Early Friday morning (like, really early. 1:30 a.m.!), the four of us drove to Port Huron, MI (a two-hour drive) where we boarded the Amtrak to Chicago. Not before getting some free sustenance for the train journey from Timmie’s though…who knew that they’re giving away boxes of free doughnuts at 4 a.m. if you just ask what the story is? 😉
It was a good thing we stocked up on doughnuts because the train trip ended up taking a couple hours longer than originally planned. Which was fine, because besides two really obnoxious couples travelling together, we had a great time chatting, laughing and trying to nap a little. We got in to Chicago around 2 p.m., checked into our hostel (definitely recommend it! Clean, inexpensive, great location, free breakfast, quiet) and then walked to Whole Foods (aka MECCA!) for lunch.
Kombucha – my new love!
After Whole Foods, the four of us went to the race expo. Kelly and I were super pumped to spend as much time as possible soaking up the race atmosphere at the expo, so after picking up our t-shirts, race bibs, and chip timers (the Rock ‘n’ Roll series still does a foot chip instead of a bib one), we bid adieu to Jess and Emily who headed back to the hostel to rest up a bit.
The expo was great – lots of fun stuff to look at, gorgeous Brooks running clothes (I bought two tanks, including the one I wore on race day, and a new pair of CEP compression socks) and games/contests to try. We both got a heavenly 5-minute massage and even test-drove a 2014 Mazda! It was especially fun to just talk to other runners and be amongst fellow running nerds!
After the expo, Kelly and I walked along the lakefront to get back to our hostel. The sun was just setting, and the park was packed with runners, cyclists and walkers just enjoying the gorgeous weather. We ended up by Buckingham fountain before meeting Jess and Emily at the hostel and getting changed for dinner. We had a late dinner at Tamarind’s, an Asian restaurant with a sweet patio, then got back to our hostel and called it a night around 11:30. We were all going on about 2 hours of sleep at this point, so I’m impressed with how long we held out! But I’ve found that’s the best strategy for traveling – just go, go, go the first day and then you’ll have a great night’s sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to hit the streets on day 2!
Alright, I’m going to stretch this recap out a bit so it doesn’t become a photo/info dump. Next up: the non-running things we did in Chicago – museums, drinks, the blues, shopping on Magnificent Mile and more!