Tag Archives: soldier field


So I’ve got some bad news.

Jurgen Klinsmann did not select me for this years World Cup team. I know it’s hard to believe considering I’m 1) female and 2) retired as of 10 or so years from traveling teams whose international experience included little more than a random exchange student, but still. Those ESPN 30 for 30 episodes were really motivating. And like several of our UNMNT guys this year, I’m part German! But I’m not bitter. I don’t blame coach K. And unlike Landon Donovan, I’m not going I go all Kanye on you guys.

kanye west imma let you finish world up, brasil, landon donovan, jurgen klinsmann

Instead, I’m slide tackling straight into these World Cup games with my vuvuzela in hand and American flag wrap dress on.

I love World Cup years for many reasons:

  • I like soccer.
  • It’s the only time soccer is treated like a legit sport in America. Everywhere else it’s a religion, yet we’re still over here like hey it’s Saturday morning and my 6-year old is in charge of treats today. Not that there’s anything wrong with youth soccer and post-game treats. In fact, I wish that whole treat thing continued on through college. My personal favorite were fruit roll-ups and those foil-topped mystery juices followed closely by kudos bars andcapri suns.

  • I find it fascinating to see the support that international soccer fans have for their teams. Let’s get serious, they are on a completely different level than us and it’s awesome. Minus those beheadings. Beheadings are not awesome.

  • The World Cup gives us a chance to learn the difference between Balotelli, Batali and Bertolli. Key distinctions we need to make in order to not sound like idiots when talking to someone about the games.
    balotelli, bertolli, mario batali, world cup, soccer, why I love the world cup
  • It’s where, in 1994, my dad went to great lengths to allow his two daughters, ages 10 and 13, to experience the highest level of soccer. I still remember the size of the tickets. The time it took to for us to trek to the top of Soldier Field and nestle ourselves between the packs of Spain and Bolivia fans, increased only slightly by my sister’s crutches as she recovered from a soccer-induced knee injury. I probably wore my Give Blood, Play Soccer shirt and black Umbro shorts. My cousins in similar soccer swag. And while I remember little of the game itself, I can still recall the non-stop chants from the opposing sides as they willed their teams to win.

Dad’s dedication didn’t stop there. He was our soccer driver, advisor, non-emergency medical provider, weather reporter and shoe conditioner. He sacrificed his favorite sport so that we could play ours, something that may have gone unnoticed during our teenage years, but is that much more appreciated now that we are adults.

So it seems fitting that when discussing an event as significant as a World Cup, that I also celebrate the person responsible for giving me that love. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Stock up on sunblock because I’ve got a lead on 2022 tickets in Qatar!



An 8 mile running tour

I wrote this post on my run last night. Pretty impressive huh? And you thought texting while walking without incident was an accomplishment. You’ll understand how I managed this in a minute.

As you probably know by now, I’m less than 2 months out from my first marathon. I know you probably think I’m crazy and perhaps I am, but I’m raising money for a good cause and someone informed me that 6 half marathons don’t count as 3 full ones so I really have no other option at this point than to just run the full one. Why not, right?

Training for any race takes a lot of time, and at this point in our marathon training, mid-week runs are just about as long as the long runs were for half marathon training. Still with me?

Regardless of mileage there are days I just don’t feel like running. Often on these days, I try to rationalize reasons not to run. Like the fact that Finn is just having too much fun at the park with his buddies to go home now, or that I’m trying to like my new shoes but they seem to hate me, or how many errands I could catch up on in the 1,2 or 3 hours I am scheduled to run that day.

And then I realize how lucky I am to be able to run. To have the physical ability to run at all, let alone a distance I’ve never reached before. To have some responsibility but not too much that I can’t make time to get the necessary miles in. And to have a city like Chicago in which to do it.

I think about people who run in the middle of nowhere. Those who muscle through lookalike neighborhoods, country roads or hilly landscapes and may not even come across another runner their entire workout. I like those locations on occasion, but to be able to train for this race in a city like Chicago is pretty cool.

And so I bring you along for a short 8 mile run through the city I love.

Chicago running tour sites

Mile 1.

Confession: I don’t have a picture of mile 1. I don’t have a picture of mile 1 because I didn’t consider this as a blog post topic until mile 3. That and mile 1 of my run doesn’t have too much to look at. It isn’t until mile 2 along the river that I ever feel the urge to snap a photo. Mile 1 is typically filled with jealousy of the post-work crowd enjoying a happy hour beer on a patio as I try to rid my legs of lactic acid. Yay for mile 1.

Mile 2.

chicago running tour wrigley building trump tower

Mile 2 runs along the Chicago river, past Trump Tower, the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower, under Michigan Avenue and towards Lake Michigan. Boat tours are frequent, as are urban kayak locations and tourists.

Mile 3.

chicago running tour lakefront path lake michigan

You spend most of mile 3 along the lake path. In the summer, the harbor is filled with boats of every kind. In the winter, ice. This is also the area where you will encounter the heaviest foot traffic. Great people watching. Watch out for the goose poop.

Mile 4.

chicago running tour lakefront path lake michigan buckingham fountain skyline

Mile 4 continues along the lake path where you can get caught up in the vastness of Lake Michigan. Look right, however, and you catch a glimpse of Buckingham Fountain and the iconic Congress Hotel. On Wednesdays, listen to the sounds of Jazzin’ at the Shedd as you wind the curve towards the Arboretum. Don’t forget to look back and see one of the best views in the city. Turn around quickly though or your sure to get run over by a hardcore cyclist.

Mile 5.

chicago running tour lakefront path lake michigan shedd aquarium soldier field the field museum

If you could absorb knowledge by running past the museum campus, I’d be a genius by now. And if Soldier Field counted too, I’d probably be a lot faster. Mile 5 takes you past Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field and Shedd Aquarium again. Can you tell I make a turn around at mile 5? Head back towards the city, but don’t miss the Field Museum. It’s mammoth in size and exhibit.

Mile 6.

chicago running tour state street chicago board of trade essex inn grant park

Are you tired yet? Because you’ve been running around in my head all day. Just kidding. But seriously, this is the point in the run where my blog-induced photo stops caused a lovely dose of abdominal cramps. Note to self: mental photographs don’t cause cramping. Mile 6 takes you through Grant Park and back through the loop. You will almost never catch a green light on State Street except the evening when you are planning on taking a picture of it. By now the Board of Trade is dead and you can stand in the middle of the street without concern. I don’t advise trying this during trading hours.

Mile 7.

chicago running tour willis sears tower

Mile 7 features the What’chu talkin’ bout Willis Tower. Known to many as the Sears Tower. Well half of it in this case. Those clouds provided an amazing drop in humidity and temperature. I love you clouds. It’s nearly impossible to photograph the scope of a building like this so I’ll take you back to a few weeks ago when we ventured to the top with the boys.

skydeck chicago sears willis tower simply social blog

Mile 8.

chicago running tour greektown athena greek islands

I’m hungry. Which is good because this run finishes after mile 8 in the heart of Greektown, just steps from two of my favorite Greek restaurants. From Garrett’s Popcorn to Giordanos, Little Italy to Greektown, there are plenty of smells to torture yourself with on a run through the city. Bonus points for the heightened sense of smell that comes when exercising.

So there you have it. An 8 mile running tour through Chicago. And you didn’t even have to pay for it! If you haven’t worked out today, you have my permission to use this post as justification for skipping today. I’m tired just writing it.

Whether you’re training for a race or just trying to find motivation in your own life, I encourage you to find gratitude in the things you can do. Often times we let our doubts get in the way of our potential. As my FitRadio lady told me last night, the best way to get through an unpleasant experience is to start it. If FitRadio lady says it, it must be the truth.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Weekend Wrap Up: 10 milers, Vintage Markets, Gnocchi and Pigs

I had grand intentions of using the long weekend to casually browse new recipes in my Bon Appetite, write down a detailed grocery list, take my time walking through the store and then spend a quiet morning in my kitchen creating a dish appealing enough to share with you on the blog today.

But then life got in the way. So instead, I will offer you a brief rundown of my weekend observations. Because let’s face it. Everything is better in list form.

1) 10-milers are tough. Maybe not not for you trained 10-miler runners out there, but if you thought you were in shape based on a recently-completed half marathon and then decided last minute to run the soldier field 10-miler in place of a friend who had to work then there’s a good chance the next day your hips will feel worse than your grandmother’s before a rainstorm. And so will your ego when you realize that your watch lost signal under McCormick Place, making your official time is 2 minutes over the 1:28 you thought you ran. Trust that.

soldier field race running

2) You can find awesome stuff at vintage markets. And I just so happen to live very close to the very popular Randolph Street Market. A place where, if you’re lucky, you lock your eyes on a beaut like this Wagon wheel serving tray with coordinating wooden-handled mason jar mugs stenciled with spurs, horseshoes and saddles. I know what you’re thinking. It’s amazing. And you’re right. My seasoned-thrifter Chrissy and I were able to put it the set to use later in the weekend. Awesome.

wagon wheel drink set

Rock me momma like a wagon wheel

3) Gnocchi is not as difficult to make as originally assumed. Especially when you have mimosas, a gigantic kitchen, your choice of high-end cookware, laughter and good friends. Thank you to my good friend Trista for being born. And kudos to the Chopping Block for providing us with some Sunday morning fun. Gnocchi rules.

4) Pig roasts don’t just happen on the farm. City folk can roast pigs too. And they do. Well, at least my friends do. Every year for Memorial Day. The annual roasting is usually followed by various acts of Patriotism, binge eating and drinking. Oh, and a Clay Matthews fathead. ‘Merica.


Random, yes. Jam-packed, you betcha. But fortunately by Monday, I was able to dedicate some time to the remembering the meaning behind Memorial Day. I was reminded earlier this week of a wonderful woman I was fortunate enough to call my Nana. She, along with many others served in the Marines so that we could enjoy the freedom we are now accustomed to. And while weekend wrap-ups are fun, it’s moments like that in which you are reminded that life is much bigger than small social engagements. So today, and nearly every other day, I’m thankful for her.


Have a wonderful week!