This past weekend was spent in Chicago with around 45,000+ people who were running around the city.
My friend Daniel was one of the 45,000 people who were participating in the 35th annual Chicago Marathon on Sunday.
Daniel, his wife Dana, and their two daughters, Emma and Erin, arrived at our house Friday night and we spent the night catching up over margaritas at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Mixteca.
They got up Saturday and headed down to Chicago so they could check into the hotel, get his race packet and see a few sights. Tammy and I headed down later that afternoon and met them in the hotel.
We headed out for dinner at a nearby Gino’s East so Dan could have a good pre-race meal. He got a chicken parm sandwich while the rest of us got two pizzas (one deep dish, one thin crust), two orders of mozzarella sticks (one with spinach, one without), crispy Brussels sprouts and an order of fries.
We walked back to the room and started settling in for the night. We stayed in the Congress Hotel, which is right on Michigan Avenue and in front Buckingham Fountain, you know, the one from Married with Children.
Up and At ’em
Daniel got up in the wee hours of the morning Sunday, got dressed in the bathroom, slipped out of the room without waking everyone and made his way down to the race.
Emma said she woke up when she heard someone singing the National Anthem and the rest of us were up not long after that. We turned on the TV to watch the race coverage and looked out the window to see the long line of runners slowly making their way to the starting line.
A Busy Morning
I had a very busy morning while we were waiting on Daniel to finish running.
Things I did:
- Walked to Starbucks for coffee
- Stood in the line at Starbucks
- Walked back to the hotel room
- Walked down to the finish line
- Climbed a chain-link fence to get to an open spot in the bleachers.
- Helped Emma, Erin, Dana and Tammy over the fence.
- Helped two strangers over the same fence.*
* As I was helping Dana over the fence I heard two ladies asking if I could help them too. After I helped Tammy over I turned my attention to them and got the first woman over without any problems.
The second lady, who reminded me of NeNe Leakes from The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Celebrity Apprentice, was a different story.
She climbed onto the fence and I reached around to grab a hold of her. I was figuring I’d put my hand around her waist, but that’s not where it went. Instead in went into the space where her butt-cheek ended and the back of her leg started.
I quickly realized where my hand was, but was too afraid to move it and re-grip because I didn’t want it to get any closer to, um… things.
I kept my hand where it was and pulled her over the fence. She had her left leg wrapped around my waist as she started to swing her other left over the fence, all while my hand was dug into her butt-cheek.
Tammy, Dana and “NeNe’s” friends were all laughing at the scene that was unfolding before them. As I was turning NeNe to a spot where I could sit her down I made a comment.
Me: I usually have to buy a woman dinner before she lets me do this kind of stuff to her.
NeNe and her friends started laughing and thanked me for my help. Tammy later told me she was standing behind NeNe in case I needed help and all she “could see was butt, a giant butt.”
Dana said the look on my face was hilarious and wished she had thought to get out her camera to record everything.
- Fought through the crowd to find a spot in the bleachers so I could spot Daniel near the finish line.
- Had to endure someone who wasn’t speaking United States as runners streamed by. Fortunately she eventually moved.
- Stood on my tip-toes, looking into the sun, trying to find Daniel for almost 30 minutes.
- Took pictures of Daniel as he ran by, but missed the time he actually looked over at us and waved.
- Walked all the way back to the finish line, through a TON of people, while herding Tammy, Dana, Emma and Erin.
- Walked a mile to the Tilted Kilt where we ate lunch.
Things Daniel did during that time:
- Ran a marathon.
That looks like a 13 to 1 ratio and sounds to me like Daniel was a bit of a slacker. OK, OK, Daniel walked to the Tilted Kilt with us too.
We had lunch at the Titled Kilt where we once again stuffed our faces with cheese sticks, garlic fries and Philly cheese-steaks.
Daniel’s crew left early to stop by the Nike and Disney stores while we stayed behind to catch up with some friends.
We eventually made it back to the hotel room where Emma and Erin were playing with their new toys. Daniel and Dana were resting on one bed and we climbed on the other to watch the rest of the Broncos-Patriots game.
I think everyone but Tammy fell asleep at some point over the next hour. Tammy couldn’t sleep because Peyton was on TV.
Everyone eventually got up and started getting ready to go to dinner at Harry Caray’s to celebrate.
Daniel got himself a big, rare steak and Dana shared some seafood fettuccine with Emma (Erin got some mac and cheese). I had some yellow fin tuna and Tammy got some jumbo sea scallops. Daniel and I followed that up with a piece of key lime pie. Dana got a slice of peanut butter Snicker pie while Tammy had some crème brûlée.
It was around this time when Tammy voiced her disapproval of Daniel’s running.
Tammy: Daniel, you running marathons is making US fat.
Technically she’s right because I believe we ate about 10,000 calories and only one of us burned off between 3-5,000 in a 4-hour period.
Congrats on completing your second Chicago Marathon, and SIXTH overall, Daniel. Your determination never ceases to amaze me.