February 14, 2014
For the first time in 20 years, I would be spending Valentine’s away from my husband. But since the half marathon that I was supposed to do LAST weekend got postponed to this weekend…it was unavoidable.
I left my house around 11:00AM since I had to stop at my Mom’s first before picking up my brother at his house. I guess I had only paid half attention to the local weather forecast because I was completely caught off-guard by the blizzard-like conditions that I was all of the sudden driving in. I could barely see in front of me and the traffic coming from the west on I-70 must have been even more surprised because there were multiple accidents and slide offs. I said a little prayer and hoped for safe travels the rest of the way. Normally the drive to my Mom’s would take about an hour and 15 minutes but this time it took almost 2 hours. Needless to say I didn’t stay at her house for very long and headed to my brothers so we could load things up and get under way.
We loaded all of his stuff up, then made a quick trip to Taco Bell so he could get some lunch (I ate mine on the way to his house) and we were back on the interstate around 2:45PM. I wasn’t really worried about getting anywhere by a particular time because the race didn’t have packet pickup until in the morning.
Oh my travel conditions did NOT get any better as we were driving east. We never even went fast enough to hit the speed limit until we were about 30 minutes outside of our destination; Marion, Illinois. I had to pull over once on an random on/off ramp to clean the windshield and the wipers. Wish I had taken a picture of the window. The only area that wasn’t covered in ice was the area that the wipers were “trying” to keep clean. We were back on the interstate after just a few minutes. We made another stop in Ina, IL – mostly to use the bathroom – and cleaned the car again. This time I remembered to take a picture. You can see how iced over the front is. It was tough getting it off the lights!
Since Illinois is on Central Time, we gained an hour so once we drove past where our hotel was, we drove to where we thought the race start would be. The address was unclear but we had a pretty good idea within a mile or so and headed back and checked in at the Hampton Inn. After unpacking and getting settled in, we tried to decide what to do for dinner. I’m a traditionalist so of course I wanted pasta from somewhere but because of my brother’s Crohn’s Disease he’s a little most limited with choices. The other problem was that it was Valentine’s evening so most places were probably going to be packed! We both agreed that a take-out option from anywhere was probably the best option. Initially we were going to get food from Logan’s Steakhouse but I didn’t see a pasta option on their online menu. My brother said that Applebee’s would work for him so (YAY!) I was able to order my usual Three Cheese Penne Pasta with Chicken. #RespectTheStreak. As we headed down to the lobby to start the car and let it warm up to go get our food, I discovered that we were right next door to it! AND…I found a gift card that still had $13.00 on it so my meal was just under $7. NICE!!
We just hung out in the room and watched the Olympics until it was time for bed. We didn’t have to shut things down too early because the race wasn’t scheduled to start at 9:00AM and I got a reply on Facebook about the start line/packet pickup area so we felt confident were we needed to go in the morning. We decided we’d leave the room at 8:00AM so I set the alarm for 6:00AM.