A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ode to Bernie

Last night at dinner with Team ZIP, as we shared stories from the Half Marathon, I realized I had left out the most painful and parts in yesterday's post. So here's the rest of the stories...

Running with Bucky through the crowded field of runners -- over 12,000 in all -- we got lots of comments on our "Beef It's What's For Dinner" running jerseys. Most were supportive, but we do run into an occasional vegan at these types of events...there's one in every crowd. Somewhere around mile three I ran past a guy who then shouted: "BEEF? I'M A VEGETARIAN!" So Bucky, who was right behind me, passsed him and said, "that's too bad, you could be running faster!" I think Andy Rooney got it right when he said, "Vegetarian is an old indian word for 'lousy hunter.'"

After everyone finished the race and we reveled in our accomplishment (the best part of running a half marathon is sitting around afterwards be thankful that it's over!), Leslie and I headed off to catch a cab back to our hotel to get cleaned up and find someplace to eat lunch and watch the Chiefs game. Of course, about 10,000 other people had the same idea. Two hours later, after walking several miles, calling every cab company in Chicago, and waiting for a commuter train that never came, we hitched a ride with a native Chicagoan named Bernie.

[At left, Bucky and I congratulate each other after starting and ending the race together]

I found Bernie loading a bike onto his car and asked if he could help us get back into downtown where we could catch a cab. But Bernie, who is preparing to celebrate the Jewish High Holy Days, insisted on taking us all the way to our hotel on the North side of the Loop. He explained that one of the lessons of High Holy Days is to be kind to strangers because the Jews were once strangers in a strange land. One thing is for sure, Bernie was a godsend, rescuing Leslie and I from our temporary purgatory!

Meanwhile, Michaele, Shenoa, JoDee, Deanne, Caroline and Bucky headed to Hot Chocolate for brunch. Unshowered and still wearing their Beef jerseys, the group enjoyed a wonderful, relaxing meal while Leslie and I traipsed around, sweating, tired and in pain (even Leslie was hurting after walking for miles in a thin pair of fashionable flip flops). But as we got back to our hotel, got cleaned up and headed to ESPN Zone, their problems began.

[At left: The Great Unwashed]

After dropping off JoDee and Bucky, Michaele and Shenoa headed to O'Hare to drop Deanne off for her flight back to Denver. Unfortunately nobody told them I-90 was down to one lane (even though construction crews weren't working on Sunday!). So a quick trip to the airport turned into a two-hour crawl through Chicago traffic. Anyway, Deanne missed her original flight but caught a later one. Did I mention that she still had not showered?

And speaking of the great unwashed, JoDee headed out to a sportsbar with her friend Shilpa after changing clothes...but not showering. Apparently she passed Shilpa's sniff test and was deemed good to go. Perhaps it had something to do with Shilpa's desire to get to the bar and watch her Patriot's beat the Jets!

And finally, after returning to their bachelorette pad in Lincoln Park, Shenoa, Michaele and Caroline were able to catch a quick nap, get cleaned up and meet Bucky and I for dinner at Rockit. It had been a long day for everyone, but we decided to make it even longer and headed to Howl At the Moon, home of "The World's Greatest Rock-n-Roll Dueling Piano Show."

Now we're off to dinner at Quartino...too many great restaurants here and too little time!


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