Tag Archives: pizza

Chicago, the rest of it.

It was a whirlwind trip to Chicago, and before we were even halfway through it—I told BF that I wished we had an extra day.

I don’t know if it’s that I didn’t know enough about Chicago, or I was simply distracted by the whole marathon thing, but I truly underestimated the magnitude of this city.

Hello Chicago!

It is HUGE. Next to New York, I don’t think I’ve ever been so amazed by the size of a city. The juxtaposition with the crystal blue Lake Michigan was such a sight to be seen as well, and I fell pretty hard for this city. (I know, I know…the city-by-the-water thing shouldn’t get me so giddy any more, but I still can’t get enough.)

unrelated Friday night airport bar photo..

We arrived LATE Friday night, and after a little sleeping in, a 2.5 mile treadmill run, and a trip to the complimentary breakfast, we were off on the Blue line of the “L” headed toward downtown.

Ever since I studied abroad in Europe, I have a very deep affection for efficient and accessible public transportation—and Chicago was definitely not lacking in this regard. It was so easy to navigate our way around, and I can imagine you wouldn’t even need a car if you lived in the city.

Once in the city, we dropped our bags off at a friend’s apartment, and we jetted to the expo. I’m not going to do this expo justice in words or photos, but just take my word for it when I say that it was enormous. They held it in the convention center, and they used up every last space available. Hundreds (yes, hundreds) of booths were set amongst the packet pick-up areas, and you definitely needed a map to quickly find anything.

Other than a few samples we grabbed along the way, there were only two booths I wanted to visit: Runner’s World and Girls on the Run. And look who I found at the RW booth…

Hal Higdon! This meant so very little to most people I tell, but most runners I know have at least heard this guy’s name. He was much friendlier than he appears in the photo as well.

They also had food everywhere, music, shoe testing, etc. It was a party. Although it would have been fun to hang out more, I wasn’t really in the business of staying on my feet for too long—plus we had more of Chicago to see!

With not a ton of time left between the expo and dinner, we decided to head up the Hancock Center. The building has 94 floors, and unlike the Sears tower—it’s free! The views at the top were unreal, and it helped us get a sense of just how huge Chicago really is.

View from floor 94.

Looking out at Lake Michigan.

As I said in the last post, BF made me dinner as opposed to going out. It was simpler, cheaper, and given the amount of carb-hungry runners flooding Chicago restaurants that night—I’m glad we avoided the crowds.

On Sunday, I decided to jog around the city to explore a bit. After 26.2 miles, I figured I ought to include BF in all my sight-seeing, and we went to the infamous Chicago Cloud Gate. I actually knew it was “the bean thing,” but I guess that’s not accurate.

This was the only tourist attraction I actually knew about before coming to Chicago, and I have to say it was pretty dang cool. I was also riding a marathon high and chowing on donut holes, so that helped with the “omg so impressive!” factor.

Where’s Waldo (RB/BF)?

Reflection photo! I told BF he wore the least obvious marathon spectating outfit in the word. He agreed. He also didn’t take up my offer of an enormous pink shirt. Rude.

BF told me I smelled, so I decided to shower before we ventured out to see more things. We had a bit of a time crunch before we had to get back on the train to head to the airport, so we narrowed our exploration down to two things: the Navy Pier and pizza. I really wanted to go on the architectural boat tour, but there wasn’t time—and admittedly I cared more about cheese and crust than pretty buildings.

The Navy Pier was definitely cool, and I loved being close to the lake and seeing all the different boats. Because the pier juts out so far into the lake, we were able to see a lot of the skyline.

Stop your showing off Chicago, you’re making everywhere else look bad.

 

Now comes to only disappointment from the trip…

So, we had just enough time to get to our chosen deep dish joint, eat, go back and get our things, and head to the airport. As we sat down at the restaurant (Ginos East of Chicago), and we ordered our delicious deep dish selection…our waitress informed us that the deep dish took SEVENTY-FIVE minutes to make, so we might want an appetizer. We didn’t have 75 minutes, and so we mournfully opted for the regular thin crust instead.

boring

I realize to a normal human this is a very first world problem…but for two people who were intent on Chicago pizza (one of whom just ran a marathon), this was equivalent to a small pet dying. Sure, thin crust was fine…but this was definitely a disappointment. Don’t worry, I still ate more than half.

Delicious 312 beer helped *a little*.

However, the good thing about missing things while visiting a popular destination is that it gives you a reason to go back. Chicago is definitely a city I’d love to see more of, and I’m very keen on visiting again.

By the time we got to the airport and were waiting for our flight…I was beyond spent. Two nights of little sleep in a row, plus a marathon, plus lots of travelling= a very, very sleepy bird. I can’t sleep on planes too well either, so needless to say after a FOUR hour plane flight home, I was ready for some horizontal time.

Note to self: when travelling for a marathon, don’t be a hero and take the next day off work.

The travel exhaustion, however, was insignificant compared to how great the rest of the trip was.

You put on a good show Windy City, thanks for being awesome.

In a non-related but kind-of-related sidenote, I am almost  pain and soreness free today from the race on Sunday. It’s kind of a miracle, and I credit it to all the walking necessary afterward. That—and all the rest I allowed/am allowing myself before and after the marathon. I also have zero blisters, very little chafing, and all my toenails in tact. Little victories…I accept them all.

However, the combination of little sleep and the marathon has resulted in a fairly heavy cold I’m currently sporting. But, I’ll take a sore throat and headache  if it means I get a race like Sunday’s any day. Does that make sense? I’m sick, don’t judge.

I might try running today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week…who knows. Right now, I’m soaking in some bonafied laziness right now. On Monday, instead of a “shake out swim” or “shake out walk” I decided a “shake out grilled cheese and chocolate” was a much better idea. That theme continues through today…and I could care less.

Have you been to Chicago? What did you love most about it? Would you have been as sad about the pizza as we were? Do you think I overreacted? Mom, you don’t get to answer the last question…

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Perspective

Did I blog yesterday? No.

Was I going to blog yesterday? Yes.

So what happened? Well, consider my lack of communication an act of sparing readers from my down-in-the-dumps-ness. Yes, that makes sense.

You see, I had big plans for some positivity, some weekend recap, and some random banter. However, life chose to thwart that plan a bit—and alas, my ability to even fake happiness yesterday was completely zapped away. I didn’t feel I should divulge my feelings to the Internet, so I decided to follow the mantra that Mom always says, “It will be better in the morning.”

And you know what? It is. Sure, things are still pretty damn crappy, but thanks to my unavoidable optimistic hard-wiring, I’m feeling about 700% better than yesterday. And heavily caffeinated, which is a staple in the RB recipe book of creating a good mood.

But let’s back track a bit. Because despite my resentment toward the shit that’s gone down, I cannot leave you hanging like that. Note that I am wary about reporting personal, non-injury related bad news on my blog, however this isn’t so private. So, onward.

On Sunday, BF, my friend Anna, and I were headed east to do some hiking. BF was driving my car, while Anna and I followed in her own. To make a long story short, BF started going 30 on the highway, pulled over, we screwed around with some engine starting and stopping, and it was concluded that we needed to get the car towed. We still managed to get in our hike thanks to Anna’s vehicle, but at the end of the day BF and I spent our evening getting my beloved Glinda settled at an auto repair shop in West Seattle.

Gooooooooood times.

(Side note: AAA can see right through it when you try to get a membership after you need their services. In summary, get AAA before you need them—it’s worth it.)

Anyway, yesterday I went back to the auto shop with some high hopes for a simple, fixable, not-too-expensive diagnosis for my poor car.

Can you see where this is going?

Take the opposite of those high hopes, and that’s exactly what the mechanic got to tell me.

Essentially, my car needs a new engine, which including the labor involved in installing it, is going to come to oh just a little bit less than I initially paid for the car. Super duper fun times.

So, after a lot of discussion over what to do (you know how those conversations always need to happen in crappy car situations), I decided to bite the very expensive bullet and get my car fixed. It’s really, really not an ideal situation—but that was the best decision to make, and so all I can is move forward.

Other than feeling really bad for my car (she’s my baby!) and being pissed at the blow to my bank account, I was mostly just sad for all the things I wouldn’t be able to do/would need to put on hold due to this super inconvenient circumstance.

In truth, I was really just feeling sorry for myself. I spent most of yesterday alternating between crying and racking up a list of all the things I need to currently buy, pay off, and save for that will have to go to the back burner.

You know, because adding up all those things was really going to make me feel better about the whole thing.

It was a pity party to say the least, and while I’m still wallowing over the set-backs this will undoubtedly produce—the truth is, these things happen…and it’s going to be okay.

Sure, it sucks, and as a young 20-something I’m not exactly the most equipped person to handle the financial blow of it all. But, it really is all about perspective.

I might not be able to buy the road bike I’ve been planning on for a little while longer, but you know what? I’m still healthy, I’m still clothed, I’m still fed (a lot), and I’m going to be fine. There are many people who would have had to cut their losses completely in a scenario like this. And with that said, there are many people who don’t even have a car—nor the means of retaliating from a situation like this. When I can shift my perspective in that regard, it makes the whole scenario a lot more manageable.

Am I going to be paying an extra, hefty monthly bill for a while? Yes. But, it’s not the end of the world.

When I began realizing that this situation is only going to be as severe as I make it, I began to draw the same parallel to my lingering injury. The fact is, I’m still in pain, I’m still not feeling like I’ll be long running for a while, and I’m still in and out of very pissy moods about this whole thing. However, when I can pull out my better-self and think about this injury in the grand scheme of things, much like my car, it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal.

I can’t run right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t run again. I know I keep repeating this (mainly because I have to keep re-telling it to myself) but all runners get injured. You are almost as much a runner when you’re injured as when you’re busting out PRs…it just comes with the territory. When I think about all the professional and Olympic-bound (Kara, I love you) runners whom I admire and look up to, it’s comforting to realize that all of them, at one point or another, has been sidelined—and, obviously, that never stopped them from doing great things.

Being a great runner isn’t about always being able to bust out a marathon on a whim or running fast every single day. It’s not even about times, podiums, or number of medals hanging in our houses. It’s about having the mentality that no matter what situation we’re in, whether sidelined or on the race course, all we can do is our very best. If we do that, there’s nothing to be disappointed in.

The transition from the whole car perspective thing to my injury reflection was a bit janky, I realize, but I think the biggest lesson I’m coming to terms with is that no matter what the scenario…everything will really be okay. In the big picture, hiccups happen, but they are only as big as we make them out to be. Even when we’re feeling overwhelmed, sad, or generally pissed off at the things that have brought us down, it’s so important to remember that we are still in control—no matter our feelings to the contrary. Because we are…we just need to keep the reigns in our own hands instead of letting our emotions and stress take them away.

Okay, enough serious stuff. I will leave you with some pictures from the weekend, instead of detailing all the adventures. As I said on Friday, my friend Anna came to visit me, and we had a wonderful time. Here is some documentation of that wonderfulness in photos. Spoiler, there was a lot of food involved.

Ikea! Please note our new indoor tree. Name yet to be determined.

A trip to Via Tribunali in Upper Queen Anne was the ticket for our Saturday night feeding, and it did not disappoint in the least.

Whole bottle of wine at dinner, check.

…And what goes better with a bottle of wine than a huge floppy pizza? This was all mine, in case there was any confusion.

BF approves.

And obviously after you are full of wine and pizza…the next best move is for…

Molly Moons ice cream! No, both are not mine, this time…

 

So, obviously I have a certain tendency to take pictures at meals. No need to photograph our beautiful hike, or any other activities for that matter apparently…I promise to get better at this!

So, regardless of the car mishaps, my weekend was certainly fantastic, and I’m thankful to have such a wonderful friend who will venture across the state to eat, play, and laugh with me.

 

I hope your week is going well so far! And if it’s not, try taking some control over your situation, and remember that although things could be better, they could always be worse as well. And if all else fails, go find yourself a pint of B&Js, or a puppy to play with. Strangers’ puppies are perfectly acceptable.