Life Ain’t a Track Meet

it’s a marathon. Right, Ice Cube?

At least, that was the theme of the last almost-week in the mid-west. And I don’t mean it was a marathon in the sense that I would have liked it to be (aka, running).  But it was an absolute blast.

Bright and early Thursday morning the JD and I were en route to La Guardia to head out to the Windy City. We met his sister at O’Hare and hopped on the [very subway-like, though not quite as efficient] L in the direction of downtown Chicagooo.

Within seconds of reaching the sidewalks, I was in love with the city. It was funny that just the day before, I had asked readers if there was any city more friendly than New York, because Chitown definitely runs a close second.

I’m pretty sure every single person we encountered–from strangers in the L stations, to hotel concierges to businessmen on the street–had a huge smile and a hellohowareyouhowcanihelpyou?

We spent the afternoon doing all kinds of sightseeing–from the beaches, to the John Hancock building, to the bean and memorial park, and every other spec of city in between (photos to come when I’ve had 5 seconds to unpack/catch up on 3 months work of work/run a half marathon on Sunday). And we  ended the evening at the House of Blues–very fitting for being in such a jazzy town. All in all? An awesome welcome.

Friday we were once again up bright and early to make our way to Madison, WI, where all of the real fun was getting started–the wedding! While the bridal party took care of rehearsal day activities, the JD and I did some more sightseeing, this time around the University of Wisconsin. I’m pretty sure I’ll apply here every semester for the rest of my life until I’m accepted. The school had awesome bars right on the waters of Mendota. The campus was gorgeous, and once again, so friendly and inviting!

Before a non-bridal rehearsal dinner at the home of the parents of the bride, [and after an unwanted rest day on Thursday] I laced up to try to get some mileage under my belt. My watch was broken and I was not near a computer (aka, mapmyrun), so I can only guess what I covered based on my time. I ran for the amount of time I’ve been averaging in NYRR’s 10k’s, and given it was hot and I was charting unfamiliar territory, I’ll guess it ended up being about 6 miles. I can live with that.

After a super fun night of family,  friends and foods, we wrapped up Friday night and headed back to the hotel. Where I awoke Saturday morning for some pre-Wedding ceremony CT-ing. At 2:00 we made our way to an oh-so-scenic ceremony right alongside the shores of lake Monona (thank you for the very distinct differences in lake names, WI). Though not in the bridal party ourselves, the JD and I were invited onto the [bridal] party bus that snaked around downtown and onward to the reception–again, waterfront and complete with pontoon boat rides. Every little detail about the day was beautiful, and once the food got flowing and the music pumping…well, let’s just say I did not manage to stay on the wagon as I had hoped, and the night ended with sore feet for all from so much dancing. Wedding = big success.

(Speaking of weddings…everyone log in here: http://nbcmiamihoneymoon.com/2011/voting/?do_login and vote for my bffs Paige and Patrick to help them win a dream honeymoon!!)

Sunday unfortunately turned into another unwanted rest day as far as hitting the pavement is concerned, but perhaps you can count all of the paddling I did as some sort of strength training? The JD’s Wisconsin fam arranged for the whole crew to go tubing down the Wisconsin River by day, and dinner cruising down the Mendota by night (was this a weekend of water sports or what?). I’m pretty sure I ate about 3 months worth of food while on the dinner cruise, but it was worth every guilt-ridden nibble. If the theme of the weekend was not water sports, it was good food [with a heavy focus on lots of cheeeese, as can be expected] and good company.  

Monday morning (after a very painful 6 mile run on the treadmill. yes, this girl who hates treadmills covered 6 miles on one, I think a new record) delivered us back to the Windy City, where we again spent a lot of time just walking around and taking it all in (and did a little detour on the ride in, to the neighborhood where the JD was born…awww). Monday night brought another weekend highlight–a Cubs game at Wrigley field!

I haven’t been to a whooole lot of stadiums in my day, but of the ones I have been to (Shea stadium and Citifield, both Yankee stadiums, both Nationals stadiums, Camden yards and I’m not sure which others) I think it’s my new favorite. It has such an awesome yet old school vibe to it–like yes, this sport really IS America’s past time. From the physical structure, to the music to the menu items, I loved everything about this world-renowned and well-respected ballpark. The game–while not high scoring–was a good one, and bookoos of fun.

Whatup Wrigley!

We hit up one bar afterwards (more to be able to say we went “out” in Chicago than anything else I think) and then called it a night. We all slept like logs. Yet I somehow managed to get my toosh outta bed by 7 to get to the hotel gym for some more CT-ing. I’m trying to hide my disappointment in the fact that I had 3 CT days and only 2 running days in the whole mid-western adventure, but between the constant stream of fun-filled events and a still achy hip, I had no other option.

Tuesday morning everyone left in the caravan had a different departure time so we once again meandered around [a very rainy] Chicago, the group getting smaller and smaller as everyone peeled off. Since the weather was a bit yucky (but hey, no earthquakes or anything, as was reported back home) we did our sightseeing under the shelter of the rental car, but managed to see Navy Pier, the University of Chicago, and more of the outskirts of the city that we missed on our own walking tour. The best part about Tuesday though, was (shock of all shocks) lunch. Which was consumed at Gino’s East, which was where I had my first-ever, authentic deep-dish pizza. It was everything I dreamed it would be and more.

This post is already going on far longer than I had meant for it to (though still expected it to), so to wrap things up, the JD and I arrived home super late last night, I was very much unable to motivate myself for a 6a.m. wakeup call and will now try to scurry through today’s work and hit up Central Park afterwards. Then there’s lot of unpacking and cleaning to do, which I hope will keep my mind off the fact that I have a half marathon to run Sunday in the Bronx. And don’t feel ready. At all. Eeks!

Happy Hump Day!

– Need serious runner commentation here: Has anyone else had this weird hip pain? It’s only on one side, and usually only after a long run. I used to get it now and then and it’d go away, but for the last week or so, it just feels like it’s always there, in various degrees.

– Have you been to Chicago? What’s your favorite touristy thing to see? What’s your favorite deep-dish pizza competitor?

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9 Responses to “Life Ain’t a Track Meet”


  1. 1 Kelly August 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Where in your hip? Is it like hip flexor area or actual hip bone. I get really tight hips because of my IT bands and just need to stretch it out, but if it’s bone I dunno. The only deep dish I’ve tried is Giordanno’s and I’ve eaten it both trips out to Chicago. Love.

  2. 2 runningismagical August 24, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I get the same thing after a long run on my left hip flexor area. I asked a friend that works in a physical therapy officeand she told me to take more time to stretch it and that I was probably putting more emphasis on my left side when I run.

  3. 3 Jac August 24, 2011 at 10:57 am

    How did you not go to Giordanos!?! You will definitely have to come visit now…

  4. 4 marathon winer August 24, 2011 at 11:53 am

    thanks for the hip comments, ladies! hopefully i can hit the park today and ill try to focus more on the stretching and paying attention to the weight on the footfallsss
    and jac/kelly, the super nice concierge suggested giordanos or ginos, but gave us his super swank “vip” card to ginos “just in case” there was a line. soooo thats where we went. giordanos next time to compare!

  5. 5 Jannette August 24, 2011 at 11:59 am

    When I trained for my first marathon in ’09 I got the hip pain early in training and kept running through it. I’ve spent the past two years rehabbing because of it. There’s a couple things I can recommend: stretch after each run (seriously – I often slacked on this), ice the area after each run, foam rolling consistently (to get the IT band stuff), pigeon pose (yoga), doing hip strengthening exercises (often if you have hip/leg/knee pain it’s due to weak hip muscles) – Runner’s World on Twitter just posted a series of exercises yesterday (if you want the link, let me know!), and possibly seek out a person who is certified in A.R.T. (active release technique) – chiropractors often get certified in it and I found a great guy early this year that has helped a ton! I’ve also got PDFs of exercises my PT recommended back in ’09 if you want I can email them.

    • 6 marathon winer August 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      holy oh no, janette! THANK YOU! can you fb message or email me whateverrrr info you think will help?? i’m all ears when it comes to this, because i’m sooo scurred of injury and/or burnouttt!

  6. 7 kels August 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Loves Gino’s when I was in chi-town. Devoured it on my last day in town. It is a pretty friendly town minus the cab driver who tried to run us over. Downtown is a lot of fun – although I was there the night the Blackhawks won the cup so my experience was probably a little different from most. Good thing I didn’t have my Sabres shirt on! Also – started doing yoga pretty regularly and agree with Jannette – pigeon is amazing for the hips. You could look up podcasts with a hip opening focus- ill see if my friend recorded one and get back to you.


  1. 1 Only Crazy People Run Marathons « Marathon Winer Trackback on November 17, 2011 at 8:40 am
  2. 2 NY: The New Windy City? « Marathon Winer Trackback on March 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm

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