Greetings from New York! Last we heard, I was waiting for my flight to Chicago – we took off an hour and a half late due to high winds in the area, but I made it safely to Chicago so it all worked out fine. As usual, the trip went way too fast and I’m back in New York feeling like I just left. I’m lucky I got to make a super long weekend out of it (Eric stayed in New York to save vacation time), but it always seems like I have all this time at home, and then it’s over! Or maybe it’s because we did so much while I was in Chicago, which makes time fly. But here’s a recap of the fun we had…
My parents have a 14 pound miniature pinscher mix named Jax who just wants to be everyone’s friend and sit in everyone’s lap. My mom brought him to the airport to pick me up, and he was shaking with excitement in my lap the whole way home. Quite the welcome home! I had a late lunch and then hung out and made dinner with my mom while waiting for my dad to get home. He made good time and got home around 5pm, hooray. Maryland (my alma mater) played Illinois (my dad’s alma mater) in basketball on Thursday night, so we watched while Maryland crushed Illinois – not an unexpected outcome. We rented the movie Spotlight for the night, which was a really good movie…obviously, since it won best picture.
Friday I woke up and did one of my favorite things to do at home – I ran! I started running in sixth grade, and I’ve been running my regular routes since high school. My parents’ house is right near my high school, so I just stick with the routes I ran for four years – pretty simple. My favorite run is an out and back (Pheasant Trail to Freeman, if anyone knows that route…) which I love because it has enough turns to keep it interesting while actually being quite straight and some rolling hills which mixes it up a bit. Plus, it ends on a downhill so it’s fun to fly at the end. I wondered if my legs would be a little tired from traveling, but they certainly were not! I took off at what felt like an easy sub-8 pace and went from there. The route roughly divides itself into thirds, so it is over pretty quick. On the way back, I was really picking it up and my last two miles were 6:41 (whaaaat?) and 6:57. I’ll take it.
My mom and I ran some errands during the day – Joann Fabrics to pick up something for our craft time, and we stopped by a local bakery to pick up so packzi. My dad was getting his haircut a few weeks ago, and a bunch of Polish people were there. He mentioned that I had gone to Poland a couple years ago, and they started talking about packzi, a famous Polish pastry. I’ve never heard of them, but apparently it’s a big thing to eat on Fat Tuesday. They come in many flavors with different fillings – I basically think it’s like a jelly doughnut, but the word on the street is that Polish people don’t like when you call it a doughnut…so you didn’t hear it from me. We picked up three flavors to try – blueberry, raspberry, and apricot. I wish they had a chocolate filling, but fruit will do. My dad and I agreed that the apricot was the best.
Once we returned from our errands, my mom and I had some sewing time. My mom is really good at sewing – she made her wedding dress back in the day. (43 years ago on Thursday – happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!) She also made many of our clothes growing up, and now she’s into making purses and quilting. Anyway, she tried to teach us to sew many times, but it never really stuck. It’s fun to make a project with her when I’m home, as I can sew under her guidance, but that’s about it. We decided to make a scrub hat this time – I have to wear a hat at work, so we figured we’d make one! I don’t know if I’ll actually wear it at work, but it was something different to do and turned out great.
Friday evening, my dad and I headed to Highland Park (about 40 minutes east of where I grew up) to watch Son of Saul, which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. We had a BBQ dinner near the theater before heading in – the place was EMPTY when we were buying tickets, so we figured we didn’t need to be there too early. We showed up about ten minutes before show time and realized that it seemed empty because it was one of those theaters with cushy reclining seats! Luckily we scored seats that weren’t in the front row (front row + subtitles = no good) and got to put our feet up!
The movie was in Hungarian (as we knew) with some German mixed in for hopefully obvious reasons. I’ve seen a fair amount of movies involving the Holocaust, and this was certainly one of the more graphic, if not the most graphic. I’ve read a lot about the Holocaust and visited Auschwitz and the movie still made me want to look away at times. What a horrific time in history. There was also a little bit of a plot line involving the main character trying to bury his son, which left you thinking. Worth checking out if it’s in your area, although it’s certainly not a feel good movie.
My plan was to do my long run on Saturday. With only a couple weeks to go until the NYC Half, the runs should be getting shorter. After last week’s 14 miler, I decided I wanted to do a short taper because I was feeling good, but this run definitely changed everything. I felt a little off when I woke up – kind of tired with a funny feeling throat and a stomach that felt off. Here we go anyway…
I decided to do the same out and back and because it’s easy to mix up the mileage depending how far I wanted to go. I told myself to keep the pace easy, which wasn’t hard to do. Pretty sure I was feeling it from the speed the day before, plus I just didn’t feel that great. When I was four miles out, my stomach really wasn’t happy with me and I felt like I needed a bathroom. I took a small break and the feeling passed, but I decided to cut the run down to ten miles instead of twelve miles. One more mile out, and then I get to head home. Well, I did the mile out and back, and then I REALLY felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. A strip mall with a gas station was down the road, so I walked there and was super thankful for the clean bathroom in the gas station. Oof.
I headed the rest of the way home and admittedly still didn’t feel that great. I averaged 8:12 pace, but I had a long break in there for the bathroom. I’m just getting the bad runs out of the way before race day, right? I hope so.
After lunch, my mom and I went shopping for some boots – I’ve been looking for ankle-ish black boots, but I despise shoe shopping and don’t really like shoes much anyway, so I can’t really find what I like. (I like ones with heels, but I can’t walk in heels, but I don’t love any short ones I’ve found. It’s rough, I know.) Fortunately/unfortunately, spring is here so everything was on clearance and a mess to sort through. We left empty handed.
Dinner was at Buffalo Wild Wings with my running BFF Katie and her husband. Katie and I met the first day of high school cross country practice, and the rest is history. She also inspired me to run my first marathon, and we see how that turned out. Buffalo Wild Wings is always high on my list of places to go when I’m home – I don’t care if it’s a chain or what people think of the food, I think it’s delicious. And of course it’s always good to catch up with friends and drink giant cups of water.
I skipped running because I still felt oddly rundown and my throat still felt weird. (Do I feel sick? No. Do I feel amazing? No.) My mom and I ran a few errands before I met up with my other best friend Katie for lunch and an afternoon hang. She has a baby who was definitely sick this weekend (yikes!), but he was on the upswing on Sunday, which was good. It’s fun to see how much he changes between my visits home – I’m hoping for some words and walking next time. And no sickness, please! Driving to meet her, I realized how I remember less and less each time I’m home. I can drive places by memory, but I remember fewer street names each time I go home. Luckily, I still remember how to drive!
Sunday night, my parents and I headed into Chicago to see a show at Up Comedy called #DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment. Seeing as I met Eric on OkCupid, my mom thought it would be a good fit. The funny part being that neither of my parents know much about online dating, ha. The show is about a women who created a bunch of fake profiles for “undateable” people and the interactions she had with people. Many of them sounded familiar (not that I think I was undateable!), and it brought back some memories. They threw in some songs and improv, so it was a good show. If you’re in Chicago and looking for a laugh (especially if you have any experience with online dating), you should check it out! I believe they’ll be there through the end of May.
We came home and watched the movie “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy, which was quite good for an action/comedy combo.
I woke up still feeling a little “meh,” but I figured a short run would probably do me good. And if it didn’t, at least it was only a short run! I attempted to pack light for the trip, which didn’t serve me too well when it was 55 degrees and I only had my winter tights with me. Tights and a tank it is! Mixed up my route and headed into downtown Palatine – another out and back on my list! I thought my legs were going to be dead, but an average pace of 8:04 felt pretty easy, so hooray.
Post-run (and shower), my parents and I headed into Chicago to go to the Field Museum. The Field Museum just opened an exhibit called “China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors,” so I wanted to check it out! My parents went to China a few years ago, so they saw the terra-cotta warriors in person – but at least this didn’t involve a long plane ride. The museum brought over about ten of the terra-cotta warriors along with my other relics. It’s fascinating that everything is over 2000 years old, but was only discovered about 40 years ago. It could still have gone unnoticed, and they still have a lot more to unearth and find. It was a great exhibit and being a Monday, the museum wasn’t too crowded. Hooray!
The Field Museum is also home to Sue, the largest t-rex ever found. I remember when they first put Sue in the museum, although I can’t remember the last time I visited the Field Museum. Some of the exhibits seemed like they definitely needed to be updated, but overall it was a good visit.
We made it home in pretty good time, and it was still beautiful out, so I decided to take Jax for a walk. It’s less of a walk and more of a “run from tree to tree peeing on everything,” but it was still nice. I’m not convinced he actually peed on everything and instead just faked it.
To relive our trip to Vietnam, my mom and I made Vietnamese summer spring rolls from a cookbook my dad gave her for Christmas. I think the “summer” part comes from the pineapple that was in the spring rolls, which added some nice flavor. Those spring rolls are kind of difficult to put together and make them look presentable, but they were delicious so I’ll take it.
We finished the evening by watch The Bachelor: The Women Tell All, which wasn’t too exciting. Most of the women seem to lack self awareness which is what led to most of the drama. And Ben just seems like a really nice guy, so he didn’t create too much drama himself. (Yet, ha.) My dad and I then watched the first hour and a half of Blood Diamond before we decided it was time to go to bed.
And that is all! We left around 7:30 to head to the airport – a few tears were shed, but we made it. New York greeted me with 60+ temperatures, so I’m writing this while my lunch settles so I can head out for a run! I’m not sure when I’ll head back to Chicago next, but I’m always thankful for fun trips home and family that makes it hard to leave. (And to Eric for doing laundry while I was gone – hooray!)
Do you live far from home? How often do you head home? Luckily it’s a quick two hour flight from New York to Chicago – I’ve been making it home about two times per year, although I’d like to make it home more often. I enjoyed a good mix a staying at home and venturing out to see things while in Chicago.