Apr 2, 2010

My Trip to Kenosha

On Friday, March 21st I boarded a plane to fly to Milwaukee, where my friend Troy would pick me up. The idea behind the trip was that we would swap training weekends. I would go up there and run with him, he would come to Cincinnati and run with me. So back in January, we looked at our calendars and planned the dates. I would travel up there on the weekend of his first 20-miler, he would come to Cincinnati the following weekend.

Troy is training for his first marathon, on May 2nd, the Kenosha Marathon. He took Friday as a rest day and we planned to run 20 on Saturday, 6-8 on Sunday. When I arrived in Milwaukee International Airport, it was sunny and 60 degrees. A perfect day. But the weather report said something very different for the next day. More on that in a minute.

We get to Troy's home in Pleasant Prairie, I meet his wife (Barb) and kids, get settled in and we prepare to leave for a nice Italian dinner. Downtown Kenosha is actually quite nice, and would be great if so many businesses didn't seem to have close up shop. A result of the current economy, no doubt. After dinner, we go to a local bar to watch some March Madness. Now, I've always known that beer is serious business in Wisconsin. Beer & cheese. But when we got to the bar, I realized just HOW seriously. This place, from the outside, didn't look like anything unusual. A small home that had been converted into a local hang-out place. When I walked in, I couldn't believe a) how nice it was, b) how many beers were available. 250+ beers, with about 50-60 available on tap! Wowza! This place was awesome. So we sit down, have a beer, talk and watch the ballgame. Barb's brother joins us a little later and we drink a little more. Shortly after that, Barb and her brother are ready to leave so he gives her a lift home. Troy and I stick around for about another hour or so, and call it a night.

The next morning, we wake up to 4+ inches of wet, heavy, sloppy snow. Ugh. So, do we slog through 20 miles, or hope tomorrow is better? We learn that tomorrow is supposed to be better, so we go into Kenosha again to have breakfast. And in Kenosha, there's one place you have to go. Frank's Diner. http://www.franksdinerkenosha.com Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, with Guy Fieri. We have a short (20 minutes) wait, before finally getting seated with another couple, visiting Kenosha from Chicago. Turned out the husband started running 2 years ago, and their son is a pretty serious marathoner. We have a great time meeting them. And breakfast was great. I had to order the garbage plate. It's their specialty. And it 100% lives up to the name. 5 eggs, with anything and everything you want thrown into it. Onions, peppers, jalapenos, hash browns, sausage, bacon, and cheese is what was in mine. Stupid good.

After breakfast, we go run 8 miles, in wet & windy conditions. We ran into the wind for the first 4 and the wind-driven rain felt like shards of glass on my face! But we managed to get through it. Troy even had his brother, an amateur photographer, take pictures of us running. LOL. With his buddy driving him to stay in front of us, he must have taken 100+ pictures of us over the last 4 miles. It felt like a photo shoot for a magazine or something.

That night, we hit up a bar where a bunch of his friends were going to for a campout they do every year. We weren't camping, but went for the festivities. A few beers, and Makers & Diet Cokes later, we went home.

Next morning we woke up, waited for the day to warm up a bit, and headed out for 20 miles. It was awesome. Sunny & cool, running alongside Lake Michigan. Everything was going great until we got to about 13 miles, when Troy's stomach started to feel a bit “sour”. We hit our turnaround point, and he was still feeling the effects. But now we were going downwind, and after a Chocolate #9, he seemed to pick up a bit. He got to the 18-mile mark OK, and then started to slow slightly. But he managed to tough it out, and he made it to 20. Really proud and happy for him. His first 20-miler.

At this point, he was done, but my schedule called for 2 more miles. So he drove up to a coffee shop back in town where I would proceed to run to and meet him. When I arrived, he was waiting, and feeling much better.

Sadly, at this point in the day, I had just enough time to get home, shower, change, and get to the airport to return to Cincinnati. But that was OK since the following weekend he'd be flying to Cincy. That report will come shortly. We punished ourselves that weekend. :)

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