On the morning of Wednesday, July 13th, Rich and I headed to LaGuardia Airport for his first trip to Chicago. Although we had many touristy things planned for our adventure, the purpose of the trip was to run the Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, July 17th. There is a group of people among our closest running friends who has run this race since it started. We have followed their escapades in previous years and made it a priority to join them this year.

In the days leading up to the race, we did everything against the rules of good race preparation. We went to two museums, explored the Willis Tower, tried craft beer, kayaked the Chicago River in peak sunshine with 12 friends, walked up and down Michigan Avenue, and explored Navy Pier.  We ate deep dish pizza, delicious burgers, and tasted tropical beverages. Not exactly your typical pre-race routine but absolutely worth every minute.

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A little Disney in Chicago… Cinderella’s Castle in legos at the Museum of Science and Industry.

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A rainbow greeted Rich for his first night in the Windy City!

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Looking down from the Willis Tower! It’s a LONG way down!

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The amazing Bean!

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The Race Expo at McCormick Place.

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(Nothing like a little sunburn the day before the half marathon!)

Running a race in Chicago in July is always an iffy proposition at best. Apparently last year’s race was brutally hot. This year was overcast which kept the heat down. We were lucky to have a fun group to run the race together, including my little cousin who I rarely see.  Incredibly, her bib number was in sequence with mine and Rich’s….

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We followed our friend Holly’s typical race strategy – run 2 minutes/walk 1 minute. Rich and I have been doing heart rate training rather than run/walk for the past year but the 2/1 intervals worked fine for us. We had a comfortable pace for our group and enjoyed the tour of Chicago.

img_5779This was the Glukos fueling area. Just as the rain was starting. Shortly after this the weather turned bad. As we ran through the tunnel at McCormick Place, the thunder and lightening started. The race didn’t do a great job of communicating with the runners. We were told the clocks were being paused for the thunderstorm but that clearly didn’t happen. We chose to head for the finish line…. Since Holly is deathly afraid of thunder and lightening, we picked up the pace a bit!

img_5780Luckily we made it safely to the finish line! There was a little chaos after we finished because the volunteers had been sent to safety so it was hard to find the medals but we persevered!

img_5775Another fun race!!!!

img_5777My cousin was so much fun!!!! We were all glad she ran with us. Her next race is the Chicago Marathon.

Some people might say it’s a waste to run a race for a fun time instead of a fast time but we knew that we were in Chicago to spend quality time with family and friends. Spending the miles with people we love is always valuable!!!! We are SO lucky!

Remember… I’m running the NYC Marathon as part of my Children’s Hospital running team. Please consider a donation, however small, to support an amazing institution!

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