I love Chicago. It’s like New York, except there’s more light on the street, the architecture is more interesting, and it’s not so f-ing pretentious. We did a million things during our 5-day visit, and there were a million other things I wanted to do, but didn’t get to. I’m not sure how I would have fit in a marathon, so it’s just as well. I did some really good reconnaissance for next year, though.
Here’s an abbreviated list of fantastic things that I did while in the Windy City:
1. As previously mentioned, I met Kathrine Switzer and Bart Yasso. Bart Yasso is a bit of a silver fox, but he’s also a native of the LV and, according to his book, My Life on the Run, which I am currently devouring, Budd Coates got him into running. Of course, you already know that Budd’s wife got me into running. So we have that in common. Bart, call me. I will consider moving back home to work for Runner’s World. Seriously, though, Bart, Kathrine, and Roger Robinson, another running commentator/writer and Katrine’s husband, were all warm and approachable and so happy to talk about what we all love: running.* And they were all pretty sympathetic to the fact that I was out of the race, though I have a feeling, after reading his book, that Bart Yasso wouldn’t let a little thing like a bruised IT band derail his marathon plans.
2. I bought ridiculous shoes. In an expo-induced frenzy of consumption, I bought the Chicago-themed Nike Lunarglides. I just thought they looked cool, but these shoes have changed my life. When I tried them on, my feet were aching from walking around the expo. After buying them, I proceeded to wear them around the city–and my feet never bothered me again. It was a Chicago miracle. I walked at least 3 miles a day, and I ran most mornings, and my feet still don’t hurt. I’m thinking about buying another pair for running and another pair so I don’t wear out the cool ones so quickly (as of now, you can’t buy the Chicago ones anywhere else).
3. Went to see Second City, e.t.c. It was the first theater we came to on the street (apparently the regular Second City is next door?). The show was hilarious and fun, and I love the idea that I can go see excellent improv any night of the week and twice on Fridays and Saturdays in Chicago.
4. Watched the Chicago Marathon. It was freezing, Deena had to take a bathroom break, and we got to the finish after Sammy Wanjiru did, but it was still exciting and inspiring to see 34,000 fellow lunatics out there braving the cold. I even managed to see some of the lunatics I know personally come across the finish line before the cold and hunger got the best of me. But all of my friends ran huge PRs, and that’s really what it’s all about. Yes, I’m jealous, but I’m mentally ready to get back into training. Next week.
5. Three words: Pizza. Pot. Pie. Don’t think about it. Just eat it.
6. The Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Game. Wes invented this game after developing a deep-seeded obsession with Marina Towers, the distinctive Chicago condos that grace the cover of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. It’s a lot like punch buggy, except the buildings don’t move. So you might think you’d always see a punch coming, but you’d be wrong. Plus any time the buildings dip out of sight for a minute, the game restarts, and you can be punched again. Pictures of the buildings count. Wes doesn’t know this, but I have a brochure from the CAF Boat Tour with a picture of the towers on them. And I’m about to go all Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on his ass in a few minutes.
That’s all I can think of right now, because it’s 11:30, and I’m working (vacation comes at a hefty price), and I’m tired. Fingers crossed it’s raining tomorrow morning, so I don’t have to wake up for my run.
*I almost mentioned the blog to Kathrine but chickened out. I’ll get her next time, when there’s actually something to advertise.