Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Weekend away
day one part one

Oh my I feel like I am just waking up from a dream that I actually lived this past weekend. Jeff and I had a get away weekend in Chicago.
Just sitting at the airport together with no kids around was a treat.

I spent the whole plane ride learning how to use my new little underwater shock proof camera and read the whole manual.

I got a great deal on some new luggage this summer and was thrilled to have real luggage to use on a trip.

We stayed at the Drake Hotel on Michigan Avenue. By the first night we were calling it the Fake. They tried to put us in a horribly stinky smoking room because we had booked online at a discount hotel website. After minutes of insisting we were not sleeping in a room we could not breathe in, they magically found us a non smoking room. I would rather stay in a small bed a breakfast any day over a posh hotel with a bunch of people who seem to feel deserving of special treatment - I seriously felt a tad out of place in the elevator (that had a couch in it by the way) and under dressed but did enjoy the comforts of a nice bedroom with two bathrooms and yummy white sheets!
After we checked into the Fake we walked around looking for a place to eat. The night life was hopping. We finally found this little bar & grill that had no wait. It was extremely loud but the food was amazing. I wish I would have taken a photo of the pasta dish I had just so I could remember how amazing it was. I had plans to run at least 10 miles in the morning and indulged myself in as much pasta as I wanted - but ended up not being able to finish the entire plate.

The next morning I got up later than I hoped and decided to cut out my 10 mile day and just go shopping. I took a shower and then started to get dressed and then saw my running clothes sitting on the bench giving me the guilty stare. So I changed again put them on and decided to do at least 6 miles. (the fact I am training for a marathon seemed to be completely wiped from my brain)

This was the best choice I made the entire weekend. The hotel is right on Lakeshore drive by Lake Michigan. I felt like I was running in a race. It reminded me of running this summer in Central park in New York city.
I had no idea where I was going but just enjoyed running along the beach of the lake. A group of runners then made a turn to go over a bridge so I followed them. This was the bridge with awesome plants along the way.
It was fun to have no idea where I was going and hoping I could find my way back to the hotel.
I then noticed a finish lane for a race that must have just finished. So I ran underneath the finishing arch.
I then made another turn toward this statue as I am a sucker for a good monument. Good move on my part because all of a sudden I realized I was at the ...zoo!! What?? It came out of no where. It didn't cost money to get in, obviously, and was seamless to the parks and sidewalks around it.
I ran and enjoyed some instrumental music
saw some camels ( rode one of these in Morocco this summer)

and watched the monkeys and gorillas.

I then headed back to find the hotel and stopped off on the beach to document my visit

A high school cheer leading squad were getting group photos taken and the photos were darling. Who knew Chicago had a beach like that? For sure not me!
I had brought my water belt but did not need it because Fleet Feet had water tables set up along the running path with water and Gatorade. This to me was amazing. At first I thought it was for a race but it was just for Saturday runners.

Thanks Fleet Feet of Chicago - here is my plug for you in thanks for the Gatorade!!
in the park across from my hotel on Michigan avenue (busy street) there was a wedding going on in this little gazebo. I tried to take a photo of me with the wedding in the background as the uninvited guest but after 5 tries decided I should walk away before they asked me to leave.
I came back to the hotel, took my second shower for the day, enjoyed the complimentary white fluffy robe, laid on the crisp white sheets and screamed "I have the entire day to myself in Chicago woo hoo!!" (Jeff was in meetings all day)

This was one of those days where I was so happy I went running, just to think I would have missed all that!


Rachel said...

Next time we are going with you!! Looks like a blast!

Beth Soelberg said...

Chicago is my favorite city. I live about 4 hours away and have family there, so we get to visit once in a while...well, since the kids came, it's been a long while!

GORGEOUS photographs! I'm proud of the city planners for keeping the beach and parks along the immediate waterfront.

Sorry about your experience at The Drake - why would a hotel claiming to be so focused on service put you in a nasty, stanky room? At least it's in a good location.

Good for you for running!

Anne said...

What a fun run! I might be going to Santa Fe next week and was going to cut out my run, but you may have just inspired me.. (I say may, because even with inspiration I'm still completely lazy!!!)

Katie said...

Great pics. How do you run with a camera anyway?

Price Cream Parlor said...

Sounds like such an amazing time! I laughed out loud about your "I rode one of these camels in Morocco!" Hello! YOU have been to Morocco! Doesn't saying that out loud make you giddy? So dang cool!
I love how they had drinks out for Sat runners! So awesome! Enjoy the rest of your trip!
....those guilty running clothes will stare you down each time! :-)

Elizabeth said...

What a fabulous run. This is getting me excited for a weekend away with Kalani. I am going to go with him to a conference he has in San Francisco in November. First weekend away since we had kids. We are taking baby with us but he is such a happy guy he will be a delight to have along.

Laurie said...

I haven't been to Chicago but it's on the list. YAY for you!! Looks like you're having a blast.

denise said...

Sounds like a perfect day!

Lauralee said...

i totally thought you were going to say you were in an actually race..

good for you for going running..

the fake has some nice robes! I have never been to a hotel with robes before! way fun!

I love the lampshades on that chandelier above your table.. love them!

Chelsea said...

OH MY GOSH! The apt. building with the white stripes directly behind the restaurant you photographed is the building I used to live in--24th floor to be exact. How crazy! I love Dublins--they have the best sandwiches at lunch. What a fun time you must have had. Chicago is the greatest city every. I love your pictures--everything looks so familiar, it makes me sad. I'm so glad you went running and shared your pictures.

Liz said...

Hurray for you!

When Ben and I went to Chicago for his 10 year HS reunion several years ago, we stayed at this place called the "W". It was the strangest place ever. THe lobby was painted black, the furniture was black, they played the weirdest music...we felt like we were at a club!

Jenmomof4 said...

I have always wanted to go to CHicago to look around. I have been many times on layovers at Ohare. What great photos!

Missy :o) said...

How awesome! What a great start to your trip. Can't wait to see the rest!

The Trammell's said...

Can't wait to hear more about your trip. So glad you had a fun time!

stacy{s} said...

oh how i love chicago! i always wondered if it was just the midwesterner in me. so glad it was a great trip. it has such an amazing downtown. i seriously need to think about running. it looks like the best way to sight see to me. can't wait to hear more.

Jill said...

I love how adventurous and independent you are! I love all the pictures (that top one of you and Jeff is beautiful) and am so glad you took them even on your run. It's hilarious that you ended up running through the zoo! That gorilla needs some's obscene!

I'm so happy that you got to have time alone like this!

Amanda L. said...

That sounds like the most perfect and wonderful day!

So glad you two got to spend some time together.

Anonymous said...

I so enjoy the detail that you give on all your posts, but particularly on your travel adventures. It feels like I am right there. I am so glad you had a wonderful time.

Barb said...

Good times! My dh went on his mission to Chicago and we have visited it once together. I'd love to go back.

Rachel said...

L-U-C-K-Y! :)

Jennifer said...

Oh I LOVE Chicago and so nice that you and Jef had a getaway. Even a short one can be so refreshing! Much deserved I'm sure!

dani said...

What a dream, i love Chicago! That's such a cute picture of you and Jeff too :)

Fecture T. Mice said...

I'm so jealous. I can't remember when we last left our kids. It is overdue. Great for you and Jeff!
By the way, you and your photo trigger finger would drive me crazy :)
Terry L.

dougandcheryl said...

It's a great city isn't it? We live north of Chicago and I love going down there to visit. We go to the Lincoln Park Zoo a lot. I also love the aquarium and the American Girl store!

michelle said...

Kristi, I love your photo-documentation! So wonderful that you had time all by yourself in the city. Totally reminded me of being in San Francisco by myself and just wandering and exploring, SO fun!