Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The 3 Ingredients of a Fantastic Post-Race Party (A lovely (and chilly) weekend in Chicago)

This past weekend, I traveled to Chicago to meet up with my family to hang out in the greatest city and to run a wonderful little 10K sponsored by the Big Ten Network.
I took a screenshot of the Southwest in-flight tracker on my iPad because we flew right over my hometown!
We got in to Chicago around 11:30pm, didn't get to the hotel until almost 12:30, didn't get into bed until 1:00am, and had to get up to go to the race at 5:30am . . . not necessarily a recipe for success.  It was a *very* early morning, but I really love this 10K.  I did last year's inaugural BTN 10K the Saturday after taking the Illinois Bar Exam (I can't believe that was already a year ago!)
This is the banner pic from the registration page on the race's website.  The pic is from last year's inaugural BTN 10K.  (If you look at the left end of the image, you'll see a a dude in a gray shirt and a sweatband.  That's my dad!!  You can see my forehead, but my face is blocked by my dad's right shoulder.)
The BTN 10K is a really fun event, especially for anyone who grew up loving Big Ten sports (especially football).  When you register for the race, you get to select the Big Ten team of your choice and your race shirt will be specific to that team.  Of course, we chose Iowa.  Well, most of us...my sister-in-law grew up in Nebraska, so she was wearing Husker Red.

My dad, my husband, my sister-in-law, and I ran the 10K and my mom and my brother (while pushing Adorable Nephew in the stroller) ran the 5K.

The first mile was frustrating (like first miles always are) - lots of bobbing and weaving.  After that, people spread out a little more so there was more room to run.  I'm pretty sure my first mile was the slowest of my 6.2 miles.  My legs actually felt great the entire race (I can't say the same for the rest of my body, sometimes lack of sleep makes me a little sicky).  
In reality, I was just hoping to average 10:00/mile.  I was sort of hoping to break an hour, but I knew that would be a super long shot.  I'll get it next time.  In truth, I'm satisfied anytime I finish any race longer than a 5K in under 10min/miles, so you'll hear no complaints about a 9:54 average today.

Once we finally got through the slow shuffle through the finish shoot collecting water, gatorade, banana, snacks, and a medal, there was an AWESOME finish line party.

Without further ado, the 3 requirements of the best finish line party:

#1 Dancing mascots (including Herky!)!!!
 #2 Food :: Incredibly delicious Amylu chicken, apple, gouda sausage (allegedly available at Costco) + Banana Creme Muscle Milk (not pictured, the best beer in the world Goose Island 312) 
 #3 - The cutest 15 month old little boy on the planet (you know him as Adorable Nephew)
Seriously. The cutest.
I think that is the "No Aunt Alaina, don't touch me, you stink!" look
 Of course, being in Chicago means that I have to indulge in some of my favorite foods:
Lunch after the 10K @ FoodLife in Water Tower Place
(I'm not going to go into details, but I saw Dwyane Wade out with his sons. One word. Adorable)
New Favorite: Snickers Pie from Sweetwater Tavern & Grille
(I shared this with my favorite guys: my dad and my husband)
Lunch on Sunday @ Potbelly
I really, really love their Vanilla Malts.  How cute is it that they put two little butter cookies on the straw?! 
Chicago really is my favorite place.  I've been gone less than 36 hours and I'm already ready to go back.  Unfortunately, I probably won't have time to go back until the marathon in October.

Unrelated, I fell into the trap of watching the Bachelorette last night.  I had read the spoilers on Reality Steve at the very beginning (like I always do), and hadn't really been watching the season, but I am floored by last night's episode.  This is the first time in YEARS that I don't know how the next episode of the Bachelor/Bachelorette will end!  It is a very strange feeling.

What was the last race you ran?  How long do you normally go between races?

What characteristics do you look for in a truly great city?

Did you watch the Bachelorette?  Where you as floored as me? (and then, subsequently, awkwarded out by the nearly 30 minutes of awkward hugging and crying and constant "I'm sorry"s?) 

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