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…

willis tower

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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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.

Chicago Stories: The Bar That Has The Silliest Name Might Just Be The Best Bar In The City!

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I know that writing these series of stories about the events that When I had finished with viewing the game in Chicago’s Wrigley Field I was left desiring a great beer!  With a place with the name of Quenchers it seemed like the kind of place where you would pick up a cold Bud and if you were lucky there would be a Sam Lager on draft. Or it is the place where you get a fruity kids drink or gum filled with liquid.  This is where I was wrong completely!

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I went there with friends who lived in the neighborhood who also suggested it.  I was not disappointed.  I got to realize why we all drink craft beer.  It is the community of it.  That is why you’ll see that there is no bubble and craft beer is still going to boom.  To add to the awesomeness of Quenchers there is a world and state listing of beers as well as entertainment 7 nights a week! I will remember this as being the place I was introduced to Half Acre’s “Daisy Cutter”.When I am back in Chicago in a couple of weeks this will be the first place I will stop!

Chicago Stories: A Tale Of Two Baseball Stadiums!

Last year I ran my first official marathon in Chicago.  In the meantime I planned to make a little bit of a vacation of it. What is one thing I love outside of Running, Craft Beer, and Football (College and Professional): Baseball.

My plan to get in my baseball fix was simple. First go to see a Cubs-Astros game in Wrigley Field my first night in town.  The second night I was going to drive to Milwaukee and see the Brewers-Padres play in the season finale (it is October and baseball season was over).

Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs

Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It had been nine years since I had last been to Wrigley Field and I was excited to sit in the bleachers for the first time.  I did however find it was odd that the bleachers had a completely different entrance than the rest of the stadium.  This is an area where the fans are brutal and they get down and dirty when it comes to the team. I guess the most saddening part of this was the available beer that I drank at the park, let’s examine:

The first beer I had was a Labatt Blue, Labatt Blue is the Miller lite of Canadian beer. People who drink Labatt Blue can’t differentiate the difference between import and craft (It’s no longer 1999, people should be educated in regards to what is craft and what is not). Why did I have it?  Goose Island wasn’t even an option (Let alone was

The second beer was probably a Corona (If I put a lime in a Bud Light it will taste like lime right? Yep).

Heileman’s Old Style was the last beer I had.  Ironically I had to search the park over for this one.  Made by Pabst it is we’ll say the PBR of Chicago just like Olympia is the PBR of Washington state.  PBR is the drink of hipsters that makes them feel ok at old men bars.

Let’s just say that leaving Wrigley Field left me desiring a really good beer.

Prince Fielder's Last At Bat as a Milwaukee Brewer

Prince Fielder’s Last At Bat as a Milwaukee Brewer (Photo credit: compujeramey)

This leaves us to the very next day.  I drive to Milwaukee and on the advice of a lovely lady I met at Wrigley Field  I stopped by Mars Cheese Castle and bought a ton of New Glarus beers (sorry I can’t say everything was bad that came out of Wrigley). Afterwards it was off to the MillerCoors brewery where I will later give my thoughts and feelings on but then we took a trip to Miller Park.

I’m not going lie about it,  I quite frankly thought my best beer options for Miller park would be Leinenkugel.  Oh how I was wrong. I mean there were stations throughout the stadium which sold Miller products but I found heaven at the craft beer station in the stadium!

Capital City Supper Club lager was the first beer that I had.  It was good but I can’t say that I am a huge lager fan unfortunately.  I’ll have to try some of their other beers if I can but the fact they were there made this an inevitable win in my book!

I next had Booyah from MKE (Milwaukee Brewing Company), This beer was the best Farmhouse/Saison I have ever had! I would say in my humble opinion it is the Heady Topper of Saisons! Not only this but it was poured in a gas station coffee cup (not a beer cup because they had somehow ran out of regular cups). This didn’t matter because heaven had just hit my lips. When I get back to Chicago this year I am going to make sure to get a six-pack of this to bring back to Boston.

I also had a beer from Sprecher which I wanted to say was their Amber Reserve.  Also a good beer as well.  It should also be noted that brands such as Horny Goat, New Glarus, and New Belgium were also available!

I was also mystified that Bob Uecker’s play-by-play was being played over the loud-speaker throughout the stadium.  I’ll also say that when I decided to leave the stadium I was hugely impressed with the Milwaukee Braves tribute within the stadium.

Chicago may have the historical traditions but Milwaukee has the better beer!

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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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