October 13, 2013: Chicago...a Run or a Walk in the Park?

We thought we would end our road trip with a quiet day in Chicago. We were wrong. 40,000 runners flocked the city to complete the 36th annual marathon. Note that this number doesn't count those who came as onlookers or volunteers. And we hadn't a clue when we booked our trip.

The tip came at the airport. As we waited for luggage, Garrett started up a conversation with a luggage attendant. The question posed was whether we were in town to run the marathon. Hmmmm... Obviously that was a bigger deal than the Husker game.

After contemplating how to best change our Sunday plans to accommodate this new found news, we chose to take the L into the city and park between the airport and Downtown. Thank-you to the luggage attendant. Our rerouted road trip worked out perfectly.

We made the two hour trek from West Layfayette and then after a short subway ride, we found ourselves in the heart of Chicago. And all while in the midst the mobs participating or enjoying the marathon. The atmosphere was electric. I ran this same marathon back in 2005. It quickly came back to me. The euphoria of this accomplishment was a feeling I will never forget.

Our crew went about our tourist day enjoying cheezburger, cheezburger, Pepsi, Pepsi at Billy Goats and walking Michigan Avenue. Grant found a pair of shoes at Nordstrom Rack and I bought a Blackhawk jersey (mom version). And then we chose to walk to the The Nike Store. As the workers cheered and danced as people entered, we quickly realized that this was a key marathon stop.

There was music and dancing on the bottom level and runners lined up to have their medals engraved at the top. Purple shirts that read "Chicago Marathon Finisher" were swung in the air as a group danced to "YMCA". We were in the middle of Marathon Party Central. And then something funny happened. I wanted in. For the first time since I finished this same race in 2005, I wanted to run a marathon again.

I wanted the finishers medal and I wanted to dance to "YMCA" in my finishers shirt. I wanted the bag of free goodies and a free warming towel at the finish. All only available to race participants. Today that wasn't me. I was just an onlooker. To my own shock, I actually felt a bit of the marathon bug again.

Back to reality. I am in the worse running shape since my one and only marathon. You can blame it on my ACL, but let's stick to facts. I really am in my worse running shape since 2005. That being said, I bought a fancy new sports bra in bright turquoise and some spiffy new running leggings. Nike, of course. Tomorrow is a new day and barring rain; I will run with my favorite gal pals in the morning. And the marathon is a whole year away. Hmmmm. We shall see...

A view of the runners from out the subway window


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