My 2016 Chicago Marathon (Part I)

Testing…Is this thing on?

My deepest apologies for my 9 month hiatus. Life got really busy once my training began for the Chicago Marathon. Speaking of Chicago, let me tell you a little about my experience.

Our flight departed nice and early from Chattanooga, arriving in Chicago by Noon. Once we arrived to our hotel, it was too early for check in, so I literally paced. Too excited to be there; too nervous to eat; too anxious to sit still we left our luggage with concierge and headed to the expo. There was a shuttle departing every 15 minutes, and lucky us, the line was already incredibly long. img_9912-3

The school bus arrived, we hopped on, and all I could do was sit on my hands. I kid you not, I could have probably used some sedation at this point. We arrived at the expo shortly before 3PM, and IT. WAS. PACKED.

Abbott Health & Fitness Expo

The first order of business was, of course, bib pick up.

Does this bib make me look ready?

Up next was visiting vendors and, OH MY, were there vendors. If there was anything a runner needed, it was there. Forgotten at home, it was there. Simply wanted, it was there. We spent the most time at (surprise, surprise!) Nike.


After what felt like days, we boarded the shuttle back to the hotel. Checked in and unpacked, I settled with having dinner at the hotel restaurant so I can unwind and head to bed early. After all, I had a 5K to run in the morning.

It was a lot colder than I had anticipated for the inaugural International Chicago 5K. But you’re only cold if you’re not moving, right? Leaving the hotel, I had no idea where I was headed to, so I did what any runner would do: follow the group of runners wearing your matching bib. I made it to the starting area with about 15 minutes to spare. I made my way to the start, the gun went off, and off we went.


Marathon Starting Line


The best part was, yes, getting to run past the marathon starting line. Kind of gave me butterflies in my stomach thinking about what was going to take place the next day. I received my finishers hat, grabbed a hot drink, and made it back to the room to do some foam rolling.

Finishers beanie

We went to grab brunch at a restaurant across the street from the hotel. Estimated wait time: 3 HOURS. It was PACKED. I was getting hangry and I really didn’t want to, nor was I in the mood to, wait around that long. We headed over to the Magnificent Mile, where we were planning on doing some shopping, and grabbed a burger and fries at Shake Shack.


There was a reminder everywhere you looked about the next day’s race. Signs, billboards, merchandise everywhere we went. I spent more time on my feet than I probably should have, but the alternative was probably pacing in my room. We visited every store and shop up and down The Magnificent Mile. But we spent the most time, you guessed it, at NikeTown Chicago.

I mean, what’s not to love about 4 stories of workout stuff? Am I right? 🙂

We made the long walk back to our room, then headed down for dinner at Giordano’s. Lucky for us, the wait was only 40 minutes. The catch? You better know what you want to eat because it’s then a 90 minute wait until your pizza is made. To be honest, I am not a fan of deep dish pizza. My stomach can’t handle the red tomato sauce. I had the Fettuccine Alfredo, while the family had pizza. I won’t lie. The pizza looked and smelled great.


This is a small pizza. Spoiler alert: we had leftovers

It was now a little after 7PM. I was tired. Nerves were starting to set in. I felt overwhelmed. We went back to the room so that I can get my things ready and have some quiet time. After all, tomorrow will be a big day.

Race Ready



Good night, Chicago