Friday, August 23, 2013


Some of my friends and  I live by the credo that "If you say it out loud, you have to do it."  This mantra led to the first annual "Re-Taste of Chicago."

By way of background, on of my ultra-heroes Jimmy Dean Freeman once ran the L.A. Marathon Route while eating 5,000 calories (there were a few bonus calories too). [Link to Jimmy Dean's Food Run] This video gave me the idea that we should try the same concept with the Chicago Marathon route.   Chicago clearly has better food.  There are plenty of iconic eateries on the route.  Once I said it out loud we had to do it.

So the plan was to run basically the Chicago Marathon Route, but to stop at 9 places and eat food.  These food stops were mandatory.  I received several emails regarding food allergies, gluten free, etc.  To each I responded "This is probably not an event for you."  The point of this exercise was to suffer on a very specific level.

With the help of another formerly fat person Ethan Matyas we came up with the following list of food stops:

1.  Billy Goat Tavern - Cheezeborger or Fried Egg Sandwich; 2.  Weiner's Circle - Hot Dog or Veggie Dog; 3.  Ann Sather's - Cinnamon Bun; 4.  Lou Malnatti's - half slice of Deep Dish Pizza; 5.  Greek Islands - Baklava;  6.  Mario's Italian Ice - (medium - any flavor); 7.  Los Commales - Chicken Taco or Quesadilla;  8.  Three Happiness - Egg Roll; 9. Harold's Chicken - piece of Fried Chicken or order of Fried Okra.  

That's not all.  At the end of the course, (which ended up being about 29 miles due to all the food stops) you had to drink one beer (PBR) and eat one pice of cake for Melissa Pizzaro's birthday.

Once my wife Kylia Kummer got involved we HAD to have a proper tshirt:

We also had a rather large debate about the portion sizes.  I insisted that we go with full portions, with the exception of the deep dish pizze.  The point was to be as uncomfortable as possible.  The rest is history.

We had 11 starters.  Melissa "the birthday girl" Pizzaro, Alfredo Pedro Perro, Todd "Breeze" Brown, Amanda Ticachek, Siamack Moustafi, Katerina Claiborne, Ethan Matyas, Tony Silvestri, Kirsten Pieper, Cathlin Upton and myself.  Deepa Ramakrishna joined at stop 2 (obviously out too late the night before).

3 miles after the only pre-race instruction ("don't get hit by a car") we were off.  2 miles later we were eating a cheeseburger.  Then a hotdog.  Then a huge cinnamon roll.  It rapidly went downhill from there.
I did actually eat two extra portions of pizza - because cheese + sun + running = FUN!

Birthday girl begging to DNF at stop 3 - Ann Sather (unbeknownst to us at the time Alfredo  had already thrown up his veggie dog at stop 2)

I'm not going to lie....even I was loathing the next food stops.  It really felt like once we swallowed the last bite we were approaching the next one.  It was a great experience to go for a 29 mile run and not once think about the running part!

Overall, the formerly fat guys dominated.  Several of us (myself included) never approached the level of discomfort I had in mind.  In all, 3 people threw up (Melissa, Alfredo, Siamack).  Several people DNF'ed and only a few people finished the entire distance while eating all of the food - Ethan, Tony, Melissa (who was the only throw up and finish participant) Todd and myself.  

This was a great event that I would love for someone else to put on again!!  It was challngeing and fun.  We also got to work together and help each other out.  My favorite moment was watching Kat eat this HUGE eggroll.

She was in tears, dry heaving and still trying to eat while asking "why am I doing this?"  That was precisely the degree of suffering I was looking for.

So here's the lesson.....don't say it out loud unless you're going to do it!

PS:  A great video was made of our event by Tony Silvestri -

PPS: Our event was discussed in episode 188 of MarathonTalk

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