Morning came much earlier than planned today when I was awakened by my 36-month-old who was a bit disoriented in her new living quarters. Nothing that a little reassurance through mommy's milk couldn't solve though. Once my eyes were open, I knew there was no chance of getting them closed again any time soon. I suddenly remembered that the Alumnae had planned a walk around Chicago every morning at 6:00 am so I thought, "Well, I'm up...why not join them?!"
After quickly slipping out of my pj's and into some yoga pants, WBW tee, and sneakers, I was off to find what I thought to be a small gathering of weary eyed walkers. To my surprise (and delight!), I found a large clan of about 40 perky ladies who were stretching and preparing for their journey. I found a place in the pack, did a few quick yoga moves, and followed the crowd out onto the streets of Chicago.
The morning was sunny but crisp. I immediately regretted leaving my jacket back in my room; however, I assumed I would warm up quickly once I got my heart pumping. We crossed over to Millennium Park, which is just across the street from the Hilton. We headed north on Michigan Avenue, enjoying the sight and scent of the gorgeous flower gardens along the way. After rounding a large amphitheater that resembled enormous playground equipment, we mounted a winding, metallic bridge that led us closer to Lake Ontario. After crossing another major thoroughfare, we turned south again so we had a marina on our left and the Chicago skyline on our right. Forget my jacket, I was now REALLY regretting leaving my CAMERA in my room!!!
I met several lovely ladies along the way: one from Charlotte, NC and another all the way from Iceland. I learned that there are only 300,000 people in that entire country; that really blew my mind! This dedicated mom/nurse/Leader Applicant was one of two attendees from Iceland; the other was the only accredited Leader that Iceland has. Wow!
As we turned yet another corner, I overheard someone saying that "we are right on time." Hmm, I thought, I wonder what time that is? I had a business breakfast meeting at 7:00 am on the 16th floor and I still needed to shower and iron some clothing. I polled a passing walker and was mortified to discover that it was already 6:45 am! Where had the time gone?! I saw the Hilton ahead so I broke into a sprint and expressed my salutations to my new friends as I ran by.
I didn't stop running until I reached the main doors of the hotel. I used my "indoor pace" to get me to the stairs and then I bounded up, two at a time, to the sixth floor. My heart was racing, my hair was sticking every which way, and my breathing was louder than a racehorse. I took a minute to "get the wind out" and collect myself before tiptoeing back into my room.
Somehow (I honestly don't know how), I managed to shower, do my hair and minimal makeup, iron my pants, nurse my littlest one back to sleep again (who, no doubt, awoke from my heavy breathing), and then arrive at my meeting by 7:10 am!
After exchanging pleasantries with everyone and taking my seat, a colleague says to me, "Gosh, I wish I looked that good so early in the morning." I gave a hearty laugh and replied, "If only you saw me a half hour ago!"