Boston Qualifying Training. Does any body know what day it is… I wake up and for a moment I am not certain the day or where I am. Then I remember, home. But not for long, it is 5:00 AM and I need to be on a plane in a few short hours. I hit the shower, write a note to everybody and sneak out of the house quietly. At the airport, I am busy with email and proposals while coordinating meetings for the show in Chicago. There will be no workout today.
On the plane I am treated to free wireless, man that is great. It is a productive flight to Chicago. A quick taxi ride to the hotel, my mind is immediately on lunch, I have forgotten to eat, but I am happy that a meal at Portillo’s will fill those cravings.
Checking into my hotel, I am concerned as there seems to be few “professionals” working the lobby. I make my way up to my room and it is an immediate about face. The room is filthy, the sheets are grey, walking across the street I check into a Courtyard for $20 bucks more. Well worth the extra money, especially as they have wireless. My work colleague arrives and we walk to Portillo’s, if I can not exercise, I’ll at least walk. A great idea until the sky opens up and we get soak. Funny though.
As we walk the streets it hits me this is Marathon weekend! The Chicago marathon is taking place on Sunday, looking around there are runners everywhere, but not at Portillo’s. I order an Italian Beef Sandwich, with hot and sweet peppers, topped with mozzarella cheese and dipped in the Italian seasoning, deciding I am already over the top, I order a side of fries and large beer. Healthy NO, tasty and good for the soul…YES! I’m glad they do not have these in Atlanta. How good, see below.
Like New york City, Chicago has it all and I hear that Joshua Bell, the worlds premier Violinist is playing at the Chicago Symphony. I consider going, tickets are cheap, $60. This will be great.
Making my way to the conference the booth is set up and I make my back to my hotel, this time walking by the Nike store on Michigan Avenue. It is a hub of activity with runners flocking to the store like it was Mecca. Printed on the outside of the store are the names of every runner participating in the 2009 Chicago Marathon. Runners are three deep looking for their names and taking photos. I find Bobalu’s name (and his daughters) and shoot him an email with the photo attached and the words “I’m here where are you”. The phone rings in seconds and plans are made for dinner. I decide better to see friend than Joshua Bell.
Finishing at the conference, Bobalu and I have a beer and full plates of pasta from Rosebuds. It is hard to too beat the food in Chicago, anything you want, it is all great. We talk about running and marathons, this will be Bobalu’s 105th and I wish him good luck and encouragement in his attempt to qualify for Boston. His training has been rigorous… I think he’ll do fine. I hope and expect to meet him at Boston Square in April. I am excited about running after meeting with Bobalu, just what a I needed after that horrible run earlier in the week. Was that this week… man.
I get back to the hotel, hit the last few emails and know I will quickly fall asleep, I need it.