Tag Archives: spectating

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Looking Back:

I went full force into Bike-to-Work week earlier in June and had a blast!  It was the first week in a while (ever?) that I biked every day of the week to work.  Definitely noticed I was a little more hungry that week Smile but hey, maybe that’s what a girl needs to get some dessert! 

Biking in Chicago links I love:

  • Let’s Go Ride a Bike Blog – fun chronicles of a girl’s commuting in Chicago!
  • The Grid Chicago – informative on bike transportation politics
  • Bike Fancy – lovely portraits of cyclists seen in Chicago. A lot of photos around my neighborhood!

I also attended a blogger meet-up that week at the Jim Gibson 5K. I’m about 200 posts behind the other bloggers who posted right after the race, but here’s some fun photos from my spectating of the event:

Maggie & Amanda at a pre-race port-a-potty stop:

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The whole blogger group at a pre-race meet-up –

(Susan, Amanda, Maggie, me, Britt, Kelly)


Scene at the starting line: 

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First runners in: 

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First Blogger in – Kelly:

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Maggie (in pink):

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Looking Forward:

I’m “excitedly busy” and am happy about all the activity I’ve got going on!  It definitely helps not to be travelling for work as much anymore as I was last summer. 

I’ve got Chicago Triathlon (8/26) & Marathon (10/7) training & prepping for the Grand Haven Sprint Triathlon on my mind.  The Grand Haven Sprint is in two weeks (omg) and is in Michigan. Another fun mini trip!  I had a lot of fun on our 24 hour road trip for the Pleasant Prairie triathlon, and getting there early the day before definitely helped me feel more comfortable and ready for the race.  I hope we can do something similar for Grand Haven. 

I brainstormed some things I should work on for my triathlon preparations. I don’t expect to complete all of these before Grand Haven, but they’ll certainly put me in a better position to be ready for the Chicago Tri on 8/26! 

  • Open Water Swim at 1 mile distance
  • Bike to pool in AM
  • Morning bike rides – to Humboldt Park, Humboldt Blvd
  • Do some brick workouts (bike-to-run or bike-run-bike-run)
  • Get equipped for, and Practice changing a tire on my road bike
  • Get a bento box for my bike to hold ID, fuel, near my handlebars.
  • Try some runs and/or rides without socks.
  • Practice my transitions.  Maybe on the bike trainer, maybe outside. 

As I sketch out my training schedule for the next two weeks, I’m trying to figure out how to handle my long run next weekend.  This week is supposed to be my cutback week at CES, and next Saturday we’d run 13 miles – right before my triathlon.  Part of me wants to switch things up to meet my schedule perfectly, but I do enjoy running with the group! And I feel a bit of a sense of responsibility. I skipped this past weekend due to getting over a cold, and in resting up for the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon.  What’s a girl to do?

Just a few of the things on my mind.

What’s on your mind this week?  How is training going for you? 

Chicago Marathon 2011–Spectator Report

Yesterday I had the special privilege of spectating at one of the largest marathons in the world.  It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to a while, pretty much since I spectated at last year’s Chicago Marathon.

This has been a busy year and pretty much since last year I knew that I would be spectating at the Chicago Marathon. My future cousins (once I tie the knot!) got married this past weekend, and I knew we wanted to celebrate as fully as possible.  Which we did on Saturday night! We also had a friend visiting in town so there was some whooping it up on Thursday & Friday night as well. 

So Sunday was completely for the Marathon, and for me to cheer on 40,000 runners! Jerome (our houseguest), Mike & I woke up early after late nights out, and headed over to Lincoln Park to cheer the runners on around mile 9.5.  We brought along snacks and settled in along Sedgewick just in time for the wheelchair racers to come by.



It was amazing to watch them, and one interesting thing I learned this year is how much a difference in perspective makes.  I knelt down for a good portion of the wheelchair racers passing by, and was amazed at how much more detail I noticed.  Some had a leg extended, some had some feet tucked beneath their body (see 2nd photo).  Gu’s taped to the bike, just like how I stick or pin my gels to my shorts.

Shortly afterward (although just enough time to get a coconut water from the CVS), the pacing vehicles for the runners came by, followed by the front of the pack runners!



You’ll notice in the above Front-of-the-Pack runners that we’ve got a bunch of African runners, and then there is a white, blonde guy in the back of this pack, wearing a red singlet.  That would be none other than Ryan Hall, great American runner. He’ll end up placing 5th in the race.

Then we move onto the other crazy fast runners.  They just speed by you.  I try to reach my hands out and hope one of them will sweep me along to their 3:20 BQ finish.  No one jumped at that offer. 


We saw lots of runners.  Reviewing these photos they look more tired than I thought they did real time:




There was also some fun in people-watching the other spectators:




Cowbells are always appreciated!  You don’t have to yell your voice out.


I always love people who bring signs to cheer on their peeps.  This one said “How’s that mid-life crisis?” and they were out in support for a Chicago Police officer. 


I’m sure whoever was looking for the red Elmo balloons found their family & friends pretty easily.  I also saw balloons on the El subway trains later on in the day, people heading down to other marathon stops or even to the finish line. 

There was also some runners wearing interesting costumes.  Nothing quite as crazy as the Eiffel Tower last year, but still some interesting outfits:




Chefs, Batwoman, and Buzz Lightyear oh my! And tons of cool hats, and an orange-painted Dick Pond racer who went by way too quickly for me to get a photo. 

And then there were the people I know.


I saw this crazy girl (that’s Lilian!) and also saw Kayla from Running: My Anti-Drug in her Determination tank & red polka-dot running skirt!  Rhonda, from CES & running with TNT.  Joanne & Tim – you were both too fast for me to even see you!

On the “L” later on that morning, I saw my first Chicago Marathon finisher of the day.  This amazing man was walking around and dancing to the music while waiting at the Jackson stop. He was on my train and I got to hear some of his story.  He’s 67 and began running six years ago.  He’s completed 16 marathons, and Chicago 2011 was his PR. He wasn’t sure what his time was (clock said 3:26), but we looked it up and saw he ran a 3:23.  Amazing!  I hope I can be as strong as him as I mature!



It was a beautiful day, although hot for runners.  I hope everyone is recovering well and can’t wait to hear other people’s stories from yesterday! 

Halloween Monster Dash

Yesterday I cheered on some friends that were running their 1st Half Marathon at the Chicago Monster Dash! Jenna, Laura & I went out to cheer on Jen, Courtney & Heather. This is my Princess 1/2 Marathon group.

Although we (the cheerleaders) had been out late the night before, we rallied to meet at 8:20 to go cheer the other girls on.  We headed down to 47th Street where we thought the runners would pass mile 6 & 8, but we found… no one there. No one.  Luckily, iPhones let us check the website for the race, and we saw an update that the course had been changed THE DAY BEFORE!  Supposedly Mr. President needed to leave his Hyde Park home, although I don’t think we saw him out jogging along the lakefront to get to Air Force 1.

So, back into the car and rushing back up north toward Chicago Ave & the Lakefront. And a bridge was raised. I got out of the car for a few minutes to cheer runners on from way above the course. And then back into the car to zoom over to Chicago, find parking immediately (that’s never happened before for me in the Streeterville neighborhood!) and a dash out to the lakefront path for cheering.

We cheered and watched as the runners came by in costumes.  I saw many costumes. We kept a look out for our runner friends, and I think we missed the first runner – Courtney. We were around mile 10 but had been delayed due to our mishaps of the morning. 

Then we spent some good time cheering people on and also enjoying the scenery. Below are Jenna & Laura, with wonderful signs that Jenna made for us to hold.

We saw Heather come by, and cheered for her!  Then a little while later we saw Jen.  Jen’s the one wearing kitty ears.

We cheered for Jen – she was doing a great job with such a cool & windy day out! And once she was off again, we went back and strategized for next steps.  Brunch was next on the schedule, and we needed to make our reservation at the Kit Kat Lounge.

So after doing an auto-cheer by the finishing line for Courtney & Heather, we went up to Lakeview for our Diva’s brunch.  Free-flowing mimosas & bloody martinis, along with some bright halloween fangs: 

And then our lovely running ladies showed up in time for the drag show! And we ordered food. I had a lobster BLT sandwich, which was very delicious. There was a 2nd slider, but I ate that before the photo.

After brunch, we headed home. Everyone needed to rest & recover, whether from cheering, running, and from a busy day!  Great job Jen & Courtney & Heather! May you have great times & less wind at Disney!

Chicago Marathon Photos

On 10-10-10 I was a spectator at the Chicago Marathon.  M & I biked over to Lincoln Park, and cheered from just about mile 9.5 on the course. It was an awesome experience to cheer on so many runners, and get ideas on racing gear – technical or costume-like!  We watched from the first wheelchair racers until the walkers coming after the course was opened up.  Here are the photos: