Last Legs

12th October 2016


BA 296 ORD – LHR


Arriving slightly late into Heathrow with just 1:20 to change plans was going to be tight. I was glad to see two people from the flight connections team for  waiting for us as we arrived in the terminal. We were taken through security at the B Gates where we had arrived and then walked briskly through the tunnel to the A Gates to get our flight from gate A2.

It would have been more efficiently done if the security personnel at Heathrow Terminal 5 actually cared about customer service, and stopped their little power trips, but that is the nature of the beast and I guess we need to live with it.

Arriving at the Gate boarding started almost straight away and we were onboard for the last part of the trip.


BA 730 LHR – GVA


Arriving in Geneva and passing through immigration the baggage was very quickly on the belt and my baggage was quickly off too. I had time to say good bye to everyone and we took some photos after a great trip with a really fun group before I headed to the railway station and the train home.

Heading Home

11th October 2016

The last morning in Chicago, so it was time to pack the bags, which I did after breakfast, and then it was out to do some shopping on the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.

Having found what I was looking for in Macy’s and Abercrombie and Fitch I had a quick-lunch in the Cheesecake Factory, before heading back down to the Loop to get some cookies. Then back to the hotel to re-pack my bags and wait for my clients to arrive for the transfer to the airport.

The car and van arrived and we were loaded quickly, and off to the airport through the rush-hour traffic jams, but we arrived at the airport in good time for check in.

Once checked in and though security I went to the Club Lounge for dinner, and very soon wished I had not bothered. The room had a horrible smell and the food was not looking as fresh as I thought it should. But as this was the only opportunity I had to eat I took it.

Food finished I decided to adjourn to the First Lounge which had a good view over the apron and allowed me to see our plane arrive – late and the ground crew to set to work.


BA 296 ORD – LHR


Getting to Know Chicago

10th October 2016

With the marathon behind us it was time to get to see some more of Chicago. The travel agency had arranged for us to have a tour of the city. Our tour guide was prompt at the hotel as was the bus and we were off first to see The Loop with its public art, then Barak Obama’s house, then the University of Chicago, before heading to the North Shore and the Gold Coast.

It was great to get an overview of Chicago and some of the history of this city. The end of the tour we were unfortunately caught in the traffic jams due to the Columbus Day Parade.

In the evening I decided to go and visit some bars, but I forgot to put my driving license in my wallet, and was refused service at 48 years old! I laughed at how ridiculous this was but was quite annoyed. Taking a taxi back to the hotel I decided I would just have quiet night in and watch the latest scandal and counter-scandal in the US Presidential campaign.

Chicago Marathon

9th October 2016

Marathon Morning… I had found the previous evening all I needed to make myself a simple breakfast in my room… so that I what I did getting up at about 05:00 and taking my time to get my running kit on, have breakfast, pick up my last bits and pieces and head down to meet my clients.

The race was to start at 07:30 so I said I was leaving the hotel at 06:00 to walk to the start… Normally this would only be a 10/15 min walk, but with lots of people about and all excited it takes longer… also with the obligation to use certain entrances to the park and some streets closed etc it takes a little longer.

We set off and by the time we were in the park and found our start corral we were under an hour from the start time.

I had time to sit down and think about the meaning for Life, The Universe, and Marathons before I entered into the start block.

There is great camaraderie between runners as we stand waiting for the start… then the gun goes and we slowly advance to the start line… it takes some time for 25’000 people to start running, but the roads in Chicago are wide and this was not an issue as we crossed the line and started our adventure… first to the north Columbus to Grand to State to Jackson to La Salle and so on… I was running well and was pleased with my body was holding together. I had just finished the Ironman in Mallorca 2 weeks before… I know my body at some point would say enough is enough but I was going to enjoy Chicago… The weather was cool but sunny and the atmosphere was great as I ticked off the miles 3, 4, 5, 6, … 10, 11 the legs were starting to feel this all a bit as we neared The Loop again… Wells Street, Hubbard Street, Orleans Street… my hotel was just a mile away… and my legs were starting to suffer… but the day was great so I kept going… once I passed 13 miles my legs really had had enough… so I start a very long walk for the finish line. And enjoyed the atmosphere, colours and music that is the Chicago Marathon.

The day was wonderful with the sun shinning all the time. It was to be the slowest marathon I had ever done, but I did not care. I was enjoying my time in Chicago.

Finishing in a time 05:36:41 I was happy… and really wanted to go back and do the course justice, when I was not still recovering from my previous race.

Back to the hotel for a shower, relax something to eat and then an evening of celebration with my clients, it was not a bad way to finish the day.

Admin

8th October 2016

It was the day before the Chicago Marathon but there was a lot to do… I had to take those who wanted for run for about 30-45 minutes then organise an information meeting, giving out all the key information then we had to go to the race expo and get our race numbers… it was all go… but in a good way.

Waking early because of the jet-lag I decided I would head out of an early morning run around the block so I would know where to take the clients. It also gave me the oportunity to find some shops and convenience stores so I could give useful information later on… and workout the best way to get to the “L” for our trip to the race expo.

I managed to find myself something for breakfast in the process and then met a small sub-group of my clients in the hotel lobby to take them for run from the Swissotel, where we were staying, alone the Chicago River to Lake Michigan and then on down the the Aquarium. We then back tracked as far as Monroe Street, to Columbus so every one could see the start line and start to orientate themselves for the marathon.

The next point on my agenda was the information meeting which was in a great sunny room near the top of the hotel giving a great views of the city… That done it was time to go the race expo and get our race numbers… We headed across to Randolph and Wabash were we could get the Green Line which would take us down to Cermak-McCormick Place which was near the McCormick Place Exhibition Center… But it was still a long walk to the entrance and then a long walk once we were inside the center.

Race number found, and t-shirts recovered and a few bits and pieces bought it was time to retrace my steps to the hotel and put my feet up for a few hours.

Once I had sorted out all my kit for the next day… I went to show my face in reception in case any of the clients need something and had my dinner at the hotel bar… before heading to bed early for the big day ahead.

Departure Day

7th October 2016

It was here I was going to be off to Chicago for the marathon… My first time in Chicago and leading a group of about 30 people… who I would meet at the Airport…

The first flight was leaving at 13:35 from Geneva with a short 1:40 transfer at London Heathrow Terminal 5 to make our connection to the Chicago Flight…

Having counted back the times
13:35 departure
11:35 2 hours before for clients (as advised by travel agency)
10:35 me make my check-in so ready to welcome clients…
09:42 train from Lausanne
09:00 Leave house.

I was not going to have much of a lie in and actually had to get up at my normal time to get packed… Yes as they say in french “Les cordonniers sont les plus mal chaussés” (translation: The cobblers are always the worst shod)

Packed and ready to leave it was the bus and the metro to Lausanne Station where I got some water and a sandwich… and then onto the 09:42 train to the airport.

The train was not very busy and I found space to store my bags and get out my paperwork and look at some bits and pieces, including an update from the office of a late cancellation.

I was also awear that the inbound flight from London was showing a sliding delay… and with only a 1:40 transfer time at Heathrow I was nervous… So while on the phone I mentionned this… and my colleague said she would monitor it…

Arriving at the airport I quickly got rid of my baggage and was ready to talk to clients as they arrived and help them with the formalities… It did not take long till the first ones arrived and I was off and running… with groups arriving in a semi continuous stream.

All checked in I decided to head to the Lounge for a quick bite to eat and a coffee before heading the plane… I was very happy to use the Priority Lane for security as the lunchtime rush was very much in evidence at Geneva. It was soon time to head to the gate for boarding.


BA 729 GVA – LHR


Arriving in London we had to hurry to get off the plane and through security before heading out to the B gates on the train… arriving just in time for boarding to start…


BA 297 LHR – ORD


Arriving in Chicago we were quickly through Immigration and Customs even if the two girls directing the passengers were not in agreement of which queue we should be in…

It was a quick trip to the hotel and to bed.