Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 1 of Conference

Earlier in the week, I went through the conference program and found at least one workshop for each time slot for the conference. After talking to Steve, I decided to attend "Print that Pops" at 9 am and  "Disc Golf" at 2 pm.

My morning workshop was supposed to last two hours. After speaking for 25 minutes on topics which were much more applicable to large park districts with their own marketing departments, the presenter said he was done was speaking and asked if we had any questions.  Really? Now, I truly work for a small park district. My park district is about as small as they come, but if they are going to pay for me to attend conference I am going to get my money's worth.  I quickly glanced at the conference program to find another session starting at 9:30 am. Fortunately, the Q&A portion lasted for another hour and was actually much more interesting than the presentation itself. My afternoon session of "Disc Golf" was very interesting and informative and definitely something to think about for the future. 

Friday night is the night my friends go out with Angie's park district. SO I was on my own for the night. Following my disc golf session, I came back to the room debating what to do for the evening. Did I want to go to dinner alone? Could I catch a show? Instead I remained laying on my bed watching a movie. We had gone to 11 City Diner for lunch where I had a cheeseburger and some Junior's Cheesecake. So, I definitely didn't feel hungry. 

I still had a full stomach from consuming all of those calories in the last 24 hours. I finally decided about to go for a run down Michigan Avenue. I was a little concerned about stopping at every block due to the stop lights, but decided running outside was a much better option than running on the dreadmill. Of course, with all of my gadgets & gizmos, it took me about the usual 30 minutes to get properly dressed and ready for running outdoors.  Grrrrr.

At Water Tower Place

I walked out on Michigan Avenue and started off with a nice easy walk for about 2 blocks. Before the cold had a chance to creep in, it was time to take off on a relaxing jog. Luckily, I found the stop lights on Michigan Avenue were timed to my pace. So for the first 4 or 5 blocks, I didn't have to stop once! Unfortunately, that came to an end when I hit Monroe. I ran one block east and then turned north on Columbus. As I ran along on Columbus, I started to feel a little uneasy with my road choice. I was running on a much less populated street and couldn't wait to find my way back to Michigan Avenue. I finally found my way back with no incident - and only seeing one person not in a car - and he was on a bike! Brrrrr!  

I continued down Michigan Avenue feeling like I was on top of the world. It was like I was on a running tour, but also....I like doing the unusual. I kept thinking to myself: I like being weird. It's Friday night and instead of sauntering down Michigan Avenue doing some shopping, here I was running down Michigan Avenue not spending money and burning off some calories! Awesome!

Water Tower

Because I didn't have my Garmin watch, I had no idea how far I had run. When I reached Oak Street, I crossed Michigan Avenue and started heading back toward the Hilton. I stopped at Water Tower Place and took a couple of really nice photos - at least I think! I had to crack up when I had texts from Camo-Man and my WORRIER friend (who I swear was separated at birth from my husband) asking what I did for dinner that night. I responded saying that I hadn't eaten yet, but that I was out on a run on Michigan Avenue. Camo-Man immediately responded "BE SAFE". As soon as I got back to my hotel, I sent Camo-Man a text saying I was back at the hotel safe and sound. I forgot to text the WORRIER. 

Mediterranean Veggie Salad
I jumped in the shower as soon as I got back to my room to warm up and I ordered room service. I knew going out to dinner was going to mean 1,000 more calories so I opted for the Mediterranean Veggie Salad...and a glass of chardonnay. About 9 pm that night, The WORRIER sent me a text asking if I was back from my run. I responded with a resounding YES and she told me how I gave her heart palpitations worrying about me because I was crazy enough to go for a run on Michigan Avenue. I just didn't mention my brief detour on Columbus Avenue. I knew she'd worried enough tonight. 

While finishing my salad, Steve & Angie called to say they were done with dinner and asked if I wanted to come to Howling at the Moon, a very fun & entertaining piano bar....unfortunately, I was a little too comfortable in my sweat pants. Combined with my lack of sleep the night before and half a glass of chardonnay, No Thanks! I was perfectly content to let Chicago party without me. Instead I purchased a new book on my Nook and quickly fell asleep!

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