Beerventure: Chicago!

For my last day in Chicago back in October I had decided to waltz around the city with just one objective in mind: Make it over to Half Acre! In the meantime there was a goal that I had missed on my first three visits to the city: Go to the Sears Tower!  This being said on a couple of occasions I was told by locals that I should have went to the Hancock building and grabbed a drink.  Well the Sears Tower is now the Willis Tower and they have the walk out to where you can actually walk over the city…

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Scary…Yes, let’s hope the glass doesn’t break! After this it was off to Half Acre to see their brewery and tasting room!

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Some wonderful shots on the inside:

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The most important part of this is the beer:

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This place was pretty chill and amazing at the same time.  They had a few wonderful beers including the ever popular “Daisy Cutter” as well as “Lagertown”, “Space IPA”, and “Pony”

I was also also introduced to awesome bands like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Tame Impala.

I ended up buying a 4 pack of “Daisy Cutter” as well as a t-shirt and tulip glass!

I was sad to leave but the artwork that Half Acre displays is some of the most cheerful artwork:

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Until next time Chicago and Half Acre! Can’t wait to drink your wonderful beer again!

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Why I Don’t But Do Recommend Streaking!

Last night  I realized that I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  I’ve decided to do four different streaks to preclude the month:

Sorry, but I will be wearing clothes during all these streaks! So what are these streaks?:

1. #Deckaday 31  100 day challenge– The Deck a day challenge was put out by the November Project for anyone who was willing to do it.  I started on September 30th and was going to stop for a few days on October 10  until the day of the Marathon but when Tourism was announced (taking a few days off) I decided to push through it. This is a challenge that is combined with the 100 x 100 challenge  which was introduced to my by my friend Neighbeers back in the summer.  I decided to wait to do this until after the Chicago Marathon but when I ran into the Deck a Day It Today (12/14/2013) will be day number 76. Wednesday January 7 will be 100!

2.#Plankaday-  I started doing this on November 1.  It makes the second fitness activity I have streaked with.  Does my core feel a lot better?  Yes!  Do I post about it enough?  Not according to the plankpolice:

3. #RWrunstreak: Runners World put out the run streak that runs from Thanksgiving to New Years day.  The only issue with this is that I could run just 1 mile each day for a total of 35 days.  Not that much to be honest.  Well there were a few races to keep me honest in doing more than just one mile including the Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 miler, Winter Classic 5k, and Miss Santa 5k to keep me honest above that level.  I’ve also decided to do the #runchathunt with craft beer to also keep this exciting.

4. #12daysofplanking:  Well this is just taking #plankaday to a whole new level.  My goal with this is that I want to include more side planks into my workout.  If I do one on each side and a regular plank each day and increase this workout by one set each day to end up doing a total of 36 planks of at least a minute long Christmas day!

5.  My Garmin needs to have 1000 miles by December 31:  This is quite self explanatory though I didn’t receive my Garmin in the mail until February 18 of this year.  I have 17 more days of the #RWrunstreak and therefore I have 17 more days to complete this mission.  I looked at the watch and I am 36.85 miles away from reaching 1000.  This being said I have to do  2.17 miles a day for the next 17 days.  Not an impossible task but it makes things balance out and doesn’t allow me to run one mile a day.

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This all being said it really depends on what kind of person you want to become.  If you like your days off or need vacations from goals then streaks are not for you?  If you need a push and keeping fit matters then I would recommend a streak to get you started.  Will all of these streaks have an end: Yes! When: Not for sure.  But I am going to used them to make me a better and more fit of a person!

 

Beerventure: Wisconsin!

While visiting Chicago I felt like it was appropriate to take a day to visit Wisconsin.  When setting up the Vert Big Bad Wolf Race in Ipswich Ma I saw that Z who runs Wolf Hollow was wearing a New Glarus “Spotted Cow” T-shirt.  I had mentioned how I had tried the beer last year on my previous marathon in Chicago and how good it was.  He told me how beautiful it was.  I took his word for it (I also thought it was a pretty awesome T-shirt).  My point on this is that if Z were to have not have worn that shirt before things got busy that day I may have not have thought to go to New Glarus to their brewery! Also, having “Booyah” from Milwaukee Brewing Company I knew that would be the second stop (or intended third stop) on this Beerventure. Here is the adventure it led to:

I had decided to rent a car with a friend and head to New Glarus, first stop was to the Bridgeport Diner for pancakes,  then to Bridgeport Coffee (because my friend could never have enough coffee), then finally the interstate! Driving through Chicago isn’t the easiest task and considering that the roads were in constant construction on the way to Rockford, IL it was going to make for a long trip! Everything was one lane for about 40 miles which made the ride slow. It also compounds things a little when you get to Beliot, Wi and it just looks like the town where a town police officer is looking to pull someone over for going two miles over the speed limit!  After this it was time to see the beautiful scenery and in running terms get a lot of kills (that is passing runners in a race) over a lot of different cars on the two-lane Wisconsin roads.

We finally reached our destination and the views were spectacular:

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I did take this photo from online and to the person I took it from, I’m sorry and thank you.  Here is a vine to show how awesome it was as well!  I just think that everyone should see the beauty from the outside!

By just viewing the area at the Brewery it looks like it would be the perfect location for a trail race!

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The interior is just as beautiful as the exterior as well:

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The beer here was absolutely delicious and I ended up with a T-shirt, two glasses from tastings, and another purchased glass separately. I also had the “Strawberry Rhubarb” beer which was fantastic as well as “Black Top” and “Staghorn” were awesome as well.  I had a full Pint of “Moon Man” which might have been the most fantastic pale ale I have ever had!

The plan afterwards was to go into Madison for beers but unfortunately after speaking with the lady in the beer shop it was evident that we didn’t have enough time.  We had to get to Milwaukee to go to Milwaukee Brewing Company.  Arriving a couple of minutes after 5pm we were able to go in:

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The tour was $10 but you got full pours of just about everything on draft except for O-Gii which at over 9% you got a token for just one but be it a delicious one with no boozy taste to it as well as a beer token for another MKE beer at a local establishment later.  I wasn’t expecting full pours but they kept coming.  “Pull Chain”, “Louie’s Demise”, “Hop Happy”, and “Polish Moon” were all fantastic!  There fall offering of “Sasquash” had the perfect fall nose in it!

I didn’t used the free beer coupon from New Glarus or the separate token for a free beer from Milwaukee Brewing Company but I have to make sure that I use both of them when I come back to run the Chicago Marathon next year.

Cheers!

A Review Of The Chicago Marathon (How I Put The Peddle To The Metal And Ran Out Of Gas)!

My experience of going to Chicago was a good one.  The race was a different story but it was a valuable lesson.  This is a mile by mile account with pace and overall experiences per each mile.

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Mile 1: This is the point where nerves, anxiety, and not wanting to wait gets to you and you blast off.  Ironically I also do math in my head during long runs.  Looking at my watch I was going to make an out loud 1/100ths of the way there joke at .26 but that is the same time everyone ran under the bridge.  What happened under the bridge?  Well about 20 or so guys running went to go pee on the side wall.  Not myself, gonna hold it for a port-a-potty. Also if you have ever run under the bridge it will take your Garmin time with it but then it will catch up once you hit daylight again.

Mile 1 Pace: 7:53

Mile 2:  I set up two pacing tattoos on my arms. One on my left with a 3:45:00 time and one on my right with a 3:50:00 time.  I’m going to do better that, I also see a girl holding a sign that says “PR or ER”!  I can live by that!

Mile 2 Pace 8:23

Mile 3: Maybe not going under the bridge was a bad idea but I was trying to keep it classy. 

Mile 3 Pace 9:01

Mile 4: Yes there was a pee pee dance done to get to the port-a-john. Had to dash around several people on this one.  There was about 25 people trying to get to 20 port-a-johns!

Mile 4 Pace 8:59

Mile 5: Hey there is a cover band full of 70 year olds.  Are they paid to be there of do they love it for the love of the music?  Also I have caught up with my goal pace of running a 3:45:00 Marathon.

Mile 5 Pace 8:02

Mile 6: I confess to myself that I am not a U2 fan but dude in the band singing, you are butchering it.  Whatever your day job is you need to stick at it and best just cheer like everyone else does from the sidelines.

Mile 6 Pace 8:24

Mile 7: It’s the 3:45:00 pacing group and I am passing by them.  I feel good. I’m killing it!

Mile 7 Pace 8:16

Mile 8: Those chicks on stage are pretty hot! Nevermind.

Mile 8 Pace: 8:21

Mile 9: You ladies were loud and I appreciate it.  Best cheering section on the course!

Mile 9 Pace: 8:19

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Mile 10: The not bloated but not so young “King” is rocking the stage!  “Hunka, Hunka, Burning love and asphalt”

Mile 10 Pace: 8:17

Mile 11: The crowd has thinned a little except for the Abortion Clinic protesters.  “you can’t escape hell”.  Good motivation to keep running and get past this.

Mile 11 Pace: 8:20

Mile 12:  Hey were going through downtown again. Ouch, my nipples!

Mile 12 Pace: 8:22

Mile 13: I’m not going to break stride.  Maybe it is ok to slow down a little. not too much but a little.  Here we go westbound.

Mile 13 Pace: 8:31

Mile 14:  Ok, I can stop for a moment.  That is completely ok because I have run faster than my pace by :13 per mile for the last 12 miles.

Mile 14 Pace: 9:04

Mile 15: Ok , I’m slowing down but I am still ahead of pace at the moment.

Mile 15 Pace: 8:43

Mile 16:  I know there may be someone looking for me at the 25k pace and thinking I am not hitting it up. Not liking this at the moment.

Mile 16 Pace: 10:05

Mile 17: I need to slow down and not mix in so much walking in this.

Mile 17 Pace: 9:23

Mile 18: I repeat: I need to slow down the pace and not walk so much.

Mile 18 Pace: 9:46

Mile 19: My ultimate goal has passed me by and there goes the 3:45:00 pacers.  Wished I would have stuck with them at mile 7.

Mile 19 Pace: 9:28

Mile 20:  Ok, so my second goal of finishing in 3:50 may not be obtainable.

Mile 20 Pace: 11:18

Mile 21:  Hey, there is someone wearing a pacing bib that says 3:30:00 and they are in the first round of runners.  I don’t feel so bad now.  Definitely not wearing the bib of course!

Mile 21 Pace: 10:25

Mile 22:  Oh it looks like the runners are to the right of me.  Oh hey curb how did I miss you and almost let you make me fall to the ground.  Shocked I stayed on my two feet for that one!

Mile 22 Pace: 10:56

Mile 23: I’m feeling quite awful.  So much i need to get my leg stretched out. Guy asks to I need water.  Not so much.  I need to somehow flush out the most impressive amount of lactic acid my legs have ever built up!

Mile 23 Pace: 13:24

Mile 24: And there goes the 4:00:00 pacers.  Not a fan of this.  I feel awful.

Mile 24 Pace: 11:16

Mile 25: Guy yells at me “that’s going to hurt in the shower tonight”.  I know.

Mile 25 Pace: 13:22

Mile 26: Guy yells out my bib number which does get me going a little faster.  I need someone to yell my bib number at every mile past 15.

Mile 26 Pace: 11:00

Mile 26.2: Hey there is a little less than 400 meters to go.  you can push this hill. And there you are finish!

Mile 26.2 Pace: 9:23

Total time of 4:11:15,  I ran Chicago in 3:56:03 last year.  I’m more hungry than ever to beat that time but more humble than ever knowing that I pushed too hard too soon and let the wheels fall off.  Running a Marathon is a different beast than a 5k or even a half marathon. I go back and look at it wishing I would have slowed myself to an 8:30 pace for those previous miles I could have made it.  Does anyone have any advice for my third marathon?  I still finished so I can’t beat myself up too much but the PR is still there for me to beat and next year I will know what i need to do to beat it!  Until next year Chicago.  I’ll be back and stronger and I will keep on pace and try not to beat myself too soon.

#Deckaday tourism

So the November Project is pushing people to do a Deck of Cards workout for 30 31 days.  My thoughts were that I could do it for 10 days then take a few days off for the Chicago Marathon and then go directly back to it. I got called out and those who were taking the day off were called out.  I had told someone that I was going to stop with the #Deckaday around the middle of this week but I realize that this is a 30 31 day commitment and I am at least going to do a 100 days in a row of it in the vein of the 100 x 100 challenge!

I haven’t been able to post pictures to Twitter (and therefore I haven’t announce it over twitter) for the last three days but here is a recap of what happened (I’ve also created #Deckart to make the challenge more creative and maybe fun):

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Elin announced on Tuesday He couldn’t do a #Deckaday so I created his image while doing #deckaday in 16:40.

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#Massdeck was done in 18:20 on Wednesday!

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#Illinoisdeck was done in 19:37 when I got off the plane and got to my friends apartment.

My friend Elin was under doctors order had to stop his #Deckaday.  I had told him that I was going to take it easy and stop doing it but Elin said to go a little slower.  This along with being called out made me reassess.  I am going to push through and keep it up.  Not only for the 31 but for the 100 (at  least).  #Deckxs100 will live and It could further itself into a #deckstreak. Since I am out-of-town I think it might be optimal to give #deckaday tourism a second definition.  This machine plans on going to 100 and maybe further even through the marathon. I have to commit to 31 days in a row if I am to use the #deckaday (it’s the rules).

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I did my deck in 20:47 and now it is time to go to this place above for a Beerventure (Beer Adventure)!

 

Chicago Stories: How David Had A Better Brewery Tour Than Goliath!

So the last day of last years baseball season I took a trip from Chicago to Milwaukee to see the last baseball game of the season with Padres taking on the Brewers.  First off it was a visit to the second largest brewery in America: Miller Brewing Company!

English: Entrance to Miller Brewery in Milwauk...

English: Entrance to Miller Brewery in Milwaukee. Svenska: Infart till Millerbryggeriet i Milwaukee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Visiting Miller the first thing I noticed was a really cool VW van in the parking lot.  What was the purpose of this VW van?  Well keep that question a question because I am still clueless for that one.   Once inside the brewery there was a good-sized gift shop with a multitude of gift items several of the other brands that Miller operates with (Leinenkugel, Blue Moon, Peroni, etc).  The more ironic thing is that they do the photo booth thing just like other amusement parks, non-natural museums, and the like!  Also, what was more ironic is that they had all of these toys to play with like hulk hands and a keg.  This being said if you were under the age of 21 (like the Hasidic Jewish family with five kids under the age of 21) then you can’t pick up or touch these items.

Once inside there was a seven minute presentation about the beginings of Miller brewing and the “Girl in the Moon”  Now every Wikipedia and media article will tell you that the “Girl in the Moon”  was Fredrick Miller’s granddaughter.  This may or may not be the case. During the video presentation I learned:

  1. It could have been Fredrick Miller’s grand daughter.
  2. It could have been his mistress.
  3. It was that girl that he secretly crushed on but couldn’t get the cojones to speak to.
  4. It was a marketing campaign that came in a vision after a dream.
Miller Brewery

Miller Brewery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This being said I don’t know if there was a concrete story to the “Girl in the Moon”.

Later it felt like the tour was all about Miller owning a ton of brands and making a ton of beer.  It felt like they had the money to put into it and let the money do the talking.  Also the 47 optional steps should have been left as an option because at the top of those steps it smelled like rabbit poop! They also had a huge light up board bragging of all the brands that Miller sells and distributes. At the end there was a beer hall of about 25 people and they poured High Life, Lite, and Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest.

I’m not saying not to do this tour but to go into it knowing what it is.

The next day I had planned on going to Madison and Iowa but I decided to stay in Milwaukee another day.  Go out for a run in the city to get a feel of it and then leave but instead I figured it would be good to visit another brewery.  This led me to….

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Lakefront Brewery!

The only problem I may have had with Lakefront was trying to find my way there and parking at the brewery. I parked on a street about a quarter of a mile away from the brewery but this wasn’t even that big of a deal because I was running a marathon three days later!  This being said it was a $5 tour with four  4 oz pours, a free pint glass, and a free Lakefront beer at several select bars in the Milwaukee area (probably over half of the bars in the greater Milwaukee area).  What was also really cool was the fact that their tasting room had an awesome empty warehouse feel!  Also, there were several stopping points during the tour where you got to fill up and not stop drinking!  Larry, Curly, and Moe are the tops of the first three fermenting tanks that were at Lakefront.  They have now been turned into awesome structures in the front of the brewery! And if you were wondering there were as many people at the Lakefront tour as there were the Miller tour.

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What was awesome about this tour was the history that was involved with Lakefront. How they bought their location on the riverfront for $1 because the City of Milwaukee wanted to build up that area. When county stadium was torn down in the 90’s Bernie’s Chalice (pictured above) and slide was bought by Lakefront.  When the new owners of Miller (ironically not Miller brewing company) park came back to the owner of Lakefront they were looking to buy the Chalice and slide back they were looking to buy the for a price in the hundreds of thousands of dollars the owner of Lakefront proposed that they could have them as long as the Lakefront logo was to remain on the front of the Chalice.  Even the bottling line was the one that was used from the 70’s tv show Laverne and Shirley:

What made Lakefront a pleasurable experience was that it was a genuine tour where it wasn’t how big they were, but how big the product was that made and the truthful history behind it.  If you are in Milwaukee then visiting Lakefront Brewery is a must!

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From Boston to Chicago

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Almost a year ago I ran my first official Marathon in Chicago (I say official because I did bandit Boston in 90 degree weather).

Looking at my marathon training there has been a month full month heat, humidity, and foot pain.  The heat and humidity will go but I am not for sure how to get rid of the foot pain.  Even a couple of days ago I felt a little overwhelmed and ran my slowest half marathon ever in Easton. I’ve also noted that I ran my second slowest with 8 weeks go when I realize this will be 12 Sundays from this Sunday and there is still time.  If I were to peak at this moment it wouldn’t be good.  If I peak in October then that is what I want and it would be the best possible result.

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There were a lot of good memories and stories from last years race.  A lot that I will share in the next few weeks. How a local brewery in Milwaukee has more interesting history than the massive Macro brewery.  How one baseball park was night and day better than  the other in regards to craft beer selection. How sharing new beers and reconnecting with friends is awesome. And most importantly the race itself.

Chicago was something that I did for myself last year.  It was proof that I could break 4:00:00 in a marathon and I ran 3:56:03.  That being said the world is a different place.  The events and tragedies of the Boston Marathon makes this race much more meaningful. There are many stories that I could personally about how this years marathon but I will wait tell. It is time to let this one heal. This one I will run for the city I have called home for the past 8 years. I have a large list of friends and new friends that I have made who are also running.  Hopefully we can all run for our city (at different speeds and abilities of course).  Hopefully at the end of this race we can eat Chicago style hot dogs, eat Giordano’s Deep Dish Pizza (and hopefully not bbq chicken this time), and drink beer at Revolution Brew Pub.

If I hear Arcade Fire again at mile 25 of the way to the finish I’ll break down into tears that will have more meaning. I will run the last and only memorable hill of the race at mile 26 going to 26.1, then going downhill to the finish line at 26.2.

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