Last Thursday, the girls in my family flew up to Chicago for the Windy City National Qualifier. Alli and her teammates were looking to get a bid to Nationals in the 12s division. Luckily, I was able to meet some Twitter running friends and squeeze in some sight-seeing and drink A LOT of beer before the whirlwind trip was over! The weather was so cooperative and beautiful – it was *almost* like Texas!!
The Important Stuff: Volleyball
After a series of unfortunate events, we finally opened the door of our hotel room at 11:30 PM Thursday night. (Hint: this was NOT the way to start a weekend of virtually non-stop volleyball.) Luckily, Alli was asleep before midnight. Those few extra moments of sleep didn’t help much, though, because the team was meeting for breakfast in the lobby at 6:45 AM before heading to the convention center to start day 1 pool play.
We were at a disadvantage, as our first 2 matches were scheduled back-to-back. Our girls played like zombies, as if they had never seen a volleyball before in their life. We lost the first match in 2 sets (should have easily won) then had to go right into the next match, which would be the most difficult team in our pool. The girls still didn’t have their wits about them because they had not recovered from the first shocking loss and lost in 2 sets….again. Me? I was in my own zombie-like state court side, too tired to care that we had just screwed ourselves for THE ENTIRE TOURNAMENT.
Saturday proved to be much better and we easily won all 3 matches, even though they still didn’t play up to their normal level. Sunday play was the same – the competition was a tad bit more difficult but we still pulled off wins easily.
Running Friends are THE BEST
I have some Twitter friends in Chicago that I was hoping to connect with and…..it worked out!!
Jenn came up on Friday after the tournament and drove me all around Chicago showing me the city. She even brought me some protein balls so that I could have healthy snacks for the tournament! She is just as fun and sweet as she comes across on Twitter! We made it back just in time to have dinner with Alli’s team. I enjoyed visiting with her so much and am so thankful that I was able to get that opportunity!
On Saturday, Elizabeth and her husband, Steve, drove in and actually spent the afternoon stuck in the convention center with me! I am so glad that I was able to meet them both!! I LOVE Elizabeth and would have been so sad if meeting up hadn’t worked out. She came bearing gifts as well. She definitely knows the way to my heart! (I feel the need to confess that we also had a beer in the hotel bar that is attached to the convention center! LOL)
I am SO LUCKY that my running pal, Rebecca, came along on this trip. I actually met her through this team and am SO THANKFUL that our paths crossed. We are actually very compatible runners (or at least I think so), and we had the most wonderful time running along the lake and river fronts early Saturday morning. This was the highlight of my trip (besides meeting new friends), for sure!!
Beer, Beer, more Beer and Other Things
I am not going to lie – I drank quite a bit of beer in Chicago and it was all DELICIOUS!!! In between my beer breaks, I managed a little sight-seeing.
Taylor and I managed to get to “Cloud Gate” in Millennium Park on Sunday before leaving for the airport. Most people call it “The Bean”, because of its kidney bean shape. Whatever you want to call it – it was cool!
I still haven’t recovered from the trip, but it was so worth it! We had a great time!!
Happy Hump Day!