D N T R

I woke up early this morning, before my alarm, brushed my teeth, made some tea, and got dressed in layers.  Around 7am, the BOY and I walked outside into the freezing streets of Chicago to clean off my car.

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We drove north towards Montrose Harbor, looking for a place to park as we got close.  When we found a random parking lot, I felt lucky, until I changed out of my boots and into my running shoes and lost feeling in a few of my fingers.

It was so brutal cold that even the pay box didn’t want to operate quickly.  As I skidded along the icy parking lot to figure out my license plate number, it occurred to me that running in this weather over this ice was going to be brutal.  And when it was my turn to pay for parking ($16 for less than 2 hours), it hit me.  Why???  Why run this 10k?

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I could tell you that I was worried about the weather, slipping on the ice, or feeling sick and crappy for the rest of the day.  But the truth…life is just to short to spend your Saturday morning walking along the lake by yourself in freezing cold weather wondering why?!

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So instead…I got back in my car, changed back into my Uggs, and the BOY and I drove straight to breakfast at Bakin&Eggs.  I Decided Not To Run (D N T R).  Sitting together chatting over steaming hot bevvies, I felt strongly that I was exactly where I should be.  Together with my husband, warm and cozy, and appreciating the morning!

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Our food was AMAZING and because we were there so early, we got a discount.  Note: the only other people awake and eating with us were families with young kids.

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We started with a bacon flight and then devoured everything in sight…as if I had spent my morning burning calories on a run and not just dressed like it…ha ha!

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After brekkie, we went back to my brother’s for a much needed nap!  The rest of our day was spent meeting friends at our favorite pizza place for lunch (Spacca Napoli), and then we swung by the BOY’s sister’s on our way home to meet Cooper’s newest cousins.

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These 6 week old kittens are absolutely adorable and so much fun!

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The BOY and I are spending Saturday night at home having date night with wine, Blacklist, and hopefully some games, which makes me super happy!  Am I sad I didn’t race today?  For sure!  I was looking forward to a running along Lake Michigan and testing my speed a bit.  Did I make the right decision?  Yes!  Sometimes, its just not worth it!

Have you ever D N T R?  Why?

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Car-Free and Carefree

WARNING: this is a LONG post for a LONG weekend!

The BOY and I have had two fantastic weekends!

Last weekend, we did our weekend getaway to Wisconsin and this weekend, we went down to Chicago.  But first, we decided to sleep in and play Saturday morning by ear.  Since I wasn’t running the race, we had tons of possibilities.  I didn’t set an alarm and took my time drinking my morning tea and enjoying a breakfast stirfry.

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Then, the BOY and I went out to play tennis in the sunshine.  Our usual outdoor court was full, but we were able to find another available court near by.

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It took us a little bit of time to get into our groove, but once we did, it was really fun.  That might be because I won almost half the games!

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After tennis, we picked up a light lunch at Panera and then swung by DSW for new shoes to support my foot during tennis.  We went back home to pack up our stuff for the city and then hit the road.  We got downtown around 4pm and decided to walk up and down Southport doing a bit of shopping.  Then we ordered Thai food for dinner, planning to bring it in to watch the Hawks game (just like last year).

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While we waited for dinner, we grabbed a beer at The Green Lady, which has tons of local Chicago and Illinois beers on tap.  We both tried something new that we really liked!

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We picked up our dinner and walked back to my brother’s where we were staying.  One of my favorite things about staying in Lakeview is all of the walking that we do.  And what little time I spend in my car!  We cracked open a bottle of Napa wine and sucked down our amazing Thai dinner during the exciting game.

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Unfortunately, I was not able to stay awake for the two over times, but was happy to see that the Hawks pulled off the win.  My alarm went off at 6am Sunday morning and it took me some time to get organized.  By 6:30, I had some (but not enough) air in my tires and was heading east to Lake Shore Drive.

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My goal was to get down to Grant Park where I knew there were a few different bike shops offering free support to the riders.  The weather was a bit unpredictable and a few miles in, it was clear that I would need my jacket to keep me warm and dry.

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I made it down to the park, and was lucky to find some friendly guys to put air in my tires.  Then, I was back on the drive heading south towards the museum.  There were bouts of rain throughout, but the roads were still packed with riders.

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At the south end, I stopped for a quick snack, chatting with some other riders before hopping back on the drive north towards Soldier Field.

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I rode 15 miles up north to the Bryn Mar turnaround, stopping to take a few photos along the way. 

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At the north end, I stopped again to stretch my legs.  It seemed that maybe the rain was going to stop, but as I headed back to where I began, it picked back up.  It was clear that after a chilly (but totally awesome) 30+ mile morning on my bike, a latte was needed : )

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When I arrived back home, the BOY was awake and ready for breakfast.  We walked over to Wishbone, where I had the most delicious breakfast sandwich and potatoes!  I didn’t realize how hungry I was until the food came out and I scarfed it down.

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We walked back and packed up our car to head back to the suburbs.  It continued to rain on and off, which was perfect to crash on the couch and watch a Lifetime movie.  Around 2pm, it looked like the sun was starting to creep out, so the BOY suggested tennis.  I was excited to try out my new shoes, so I agreed.  I was also excited that after my longest bike ride of the year, my legs felt good enough to play tennis.

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40 minutes in, the rain returned and sent us back to our car.  We had a fun birthday party for the BOY’s aunt Sunday night.  We decided to have a little more fun when we got home, so we opened up a bottle of wine and played Yahtzee (a new game we picked up in Wisconsin). 

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It was funny to watch Cooper chase after the dice!  We slept in again this morning and then I ran off to the store to pick up mimosas and fruit for Memorial Day brunch with my friends and their kids.

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We had so much fun and then the rest of Monday just flew by…next thing I knew it was dinner time and the BOY was marinating ribs.  YUM!

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It was definitely a carefree weekend, and I was happy to pack so much in.  But now I am exhausted and ready to crash on my couch.  I wish I had just one more day of weekend…then I would be able to stay up late enough to watch tonight’s Hawks game!

 

What did you do this weekend?

The Verdict

THE FOOT:

It appears that it is my plantar fascia that has flared up in my right foot. Thankfully, I work with the most amazing people, one of whom took the time to work through my foot, ankle, and calf with the ‘fascia scrapper’ this week.  Although it was a bit brutal, it was totally worth it when I woke up the next morning feeling so much better!

On my own, I have been doing some soft tissue work and using the frozen golf ball.  Tonight while rolling out my foot, I felt a tickle on my toes…

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And then my golf ball was gone!

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FRIDAY NIGHT:

We brought in dinner from a new BBQ place that just opened along my ride home from work.  It was fantastic!  Especially with one of the Wisconsin beers we brought back from last weekend.  I was wiped out after the work week, and spent the rest of my evening looking for cute tops to wear for our engagement photos at the end of the month.

 

THE WEEKEND:

Slightly undecided…we are going into the city tomorrow but not sure what time.  There is some thought to sleep in and play tennis and another thought to head into the city early to check out the Green City Market.  I guess future Jen and BOY will have to decide : )

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What is decided is that I will not be running the Soldier Field 10 Miler tomorrow, and I am planning (weather permitting) to Bike the Drive on Sunday.

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#tbt Bike the Drive 2010

Hope everyone has a fun and exciting LONG weekend!

Monday Matters and Tuesday Troubles

So…with my 2 week long sickness and our weekend getaway in Wisconsin, I’ve had a lot of time to think!

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While I was sick, I was mostly thinking about all of the things I would rather be doing than laying on my couch watching reality TV.  I found myself desperately missing my biweekly yoga classes.  In Wisconsin, I was thinking about how much fun it is to spend time with the BOY, reading, fishing and playing games.  And I appreciated not feeling the stress of having to fit in a 90 minute BRICK during out weekend away.

By Monday, I had a few decisions to make…

Monday Matters

Number 1- I have decided that I am not going to participate in a triathlon this summer.  Last summer, I wasn’t able to fit in a tri and knew that but promised myself I’d make up for it this summer.  Between my big test and wedding planning, spring has flown by.  And after 2+ weeks of sickness, May has kind of been a workout wash : (  It is clear that I would be pushing and stressing to fit in a big race.  I have always made the decision to only train for a race if I know that I have the time to train safely and have fun while doing it.  Throughout the past few years, I have made numerous decisions about this, choosing to pursue professional goals over running a marathon and then choosing to do a race when life is less busy (or when the BOY moved into the library at the start of law school).  I’m not sure if this is the right way to do things…I know plenty of people who seem to be able to do it all, but so far it has worked for me.  I have run a few marathons, tri’s, and half marathons remaining relatively injury free and always finishing with a smile across my face.  I hate to take two summers off in a row (I’ll feel like a newbie at my next race), but all of this just confirms that not doing a tri is the right decision for me…for right now. 

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Which leads me to Number 2– I need to quit the gym again!  It’s true that I just joined this gym a year ago and I really like it.  It has an indoor pool, awesome track, friendly staff, good classes, and a rock climbing wall that I still haven’t climbed.  But it is not cheap and to be honest, I’m not going consistently.  I am exercising most days a week, but it’s with my trainer, at the yoga studio, or outside on my bike or on the tennis courts.  And I would much rather do that than run around the indoor track or sit on a spin bike.  So it’s just not worth the money.  Gym…I leave you with fond memories but may be back for your indoor tennis courts next winter : )

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Speaking of tennis…Number 3 involves the fact that I blew off my trainer yesterday to go play tennis with the BOY.  I had my yearly physical in the morning (my cholesterol rocks!) and then did a grocery store run. I was supposed to meet my trainer later in the day, but the BOY and I had a lot of returns to do so after our trip to the mall, we decided to play tennis.  We showed up to find busy courts (apparently it was a meet up group).  We were able to nab a court and attempted to play in the strong winds.  We aren’t great players, so the wind just adds another element of fun and frustration.  By our second game, I found my groove and ran my butt all over that court.  We are a funny duo to watch attempt the sport because the BOY is an ex-volleyball middle hitter (who loves to charge the net and smash the ball down) and I am an endurance queen who runs all over the court (and can get to the ball most of the time surprising the BOY).  Even with that, we had a blast playing for 90 minutes last night enjoying some sunshine and exercise before picking up PotBelly for dinner.

Tuesday Troubles

I planned to go for a run this morning, my first one since being sick, in order to test the running waters and make sure these new running shoes were a go.  When my alarm went off, all I wanted to do was go back to bed and so I did…until Cooper stuck his nose in my ear and crawled into my arms for love.  When I finally dragged myself out of bed, I reminded myself how happy I would be that I got out this morning while I spent the rest of the day indoors at work.  My first step revealed an achy right foot, but I didn’t think about it, got dressed and headed for the path.  I had time to do about 4 miles.  I immediately felt my lack of recent activity. I was slow (averaging around 9:30 miles) and struggled a bit, still congested and coughing with an overall feeling of fatigue.  But my shoes seemed to be working and I LOVED being outside in the cool morning, and was even more excited to see a baby deer.

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I returned home, pet Cooper (again), and got myself ready to go to work.  Where my right foot continued to hurt and ache, getting worse throughout the day.  Often, I take my shoes off at work padding around the mats and equipment in socks, but I was not able to tolerate it today.  By the time, I returned home my foot was hurting REAL bad and continues to bother me.  I am not sure if this is from playing a lateral sport like tennis in the wind in my running shoes, or running this morning, or because I don’t have the best feet.  But no matter what the reason, it sucks.

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So finishing up with my Number 4 thought is that I might not be able to run the Soldier Field 10 Miler this weekend.  Even though I am back to work and getting back to exercise, I am somehow still not over this illness and this morning’s 4 mile run confirmed that I am not ready to rock out 10 miles.  Very few times have I not participated in a race that I signed up for and I’ve done this race the past, like 5 years, and love it, but is it really worth it to push myself?  What do I have to gain?  And although my thought is that I will wake up pain free tomorrow and this sore foot thing will be a distant memory by Saturday…that just might not be the case.  I think that the BOY and I will still spend some time downtown (maybe hit up the Green City Market?!), and I am still planning to ride Lake Shore Drive for Bike the Drive on Sunday, but I have warned my running buddy that I may not make our 10 Mile Coffee date on Saturday.

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For now the only thing to do is to head to bed and see where tomorrow finds me, putting off decisions about this weekend until Thursday and crossing my fingers that my foot feels better (or that one of my coworkers can fix it)!  And of course cheer for the hawks…go Blackhawks!

 

Anyone else got Tuesday Troubles?

How do you decide what races to do?  Do you struggle to say no to races?

13.1 is Done!

So I feel like there were points leading up to this race where I feared it would be my first DNF (did not finish).  My training was either non existent (ie weekend in Memphis) or poor.  I struggled to get through my long runs and my heart just wasn’t in it.  Yet when I woke up this morning, I was ready for whatever the day threw  my way.  It certainly helped that my my parents met me at my house so we could drive together to the race.  The BOY, who is still sick, got to sleep in.

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What made this well-organized race so fun was the ease of getting there, the lack of crazy crowds, and the laid back vibe.  It’s actually at the same location where I ran the Hot Cider Hustle last fall.  Even better…the weather was PERFECT for a run!

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I easily found my friend and was looking forward to catching up again.  We’ve done a bunch of bike rides and runs together this year, including the Soldier Field 10 Miler.  About 5 minutes before the start of the race, we found our way to the start line.  I didn’t have a set plan, which is so not like me, but figured I would find a steady pace and do the best I could.

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I was so disorganized that I almost didn’t start my watch at the start.  The course weaves through a beautiful forest preserve.  My friend and I found an easy pace of running and conversation.  I was surprised at how good I was feeling as I trudged along.  I barely looked at my watch so I had no idea what my pace was but I still felt decent as we passed the 9:10 pace group with about 3 miles to go.  In the end, I even found a little kick as we raced to the finish line where my parents were waiting with cameras finishing just under 2 hours.

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Although I didn’t train to PR this race, I also didn’t want it to be my slowest race ever.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to maintain a 9:05 pace and finish feeling pretty darn good.

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The reward was lunch at Naf Naf.  The BOY’s choice but since he couldn’t join us we sent pictures!

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I spent the rest of my afternoon walking around the mall with my mom, which was probably great for my legs and sipping on Starbucks chai tea.  Now I am planted on the couch watching the Bears game and beginning to feel all of my muscles talk to me.  Thankfully, I have a well timed massage scheduled tomorrow!

10 Mile Coffee Date

It’s never too late to post a race recap…right?

 

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My Memorial Day weekend is definitely unique!  Instead of bouncing from BBQ to BBQ or joining my family at the lake (or my brother in Indy), I spent Saturday and Sunday on Lake Shore Drive.  I think that this was my 5th time running the Soldier Field 10 Miler (but don’t quote me on that).  I have run this race quickly and I have run this race more slowly.  This year, my plan was to run this race with my old coworker and friend.  We have been trying to find a time to get together and catch up, but both of our schedules are busy.  What better time to chat about patients and life than on a beautiful 10 mile morning run.

 

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For the first time, we decided to drive downtown Friday night after work and stay in the city.  That gave us some awesome dinner options.  I had the most untraditional pre race dinner EVER!  I laid off most of the cheese, but BBQ is way different than my typical whole wheat pasta with spinach, protein, and olive oil.  I still went to bed super early, knowing that I had an early AM ahead of me.

 

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The BOY drove me down to Soldier Field, where we met up with my friend and her brother.  He was running his first race, an ambitious and impressive 10 miler!

 

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As the national anthem began, we shed our layers and said our goodbyes to the BOY who went off to find a comfy seat in the stands.  We ended up starting in the second to last corral, which gave us plenty of time to chat before we even got close to the starting line.

 

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It was a gorgeous day for a run and we slowly made our way south down Lake Shore Drive quickly changing topics as we tried to share all of the stories we used to tell daily when our desks were next to each other at work.  We were running about 10 minute miles and stopped for bathrooms and water as a group as needed.  At the half way point, everyone was feeling strong.  The view back to Chicago is my favorite!  Being this far back, the pack never really thinned out so there was some mild confusion when I tried to suggest a ‘groupie’ in front of the skyline.  It ended up being a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ photo of my hands : )  Can you find me in the picture on the right???

 

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Not to worry…we got ourselves pulled together by mile 7!  Along with some video…which gave me an error the 3 times I tried to post it below.  Our newbie runner kept a consistent pace as we made our way back towards soldier field.  There wasn’t a dull or quiet moment throughout the 10 miles and despite our easy pace, I was surprised with how good I felt during my first 10 miler of the year.

 

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We crossed the finish line in style (with another video) and directly behind a wedding proposal.  I missed it but heard all of the congratulations.  Immediately, we began taking photos on the field (even though I was just here 2 weeks ago).  We met the BOY at the post race party for our celebratory free beer.

 

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I mean, even though we talked more than we ran, we earned it!  Ha ha!  The BOY earned his beer by being our gear check and photog.  And because he is overall totally awesome and was my bike valet all weekend!

 

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Our celebration was the perfect ending to our 10 mile coffee date and celebrating a first time runner’s incredible accomplishment!  I have run many races in my day.  As I am not a professional runner, I have always understood that my goal is not to win, but I like to run fast and challenge myself to beat myself.  However, one of the best lessons I have learned over the past few years is that not every race has to be epic, but that it can still be successful and memorable.  I’m also thinking that I need to schedule more 10 mile coffee dates.  Is anyone interested?

 

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Post race, the BOY and I went walking around Southport.  I had a Lulu gift card (it’s totally the way to my heart) burning a hole in my purse and we spent a good hour sniffing tea at the new Teavanna Café.  After shopping, it was time for some carbs…I still had a long bike ride ahead of me this weekend!

 

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And then…a 2 hour nap!  No joke, I slept for a full 2 hours before the BOY woke me up for dinner and the Hawks game.  Despite being in the city, we decided to have a quiet night in with some local Thai food.

 

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We got a recommendation for take out and we were not disappointed with our dinner.  Although the Hawks game was another story…

 

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I was back in bed at 10pm with an early alarm set for Sunday morning’s Bike the Drive.

I had the most wonderful weekend for soo many reasons (and I don’t even know my time for the 10 mile run).  It was great to be outside and active after the long winter we had, and also it was special to spend the weekend with the BOY before he dives head first into studying for the Bar.  Looking forward to being back on Lake Shore Drive again next year!

 

 

Do you race to race or race for fun?

Riding Free

Soldier Field 10 Miler + Bike the Drive

I wouldn’t have Memorial Day Weekend any other way!!!

 

This year, I’m going backwards with my recaps.  And since this is my 5th year in a row doing Bike the Drive, I attempted to get some different views from the drive.

 

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My alarm went off at 6am this morning.  I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t at all sore from yesterday’s 10 mile run.  I dressed in my festive (and very appropriate) Bike the Drive socks and was fueled, covered in sunscreen, and on my bike heading east towards the drive at 6:30am.

 

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This was only my second ride of the year, and I was psyched for the perfect biking weather.  During my first ride, my bike computer battery appeared low and this morning, it was downright dead.  I was annoyed for a second and then decided that it would be fun to just ride free.  No knowledge of speed, no knowledge of distance!

 

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I entered the drive at Addison heading south.  There were already tons of riders out enjoying the beautiful morning.  I think this event may have gotten more popular over the past few years.

 

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I got a chill as I pedaled quickly down towards Michigan Avenue.  I really was riding FREE!  Free to ride my bike through one of the busiest streets in Chicago, free of stress, free of expectations, free to go as fast or slow as I wanted, and free to make the day my own!

 

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I rode south towards the Museum of Science and Industry observing the famous Chicago landmarks and new parks and buildings on the way.  I saw this sign yesterday during my run but didn’t have my camera.  I was happy to be able to snap a photo of it today.  It just makes me smile!

 

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The museum was crowded as expected as everyone stopped to refuel and take photos in front of the museum.

 

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Including ME!  I didn’t stop long before starting my 15 mile trek north to Bryn Mar.

 

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One of my favorite things about Bike the Drive is watching every age, size, and ability come together on their bikes that also come in tons of different shapes and sizes.  This year had its fair share of dogs in costumes on bikes and people in costumes on bikes.

 

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I rode all the way back north to the next rest area where I took a little snack break.

 

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Then rode back to my starting point where I exited the drive and rode west to where we were staying.  After 3 hours on my bike, I felt awesome and super strong, but didn’t want to push past ~32 miles for just my second ride.  Yesterday, I refueled with beer carbs and today I went with the Starbucks run on our way back to the suburbs.

 

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I still feel surprisingly good for such an active weekend, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay awake much longer : )

 

 

Did you ride or race this weekend?

Do you have any Memorial Day traditions?

 

 

4 Years on the Drive

Bike the Drive 2013

Bike the Drive 2012

Bike the Drive 2011