Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago. 

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history,Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.


The above synopsis taken from "Reading Group Guides" http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides_h/hotel_corner_bitter_sweet1.asp

We, the bookies, recently read this for our October book club.  I wasn't able to be at book club due to my travels this past week, but I started and finished the book during the Vegas trip.  I thought I was going to get more than one book done, but I enjoyed Vegas and hence wasn't reading a whole lot.  However, this book was a good one.  It has some serious subject matter: love, family, racism, World War II- just to name a few.  However, the story flowed very easily and the author did a wonderful job with character development.  I was amazed to find out that this author didn't live in Seattle where the majority of the book takes place, but instead lives in New York City.  This amazed me because I felt like he wrote about the environment around the main people in his story like he knew them, knew the places, knew the architecture of the building's, etc.  I highly recommend this book.  It was a great read!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Las Vegas- definitely more than drinking and gambling

I traveled to Las Vegas this past week.  Husband had a conference for 1 1/2 days and we enjoyed the other days together.  One of the nights we visited the Bellagio Fine Arts Gallery.  They are currently hosting an exhibit called Claude Monet Impressions of Light.  This exhibit was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  First off I think this is the first time my husband and I have ever been to an art gallery/exhibit together.  He's not a big classic art fan, but knew that I love Monet and impressionism so we went and viewed the exhibit.

It was GREAT!  I have known Monet's works since late junior high, early high school years.  I used to have a print of his in my college dorm room and then college apartment.  Alas I moved it on when we started having kids and needed to change the "guest room" into a children's room.  Anyways, the exhibit was great just because there were so many works of Monet's I've never seen.  Other French Impressionists were also highlighted in the exhibit: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Camille Pissaro, and Eugene Louis Boudin.  It also was a GREAT exhibit because a free audio tour came with the price of entry, which I didn't think was bad ($16).  With almost every painting there was an audio description which was somewhat abbreviated or different than what was posted next to the art work.  So I felt like I was getting a full docent tour of the gallery.  As we were leaving my husband and I went around and pointed out our 1-2 favorites.  He surprised me further when he said we should get a print of one of the exhibit pieces.

Then the next day I had all to myself and so decided to look at more art and took the City Center Fine Art Collection walking tour.  We stayed at ARIA, which is a whole other post because of how beautiful it was, but quite a bit of the art on the tour was housed on the ARIA grounds.  At the concierge desk you can pick up your own walking tour brochure.  I started at 11:35 a.m., Midwest time, and finished 1:05 pm Midwest time. The tour was a little challenging because other than the name of the piece and brief description along with looking at the Map I had no real idea what I was looking for.  Most of the pieces did have a plague next to the piece with further information about artist, etc, so I did good by looking for those plaques, but some of the art work was too massive etc to have me find the plaques. So then I just asked for help.  Everyone was super nice and one of the employees of ARIA had a great idea- they should have placed pictures of the piece next to the description so people would know what to look for.

So the following are pictures I took with Iphone, sorry didn't take the chance of packing the "good camera" for this trip, but next time I should because there were so many great pictures to take while in Vegas.  The following pictures will have the name of the piece, year, artist and brief description taken from the brochure(words in italics) along with my take on the piece.  Enjoy the virtual tour.

Silver River, 2009 by Maya Lin
A recreation of the Colorado River, this commission was created entirely of cast reclaimed silver.  Considered to be one of the most important public artist of the 21st century, May Lin's work maintains a balance between art and architecture, including large-scale, site-specific installations,... such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
This piece was awesome and my little phone picture doesn't due it justice.  In front of this piece is the registration desk at the ARIA.  The first time I saw this piece I thought it looked like a lightning bolt, but the river is definitely visualized.

LUMIA, ARIA Resort Main entrance
Twisting ribbons and large arcs of streaming water create bold, captivating "waters sparks" at their intersections.  Lumia is the first fountain to be lit so the vibrant colors are visible during daylight.
I just wasn't into this fountain.  It was neat at night with the light though.

FOCUS, ARIA Resort outside of lobby
Ever-changing choreographed patterns effortlessly sweep across this expansive, curved water wall, made of highly textured stone.  The all-enveloping flow creates a calming, ocean-like  timbre.
Probably one of my favorite pieces from the tour.  This wall was amazing.  It was very long at least a block long and at night the white flowing water was even more stark.  The sound was amazing too.

Bolt, 2007, Bent of Mind, 2008 and Untitled (Tall Column), 2008 by Tony Cragg
Cragg's biomporphic forms investigate the physics of materials and spark a dialouge between man, material and the world.  These three towering columns exemplify how the sculptor uses a material such as stainless steel to it fullest extent, pushing the boundaries of the material, while creating exceedingly graceful works of art with substantial presence.  
Sorry only took a picture of the one.  They were amazing pieces.  The material reminded me of liquid mercury.



New Walken, 2006 by Julian Schnabel
There were 9 pictures total, but these three were my favorites.  Christopher Walken has been captured in these pieces as the way in which I envision him to be: mysterious, serious, and keeps you guessing.  Beautiful pieces- art/photography, totally fascinating conversation pieces.

Champagne Supernova, 2009 by Tim Bavington
I had to go in the High Limit Slot room at ARIA to see this one.  I think this piece is vibrant, gorgeous, sexy, and anything with the name Champagne in its name is all right by me.  

Feeling Material XXVIII, 2007 by Antony Gormley
Over the last 25 years, Antony Gormley has reinvigorated the human image in sculpture through a radical investigation of the body as a place of transformation, using his own body as subject and tool.  this suspended reinvention of hte hum form interacts with the space on multiple levels.
Not my style, too abstract.


LATISSE Fountains ARIA North Lobby
Latisse soars as a series of two-story- high water falls composed purely of thick, textured glass.  Brilliant white lightning illuminates the sloping glass planes, producing the illusion of an elegant floor-to-ceiling chandelier.  
Another one of my favorites.  Again these pictures don't do the art justice.  The walls of glass were beautiful and watching the water flow down them was like art in an of itself.


Big Edge, 2009 by Nancy Rubins
With hundreds of boats carefully sculpted together, Nancy Rubins' monumental Big Edge creates the perfect centerpiece for the city's greatest architectural achievement.  Rubins a sculptor and artisan famous for grandiose works created from salvaged, industrial consumer goods, was selected for the collection based  on her ability to achieve this scale of work with such grandeur.
One of the most whimsical, funny and "put a smile on your face" art pieces I have ever seen.  The canoes were amazing and all different colors lent to the pieces playfulness.  





Day for Night, Night for Day, 2009 by Peter Wegner
American artist Peter Wegner's installations fuse art and architecture through the creation of towering sculptures made from he most ordinary object; a sheet of paper.  These two gridded stacks of blue and red have both the color balance of a great painting and the physical presence of a powerful sculpture.
The two smaller pictures above high light the overlapping of hues of colors that then form the massive pieces.  Can't even begin to think how long this piece took the artist and where or how you work on something so large.  

Damascus Gate Variation I, 1969 by Frank Stella
Frank Stella's incredibly vibrant art makes the Vdara Lobby come alive with its fluorescent colors and interweaving shaped canvas.  Recognized for more than 45 years for important contributions to abstract expressionism, sculpture and the concept of the shaped canvas.
On the plaque next to this piece there was further information about how this artist had a whole Protractor Series spanning 1967-1971- this piece once I read that is even more visually amusing and enjoyable due to looking for all the multiple protractors in the piece.  This was quite a backdrop for a hotel lobby.




Crossroads of Humanity, 2009 by Doze Green
Both the green and the blue pieces are seen on the outside of the tram at Monte Carlo/Aria and the tram center at Bellagio.  This artist is known for the early hip/hop graffiti movement which started in New York City. 

 Circle of  Chance

Earth, 2009 by Richard Long
Known as one of Britain's best-known sculptors and conceptual artists, the majority of Richard Long's works, inspired by the natural landscapes, are created using natural materials such as wood and stones.  With these two awe-inspiring wall drawings, we encountered his energetic use of mud from the River Avon, which Long applied directly with his own hands.
I really liked the Circle of Chance, but not so much Earth.  These pieces are housed in the two Veer towers, which are luxury condos right in front of ARIA and Vdara.  Amazing tours and amazing art work to grace their lobbies.

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, 1989-1999 by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
One of the best examples of celebrated pop artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen is this 24-foot-high Typewriter Eraser.  This playful use of a common everyday object, one that is possibly unknown to recent generations, is a unique experience, meant to elicit humor and curiosity.
 I can't remember ever seeing my mom use a typewriter eraser.  I remember her using a typewriter as a child, but don't remember this item.  It was interesting and did spark some curiosity in my mind. 

 Cactus Life-living with the Earth, 2007-2008 by Masatoshi Izumi
Masatoshi Izumi's graceful sculpture is made of large pieces of intricately poised basalt- a form of lava that has cooled on the surface of the volcano.  it towers more than 17 feet and weighs approximately eight tons.  Izumis' work celebrates harmony with nature by taking existing forms and altering them slightly to reveal an even more beautiful state.
Not my style, but would look cool in an arid southwest cactus garden.

Untitled, Dnago, 2002, Untitled, Triangle Dango, 1996 and Untitled, Dango, 1992 by Jun Kaneko
Japanese ceramic artist Jun kaneko's three works offer the perfect balance of scale and design, allowing the work to unify within the surrounding architectural design.  Made entirely of clay and fired in a giant kiln, the tallest of the three sculptures reaches and impressive seven feet tall, a difficult feat in ceramics.  The name "dango" means "Japanese dumpling".
Not my style, but went well with the motif housed in the entry to the Mandarin Oriental Resort in City Center.  I can't imagine having a kiln big enough for a 7 feet high sculpture.


Untitled (Volcano), 1983 by Jack Goldstein
Jack Goldstein's paitnings focus on imagery of natural phenomena, capturing the "spectacular instant," in this case, a volcanic eruption.  Goldstein is among the most influential postmodern artists of the 1970s and '80s and is widely recognized for his pioneering work in sound, film and painting.
I thought this piece was amazing.  It had a more contemporary/modern art feel, which normally isn't me, but I really enjoyed this piece.  It is housed on the 23 Sky Lobby of the Mandarin and as opulent as this piece is the view looking out the "sky lobby" is just as opulent.

 Rose II, 2007 by Isa Genzken
Isa Genzken's 26-foot rose sculpture rises delicately, infusing a sense of nature and beauty through the surrounding landscape and architecture.  Considered to be one of Germany's most prominent artists, Genzken's work ranges from sculpture to photography to painting that combines personal elements with references to architecture, modernism and art history.
This is a beautiful sculpture, but just felt like it belonged in a garden not in front of a shopping complex along Las Vegas BLVD.  Wonder what she thinks of the placement of her piece right on the strip?

Glacia Fountain in City Center
Galacia "cools" guests with large pillars of carved ice that rise as tall as 15 feet.  As each rises it is magically whittled into intricate patterns while mesmerizing spectral light contributes to a one-of -a-kind sensory experience. These ice sculptures were amazing.  I tried to take a picture of the information to explain further.


These weren't pieces on the tour, but to me they are definitely art work.  These awesome pumpkin sculptures were in the walkway through the City Center.  

The leaves, again not art work on the tour, but art to me when walking through and looking up at the ceiling of the City Center.  Felt like I was surrounded by the best parts of fall: colors, leaves, and pumpkins.


Halo Fountain in City Center
The unexpected nature of Halo's twisting water vortices, tipped as though about to fall, presents a sense of mystique for guests wandering among Crystals' lavish shops.  Stroll through, touch or embrace this maze of spinning water, all the while staying completely dry.
Very interesting and the "water tornadoes" were neat.

Tourterelle, 1997 by Francois-Xavier Lalanne
Best known for his bronze animal sculptures, Francois-Xavier Lalanne is one of the world's most original designer-sculptors.  Solo and with his wife, Claude, with whom he collaborated for the last half-century, Lalanne created sculptures that were reliably whimsical and witty.
These guys (there were two) were found on either side of the lobby doors when walking into the ARIA.  I felt like they were the "gatekeepers" to the Resort.  

Reclining Connected Forms, 1969-1974 by Henry Moore
English artist and sculptor Henry Moore was the most celebrated sculptor of  his time.  Inspired by the fundamentals of the human experience-the primary theme of his life's work- Moore's abstractions of the human figure usually depict mother and child or reclining forms.
Very cool sculptor that is found when you walk from ARIA to City Center Crystals.  It again reminds me of something that should be seen in a sculpture garden.   

Last but not least, this is a funny to end the art tour.  This time in Vegas the big thing were people were dressed up like characters and you could get your picture with them and put some money in their tip jars.  It reminded me of Disney Characters Lines, but just on the strip in Vegas.  The characters I saw during my stay: Spider Man, Hello Kitty, Minnie and Mickey, Caesar and Cleopatra, Ernie, Bert and Elmo, Bumble Bee Transformer, Optimus Prime Transformer, and ...
yep the Hangover Guy with Baby Carlos (he was everywhere and probably had the most tips in his jar).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

World Run Day 2012

I recently found out about World Run Day 2012.  It takes place on Sunday November 11, 2012 at 9 a.m. (or whatever time you decide to run it).  Below was taken from the website- they describe/define the event the best.


About World Run Day
 
 
World Run Day was founded to celebrate the sport of running worldwide. Our mission is to broaden and promote the health benefits of running while also encouraging runners to donate to their own favorite charity on this special day. We support our mission by providing free tools to either individuals or groups who are interested in hosting a World Run Day event in their community. Through a combination of communications to members of the running community, the running industry, and various media outlets, we plan to bring awareness of the event internationally. We've also started a Virtual Run Series to help gain participants throughout the year.
Our belief is that by gaining attention through a worldwide celebration, we can educate others of the health benefits of running and secure a healthy future for both young and old. Although World Run Day is a member of Running USA, it reaches internationally to form partnerships with others in countries willing to spread the concept. Due to the high cost of advertising, we rely on enthusiastic volunteers to host our event in different cities. We also like to be creative in videos and other art forms to create a buzz in the running community. Use of social media with volunteers is highly desired.
World Run Day’s programs and activities are guided by the following goals:
Promote Running — World Run Day works with partner organizations to promote the health benefits of running for all citizens young and old. Recent emphasis has been placed on running as a solution to end childhood obesity. Partnering with running organizations, schools, corporations, and charities occurs throughout the year.
Promote Charitable Giving — World Run Day is committed to having an international day of charitable giving as part of its running event. In many instances there is a lack of funding to help unfortunate people in their circumstances. The running community can help others who are the victims of natural disasters, disease, or any worthy cause embraced by the runner. We specifically request charities to partner with us to celebrate the run-for-charity concept.
Mobilize the Running Community — World Run Day reaches out to partners in the running community that hope to elevate the sport of running in their community while also promoting the benefits of running and providing locations for people to run locally.
Create Event Director Tools — World Run Day creates tools for local event directors to use (free of charge) which help produce a World Run Day event in their location. World Run Day also provides links to other resources that can benefit the event director.
Inspire and engage college students to become running leaders — World Run Day’s campus outreach program is intended to inspire members of a younger generation to lift the torch for youth runners around the globe. Getting runners within colleges and universities to participate is a goal that can combine the efforts of community service with local charity.
Support World Run Day Celebrations around the World — World Run Day, which always occurs in November, is a tremendous day for running and charitable giving.

So when I read about this event I decided to sign up.  I'm trying to decide between asking friends/family to donate to either the Coralville Food Bank/Pantry or Girls on the Run Johnson County.  I'll make my decision on which charity and let you guys know.  If anyone is interested in participating in this event let me know. My goal is 8 miles, but you could run/walk any amount with me. You get a printable Bib number to put on your running gear for the day.  It is a great way to get people involved with running, raise money for charity and promote running as part of life. Plus for signing up you get a t-shirt with the above image printed on it- how cool is that!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thank you Nina!

 So the day before the marathon I read about 6 months worth, or so it seemed, of blog posts I was behind on.  One of the blogs I follow is author Nina Sankovitch who wrote "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair".  She writes about books she has read and gives her reviews.  So when I read her write about how she was going to read "Beautiful Mystery" by Louise Penny and was told by friend "Oh you have to start at the beginning with the first book in the Armande Gamache mystery series.  So I wrote the name of this author down in my "to read" book list and when I got back from the marathon weekend I went to the library and found the first in the series called "Still Life" by Louise Penny.
This is the first in the series of 8 books starring Armande Gamache.  He is a Surete'/detective who goes to this quaint town in Quebec to solve a mystery.Three Pines seemed so real.  I found this read so refreshing because it was a good mystery with great plot and characters that were believable.  There were not gruesome/vulgar descriptions, just a good old mystery.  It took me a week to read and I enjoyed it so much I went back to the library and picked up the next one this past weekend.  



The second book again took place in Three Pines, the quaint town that the first book took place in.  Armande Gamache and various other characters from the first book returned to this book.  It was just as good as the first one.  It took me two days to finish- now granted we were traveling a lot- but it still kept me interested and made me want to finish the book.

I went to the library on Monday to find the next one in Aramande Gamache's series and was sad to find many of the Louise Penny books missing.  Someone must have found how good the books are too and checked a bunch out.  So now I'm on the hold list.  I figured it was a sign I needed to give Armande a rest and move on to other books.  I'm so thankful to have Nina suggested this author and this series.  Truly enjoyable reading!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chicago 2012 Marathon Recap...

The following is my Chicago Marathon 2012 story...
My husband and I both were running the Chicago Marathon this year.  This would be his 8th Chicago Marathon ( I thought 7 oops- sign I'm getting old) and my 5th Chicago Marathon.  We both grew up in a suburb of Chicago and have family that are still living in the area so it makes for a perfect city to run the Marathon in.  The above picture was the poster hanging as we walked into the expo.  We arrived at the Expo about 10 a.m.Saturday morning.  I love the Chicago Marathon, but a hands down second is this expo.  I'm like a kid in a candy shop.  I love picking up all the different freebies and trying to win things along with shopping and checking out the newest running gear.  

 Nike has always had a great Expo booth.  This year seemed even bigger, but bigger isn't always better as I soon found out because it was a ZOO in their expo area.  They had a DJ mixing songs and the music was too loud and there just wasn't any easy way to look at the merchandise due to the mass amount of people.  So this was the first year in a long time I didn't purchase a Nike Chicago Marathon shirt.  I did however purchase some fun other items at the expo: Run Happy Chicago Marathon Brooks T-shirt, I Run CHI shirt from Saucony, Earbuds ( I broke down and spent some $ for ear buds in the hopes that these will last me longer than my current over the head sony/1980's esque walkman headphones that I seem to burn out in about a month due to long runs and sweaty ears :)).  I also found my Saucony Pro Grid shoes size 8 at one of the shoe/running company expo booths.  This shoe will no longer be made so I'm trying my best to find them and buy them when I can- not ready to change.
Nike always has innovative ideas at their expo booth.  This year along with their wall made of all the 40,000+ runners names wallpapering the wall they also had the above great gadget- scan your bib and your name would come up on the screen- LOVED IT!  Husband of course wouldn't partake because it is too "mainstream" or "expected".  I was all about it. 

Last, but not least one of my favorite moments at the expo was meeting Hal Higdon in person and getting my picture with him.  I told him I've followed his training schedule for all 5 Chicago Marathons and thanked him for being such a great mentor for the sport.  He wasn't that talkative, and I didn't know if a. he wasn't a Michigan fan and wasn't into my shirt b. wasn't chummy with me because I didn't buy a book and have him sign it or c. was he just one of those people who are more quiet/reserved.  It was a great moment in my running history any way you answer that multiple choice selection.

Then the day of the Marathon arrived somewhat early.  We got up at 5:30 am and were out the door by 6ish.  We both had planned for cold weather and had our beautiful "throw away" outfits on.  I'm so mad at myself for not having us get our picture taken in the "throw away" get-ups.  But here is my best at describing our attire.  I was wearing my nike capri black/blue running pants with the matching long sleeve technical top.  Over that shirt I had a "You Care" breast cancer walk shirt from a walk I did probably 8 years ago.  Over that I had a sweatshirt donated by my mother in-law which was white with a big American flag across the front and numerous stains painting the white sweatshirt.  I then had on my nike white running hat with a boy's blue wool cap covering that.  On top of my nike capri pants were purple fleece pajama bottoms.  I know it sounds just wonderful, but my husband had me beat hands down.  He too had many different layers on, but the crowning glory for his outfit was the gray sweatshirt he wore as his top "throw away" layer which had printed on it a country flower scene with a ladies bike and picket fence depicted along with the flowers/sunshine background.  It was the funniest thing, next to the Chewbaca outfit from Halloween last year, I had ever seen him in.  We both were thankful for the "throw-away" outfits as we stayed warm prior to the start.  

He started in first wave corral B, due to his time finishes in the past and at recent 1/2 marathon this summer.  I started in 2nd wave due to my slower times.  I was in corral J with the 4-4:30 FINISHERS. We said goodbye to each other around 6:45 and after I used the port o potty I headed to my corral/gate.  They closed the gates at 7:45 so I had plenty of time to lie on the streets of Chicago and wait for the marathon to begin while looking at the moon still present in the morning sky above me.  It was peaceful and due to my wonderful outer layers I really wasn't too cold.  When it got time to get ready for the second wave I took my pj pants and the American flag sweatshirt off and threw them to the side.  Side note- all throw away clothes are donated to local Chicago homeless shelters so I knew my fleece pjs would be helping someone else stay warm down the road.  I crossed the start line at 8:08 a.m.  Within the first mile I had warmed up so I tossed the breast cancer long sleeve and the hat.  I kept my gloves though and just took them on and off multiple times during the race.   due to the different start times/waves I did feel that there was less bobbing and weaving early on in the race, more so than previous years.  Last year I remember being elbowed a couple of times and bobbing and weaving to get away from people not running my pace.  

My plan was to try and hold off on jumping out too fast for this race.  So I tried to look at watch reasonably frequently and make sure my pace was less than 10 min mile pace.  If I stayed below 10 minute mile I would meet my goal of PRing the race.  There were some favorite high lights of this race and one of the first ones I remember was coming up at mile 4 and passing through Lincoln Park and as we were heading towards the turn heading back downtown we passed a building that was an assisted living home.  Seated at the windows three to four stories up were elderly people in wheelchairs with signs against the window cheering us on.  Many of us, myself included, looked at them and waved.  I thought to myself I wonder if one of them have run this race or something similar to it and what must they be feeling as they were sitting there watching us run by.  I hope they were thinking, "I'm glad I did it, I'm glad I ran, I've had a good life".

O.K. flashforward- our family normally sees us at my 14 and then runs a block over and sees us again at my 16.  So seeing your family when you are running a marathon is "the best".  It is a huge motivator for me and something to look forward to.  So I saw my family at mile 14 and then I had to make a decision.  A huge decision-  Do I stop to go pee?  I know TMI, but to runners this can be a huge decision, because the time you spend in a port o potty line is time you have to make up later if you want to PR a race.  I had been feeling the need to utilize the good old port o potty since mile 6 off and on and after seeing my family I knew it wasn't "nervousness" by mile 14.  So after I passed my family I saw a port of potty that had minimal people in line- envision a line of 6-8 port o potty and three lines with 2 in 2 and one in one.  So I jumped behind the guy in the "1" line.  Well after what felt like 5 minutes of waiting I peed and ran on.  So how much time did I really lose?  Well as you'll see at the bottom with my mile/mile splits I lost some, but I also went back to running as hard as I could.  

 Son and my nephew having fun cheering.
These are the kids and cousins giving "5" to whomever would give them five, which was quite a few strangers...

and even their Aunt Natalie/Mom.  

Here's Matt in the yellow.

This is me after my port o potty stop- I look happy after that quick break and ready to RUN!  If I had been smart I would've checked my watch to know just how much time I lost so I instead just kept moving and trying to stay under that 10 minute mile pace.  I really felt relatively good throughout the whole race.  I only had my bilateral "butt" pain around mile 17 and it only lasted about 1 mile- which I was thankful for.  The last part of the race- last 6 miles is pretty neat if you can move pass the pain, the smell of your own body and the bodies around you and enjoy the sights of China Town.  Lively area!  I headed down the home stretch and pushed it as much as I could.  

Matt finished 3:31- Awesome job! I came in 4:23:11 (my PR by 7 seconds- glad that port o potty stop didn't take 8 seconds longer :)).  I finished strong and sprinted down the home stretch.  After crossing the finish line I started to not feel well pretty quickly.  I felt dizzy/light headed and like I needed to throw up.  So I sat down on the curb and put my head between my legs.  After resting for a few minutes I knew I needed to keep moving.  I went through the medal line and received my medal and then picked up some food.  None of the snacks looked appealing, which if you know me, you know I like my food/snacks, so another sign I wasn't well.  Then I headed for the bathrooms.  I thought for certain being in a port o potty would stimulate me to throw up, but it just didn't come.  So I layed under a tree for a few minutes and then again willed myself to keep moving.  It felt like it took me forever to get to my family.  Once I did my sick feeling didn't stop.  My sister helped me change into warm clothes in the next set of port o potties I came in contact with that day. I've never been in so many different port o potties within the span of 7 hours. I felt a little better once getting warmer clothes on.  Overall the weather was perfect to run in and me being cold after the race wasn't a new thing.  I have a tendency to get cold after my long runs.  

So here is me after the marathon.  No I'm not a homeless lady.  We hobbled to the car and on the way I craved a hot cocoa and some animal crackers or graham crackers.  So we stopped at our normal 7 Eleven on way to car and I got some nourishment that either was going to make me throw up or fill my empty cold tummy.  I filled my tummy and did fine on the car ride home.  We went home and had some food, washed up and I enjoyed a long hot shower.  Then headed back home- the ride home went a lot easier than I thought it was going to.  DVDs are a savior and the kids were kept preoccupied while I fidgeted around in my seat trying to keep comfy.  My awesome hubby drove the whole way home.  We are such a good team- it was role reversed last year's marathon and I drove home while he lied down in the back of the van.  Anyways- we made it home and that ends my Chicago Marathon 2012 story.  I know it is lengthy, but I had to write it.  If not for all of you great friends and family who weren't able to participate/witness our race at least for my self to help me remember all the hard work and training along with the fun that went into this race. 

My son took this picture- pretty good photo shoot.  

MILETIMECHANGEAVG PACE
1
11:04--11'04"/mi
2
20:20- 1:48 (16%)9'16"/mi
3
*Fastest
28:33- 1:03 (11%)8'13"/mi
4
37:53+ 1:07 (-14%)9'20"/mi
5
47:07- 0:06 (1%)9'14"/mi
6
56:31+ 0:10 (-2%)9'24"/mi
7
1:05:56+ 0:01 (-1%)9'25"/mi
8
1:15:23+ 0:02 (-1%)9'27"/mi
9
1:24:57+ 0:07 (-2%)9'34"/mi
10
1:34:30- 0:01 (0%)9'33"/mi
11
1:44:11+ 0:08 (-2%)9'41"/mi
12
1:53:50- 0:02 (0%)9'39"/mi
13
2:03:47+ 0:18 (-4%)9'57"/mi
14
2:12:51- 0:53 (8%)9'04"/mi
15
2:24:43+ 2:48 (-31%)11'52"/mi
16
2:34:45- 1:50 (15%)10'02"/mi
17
2:44:31- 0:16 (2%)9'46"/mi
18
2:54:26+ 0:09 (-2%)9'55"/mi
19
3:04:58+ 0:37 (-7%)10'32"/mi
20
3:15:18- 0:12 (1%)10'20"/mi
21
3:25:45+ 0:07 (-2%)10'27"/mi
22
3:36:12+ 0:00 (0%)10'27"/mi
23
3:46:51+ 0:12 (-2%)10'39"/mi
24
3:57:44+ 0:14 (-3%)10'53"/mi
25
4:08:06- 0:31 (4%)10'22"/mi
26
4:17:52- 0:36 (5%)9'46"/mi