On Saturday, I had the fantastic opportunity to wish a very happy 35th birthday to the girlfriend of many a Chicago runner, CARA. While CARA puts on social events from time to time (none of which I have ever attended…), I was not about to pass up this soiree, if for no other reason than the venue.
99. As in, floor.
CARA’s 35th anniversary celebration, Stride for Stride, took place on the 99th floor of the Sears/Willis Tower. And man, if that’s not enough to get me to a party, I don’t know what is. Having never been to the Sears/Willis Tower before, I was all about taking advantage of this chance to hang out with everyone who’s anyone in Chicago running at easily the coolest party venue I’ve visited to date.
I was a little stressed about the party all of last week, because even though I knew that I would “know” a lot of the people there, goodness knows most of them have no idea who I am, and I was concerned most of the evening would involve me awkwardly walking around, cursing my nonexistent mingling skills. As it happens, all my stress was for naught. Not only did one of my more outgoing coworkers come to the event, but I also ran into Erin soon after I arrived, so I barely spent any of the party pretending to text. Win.
So about this party. There were wine trees.
There were chopped salad-tinis.
(aka salad served in a martini glass. This has to be one of the more genius ways of serving food at a cocktail party I’ve ever seen. The martini glass was full…I just didn’t bother to take a picture until I had almost finished.)
There was pasta (I mean, duh. It was an event for runners after all). I’ll spare you my blurry picture, but suffice it to say it was white, refined goodness — perfect for carb loading for a long run, right? Of course.
There were key lime tartlets, cannoli shooters (my first experience with cannoli!), cheesecake lollipops, and flourless chocolate cake.
There was CARA history.
I love old race shirts.
But most of all, once the clouds cleared towards the end of the evening, there were views.
Oh, were there views.
I love that a year and a half later, I still can’t get over how beautiful this city is, regardless of the time of day.
Of course, CARA sent everyone home with a goodie bag, because goodness knows it’s not a party without a goodie bag, but even more so, it is certainly not a running event without a goodie bag. And it is certainly certainly not a running event without beer.
Cute, eh? 6.2 ABV and everything. I see what you did there, Lagunitas, with the Runner’s High and ABV equivalent to a 10K. 26.2 points to you for creativity. Gotta be honest, my alcohol palate is still pretty limited and I’m not entirely wild about beer, so I don’t know if I’ll drink this or not, but I appreciate the runner puns regardless.
All in all, Stride for Stride was a fantastic event. I think anyone who’s a runner understands the solidarity that runs in this community, and it was a lot of fun to spend my Saturday evening with the people I consider to be my people. Though I admittedly don’t know what the running world looks like in other cities, I think the Chicago running world in particular is something very special, and it’s nice to celebrate that. Here’s to another 35 years, CARA.
Have you attended any fun events lately? Swanky or otherwise!