Sunday, January 22, 2017

Blown away....in the Windy City



Any guesses where I went last week?

To say I was blown away in the Windy City would be an understatement, at least in terms of weather (though it was a bit chilly and breezy Friday afternoon). But considering the people, friends, sites, and adventures..."blown away" is spot-on.


First off, there's nothing too exciting to report from earlier in the week:

Monday presented us with our first official storm of the season. Freezing rain all Sunday evening left a shiny and slick surface come Monday morning. I had a slight altercation on the "surprise" ice on our covered patio when I was outside with Max. Thanks to my gracefulness (can you smell the sarcasm?),I came extremely close to doing a complete split, with the ornery hammy getting nicely over-extended. After a few hours, it felt better, so it was an evening with 'Milly for this gal (I did have that #nevermissaMonday thing that needed my attention).


By Tuesday, the temps were better but the ice remained. Although a lot of it had melted by afternoon, there still were residual patches (most of which were cleverly hidden), so I opted again to stay inside
.
More time with 'Milly
Wednesday, finally a chance to get outside! I didn't get home from work very early, so the dwindling daylight was MIA after my first mile. The hammy still was a bit angry with it's owner, so I called it good after three miles (though I really was hoping for 4-5 miles).

It was so great to be back outside!
Thursday had the husband and myself headed to Chicago. He had a conference for his insurance business, and I had a slate of gal pal meet-ups on my roster.

The first get-together was with Coach Suz, who had coached me through several months of training for Route 66 last fall. We have known each other for awhile (via social media and blogging), so it was great to finally meet/hug each other in person.We were so engrossed in discussing running, training, blogging, and life in general that we totally forgot to capture the experience in pictures. Well, that just means I'll have to make a return trip to the Windy City so we can do it  all over again properly. The word on the street is that I may be returning for a March race....#staytuned.

Thursday night, the husband and I had a mixer/cocktail party of sorts to attend, and returned around 10:00. One of my January challenges is to do 30 minutes of daily cardio. Not too eager to hit the fitness center (and do treadmill time on a strange 'mill...with no name), I persuaded the hubby to join me on the stairs. Our room was on the 21st floor (of a 35-floor building). We climbed the remaining 14 floors to the top of the building, descended all the way to the ground floor, then returned back to the 21st floor. He bailed on me at that point, but I continued on to the top of the building (so, 49 total flights for me). Whew! Let's just say the heartrate was moving and grooving when I finished!
Who needs a fitness center when there's 35 flights of stairs?
Friday morning, the hubby headed to his sessions, and I headed out. Where to begin?

Well, I had my first-ever solo cab ride, which got me to Union Station.
Approaching Union Station (above left) and seated on the train...hoping it was the correct train...
Next, I purchased my first-ever (solo) train ticket, and boarded a train en route to La Grange to meet up with Penny for lunch. Penny (you may know her from Instagram--> HERE) and I go back to almost four years ago, when we both we training for our first marathons. We met through our running pages on Facebook. Fast forward to now...we have run four races together (2014 Chicago Rock'n Roll 5K and Half Marathon, 2015 Christmas in July 6-hour Ultra, and 2016 Christmas in July 12-hour Ultra). I'm still on the fence, but we may be reuniting for the 2017 Christmas in July 12-hour Ultra...stay tuned as more details unfold.

This is Penny...she runs (long) races with me
After lunch, I made my way back to Union Station and decided to walk the (approximate) two miles back to our hotel on foot. I am an art (and architecture) geek, after all. Why not really see Chicago up close and personal? The only problem? This technology-challenged tourist could not get her Google Map app to work right...so she spent awhile wondering (and wandering) what her actual location was. It was a foggy day, so there was no sunshine to guide her already compromised sense of direction. Eventually, the app kicked in, and she was on her way.

Our hotel was on Columbus, and as I was walking the final stretch I noticed a sign for Millenium Park...isn't that where the famous Bean sculpture resides?  Somehow, I managed to catch a glimpse of the shiny steel structure...
When in Chicago...
That evening, we had another mixer/party of sorts and were back in our room before 9:00 (party animals, huh!). Truth be told, both of us were tired, and we were starting to feel the effects of the previous evening's excursion in the stairwell (Well, hello there, DOMS!).

Saturday morning, the husband headed to his meetings, and I headed downstairs to meet up with Wendy (from Taking the Long Way Home) and Marcia (from Marcia's Healthy Slice). I had met Wendy before but never Marcia (but her and I have known each other for awhile via social media). The weather started out a bit foggy (and the damp air did a serious number on my hair...just saying), but gradually became sunny.

With Wendy and Marcia
And guess what we did? We're runners, of course, so we hit the streets (isn't that what runners do?). We also had a few other antics to keep us busy....like planking (my idea)...

Doesn't everyone plank with the Bean? (not sure what's going on with my hair)
...and jumping (Wendy's idea)...

Yeah, we're normal (pic credit--Marcia)
...and even some stair-climbing as we navigated our way along the river.

Notice that we're all smiling?

There also were several photo-ops along the lake shore.

We had fog when we started out, but by the time we made it to Shedd Aquarium, and turned around, we had sunshine!
All in all, it was a grand morning! It's no wonder, though, that my body was in total agony for the ride back to Iowa that afternoon. Apparently, my quads and calf muscles were entertaining more DOMS that I was acknowledging. After Thursday's stair work, Friday's 60+ minutes of power walking (in the fashion booties, none the less), and Saturday's miles (and additional stairs), I was sort of a hot mess of aches and pains.Every time we stopped for gas or food, it was torture trying to pry myself from a seated position out of the car. 

By Sunday morning, the DOMS were more manageable. After a Epsom salt soak, things are feeling better...although now I'm battling a (hopefully mild?) head cold. Alas, my glass is definitely half full on this situation. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely!


In other news: 

It was our little Max's seventh birthday on Thursday. Rumor has it that the daughter gave him an entire ice cream cone in our absence.

Isn't he the cutest ever?
I had not one, but two (count 'em, two!) #Fridayfashion posts, and both were well received (thanks, everyone)! I posted these on Instagram and Pinterest... By the way, are you following me? I'm HERE on Instagram and HERE on Pinterest.

My take on "casual" (upper left) and "business casual" (above)
And, a few more pics from Chicago...

The view from our room
NBC Studios Tower
And, in honor of our new President, Trump Hotel

So, enough about me....tell me how your week was? Any ice to fight (or avoid)? Have you ever been to Chicago? Ever been blind-sided by the DOMS?

As usual, I'm linking this with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap, and also linking with Angela and Ilka for the Sunday Fitness & Food Link-up.




62 comments:

  1. Best.runners'.weekend.ever! How much fun can you have on a five mile run? We upped the ante that one! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's gonna be a tough one to beat...but I'm up for the challenge!

      Delete
  2. How fun that you got to hang with Wendy & Marcia! Sounds like a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a great weekend, all around! The city is beautiful, and there were so many friends I was able to see!

      Delete
  3. What an exciting week you had! Your stair climbing always inspires me. I need a tall building!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tell you, as I was walking the Chicago streets (probably with my jaw completely dropped and my mouth wide open), I saw so many tall buildings/towers that I'd LOVE to case the stairwells..... ;-)

      Delete
  4. Sounds like such a marvelous little mini vacation! And Happy Birthday Max.

    Yes, they're predicting ice here tomorrow. And I have jury duty. And I don't know the city all that well.

    My SIL used to live in Chicago, so I have been there (and actually interviewed for a job out there in college) -- but she moved away quite some time ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have visited many times, but this was the first time back (without kids) in a long time where I actually had time and flexibility to do my own thing. The downtown traffic was a little crazy LOL....a very different scene than my small town setting ;-)

      Delete
  5. I'm green with envy you got to hang out with those two! I'll tell you, I have a cheetah print sweater that is seriously about 20 years old. Will it ever go out of style? Not in my world. LOL. I have been to Chicago. It is a beautiful city and I enjoyed seeing it from the water as well. Thanks for linking, Kim!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think cheetah print is a classic pattern that never really goes out of style...but I think it kind of comes and goes on its prominence. Myself? I totally LOVE it!!I had so much fun with Marcia and Wendy ;-)

      Delete
  6. I love running along Lakeshore drive - it would be so fun with you and those other lovely ladies. :-) I think it's funny how blogging friends can forget to take pictures during meet-ups, but I think we focus on enjoying the time together and literally don't think to do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! But when you're actually running with many photo ops along the path...well, it's hard to keep the cameras/phones concealed ;-)

      Delete
  7. It is always fun meeting bloggers that you connect with face to face. I have only been to Chicago once but seems like a fun city. I would love to visit back. Love that picture of you ladies jumping in front of the bean.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our jumping pic turned out great! Thanks to Marcia for the pic!!

      Delete
    2. This was one fun trip Kimberly! I loved all the pics of you Wendy and Marcia in Chicago - great energy!! Plus you got to meet Susie - how awesome! I have to tell you that your IG post about walking up the 35 stairs really impressed me - what a great way to stay fit during a trip! I'll do the same thing next time I'm staying at a hotel!! Hope your hamstring is feeling better soon! Have a great (Running) week!!

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Ilka! It was a great time ;-)

      Delete
  8. It was such a treat to see you and run! Glad you enjoyed our beautiful city. Mom Nature certainly cooperated for once. Hope you're feeling better! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. UGh...the head is "at capacity" with gunk, I can't seem to stop coughing, and I currently have the chills. But...most of the DOMS have left the premises, so there's that ;-) #glasshalffull

      Delete
  9. Looks like a great time in Chicago and some great meet ups. I am going to have to get to Chicago someday and get my picture taken in front of that bean thing, everyone does it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make sure you do a plank and jump shot ;-)

      Delete
  10. So sorry you had that hamstring pull from the ice, but it sounds like you recovered well, thank goodness! I still have never gone to Chicago, it looks like such an amazing city! You, Wendy, and Marcia are too cute, love the planking and jumping pics! And great idea to hit the stairs...I signed up for the ALA Stair Climb in Philly and I need to "step up" my training!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay!!!! Glad to hear you're Climbing again!

      Delete
  11. loved seeing all the photos of you and the girls all weeekend-so fun! 49 sets of stairs seriously you are amazing. Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, 49 sets of stairs and my left calf is still a little wonky LOL

      Delete
  12. I went to Chicago years ago for a conference - before I was a runner. I'd love to go back...esp to run again with Marcia & Wendy. How fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chicago is so amazing...I can't imagine NOT going for a run and seeing it "up close & personal" (And Marcia and Wendy were great tour guides!)

      Delete
  13. Wish I had known you were coming to Chicago! My daughters and I were there Saturday for my post bday celebration! Fun!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Looks like you had a great week! How fun to meet up with Wendy and Marcia! I've never been to Chicago but hope to visit one day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WE had fun! There's so much to see and do, our little 2-hour excursion was like the tip of the iceberg ;-)

      Delete
  15. It sounds like you had a great trip! I'm so jealous you got to see Suz, Marcia and Wendy. All the pictures you all snagged are amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had fun! People probably wondered what we were up to at the Bean, though....

      Delete
  16. Glad you had such a fun time in Chicago, and that MAX had a great birthday... a whole icecream cone. Haha. I love your sweater... love big cat prints.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I don't mess around with ice either so I feel you on opting for 'Milly instead.

    And OMG your weekend sounds so awesome! I was following you guys on IG all weekend. :) I love when the stars align and we get to meet some of our faves in person. Such fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was lucky I was able to squeeze four different friends all into the short time we were there ;-)

      Delete
  18. You guys are so damn cute!!! I wish I could join you on one of your runs!

    ReplyDelete
  19. What an amazing trip! Love your pictures and I give you so much credit for braving the big city on your own. Personally, I would have had a heart attack. Super icy here, too! I may be opting for the treadmill later this week :s Ice hurts!

    You have inspired me to name my treadmill, too :) Love that yours is "Milly"! I really need to put some thought into this name!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha HA...yes, 'Milly just seemed a perfect name for her, although I often refer to her as Old 'Milly (and not in an affectionate manner)

      Delete
  20. Ice scares me. I'm so jealous you got to visit Chicago! AND got the bean to yourself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We really did have the Bean all to ourselves! It was fate....

      Delete
  21. So fun! We'll have to do some epic pics at Grandmas this year! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, we'll do pics! That's a given LOL

      Delete
  22. Oh gosh, I just love Chicago! I am so jealous of your trip! And I can't believe it was your first solo cab/train ride!!! What???

    I'm so sorry about your hamstring. I hope it starts cooperating.

    Happy birthday to your little fur baby! Molly turns 13 tomorrow! We are celebrating with a doggy birthday cake. And scrambled eggs. And probably chicken nuggets. Really, whatever she wants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I have been on trains before and in numerous cab rides...but never ALL on my own. I was usually corralling the kids while the husband dealt with the details....

      Delete
  23. You packed in a lot! Way to go! It is always fun to meet up with runner's friends and you all got some great pics! Definitely you will have to get back! Run in March?? Do tell!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a 10-miler on March 18th...you game?

      Delete
  24. It looks like you gals had a fun time running and mini photo shoot! It's been so long since I've climb stairs like that. There is a set of stairs close to my work that I do when the weather is nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been several months since I've done stairs of that magnitude....but it's time to start training for the Fight for Air Climb (April 9)...that's a stair climb event I do every year for the American Lung Association.

      Delete
  25. Wow, looks like you had an amazing time in Chicago!!! I haven't been there yet but definitely want to!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chicago is crazy busy, but crazy beautiful, too ;-)

      Delete
  26. Great week!

    You and those stairs...way to get it!!

    How neat you met up with Wendy and Marcia...so cool!!

    Your pup is the cutest!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This would be a fun little get-away for YOU to consider... ;-)

      Delete
  27. Love this yall really got some great pictures together! I'd be scared taking the train by myself too! Oh and yea I'd freak out a bit if I didn't know where I was and how to get back to my hotel. This small town Mississippi girl would throw here a hissy fit for sure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha...I almost threw my own little hissy fit until the map finally "downloaded." But I kept calm, cool (because it was damp and breezy), and collected until everything worked ;-)

      Delete
  28. It looks like you had such a great trip to Chicago! Fun social time and carzy hotel stair climbing (rock-on) and meet ups with Suzy and Marcia and Wendy. How fun!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Amazing to meet you, and we will get double the selfies in March. You are coming :D Nonnegotiable!

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a fun weekend!! Chicago is such a great city, I used to go there a lot (several years ago) to visit my Aunt and cousins.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Looks like a fun weekend! I went to Chicago in 2015 for the marathon and would love to go back when I can propoerly explore and dont need to worry about what I'm eating or how much I'm walking :)

    ReplyDelete