Does this title reference the humidity? Or the rain that would come? Or the fact that there had been two nights in a row staying up until the early morning with some beers? That another similar night was to come? To everyone that selected the unmentioned, “all of the above” right you are!
After leaving my cousin’s place in the morning, I headed towards Chicago to meet with Dave at CrossFit Spero. He had kindly volunteered to be part of the journey from a post to the 321 go project that the owner of CrossFit Akeso in Iowa had posted. Dave called with great energy in response to my email I sent. I didn’t meet his energy and instead had a hushed voice. Those that know me, know that I usually bring some energy! That use of an exclamation point illustrates it. I didn’t need to go all caps to yell, that would be too intense. I had to use a hushed voice because I was in a library. This one had specific quiet areas, which I was not in, so it wasn’t as bad as may seem to be on the phone for a quick moment. Plus, I thought it may be important and didn’t want to miss it to get outside first.
Dave said I could work out and then shower prior to the meeting. Most people know or have some idea that fitness is dependent on prior training, nutrition, and sleep. To recap, I’ve been training sporadically, eating unusual patterns of varying sizes and nutritionally sound food, and the last two nights have gotten less quantity and quality sleep than my overall below average level I have been experiencing during the trip. Despite those conditions, mentally I was still ready for rocking the workout.
The workout rocked me. We warmed up which went fine, then got into deadlifts. Bring it on. I’ve been fairly ok at deadlifts, relying on some strength and some practice. There was a bit of time a year ago I specifically trained deadlift for a few months which helped my confidence. The issue I have is knowing what weight to use now. Often a percent of 1 repetition max is used. My best max is likely considerably higher than my current max, which I’m unsure of. During the sets, I wanted it to be hard and challenging as I needed that, but also to complete. Halfway through the 4 sets, I had to concede some weight. I hate to do that. It represents weakness and lack of focus. For me, this day, it was a lack of energy. Each rep simply drained me so fast. I could move the weight, but each rep was harder than normal and with each additional rep it took exponentially more effort.
Beyond the deadlifts, which I completed at a lighter weight, it was time for the Workout of the Day or WOD as termed in CrossFit. Ring dips and box step ups with dumbbells. As far as movements seen in CrossFit, I can do these just fine. Well, usually. It was 10 ring dips but after the first set, I failed to do them unbroken. Due to being drained and continually more so, the box step ups were far harder than should be. I survived the workout in a sweaty mess, fairly sure I was the last one done. I don’t normally mind, but when visiting I don’t want to be that guy. Plus, I could’ve scaled to make it easier, but again, having an accurate assessment is tricky. My poor training, diet, and sleep habits caught up to me.
After showering, which I found myself wondering how much value it did since I was still sweating, Dave and I went to breakfast which he kindly covered my order. I heard how he had another career but fell in love with CrossFit and decided to make a change. He brings enthusiasm and care towards all members. Before departing, he gave me advice on parking for Wrigley Field which helped having an insider’s view.
I drove towards the stadium and due to the meeting and traffic time was getting a little tighter than I preferred. I still needed to pick up my ticket from a spot close to the stadium. I found a rare curb parking spot in a residential area. It was about 1.7 miles away. I didn’t know how much to gamble with traffic and trying to find a spot when closer to starting time. I started walking and due to the humidity, got a decent sweat going. I hoped the sunscreen would mask any possible odors and it did as I didn’t hear anyone complain.
I heard I needed to hit up a bar in Wrigleyville. Some were packed, but I found a couple close with good beer specials and quickly “hydrated” with a couple beers prior to heading in. I happened to be by my gate which was nice and I felt the excitement of experiencing the stadium for the first time. The history of the stadium, how long it’s been there was special to feel.
I had a jolly ol’ grin on my face seeing the field and then sitting in my seat. There was some fun, music that gave a feeling of old, summer time ball. A different feel than modern pop music commonly heard elsewhere. I had to get a picture and people around were kind to help. There had been potential for rain, but luckily none came during the game. It was a fine and enjoyable game. It got a little carried away during the 8th when St. Louis scored a bunch of runs. For a rivalry game, this was miserable for Cubs’ fans. Being that I’m not a hardcore Cubs’ fan, and it was my first time, I stuck through until the end.
Leaving the game, it was drizzling and I was hungry. It started to rain harder and I found a pizza by the slice place. Two birds with one stone, getting out of the rain and eating. I got some cheeseburger pizza, which was different and unfortunately not Chicago style. Either way, it was good and helped me avoid some hard rain for a bit. Once it lightened up I walked more. It rained harder and then I went into a store for a bit. Once lighter, I walked back, just figuring between sunscreen, sweat, and a lot of rain I’d need a shower later.
A buddy from grad school was living in Chicago and just got in town for a weekend in between trips. He said I could crash with him. He told me he got stuff for breakfast sandwiches in the morning, something I was already excited about. I got cleaned up and then we headed out to a friend’s spot. His friend was a gracious host before and after going to a local bar. We had some beers, watched some sports and had fun until the morning.
I slept in towards early afternoon as my body needed some sleep and we had a late bed time. I woke up and thought it was wild how late it was. Also, I was excited for the breakfast sandwiches previously mentioned. Chatting with my buddy, he said he was going to Missouri for work and I’d potentially have another place to crash. Fun fact, we went to grad school at Fresno State, but I visited him in Alabama when he was at Auburn, and now Illinois and potentially Missouri would be added to the list of hang out places.
I left to go to my final brewery, called Metal Monkey. Dan welcomed me and chatted with me in between helped tend bar for other customers. He offered up two beers for me along the way which was kind. He said that tending bar and getting reactions and feedback to beers was enjoyable, helping give him excitement in brewing.
Afterward, I made the drive to another relative, Sandy who has been so kind following the journey and helping do what she can to encourage and spread the word. We went to dinner at a local spot and she treated me to a sandwich and encouraged some bread pudding which was tasty.
The following morning, I headed to Springfield, to check out President Lincoln’s presidential library, museum, and resting spot. It was a good experience to learn more and increase my awareness of how tough it was for him navigating those tough times. Understanding that his views were attacked from both sides. Trying to do what was right, but also accepting it would mean give and take to get more people on board.
While living in Hawaii there were friends that got married and I was the best man in their wedding. This is relevant because it was his brother that has a place in Illinois which was my next destination. Furthermore, a different friend (that I met through my Hawaii job) has set up a Gift N Brews fund page on plumfund, where people can donate money so I can experience a place they insist I go to. Well the bride from the previously mentioned wedding, donated some money for me to go to Schlafly’s! That night we went, and it was the wrong one! So, we went to the other of course because I had to do the honor of the recommendation and person proud. It was a fun night, catching up.
The next morning, I had my last meeting for Illinois with Josh. He was willing to meet, even though he wasn’t sure if we were going to a brewery, having a beer or just talking. We chatted and I heard how he grew up in fitness and at a young age knew it would be his career. Through continuous learning and care, he had grown his business.
Being that I’ve covered all meetings for Illinois and it’s been a lengthy post, that will do it for this time! Thanks for coming along on the journey.