Monday, September 26, 2011

Big Shoulders or Hey, That Guy Looks Like a Local

Date: 09/25/2011
Distance: 4.02 miles
Pace: 9:36/mile
Route: Chicago Lakeshore
Song that got me started: "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles
Song that got me through the wall: "Devil is a Lady" by Chain Gang of 1974
Song that brought me home: "Wanna be Startin' Somethin'" by Michael Jackson

Chicago, the "City of Big Shoulders." I prefer "Arsenal of Democracy" personally, but as a nickname,  that is not to shabby, much better then "Cucumber Capital of the World", Wauchula, FL....seriously. 

YUP, that is a cucumber on the city seal
I was in Chicago for a bachelor party of a good friend. We had our fun on Saturday night, tank top on said bachelor, $7 mini beers (yeah Chicago), and a really fun time at a dueling piano bar. Also think 4am bedtime, and a recliner to sleep in. So what do I decide to do in the morning...a nice 4 mile run along the lakeshore.
So after approximately 4 hours of sleep and a tasty breakfast of Powerbar Gel Blasts (proudly made in the Czech Republic), I took the "L" over to Grant Park and had a nice run on the path right by the lake. OK, so it was not a nice run. It was raining, not just a little rain, but more like a "hey, you might as well just jump in that big lake over there" kind of wet. It was also windy. Chicago is also known as the "Windy City," yup, got that one right. While running, I kept thinking of something my HS cross country coach used to tell us: "never trust your body in the first mile." My body was screaming at me to stop, take a couple of Advil, and go to sleep for about 10 hours. I told it to quit complaining, digest those tasty gel thingies and move me forward. Crazily enough, it listened.

Here is my top 10 observations about Chicago:

1. Hey look, functional mass transit, how novel.
2. Apparently being in running clothes makes you instantly look local, as I had two seperate people ask me directions while wearing them.
3. $7 for 8oz of Stella is just too much, I don't care where you are. We are talking about the Budweiser of Europe here.
4. Thanks to Mother Hubbard's Bar in Downtown Chicago, for outfitting the bachelor in a very nice pink tank top. That made the rest of the night very interesting.
5. The guy I stayed with lives in an area that basically is the meatpacking district. Very interesting when your neighbor is the Bridgeford packing plant (free beef sticks for all!)
6. The new Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, welcomed me to Chicago with an insane toll on the "Chicago Skyway." Thanks buddy!
7. Never start the night with a shot of Absinthe.
8. Hearing Marilyn Manson on dueling pianos is just weird. I mean the original is weird enough. I say stick to Billy Joel, etc.
10. Sigh, Chicago has used it's downtown lakefront property so well. I had a serious case of city envy while running down there. Props to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy for trying to get this rolling in Detroit. We have a little catching up to do.

So it is back to the D for me. Very nice to be home with the Wife and CE.  I have one more run planned this week and then a 5K this weekend! More about that on the next installment of this fine example of the written word.


  1. Very entertaining blog James! I love it!

  2. Oh, Chicago...what an amazing city! And you have both lived in the city (or [ahem] very close to it), so at one point in time, we were locals.

    I love that line about not trusting your body during the first mile! I always feel terrible during the first mile, so I am going to file away that bit of wisdom for future runs.

  3. I just have to start convincing myself to never trust my body on miles 2,3,4,5,6,7....etc. :)