October 15, 2012

From B-town to Chi-town

Before the sun came up this morning, we threw our dirty sweatpants into the trunk and took off from our Kentucky pit stop to the city skreets of Chicago. 

But not before we got a few last slobbery kisses from this friendly guy. 

If you look closely at his cheek, you can see where he tried to sneak the red paintbrush. And look at those leaves! It was so exciting to see the fall colors seep deeper into the landscape the farther north we drove. 

We lived in Indiana when I was a kid, and I don't remember it being this beautiful. Indiana, you sometimes surprise me. 

My cousin lives right off the path to Chicago, which we didn't realize until after we started our trip, so we got to stop and meet her brand new baby. Both the baby and the mom are super adorable. 

We are only a month or so apart in age, and she was my number one pen pal from childhood. Because we moved a lot, she was easily my most consistent friend. Plus, I always had a blast visiting her northern Indiana house during the summers of my most insecure middle school years. 

Car trips require at least one stop at Hardee's for a thickburger. 

Car trips also require compression socks. Sometimes I have to roll mine down. Do any of you have stumpy enough legs to require rolling down your compression socks?

Another cool spot: the windmill farms. 

And after eight hours of driving, this was a welcomed site. 

Once we made it to Chicago, I could barely contain my excitement, which translates into a million pictures. I love the energy of a big city. I would be happy standing and inhaling the exhaust fumes for hours. The fumes bring back memories of big city living. And I could roam block after block of crowded sidewalks with no destination in mind. There's something special about milling around with the people who appear to be headed somewhere to make something happen. 

The bank is footing the bill for us to stay in the Trump Tower in a spa deluxe room. By deluxe, they mean that they offer the most expensive water in existence on a platter in your room. For $10-$20 a bottle, you could have (hopefully) the best water of your life.

Swanky to the max. 

Enough of the smiling. When things get really fancy, it's best to perfect the look of not caring that you are spending a billion dollars on a room and/or water.

But I couldn't hold back my emotions when watching Dr. Phil in the bathroom mirror while washing my hands. 

View from the room. 

Thank goodness they included these in the room. Towel warmer -- because if a cold towel ever brushes my skin, I will flip heck out. Yoga mat -- I'll need to pull some downward dogs to relax from all of the serious, this-$20-bottle-of-water-means-nothing-to-me faces I have to make in the hotel. Swanking is tough work -- especially when your favorite store is the Salvation Army. 

For dinner, we took a break from swanking (translation: free water) at Giordano's Pizza, where we would be meeting Bean, a fellow runner/blogger. She's awesome because she recommended a great restaurant with amazingly delicious stuffed pizza, plus she made a long train trek into the city after work to meet us.

We ordered half sausage, spinach, mushroom and tomato (the waiter's recommendation) and half the Chicago special, which is pepperoni, onion, and green pepper. Both were delicious, but the waiter's recommendation edged out the Chicago special in overall cheesy deliciousness. 

Yo Husband planned his presentation for the next day while we waited for our food. Nothing like anticipating a giant, greasy hunk of pizza to inspire your creativity. 

I think this picture proves that Bean is really my long-lost running sister. Right?! Twins.

Both of our anti-social husbands thought it was weird that we wanted to meet people from the internet (huh?), but I think that once you start rogging (run-blogging), you realize that there are so many cool runners out there that you would love to meet. Bean is really funny and down to earth (just like I thought she would be), and fingers crossed that we get to run this race together. 

Day one of Chicago = huge success.