Woke up at 10am. I had gone to bed at 9pm the night before in a fit of exhaustion, and slept all the way through for 13hrs. Felt tons better than yesterday, and even though I had gorged on an insane amount of pizza just the night before, the belly was now demanding blueberry pancakes, which I could not resist making.
Today was an open-water swim and a make-up run from yesterday. Liz planned on going downtown to the Nike Human 10K Race taking place at 7pm tonight, so my plan was to go down with her, swim at the lake, run at the lakefront, and then bike down to Soldier’s Field to catch her finish. With all the training, almost nothing around the house that fell into my department had been taken care of for almost a month now. Bike tires needed changing, tools put away, shift cables restrung, etc. I did as much as I could before our 3pm departure time for heading to Chicago. As a note: Even though we live in Chicagoland area, I compare going downtown to like crossing a state line. It’s not that easy to get down to and it is a completely different way of life.
The trip downtown was not grid-locked with traffic, meaning we covered the 30 miles of expressway driving in just over an hour. We made good time. Liz and I both brought our commuter bikes and I headed out north from Soldier Field to swim at Ohio Street Beach, about 4 miles away. This is when I experience my first ever, Urban Assault Paceline. It was amazing. The Lakefront Path was just packed with people, and I just so happened to be behind 3 riders, all on Huffy type bikes, all of who in a hurry, and just so happened to be the same direction I was going. Except, they need to get there NOW. I would have never expected these people to be as aggressive as they were, as usually that’s reserved for some dork wearing a TT helmet and in the aerobars on a multi-user path that’s only 6 feet wide. These were folks wearing fanny packs and gym shoes. The ride was a cacophony of them shouting “On your damn LEFT”, “Move it you stupid tourist”, and “Out of my Way”. They hammered through crowds, splintering families, breaking apart couples, and separating babies from their mothers. I sort of sat behind the UAP, just trying to look as casual as possible, but taking advantage of the blasted holes they made through the crowds. I do have to admit, I was a bit shaken at the carnage when I looked behind me.
The swim was a bit choppy, but since everyone had finished their training for the Chicago Triathlon, I pretty much had the entire stretch of Ohio beach for myself. Once the swim was over, I headed over to get my run gear on. I had failed to notice earlier that the bike racks were surrounded by sand, probably from wind/high tides earlier in the week. There was not one area not covered by sand for me to change without getting covered in sand, which would stick to me because I was still wet from the lake. I did a very sand-infused change into running gear and headed out for my run, with sand and grit everywhere.
Training for the Chicago Marathon is in full swing now, so there were lots runners out there. There was quite the variety of runners out there. Guys decked out in full UnderArmor outfits, beautiful bouncy girls in pink things, people wearing the tell-tale red shirt of the Nike Human Race as they jogged down to the start, and some guy who ran as far as I did in denim shorts, a white T shirt and Chuck Taylors. There was even a time where some guy blew past me at a 5min/mile clip, wearing headphones, and giving a drum solo with imaginary drum sticks.
With swim/run completed, I headed back to Liz just in time to see her come across the finish line. The Human Race had been 14,000 runners, and it was a pretty cool site to see a stream of red shirted athletes snake around the Soldier Field. Liz and I contemplated either going to the free Fall Out Boy concert taking place after the race at Soldier Field, or heading up to the Jazz Fest at Grant Park. Liz decided she wanted to check out the Jazz Fest first, as there was some time before the Fall Out Boy concert started. We took a very non-UAP ride up the Grant Park area, hit the vendors for Chicago style soul food, and walked around the Jazz Fest for a while. It was then decided that we should either stay, head to Fall Out Boy, or do something else. Liz looked over to Navy Pier, saw the lit ferris wheel on the horizon, and asked “Is that open?”
The ferris wheel at Navy Pier is a huge landmark that is hard to miss. It’s 150ft high and is basically the tallest thing on the waterfront. We bought our tickets, waiting in a fast line, and was immediately on our way up to a 150ft view of Chicago. It’s smooth like a slow moving elevator, so you don’t really realize you are moving, except everything on the ground gets smaller and smaller. You then realize that the only thing holding you from a 15 story plunge from your gondola is a thin plexiglass shield with “Romy Rulz” scrawled on it and a $5 handle holding closed. Once Liz had enough vertigo tainted joy, she decided we needed a drink to calm down. Thankfully Navy Pier has a cantina at almost every nook, and I got us a couple drinks that seem to be entirely composed of rum.
Then the fireworks show started. I’m not sure if it’s a weekend thing or a Labor Day only event, but there was a pretty good pyrotechnics display, worthy of our tourism dollars being spent there. It was a bigger show than what we have in Lisle on the 4th of July, and I just LOVE fireworks. So Liz and I sat there, drinking our cantina drinks, watching the show. I was starting to finally enjoy myself, having been soaked in lake water, coated in sand, sweat caked from a run, and now reeking of cheap rum. I also realized that I hadn’t had a bath since yesterday. I grabbed Liz and gave her a big hug.