Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Women Rock Chicago – the day before / Packet Pickup

September 26, 2014


Oh boy…where do I start with this one!?!?!  All of the Team Ortho events that I have done have had some sort of issue but this one was at an all new level.  I guess I’ll just start from the beginning.

So this is the 3rd race in a series of 4 that Team Ortho puts on in Chicago.  I registered back in January before the price increase and it was $79.99 plus I paid the $10 extra to get the medal (you get a necklace for finishing) and my total cost was $96.84.  I think that’s the most I’ve paid this year for a race.  Race date was scheduled for September 20th.  Then this was just put on the back burner because it was still so far away.

Fast forward to the end of June.  I was just about to sign up for a race in Columbus, IN and started double checking other calendars to make sure there wasn’t a conflict.  I notice on the Half Fanatics calendar there was a “note” next to this race name that said SNEAKY DATE CHANGE.  Whaaaaaat?  So I click on the link and sure enough they had changed the event date to the following Saturday, September 27th.  The same date as the race that I was about to sign up for.  I would have been furious if I’d registered for the (somewhat) local race and not known this.  And the kicker?  They NEVER DID send a notice about the date change; no email, no Facebook post, nothing at all.  RUDE Steaming mad

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th: Once again I was going to travel to Chicago via the Megabus.  I don’t have access to my downtown parking anymore and my husband’s schedule didn’t allow for him to drive me so thankfully my neighbor stepped in and got me down there.  And it was perfect timing.  As I was getting out of her car, the bus pulled up.  Luckily I found a seat on the lower level.  People were coming out from the upper deck complaining about how hot it was up there.  The air conditioner worked intermittently during our trip but for awhile I don’t think it was on at all.  I had sweat running down my back & chest.  About 30 minutes outside of Chicago, it kicked back on.  Side note: first time ever that the Megabus driver avoided all of the toll booths…interesting.

It was a lovely day in Chicago.  The sun was shining but it wasn't too hot.  Perfect weather in which to walk to the hotel.  Since Michigan Avenue is usually so crowded, I decided to stay a street west to avoid some of the crowd.  Its about a 3 mile walk from the bus stop to the hotel and although I didn’t have rush I did seem to walk fast and thus I worked up another sweat.  I arrived at the Inn of Chicago (we stayed here for Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago as well) and sat in the lobby to eat my lunch.  Afterward, I checked my bags and then walked to packet pickup.  I made the mistake last time of printing off DRIVING directions to a packet pickup location and got all turned around because “walking” suddenly was NOT an option.  And even though I had walking directions, I also mapped out an alternative route in case I ran out of sidewalk again.  This was to be another 3 mile walk.

But it was kind of nice because I’d never walked north up Michigan Avenue so I got to see some new sights:

The old water tower007009

The International College of Surgeons010

I was later told that this area is referred to as the Gold Coast and where Oprah used to live.  It did look very nice and upscale.

The MapQuest directions were on spot until I reach a park and then I’m wasn’t really sure which way to go other than to still head north.  There were some directional signs that pointed the way to Lincoln Park Zoo and packet pickup was near there so I continued on.  Then I came across this lovely area. As I neared the end of this walkway, I saw a sign stating that it was the Nature Boardwalk / Lincoln Park Zoo.


Then…I walked past the entrance to Lincoln Park Zoo and learned that it was free to enter.  This would become a stop on the way back.  I was also still a little unsure where I needed to go exactly so I found an information building just inside the zoo and was told that I was just two blocks from my destination.


Finally I see the sign for The Peggy NoteBaert Nature Museum where packet pickup was taking place.



Just the other day my husband & I were talking about bison.031033

Packet pickup was super easy and they DID have some merchandise that I was tempted to buy but I was good and didn’t.  I did go ahead and pickup my stuff for the Monster Dash which takes place next month.  I should be able to avoid packet pickup altogether but I bet I still go.  And I was actually able to go ahead and pick up my Women Rock medal while I was there.  Since I had to buy it - because they give out finishers necklaces - I guess they thought it didn’t matter.  I was torn with if I should get it out not but it would be one less thing I had to fool with on Saturday.


After getting all of my items and noticing that the “hunky” boys that I had seen earlier were no longer available for a photo op, I decided to leave.  The zoo was waiting for me after all. Smile


This area reminded me of Central Park046050057058060

Red Kangaroos065066072076080082

By now, it was close to 5:30PM and I still needed to walk back to the hotel so it was time to leave the zoo.  But a few more photos on my way back:


I was excited that my friend Laura – who had just moved to Chicago from Seattle – was going to be able to meet me for dinner.  I wasn’t excited that I still couldn’t check into the room and get freshened up.  We met at Noodles & Co had it was so much fun seeing her.  It had been almost two years. 

Finally to the hotel & MYMW is trying to check in but there was an issue with the initial credit card.  I don’t think we got up to the room until 9:00PM.  She left to get some dinner, I needed to go across the street to the 7-11 for supplies and her husband was still walking back from dropping of the U-Haul.  Although it was good to sit and chat with her once we were both back in the room, we stayed up way too late the night before a half marathon.  And her husband still wasn’t back yet.  My legs were aching from the 9+ miles I had walked during the day.  I think we went to bed between 11:00-11:30PM and JW arrived around midnight, which woke me up.  Race day would be interesting, I was pretty sure of that.

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