It's no secret that I adore fall...and winter.
Needless to say, this time of year has me in good spirits.
Anytime I can walk outside with a sweater, jeans, boots and a scarf on is a good day.
It's also the time of year when my mailbox gets flooded with holiday cheer in the form of catalogues.
I don't buy from these companies, nor do I hear from them during the rest of the year, but somehow they find me around mid-October and tempt me with cozy knits, furry boots and outerwear that makes me swoon.
I'm a sucker for this stuff.
Because of my work, I have been on the road quite a bit meaning that getting back to cooler climes this time of year takes on new meaning. Fall can look very different in Las Vegas than it does in Boston. Seattle has a different shade of fall colours than Charlotte.
It's always an adventure.
What doesn't change are the sights and sounds in the windows of shops...pumpkins galore; deep oranges and reds; and sparkling lights that twinkle into the night.
This is also the time of year that means my running training is nearing it's payoff.
A couple of weekends ago I ran in the Chicago Marathon.
The day started off great with friends...we headed to the start in the chilly air as the sun began to climb higher in the sky casting its pale light on nervous faces and twitching muscles.
The Chicago Marathon queue is like no other.
They position you according to your expected finish time and the masses all jostle for position near Millennium Park. Getting into the queue is a feat unto itself and once you are there you are standing for minutes (what seems like hours) before you get to the start. I was grouped with the 4h 30m finishers.
Things start when you toe the starting line...we were off!
Unfortunately, I couldn't warm up during the race...I remained pretty chilly throughout. We crossed through the Loop, hit the streets of Wrigleyville and then into Boystown. We crossed by North Shore before heading back into downtown. Then it was out to UIC, Pilsen and Chinatown (which for me always go by in a blur). It's only when I'm heading back along Michigan Avenue toward the finish that I regain my senses and really soak in what I am about to accomplish.
Here's what I love about that race.
The spectators. The people along the way that cheer you on.
They are incredible.
They hand out candy and oranges and hope.
They offer water and Gatorade and smiles.
They rattle their cowbells, shout your name and give up high fives by the dozen.
THAT is why I love that race.
I had a good day out there and had a personal best of 4h 7m.
It was awesome to finish in that time.
I've been taking it easy since trying to mentally prepare myself for October 27 when I will be running the Chicago 50K. I know that race will be much more of a mental battle than a physical one. I'm excited to give it a go!
For this moment, though...I'll enjoy looking at those catalogues that have been stuffed in my mailbox... I see a great pair of boots I
must would like to have!