Monday, April 7, 2014

Abe Lincoln Half Marathon...

Friday was my birthday.

To celebrate, Jeannie and I went down to Springfield on the Amtrak.  I rarely am in Union Station and it's always so majestic in there.
In Springfield, we were staying a block away from the State House building.
 Did I mention it was windy?
It was extremely windy and quite cold.  We were a little worried.

I took Jeannie to Maid Rite.
It's the original location and the first drive through restaurant in America.

Jeannie was a little nervous, because she's never heard of a "loose meat sandwich".  

I don't know if she became a convert, but she admitted that they were tasty little burgers.  We talked to the proprietors for a little bit and they told us the whole history of the place.  It opened in 1900 and was a registered restaurant in 1924.  They became the first restaurant in the world to over drive through service.  Very cool.

After our lunch, we headed over to the Abraham Lincoln Museum. One of the gifts Jeannie got me were Abraham Lincoln socks.

If you haven't been to the Lincoln museum, you need to go.  It's the most technologically advanced museum I've ever been to.  It's really a marvel and wonderfully educational.

After the museum we made our way to the Hilton.  You see, our trip to Springfield wasn't for my birthday.  It was for the Abe Lincoln Half Marathon.  At the expo we picked up our packets and got our shirts.  It's easily the best race shirt I've ever received.
Because it was so cold, we grabbed a Zipcar and went to the mall to get some warmer running gear.  Jeannie grabbed some gloves and ear warmer and I bought some running tights.  We then grabbed dinner at The Olive Garden and loaded up on some carbs.

The next morning we got up early and went to the old state house for the start of the race.  

It was a smaller sized race than we had run in before so there were no corrals.  There were just a little over 2000 runners and we all gathered on the corner as Mary Todd and Abe gave an inspiration speech to encourage us through our long race.

The race started when a group of Union Militiamen fired their rifles.  

And, we were off.

Here's the thing about this race.  Our first 1/2 Marathon, Jeannie and I finished in 2 hours and 10 minutes.  Our second 1/2 Marathon, we finished in 2 hours and 4 minutes.  Jeannie felt like she hadn't trained as hard for this race so she just didn't want to finish worse than our other 2 races.  

I figured that meant she wanted to finish close to 2:10, which was 10 minute miles.  

However, when we started, she was going faster than that.  We creeped up on the 2:05 pace setter and she asked if we could pass him.  I was surprised by that, but I thought that gave me free reign to bump us up a bit.  

We cruised along and I really enjoyed all the sights of the capital that we ran around.  

At mile 4, we hit our first hill.  It was slight, but more of a hill than we're used to in Chicago.  Past mile 6 hit a few more hills.  At mile 8, we turned the corner and I saw my mom and sister.  
Jeannie was real excited when she saw them.

She was especially excited to see that they made us signs.  She's always wanted someone to hold up a sign with our names on it as we ran so it made her so happy.  
You'll also notice that the right side of Jeannie's body is totally wet.  I didn't notice it until I looked at the pictures.  At the end of the race, she wasn't wet at all.  "How were you sweaty at the middle of the race, but not at the end?" I asked her.  "It wasn't sweat," she told me.  "I tried to drink a whole cup of water as I ran and spilled it all over myself."

After mile 9, we went into the cemetery and I knew we were going to hit some substantial climbs.  I've visited Lincoln's Tomb several times and I knew we were going to run up some hefty hills.  They were pretty brutal.  They didn't zap us, but they definitely slowed us a bit.  We were running 9:02 miles and the hills in miles 9 through 12 knocked us down to 9:28.  

As we headed down the final stretch, I knew we were close to hitting a significant goal.  My Nike running app was telling me that we were ahead on time, but that app is not always dependable.  As we turned the corner to the old State House, my phone chirped and I looked down and knew we had to hurry.  We sped up and crossed the finish line and I really thought we'd made it.  We got our time and my stomach dropped.

We just missed it.  We were 8 seconds away from finishing in under 2 hours.

So close!

The hills had definitely slowed us down.  They weren't monstrous hills, but were much tougher than we'd ever run.

We were very happy to have beaten our previous 1/2 marathon times, but it would have felt so great to have shaved that time below 2 hours.  Something to shoot for, I guess.

We grabbed our awesome medals...

Took our photo with Abe and Mary Todd 

Got a better look at the posters my sister Jeni made for us...

And then went to Monicals Pizza and I ate my face off.

For some reason, they served us a pizza that had one of the edges completely missing.

Jeannie likes the extra tiny slices.

My sister Amy in the background wasn't that amused.

It was a great trip.  Great birthday.  Great Race.  And, all around great time.

Friday, March 7, 2014


In Atlanta doing a corporate gig for the company that I used to work for.

We were there for a big, busy set of meetings.

I wasn't expecting it to be so chilly in Atlanta. It was so cold and rainy that I had to buy a new sweatshirt.

It was great getting to see a bunch of folks who I used to work with.

Rob and Will.

And, Scott and Lisa.

Somehow, I didn't get a photo of Lisa. I'll get her next time. We have a few more big events in the next couple of weeks.

We were next door to a Sprinkle's Cupcake shop.

Sadly, the only southern style food I got to eat was a biscuits-n-gravy breakfast.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone 5

Saturday, February 8, 2014


I'm back on a cruise ship for two weeks. It's been fun and weird getting my running acclimated to the warm weather.

The temperature was 86 degrees as I ran, which is quite a difference from the polar vortex temps I've become accustomed to this winter in Chicago. It was so hot that as I ran on the track, I would step in little puddles from the crew washing the deck. On my return lap, my footprints had completely burned away. It was hot.

Here's my view as I run.

One of the weird things about cruising is that you see people come on to the ship carrying huge bags of luggage, but the old guys on the ship wear the same outfits every day. This old guy has worn the same florescent workout show every day of the week. How can I tell? Because he even wears it to the evening performances of the shows and his Dry Fit Tech shirt glows every night in the audience.

Old guys act weird on cruise ships. Sometimes you go to the library and they'll fall asleep and snore so loudly that no one can concentrate on their books.

Some times they sit across from you for an hour and pick their nose the whole time they're there.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

San Antonio...

It's been awhile since I posted, but please know I'm still running. Most of it's done here.

At the gym. Treadmills, as we all know, can be so tedious.

I have been braving the cold and running outside lately, but it's been tough. I ran on Friday and was so happy to be outside, but then the rain came pouring down and I came home completely drenched and frozen solid. I was like a big, dripping icicle.

Now, we're in Texas for the holidays. It was so great to head out and run in the relative warmth and bright shining sun.

However, Texas is not Illinois. There are hills in this part of the country. This photo does not give you a true perspective.

This hill almost killed me! It went straight up for half a mile.

It's also fun to run in Texas because you see less geese on the path and more cactus!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Girl and Her Salad...

Last night we went to a meeting at Second City.

We got to see our dear friend Kelsey!

After the meeting was over,  our friend Brynne asked us if we wanted to take home one of the left over pizzas.

Look, I'll eat pizza every day and twice on Sunday, so there's no way I'll turn down a free pizza.  (Full disclosure, I did actually eat pizza twice this past Sunday.

As we were leaving, Brynne asked if Jeannie wanted the unopened salad bowl as well.  They were going to throw it out unless someone wanted it.  Jeannie said, Sure.

Well, the salad bowl was a lot bigger than we realized.

Jeannie ended up carrying it around for the rest of the night.
 Here's a picture of me, holding the salad, while trying to take a picture of Jeannie and some friends.

She does love salad.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November, so far...

It's been a busy November.  Not so much in doing anything exciting, but busy in the fact that I'm constantly doing something.

6 out of 7 days I'm working at 1616 North Wells or at 3641 North Clark.

I'm also still out on the Lake Shore running path 4 days a week.  It's been cold lately, but the trees have been beautiful.

You can't beat that.

Here are some updates.

We went on a desert crawl in Andersonville with our blogging friend, Declan, his wife and their adorable daughter.

Monday, my sister Melissa was in town for a work conference.  We took her to Lillie's Q in Bucktown.

A lot of our friends have told us that they have great BBQ and they were right.  It's really the best BBQ I've had so far in Chicago.

I tivo'd the Bears game so I could watch it in it's entirety when we got home.  It was tough being on media blackout for the game because it was everywhere.

Holy smokes I was excited that the Bears won that game.

If you haven't listened to our movie podcast lately, we've got some really funny new episodes.  We've recorded 83 episodes.  We're almost through all 100 movies on the AFI List of the 100 Greatest Movies.

You can listen to all the episodes from your computer here.

Or, download the individual episodes on iTunes.

Here's A Streetcar Named Desire.

Philadelphia Story

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Saving Private Ryan