even though I'm not a Lady Gaga fan, I think it's always a good thing when a celebrity puts a face on an illness.

Actually, there was a lot of empowerment for me this week and it came from all over. Some from within, which is always nice, but once again, I realized how much support I have around me. So in spite of a gray, wet, cold return to Chicago after a week in sunny Florida, I had a good week. It really was the perfect kickoff to training for my upcoming Grandma's Marathon in June.



Friday, January 9, 2015

My kind of town...

As I sit inside, under a heap of blankets, snow and wind whipping outside, my mind wanders ahead to the upcoming race season. With the exception of the Sarasota Half Marathon (Florida), I haven't firmed up my race plans for this year. People who know me well know that I'm not a big planner when it comes to choosing races. Last year, I planned ahead and I had my first DNS due to injury. That did not make me happy. It was a streak of sorts, really! Plus, I don't like to eat the high cost of races. So I kind of like to wait and see how I'm feeling. But one thing I know for sure is that the majority of my races this year will be run in my hometown, Chicago. Today I'm linking up with the DC Trifecta aka EatPrayRunDC, You Signed up for What?, and Mar on the Run to talk about my 5 favorite races I've run in Chicago!

North Avenue Beach, with the Chicago skyline in the background. This is the "preview" day for the Air and Water Show. We used to go with a bunch of neighbors every year! 
I grew up in a really small town about 60 miles northwest of the city, but my grandparents lived in Chicago and we spent a lot of time visiting them. They actually lived right across the street from the Lincoln Park Zoo! My sisters and I visited them a lot and my grandparents took us all over the city, fueling my love for Chicago. After I graduated from college, I got a job in one of the big hospitals on the near West side and moved to a Rogers Park, on the north side. Eventually I took a job as a home health nurse and traveled all over the city to see patients. I got to learn a lot about the city and neighborhoods. A few years later, my husband and I moved to Edison Park, which is located on the far northwest side of Chicago. I loved that neighborhood, but when I had my first son, we decided to move to the suburbs to raise our kids. Believe it or not, I had never lived in the suburbs and it was a bigger adjustment than I expected. To this day, I still love to go to the city and I still get a thrill when I'm heading in on the expressway and see that beautiful skyline. Some mornings as I'm driving to work, I can spy the Willis (aka Sears) Tower in the distance. Amazing, really, because it is about 25 miles southwest of where I live now.

The boys and me, 2 years ago, playing tourist on the skydeck of the Willis Tower
This is why I will be running the Chicago marathon again this year--provided I get in the lottery! I love the Chicago marathon. The race meanders throughout a large portion of the city, and runners really get a flavor of the various neighborhoods. Since I had all that experience traveling the city in my home health days, it's really like coming home for me. I'm happy when I run in the city. Chicago is a great city for runners. The people come out in droves to cheer on the runners and it is an amazing experience.



One of the biggest assets the city has to offer is its lakefront. Chicago's lakefront is loaded with beaches, parks, golf courses, and of course, the lakefront path. A lot of Chicago's races are run on the lakefront path. One of my favorite races, the CARA Lakefront 10 miler, which is considered a "kick off" to the race season, is run along the lakefront. The race also takes you through the harbors, which are somewhat empty this time of year. Since this race is in April, the weather can be unpredictable. But that's all part of the fun of living and running in Chicago. 

Broken foot and all...the weather was perfect for a PR!
Another race, the Chicago Spring Half Marathon, is run on the Lakefront Path as well, but runs south to Burnham Harbor. Technically, I didn't actually run this race but if I had, it would be a favorite and so I've included it. This was the race I couldn't run, due to my broken foot. I did go down there to spectate and cheer my friends on, and I'm glad I did. I had never run a race on that end of the Lakefront path, and it was really beautiful. I was able to experience a race on that part of the path later in the summer when I ran Zooma Chicago. I also learned what a**holes some cyclists can be, as they raced by us while we ran. It was really dangerous. 

Chicago Half Marathon running on Lake Shore Drive
Several years ago, I ran the Chicago Half Marathon. This fall race starts in Hyde Park, which is the home of President Barack Obama. Hyde Park is also the home of the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. This part of Chicago was developed during the Columbian Exposition/Worlds Fair in 1893 (there is a great book, Devil in the White City, that takes place in this era). The parks in this part of the city are hidden gems, truly. Besides running through this area, part of the race is run on Lake Shore Drive, which is closed to traffic. I thought that was very cool and I loved this race but I didn't love the logistics, as getting there and finding parking was a challenge. Still, given the chance, I'd run it again.

Chicago Half Marathon 2011
There is one other race that I used to love, but haven't run in years, and that is the Shamrock Shuffle. This is an 8k, which is another distance that I love. The race is run through downtown Chicago and ends in Grant Park. It usually sells out, reaching a max of 40,000 runners. I don't normally like to run such big races, but the Shuffle is organized by the same group that puts on the Marathon, and so it is a really well run race. I haven't run it in years because it usually is held in late March, and that is when we take a family vacation to Florida. Hmmm...Florida vs Chicago....

One of the reasons I love to run in Chicago so much is because I just love the city. We've talked about moving back to the city once the boys are grown. Besides all the great races and places to run and play, we have theater...great restaurants...culture....if only we could get a Cubs World Series...or another Lombardi trophy....well, at least we have the Hawks! 

Wrigley Field and the iconic scoreboard, 2013
As we say in Chicago, "there's always next year".
BTW, both these boys are taller than me now...